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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

GROWING PAINS: Reaching Civilization By Way of EuroDisney




We are now in England. In fact, thanks to the wonders of modern science, I'm sending this column to you from a quaint 16th century house in an even quainter Cotswolds village a million miles from Moscow.


At least it seems that way to the kids, who did the trip by car.


Last week we had got as far as the Polish border without the three children - aged 4, 8 and 11 - doing any serious damage to each other or the upholstery despite the numbing boredom of traveling through vast expanses of Russia and Belarus.


To give them their due, they all had what I can only describe as a Russian sense of fatalism about the prospect of spending an entire week strapped into the back seat of the car and behaved as if they were on strong tranquilizers. (They weren't, honest.)


My husband and I had foolishly hoped that they would be fascinated by the change in countryside as they swept from country to country, but predictably enough they were interested only in what was going on inside the microcosm of the car.


Eleven-year-old Sasha was totally absorbed by her Goosebumps books, Bobby was listening to his "Doktor Aibolit" tape and Anna was drawing, which was just as well, because Poland has a main transit road about the size of the one running through this village; at one point, in fact, it actually deteriorated into a dirt track.


Germany was a vast improvement for the children, as it offered an undulating landscape and increasing signs of habitation - not to mention a pleasant little shower or two of refreshing rain. And France had the magical allure of EuroDisney.


Until the last moment, I had held out hopes that I might make it to a friend's birthday party in England on the Saturday, but on Friday I capitulated and agre ed to detour to Paris and spend a day at EuroDisney.


To say EuroDisney is a big scam is an understatement. To say it was one of the worst days of my life is not.


The rides were all "free" once you've paid a mind-boggling sum for entry, but no one mentions that you have to wait in line an hour and a half to get on them. The fairy-tale houses that children mistook for play areas were shops and cafes and there wasn't a single dressed-up Disney character in sight.


It was also packed solid with parents who had been trudging from one queue to another for seven hours under the scorching hot sun and were closer to tears than their children.


Anyway, we're now recovering in the Cotswolds, where the children are just happy to have real live ponies grazing on the green, swans on the pond, and to know that Prince William is living not a stone's throw away. And I'm just happy to know that Yeltsin is, well, a million miles away.