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Living in the Lap of Luxury

If the first half of our vacation was about getting Maddie used to the ocean and outdoors, the second half was all about getting Maddie used to living the luxurious life.

We clearly did our job too well. 

Brian’s business meeting was held in a gorgeous 5-star hotel, covering several meticulously landscaped acres and abounding with fountains and marble floors. As our young (cute) French bellhop ushered us up to our rooms the first night, Maddie’s eyes were wide and round as saucers, trying to take it all in. Once in the gilt-trimmed elevator, she became clingy and timid, the subtle motion of the elevator confusing her and the soft mirrors magnifying the space. Safe in our suite (thank you hubby’s company!), Maddie poked around a bit but was really more interested in getting the pack n play set up quickly.

The next morning she was finally able to scramble around and explore her new surroundings. Discovering the balconies in either room was definitely the biggest find of her day; she delighted in endlessly throwing back the sheers and staring out the glass, face and hands pressed close. Once at breakfast the parade of joys continued, as she feasted on waffles (no syrup), cottage cheese, fresh strawberries, and cantaloupe, courtesy of the unlimited breakfast buffet. Our waiter brought her a box of crayons and a disposable straw cup for her water, which she timidly took. Casting us an apprehensive glance – Is it really ok to color on the placemat? – she quickly got to work.

Ah, how young and inexperienced she was.

Fast forward to yesterday, our last at the hotel. Maddie wakes up and strides to her balcony, throwing back the curtains and banging on the glass. She begins addressing her invisible subjects below, a miniature Eva Peron, with the occasional finger thrust to punctuate her thoughts. Hands then folded behind her back, she listens intently, head bowed under the weight of her knowledge, nods, and turns away. She won’t need to do this again until the evening.

Room service shows up promptly at 9 a.m., just as we had requested the night before. Maddie hears the knock and goes running. She’s come to recognize what that knock signifies, and gestures impatiently as I let the nice man in and sign his little book. My little millionaire-in-training begins jumping up and down, gesturing at her plate. Waffles? Bagel? Both, perhaps? She’s giddy with anticipation. We sit down – Mommy on the floor, Maddie on my lap – and lift off the silver domes.

Waffles. Maddie sighs and smiles her thanks to Mommy. She begins daintily picking up individual bites from her kid-sized china plate, eyeing the fancifully cut strawberry as next on her list.

The rest of the morning is spent poolside (after a friendly wrestling match/chasing game involving Mommy, Maddie, and a bottle of sunscreen), where we alternate between splashing at the shallow end of the zero-entry pool, playing with our water toys, and lounging on a chaise drinking milk and eating snacks. We might even order a drink poolside, or a cheeseburger for lunch – we’re casual, continental gals, after all.

Once we (and I do mean we) have had a nap and a repeat of our poolside (also known as Maddie’s Personal Back Yard) routine, it’s time for dinner. Fresh from her massage-jet shower in her super-deep tub, wrapped in a thick, fluffy white towel, Madeleine pauses before Dressing For Dinner to admire herself in the ¾ length beveled mirror in her room. She likes what she sees and goes in for a closer look, pressing up against the mirror and preening a bit. Reluctantly aware that the clock is ticking, she briefly addresses her subjects from the balcony again, puts on a pretty summer dress, is showered with compliments from her Daddy, and strides to the door.

Remember the shy timid country mouse and her first elevator ride? You wouldn’t recognize her now as she marches boldly to the elevator, waits impatiently for the tell-tale “ding”, walks quickly to the back of the car and turns around to wait. Her Daddy’s been teaching her elevator etiquette all week and it’s clearly starting to take.

Either that, or she goes to the back because it’s where the mirror is at.

Madeleine preens down the great hall to one of the five-star restaurants, enjoying the glassy marble and admiring murmured compliments of the staff. She doesn’t even slow down as she approaches a door now, so confident is she that someone will appear to open it for her.

And they do.

Dinner is her day’s culinary culmination. She doesn’t even hesitate now as the wait staff hands her the crayons and sippy cup. She casts a quick glance around for her standard china plate of luscious orange slices – her usual appetizer. Whew! It’s there.

Once settled in, she points at the bread basket and says, “Beh.” A piece of fresh sourdough is dutifully buttered up and torn into tiny, gummable pieces. After dinner arrives she samples both adult plates and chooses which pleases her most; thus far we’ve avoided ordering “kiddie” foods for her.

For the record, the duck in an orange marmalade/horseradish crust was her favorite, though she did find that she loves baby carrots if they’ve been sautéed in a red wine reduction sauce.

I wish I was kidding.

After dinner we stroll the marina boardwalk, wander out to the waterside wedding pavilion, or admire the many fountains for a bit before heading back to our suite (thank you again, hubby’s company!). Maddie snuggles up on our big, king-sized, 1000-thread-count-covered bed and has a glass of soy milk (in-room fridge) before retiring for the night; apparently the two double beds in her own room are not big enough for snuggling, the down pillows not plump enough or something. Once down for the evening, the thick, overlapping blackout drapes and soundproofed rooms will ensure her a blissful, uninterrupted 12 hours of sleep in her temperature-controlled mini-kingdom.

I’ve been explaining to her that this luxury trip will come to an end; that the plush leather car ride to a grocery store for soy milk will not be repeated, that the phenomenon of multiple courses will not be continued when we get back to New York; no bread course or plate of orange slices will be served up by Mommy every night.

I’m not sure she understands that, and I think baby girl’s in for a rude awakening as she gets back to her normal life.

Hopefully, she’ll think of it as a temporary exile and bear it with grace and fortitude. 


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