There’s something about traveling – especially to a place that caters to families – that tends to bring us all together… in a fashion, anyway. Last week, after returning Fenwick for Advanced Training, we headed down to Florida for a Disney Cruise followed by a day at Universal Studios. Both adventures were generally excellent — and both reinforced something that we’ve been telling our girls for years:
Families are families. We say the same stuff.
Don’t all Caribbean pirates drink smoothies in light-up cups?
This realization/reinforcement started a good number of years ago, while visiting Disney World, when we heard another family utter one of the parental phrases that Nick and I use in our own house (I honestly can’t remember which phrase it was, but imagine something along the lines of “Leave your sister alone” or “I don’t like your tone” or “We don’t put glitter on the dog” [wait – is that just our family?]).
The moment our girls heard these words, their heads whipped toward us with incredulity. “Wait. You mean other families say that too?” Which led to our asserting that Families are families. We say the same stuff.
This was especially true at theme parks (big and small) and family-friendly destinations – from the Rainforest Cafe to the Mall of America to baseball stadiums. These phrases seem to coalesce and crystalize in places like Florida, where half of the state is dedicated to families riding roller coasters and taking photos with adults in animal costumes.
The more we paid attention, the more we noticed the same basic admonishments and sentences being uttered over and over again. Race didn’t matter; we saw people of every skin tone saying these things. There was no religious divide; we heard families wearing crucifixes, hijabs, and yarmulkes making these statements. Different cultures meant different accents (or languages), but the basic gist remained the same. Socio-economic status, age, sexual orientation, family size, political bent, and milk-or-dark-chocolate preference similarly played no role.
We got to Diagon Alley early enough to see it nearly empty in the morning…
… and then found ourselves amongst the final visitors that night, too, so we saw it nearly empty again. Quite magical, indeed!
After listening long enough, we decided to start keeping track of what we heard. Eventually, the items on the list began to repeat… So we figured we’d conducted enough of a social experiment to share our findings with y’all.
If you and your family take a vacation – whether it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or a staycation – one of the adults in your group is all but certain to speak (or yell. Or hiss. Or growl) at least one of these phrases during your sojourn.
And so, without further ado (and in no particular order), we bring you:
Stuff Families (with kids) On Vacation Say
- “You’ve got to watch where you’re going.”
- “If you don’t knock it off, we’ll leave and you’ll have to walk home.”
- “You really don’t have your sunglasses? REALLY? Okay, fine. No. We’ll wait.“
- “You’re not allowed to touch him and he’s not allowed to touch you.”
- “That is not a toy.”
- “If you don’t stop, we’ll go right back to the hotel.”
- “We didn’t come all this way just to sit in our hotel room.”
- “What do you say?”
- “Don’t touch that.”
- “Do you see any other little girls behaving this way?”
- “Hands to selves.”
- “This is your last warning.”
- “We are just looking. We aren’t buying anything.”
- “We already bought you three things yesterday.”
- “Do you have any idea how much that costs?”
- “When it’s your own money, then you can buy one.”
- “Excuse. Me.”
- “Do they sell alcohol in here?”
- “Don’t hang on that.”
I’m just now noticing Nick’s left hand on Ella’s arm… probably to separate her and Annie and prevent them from destroying the statue.
Why, yes, I did come in first in the Disney music trivia contest – and, yes, I did choose to wear my Winner medallion to dinner. Thank you for noticing.
- “Sit down.”
- “Get up!”
- “Just keep walking.”
- “Please be still!”
- “You need to move!”
- “One… Two…” (Alternately: “Un… deux…”, “Uno… dos…” and “Eins… zwei…”)
- “Don’t eat that.”
- “You need to take at least three more bites.”
- “There’s a trash can right over there.“
- “Can you hold it?”
- “You just went.”
- “Why didn’t you think of that before we got in line?”
- “Where’s the bar?”
- “Leave. Him. Alone.”
- “Be quiet.”
- “How many times do I have to tell you?”
- “I’m not going to say it again.”
- “I know. Everyone is hot.“
- “This is the Happiest Place On Earth! WE SHOULD BE HAPPY!”
Ahhh, vacations with kids. SO RELAXING.
By the time we all get home, though, and the luggage is put away and the clothes are in the wash and we’ve bathed ourselves in Purell and we’re finally kicking back with a glass or a cup, you can bet at least one adult can be found saying…
40. Can’t wait to do it again.