After Zef ruined our plans by falling asleep, he had the audacity to wake up after a short, 30 minute morning nap, which is way too short for a six month-old. If you know anything about six month-old babies, you know that they need a good morning nap, and by “good” I mean like 2 hours. 30 minutes just doesn’t cut it. If your six month-old has a short morning nap you know you’re in for a shitty day full of whining and crying and fussing over the stupidest, smallest, most insignificant little things. And when you’re planning some monumental tourism full of judgemental crowds and the icy stares of ticket vendors, this is the last thing you want.
“I tell you what,” I said. “Let’s take him out in the stroller. We’ll walk there. He should fall back asleep in just a few minutes.”
“Okay,” my mother-in-law said, grabbing her shoes. “But what if he doesn’t go back to sleep.”
“He will,” I said, full of misplaced confidence in my son.
We took the long, scenic walk to the Eiffel Tower, down the Petit Ceinture, stopped at Le Terminus Balard for a quick coffee and to feed the fussing Zef, strolled through Parc Andre Citröen where Zef finally fell asleep, followed the Seine, crossed the pont de Grenelle and detoured down onto l’île aux Cygnes, a thin, artificial island in the middle of the Seine and the resting place of the Statue of Liberty (one of the famous replicas, not the original, and watching over the boats passing up and down the Seine since 1889) where Zef wakes back up and I toss him into the Baby Björn, before we all arrive under the sweltering summer sun and take our place in the snaking security lines outside the recently-installed gate now surrounding the base of the tower.
I was worried about the heat and the sun frying Zef like a basket of fries, despite the layers of SPF 50 I’d smeared on him. So I rested with him in the share while his poor grandmother waited through the 25 minute line.
After the security check, we made quickly for the line to buy the elevator tickets to the top. This was another half an hour line, though with no reprieve for Zef and I in the shade. We waited with Grandma in line and I acted as if I were Zef’s human parasol. I felt like and idiot. I felt like even more of an idiot when I saw other parents breaking out actual parasol or, better yet, using one of those fold up umbrella as a parasol.
Note to self: always pack an umbrella.
Good news at the ticket counter. Not only are children under two free, but they also get a ticket. It’s a nice touch. Silly, perhaps, but nice all the same.
Zef was starting to get really fussy by the time we got to the elevator. It was nearly noon and he was getting impatient for his legumes. There are two different elevators to take to get to the top of the tower. We stopped after the first of these and grandma did a quick change of his diaper (only #1, nothin too exciting but with the heat we thought it might really be bothering him) and spooned mashed green beans into Zef’s mouth. He loves his green beans and was all smiles. Meanwhile, I paid 18 Euros for a bad slice of pizza, peanut M&Ms, a muffin and two bottles of water. I looked around enviously at mothers with their little hordes of children, calmly breaking out trailmix and sandwiches from their backpacks. Why didn’t I think of that? Am I ever going to be the kind of parent that thinks of these sorts of things? I like to think so, but I have my doubts.
We have a Bébéconfort 3 in 1 stroller that was a generous hand-me-down gift from our best friends. I’m a big fan of rolling around town with the car seat attachment so if I have to grab a taxi with Zef, we’re good to go. Also, the handle on the car seat of the Bébéconfort makes it easy to lug your six month-old around the top of the Eiffel Tower, which was exactly what I was doing when Zef fell asleep. My hopes of getting an awesome selfie with him at the top were dashed!
“What’s that?” I said to Grandma.
“I think that’s him,” she said, grimacing and pointing her finger at Zef, cherubic in the midst of an afternoon nap.
I look sheepishly around the packed elevator, stuffy with the August heat and sweat from tourists and the rank stench of Zef’s green bean crap.
“We’ll get off at the first stop,” I said.
Grandma just pinched her nose and smiled.
Luckily for us, on the 1st story of the tower, the one with the famous vertigo-inducing glass floor, there are family-friendly men’s and women’s restrooms. Zef woke up right before we got to the toilets, a giant grin on his face.
“So,” I said, “You just wanted to take a dump at the top, huh?”
His grin broke wider. He knew exactly what he was doing.