Someone in Florida is in desperate need of a class in parenting, bedside manner training -- and a nap. Dr. Dario Napolitano, 41, was visiting Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center with his wife and two young children when he and his wife got in an argument, during which Dr. Napolitano completely lost his shit and kicked his crying 3-year-old in the face. He was arrested.
Though, I’m fairly sure that the anger was directed toward his wife, the kid was strapped in the stroller and whining anyway, so he got the brunt of it. I’m pretty sure a kick, roundhouse or otherwise, to the toddlers face violates Dr. Napolitano’s Hippocratic oath.
So much for the happiest place on earth, right?
I, myself, just visited Walt Disney World last month with my own family and it was not the blissfully happy trip that I had dreamed of for the past 5 years. Well, it was, for about the first 24 hours. No, it was alternatively blistering hot and pouring rain, the crowds were unbearably dense and rude, and my children were so overtired, hot and over stimulated that they were in tandem whining at Calliou levels. There was one point when my husband said I was rolling my eyes at him so much that he was afraid they might fall out, so I totally get the stress of family vacations.
I won’t lie, what was excruciatingly cute the previous day, quickly escalated to tap dancing on my last nerve status. I very easily could have lost my shit in the middle of the happiest place on earth. In a particularly stressful moment, I even considered clubbing Snow White with a flashing light saber just to break the tension. I would have never kicked one of my children but Snow White and her painfully annoying voice was definitely fair game. Don’t get me wrong, I think Dr. Napolitano is a dick but I understand the pressure family vacations put on a parent.
Am I condoning that a grown man should drop kick his toddler in the face? Of course not. Can I understand that the stress of being on vacation with your children can cause a parent to snap? Hell yeah. When you are vacationing with small children, you are essentially removing the entire family from their routine, completely breaking schedule and taking everyone out of their element. Not to mention, you have nowhere to hide in a hotel room. There’s no “other” room in the house; everywhere you turn, there they are. It’s a recipe for disaster. To expect anything else is insanity.
Vacationing with small children is an exercise in extreme patience, understanding and compassion. A vacation to Disney World is the Olympics of parenting. You’ve made it to the top, now you just have to do your best, survive the experience and hope no one buckles under the pressure. For the record, kicking a toddler in the face is most certainly buckling under the pressure no matter what the mitigating circumstances might have been. If I can keep my cool, so can you Dr. Napolitano.
How do you deal with the stress and confinement of family vacations?
Image via xlibber/Flickr