We did it. We took two small-ish children to Europe. We drove nearly 2,000 miles in two separate cars, both having STICK SHIFTS. We flew over Greenland (one of the cooler experiences of my flying life). We dealt with no darkness in Iceland and no air conditioning on the mainland. At the end we were exhausted and then got even more exhausted when three days after we got home, my sister and her family came to stay. But of course we love them and will take them any time that they want to come. In fact, they're still not gone.
To be honest, my jury is still out on whether or not taking the boys was the right call. (Chuck's jury says yes, we should have brought them.) They're kids, you know? Whether at home or in an amazing thousand-year-old castle, they're still going to whine, complain, and fight. And repeatedly tell me that they're thirsty. I swear that we heard, "I'm thirsty!" about a million times a day. No exaggerating (well, maybe a teensy bit). This even after we made sure to take water bottles with us everywhere. (Crazy Europe with your ice-less, expensive, fizzy water.)
I just forgot how hard change is on littles. Different beds, different foods, different cars...different everything. Even the one (one!) McDonald's we ate at in Prague was different. (And by "different," I mean AMAZING. They had this incredible coconut-chocolate chip McFlurry that was delicious. Now I'm regretting that we didn't eat at McDonald's more.) When planning the trip, I really did try to make an effort to balance things that I thought the kids would like with things that the adults would like. But apparently I did a bad job because the boys' favorite things were playgrounds, cousins, and swimming. So um, tell me again why we spent all that money to fly them across the Atlantic???
Oh right: to enlighten them! To give them new (albeit challenging) experiences! To avoid imposing our Ollie on a babysitter for 2.5 weeks! I know there are plenty of reasons to expose children to this. But I also know that there are plenty of reasons to just go without them. Which is exactly what we're doing next time, you know, when we spend one week in Prague.