Old houses and small children

What is it like to live in an old house with small children?

I start with the downsides. We have to drag the strollers up the stairs. We help each other when we can, fold up the strollers, and carry the luggage and the kids up or down the stairs in stages. When we are going out, I double- and triple-check whether I have everything (I really don’t want to have to go back up the stairs, or to have the kids wait for me alone on the street).

The electrical wiring is old and could be completely replaced. There are fewer outlets than in newer buildings, they are usually in odd places, the appliances’ cords don’t reach, or we have to wind them along the walls and behind furniture so that they don’t get caught up in curious hands or careless feet. Sometimes, sparks come from the outlet when plugging something in.

The window ledges are low, so we air the rooms only when an adult is with the kids to prevent a curious child from leaning too far out the open window.

The bathroom is at one end of the flat, the toilet (no sink) on the other. We get a nice workout making sure that the kids wash their hands. The stairwell opens up straight onto the kitchen. The faucets drip. There are veracious steps and stairs in the flat, guaranteeing the occasional fall or at least stumble.

But then there’s the BUT. The unforgettable atmosphere.

It’s great fun to play hide-and-seek in the various hidden corners and alcoves! The large rooms offer plenty of space for jumping around (I’m afraid to ask what the neighbors think of that). Falling asleep beneath the stucco ceilings and the creaking of the old parquet floors awakens the fantasy of children and adults alike. The mysterious characters from the stories of local author and patriot Helena Braunováseem to come to life.

Equally unforgettable are the views of the city’s rooftops or decorated facades from the large windows. In the morning, we wake to the song of blackbirds from the neighboring gardens, and it’s just a short walk to the river, which offers so many opportunities for the ids to play or just to cool down and refresh ourselves.

It must have been beautiful to grow up here.