Life lessons from a broken tooth

IMG_20160623_143119“There are consequences when you don’t listen.”

I tell my girls this simple, non-threatening phrase at least 10 times every day. Most days, it amounts to nothing more than hot air—they’re being idiots, I utter my mantra, they ignore me, and I take away a Shopkin for 24 (or sometimes 72) hours. Some days, however, I utter the phrase and end up looking like the family travel version of Nostradamus.

We had one of those latter experiences last week in New York City. L had been a bit sloppy all day, and by the afternoon, she was having trouble standing on two feet. By the time we returned to our hotel, she was quite literally jumping off the walls. In flip-flops.

I told her about the consequences and asked her to stop. She didn’t. I repeated my line about consequences and asked her to stop again. She grunted at me. When I mentioned the consequences and asked her to stop a third time, I made sure my tone was even kinder and sweeter than before.

That’s when she slipped, fell face-down on the marble floor of the hotel lobby, and broke off a triangular chunk of her left front (grown-up) tooth.

At the moment of impact, everybody froze. Powerwoman was worried L had hit her head. R was worried she was going to get blamed. I was just sort of dumbfounded. Seconds later, L started crying in a way I’m not sure I’ve heard her cry before. My wife and I tried our best to stay calm, comforting our eldest while we waited for the gushing blood, convinced we were going to have to hop in a cab and rush the kid to a pediatric dentist right then and there. But the blood never came.

In fact, after about three minutes, L quieted down, dried her eyes, and said she felt fine. Just like that, the crisis had passed. The only lasting effect: My kid looked (and still looks) like a (very adorable) pirate.

Thankfully, as we found out later, it was a clean crack—though she lost about half of the tooth, somehow the crack missed the pulp chamber (that’s the part where the nerves are; the part that REALLY hurts if you expose it). Yes, she’ll need reconstructive work on the tooth later this summer. She’ll probably also get a crown on that tooth at some point in her 20s and have it for the rest of her life.

Another thing L will take away: A classic example of those consequences when you don’t listen.

Personally, I consider this the ultimate souvenir. My friend (and kick-ass travel guru) Rachel Rudwall has this theory that everything in life is either a great experience or a great story down the road. I’d say my daughter’s tooth adventures in New York check both of those boxes. For all of us involved.

Space and comfort: The New York family travel unicorn

Living room at Q&A

Living room at Q&A

Anybody who ever has traveled with children under the age of 10 understands that the two most important considerations when booking a hotel room: SPACE and COMFORT. The reasons for this are simple. Kids like to be kids, which is to say they get silly and cranky and loud and wiggly, no matter where you are. In these instances, it’s good not to be right on top of them.

Many destinations offer thousands of accommodations that fit this bill. New York City, however, typically isn’t one of them.

Nope, my hometown is famous for rooms the size of closets. I’ve stayed in a bunch of these types of rooms on return visits in the years since I left Manhattan for good (in 2002). Every trip—even those during which I didn’t have kids yet—I swore: Never, ever would I attempt to spend a family vacation in a room that small.

This is why I’m so excited about the hotel we found for our trip to the Big Apple next week. Technically, the place is called Q&A, and it’s part of a national brand named Furnished Quarters. It might as well be called NEW YORK HOTEL UNICORN. The company specializes in accommodations that comprise furnished apartments and all of the amenities of a hotel resort (restaurant, bar, fitness center, etc.). The room products are like apartment rentals or high-end AirBnBs. They’re just the nicest ones you’ve ever booked.

I stumbled upon the company by accident, really; I was complaining to a travel industry friend about the size of New York hotel rooms and he scooped me. A few days later, I booked a two-bedroom furnished apartment at Q&A. For relatively the same price as a hotel room in Times Square.

Of course our hotel is NOT in Times Square (thank goodness). Instead, it’s in the Financial District, on the southern (well, southeastern, really) tip of Manhattan.

I’m excited about the location because it’s a short walk from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum (to which we’ve never been), and is close to the Governors Island ferry (stay tuned for an original piece about this), the parks at Battery Park City, and pretty much every subway line. It’s also a hop, skip, and a jump from Park Slope, where we’ve got a bunch of friends and family. (It’s also close to the Brooklyn Bridge; yay Little R!)

But, really, I’m most excited about the space. To spread out! On a family trip! In New York!

The fact that Powerwoman and I will have our own space at a New York hotel feels almost decadent. The notion that L and Little R will have their own space feels indulgent. The fact that all of the little ones will have room to stretch and wiggle and run and be kids feels almost too good to be true. Bring it on.

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