Rome: A Place to Make Babies but NOT Raise Them...Or Is It?

Tracey Ellert is an awesome actress on a super popular show on Nick Jr. in America called Jack's Big Music Show.

Aaaaaand she's a professional storyteller who's having a short adventure in bella Roma with her husband and adorable kid.
She heard about The English Schoolhouse from some young woman named Nicole on a bus.
Nicole, I don't know you, but thank you.
You can check out Tracey's website here:
Wanna know more Tracey and all the fantastic stuff she does? I know, I do I. That's why I'm interviewing her soon for the blog. Like super soon. She's coming over with her family for dinner this week. So I'll probably post a recipe too. I'm rambling.
For now I invite you to read her guest blog post on her adventures as a mom in the eternal city so far. Whether you're a parent, a tourist, or just a person who doesn't like steppin' in dog poop, I think you'll be able to relate.

by Tracey Ellert
I came to Rome nine years ago with three girlfriends.  We drank wine, fell in love with girls on scooters wearing heels, ate gelato and tossed a coin in the fountain praying the legend was true!
Nine years later I’m back with a few more wrinkles, an adorable husband and a beautiful child.  
As we anxiously waited out the two months in Chicago before Mateo and I joined my husband as he studied here, all my friends told me how jealous they were. “Uh amazing, strolling around piazzas all day with your baby, what a life!” I was jealous of me.
I worked out the perfect outfits to bring, thought about dying my hair black to look a little more like Sophia Loren-I have the green eyes.  

I missed the early warning signs:
Me:  So how do you like Rome?
Husband: It’s ok, I miss my home.
I thought he was just lonely, being a baby.  He doesn’t do well without his family by his side, a true Mexican.
Two months pass and we arrive!  Ciao!  Buon Giorno!  Dove e' il gelato?
My husband said we lived on a busy street. He didn’t say it was a small small (should be a one way) street where people drive 65mph 104km!

As I took Mateo out the front door our first day of life in Italy, I grabbed his arm so tightly he asked to be held.  And so it began..
The first few days I carried 40 lbs of gorgeousness up and down our hill.  I surveyed sidewalks for stroller usage- it was not looking good.
I dodged dog poop on the tiny sidewalks. No way I can put this toddler down.
Mateo wanted to walk and he said he didn’t like his new home.
We went sight seeing near Pantheon, nowhere for a toddler to run and people everywhere. Let’s get out of here,  I miss my home.
Mateo woke up another day and again said he wanted to walk. I imagined he meanst he wanted to run!
I started thinking, "Where is the romance I saw?"  My images of life in Rome were slowly fading to the color of dog poop.
Arms are sore.  Time for the stroller.  Good thing these people love kids so much. More dog poop!
Nowhere to exit on this sidewalk arrg get Mateo out, fold it up, exit sidewalk, don’t get hit.... cars and scooters flying everywhere, open stroller put him back in and do it all again until we arrive at the most amazing sight for my eyes to see in Rome- a park!  A big park!  VILLA BORGHESE!
We played for hours in La Casina di Raffaello, children’s playhouse.

Played on the wooden play structures, picked pine cones and mushrooms.

And just like that, Rome had won our hearts back.
But as we pushed that stroller home the cement began to chuckle.  As we tried to cross the street once again, those same people who love kids wouldn’t let us cross.  As the walk light turned from green to yellow we suddenly felt like we were in the Colosseum, fearing for our lives.
When Mateo told me he wanted his old home for the second time, I started to think how this experience was affecting him.  I pondered how everyone says that kids adapt so easily.  Then I realized I was the one not adapting.  If I adapted then he would follow my lead.  I also remembered something my mom told me when Mateo was born,  we have children to learn from them, as much as they learn from us.  It’s a symbiotic relationship.    Mateo was trying to teach me something for my survival.  Mom it’s time you adapt.  So, “when in Rome,” I said for the first time and meant it.  I let him run down the sidewalk turning “watch out for dog poop” into a game.  I shouted “there’s poop” “there’s poop” jolting him with love this way and that way as he roared with laughter.  Following my lead and yelling to me “there’s poop mom(this mom thing is new and I don’t like it)  We jumped on the 495 and chatted with Italian grandmas who fell in love with him, so he's learning social skills and language. We have since been heading to new areas and running down small streets listening for bells.  
We have a caffĂ© and a cornetto every day, when we arrive he says “Whatum I gonna eat mom?”  

We find tiny tiny cars that we call “Mateo’s car” and stop to dream about him driving me around town in it.  You can see the delight in his eyes when i tell him he can drive me. 

We make a huge production when crossing an intersection, which usually ends with him waving to a driver in a car.  We use our obstacle course of “parking lot sidewalk” as a moment to play hide and seek.  
We found a Natural Reserve in Monte Mario for my little Peter Piper to pick some mushrooms (walking distance from our house!)

We found piazzas without cars for him to run on the cement freely.  

While everyone was staring at the basilica we found tractors right in the middle of St. Peters Square. 

We run in empty fountains! 

All along Mateo was telling me, It’s time to play Mom!"
At every corner in every moment, you will enjoy life so much more when in Rome!


  1. Awesome!!!! I so enjoyed reading this!!

  2. Now that's how you turn some lemons girl!!!!!

    Great blog.....keep 'em coming!!!!

  3. What fun to read I'm there with you...
    Enjoy - I'm sure the time is already flying by :)-
    Love to all.

  4. hahaha I'm Nicole…Tamara, you had called me to set up an interview a few weeks ago but I had just taken some private work in Parioli so it didn't work out. I helped Tracey and her adorable little boy find the right bus stop in Trastevere ;) Glad I put you in touch.

  5. Trace I'm so excited for all of you this experience is amazing keep writing I'm enjoying reading all about your journeys and looking at all the great pictures love you girl!!!