Adventures of Traveling With a 5 Year Old

Here at Porta Do Sol the streets are narrow and the stone sidewalks narrower still. There are cars, trams and tuk tuks with bells ringing and horns blowing. Two churches ring their bells on the hour and half hour, minutes apart. There are so many buildings lining all streets, both the main ones and the many narrower streets that seem to pop out of nowhere. It is October but there are still plenty of tourists. So many that I can’t imagine how crazy it must be here in high tourist season. Add to this pigeons, cigarette smoke and men trying to sell selfie sticks. It makes for feeling very overwhelmed. And I’m just talking about myself. To my five year old it’s too much to take in.

After traveling all day from Sweden where we’d been for 3 full days as it was the cheapest way to get into Europe, my son and I walked around Portas Do Sol to get our bearings and find some dinner. While our Air BnB host had made a suggestion, we didn’t find the restaurant and settled for one that was catered to tourists and not all that great.

The next day, my son refused to leave the apartment.

I’ve come to learn in the short time I’ve been parenting (3 years today, happy Mother’s day to me) that if I’m tired or overwhelmed, it is probably 20 times worse for my son. So I had the intention of slowing down today. And my slow isn’t his slow and in times like this I need to defer to him. We are traveling for a month and so rushing to cram in the sights won’t work for us. I finally coaxed him out about 11:00 but after 5 minutes he wanted to go back. I reminded him that we needed to get food and so he agreed to continue. After asking for directions at an info center and hearing that we could get frozen pizza at the store, my son’s energy increased by ten. He walked through the store holding his pizza, half the time trying to balance it on his head, singing loudly about having pizza.

I promised him movie time as I knew he just needed to check out today. While I tend to watch my money pretty closely, when Netflix was rude enough to inform me that they aren’t in Portugal yet, I turned to Amazon for some movies, because a promise is a promise. He got to watch two movies today. In between I coaxed him out for the five minute walk to the castle, hoping that by walking it today, when we actually tour it tomorrow he’ll be okay.

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Finding strawberry sorbet that he actually liked was a wonderful bonus to our 15 minutes of touring today.

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How much of Lisbon and Portugal for that matter, will we see on our trip? Maybe less than I planned but at least we are doing it together.

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