Sunday, May 24, 2015

Jet lag

I knew the kids would be jet lagged when we arrived in Germany. Germany is 8 hours ahead of Denver. I also suspected that it would take the kids about 5 days to get over the jet lag. What I did not account for is: 1) that our first three days wouldn’t really count, because our schedule would be so strange due to the wedding and 2) that the three kids wouldn’t experience jet lag in the same way. One kid might be awake until midnight, the other wants to go to bed at 6pm and the third fell asleep at 4pm for afternoon nap. It’s anyone’s guess when all three kids will be asleep at the same time. 

One week into our month long stay in Germany, my adrenalin has worn off and the kids are STILL jet lagged. What I really need is some kid-free time, but it’s not as easy to come by as I would hope. Trixie does a really crappy hand-off these days. By that I mean: nobody else is allowed to take care of her, unless they want to experience the hopeless task of peeling her sobbing body off the floor and trying to distract her with something. Even I am sometimes at a loss to get her off the floor, and I think I have quite a bit of experience under my belt. I’m most effective when somebody else has tried and failed. My mother-in-law thinks we need to just let her cry. I whisper at Fritz, this is not the time to change parenting strategies!

Over the years, Fritz and I have noticed that Noah has this peculiarity whereby the more you kid-friendly and fun activities we do over the course of the day, the more trying his behavior gets. This is not true of Mattias or Trixie (yet). This is a peculiarity that is very frustrating right now, because here we are spending our time riding bikes, going to the beach, flying kites and generally trying to do all sorts of fun things! But instead of seeming contented and satisfied with all the fun, Noah’s behavior is unwrapping like a ball of yarn and we, the parents, are wearing out faster than the kids. Why does this happen? A lack of school-like structure?? I suppose I should look to my own behavior as a sort of lesson – how did Noah learn to be this way? What can his behavior teach me about me? How about that I, myself, tend throw a lot of irons in the fire (so to speak) and then complain endlessly? Doing too many fun kid things is a child's equivalent to being overscheduled and Noah's crappy behavior is the equivalent of my adult complaining.  Stop complaining about your vacation, Ann!

I know, I know. But I can still want the kids to sleep at the same time, right? Because I'd probably feel a lot more gracious and forgiving if I had a little more kid-free time and sleep. And Noah, too, might be less crazy with some sleep.

Since writing this, we have left Juist and traveled to my mother-in-law's house. The kids have had one really good night of sleep. Here's to hoping that continues!


Anonymous said...

Have you tried the calendar thing? Maybe at some point kids are no longer happy to just come along. My oldest daughter always wanted to know when and where we would sleep, eat, which people we would see - I wrote it down for her and that gave her some control about what to expect. Yes, and I also told her: this time slot is for just hanging out - I guess that helped her to enjoy the 'free time', because then she knew nothing was expected of her.
And for our summer trip she already asked for details of our road trip again...

Ann Wyse said...

That sounds like it could work... We'll try it out! Thank you!

Pregnantly Plump said...

I'm sorry about the jet lag. Hopefully, the one night of good sleep will beget more nights of good sleep.