A crowded coffee shop, my Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas music in my headphones to overpower the din of conversation and clatter of silverware. A steaming drink and a sweet treat … still hot, and all to myself, all by myself. Gosh, that sounds selfish! But I need it right now. I needed it all week, and the week before. I’m going to just sit and enjoy it for a minute …
Oh dear: my drink and treat are disappearing too fast, I better start writing again.
Man, I’m terrible with routine and consistency … well, for some things, anyway. I’ve actually been remarkably consistent with Little P’s sleep routine and schedule; I feed both my children every single day, multiple times a day; and I’m consistently amazed by both my incredibly fortunate life and how often I feel utterly exhausted. So, maybe I’m actually great with routine and consistency?! Perspective is a wonderful thing; I just need to continually adjust mine! I’m also consistently distracted from my task at hand … so, ahem, as I was saying …
I haven’t been great at updating this website, despite my frequent desire to work on it. I have two draft posts that never made it onto the blog. One post is from the end of March 2019 when we were in Cologne, Germany and the other I wrote at the beginning of May 2019 in Madrid, Spain. SO MUCH has happened, and I wish I had been documenting and sharing all along … but I prioritized the moment and need to be fine with that. I will, however, go ahead and paste in those two partial posts here:
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Sleep Training, Part 3- Traveling Takes its Toll
March 26, 2019 – First off, I want to say that I’m pretty sure it’s still worth it. I sat down to write this post feeling like I would mostly complain. But that would be rather weak of me. I’m always touting my mantra of “perspective, perspective, perspective” and that’s probably because I have a really hard time keeping things in perspective myself. I’m the one who needs the word “perspective” tattooed across my forehead. Hm. Maybe I will get a tattoo, after all ….
It’s true that things haven’t been easy with Pyra (now six and a half months old!) since we started to travel, but I would likely be second-guessing and having trying times if I were in one location anyway. I’m an over-thinker, analyzer type with postpartum empathy on over-drive. Then you throw in that we’re moving around to different housing, dealing with a 9-hour time, teething, illness, vaccinations, lack of sleep, lack of support system …. yeah, it makes sense that I might feel a bit overwhelmed, a bit exhausted, a bit like throwing in the towel and going home now and then. Only, where is home?! And would the grass truly be greener, more lush, and worth giving up all these other wonderful experiences and memories?
*pausing to get my crying baby …*
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And, cut. that was the end of that post. HA! A rather appropriate conclusion given the post title. (I also consistently bring up the all-important “perspective!” High-five to myself!)
I looked back at my photos, and I took this photo on that day … a coffee that was drunk in many different sittings, as a parent often does when caring for an infant.
If I remember correctly, I was going to elaborate on some of the issues with baby’s sleep due to our travel schedule. I’m not going to try to finish the post, but I will recount a couple very memorable experiences.
Teething Infant + Major Construction
In Maui (where we were the last time I actually published a post, back in February of this year!), the condo we were staying at was under construction. I’m not talking about some light remodeling or major renovations in the tower next to ours … I’m talking about jackhammering into concrete on the level directly above ours. I’m talking about not being able to talk to one another in our living space, due to the intense noise level. And then there was Baby Pyra. Teething and needing a nap. I was about to lose my mind (over lost sleep and frustration), but children are incredibly adaptive and that sweet little girl ended up sleeping through the ridiculous noise … at least some of the time.
Teething Infant + Nine-Hour Time Change
The other memorable experience was the first several days in Europe after arriving from the west coast of the US. As it turns out, babies aren’t great at adjusting to major time changes without a great deal of external influence. The one recommendation I had read about before we traveled suggested that, a week or so before travel, the parent should begin to push baby’s sleep time either forward or back in 15-minute increments. This recommendation probably works wonderfully for an hour or two time difference. But our nine-hour time change would practically be a baby’s entire awake time for a day!
The travel tip would be tricky enough to implement as we were already on the road and could barely stick to a routine as it was, but throw in the little wrench of the amount of the time change and we would need 36 days to adjust Pyra’s sleep schedule according to recommendation! And even if we could adjust to half the difference, soon baby would be going to bed at 11:30pm and waking up at almost noon! Completely infeasible. So, instead, we got to Barcelona and I was awake all night with baby and asleep most of the day … for nearly three days, and with the baby in my arms for nearly all of it. After the flight, Pyra wanted to be in my arms all the time; I couldn’t lay her down to sleep. I was desperately tired, so I remember holding her in my arms until they shook with fatigue and sleeping inclined on the couch with a six-month-old on my chest. I was too exhausted to figure out what to do, so we continued this way until finally Rodney had had enough and forced me to make the necessary changes to adapt our sleep schedule. It weren’t no fun, let me tell you … but I’d do it all again to live my fortunate life with my precious family.
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Travels with Baby, Part 1
May 02, 2019 – It’s silent in the dimly lit room except for the whir of the fan and the occasional squeak of a mattress and turn of a page as my eldest daughter (tries to) read quietly on the springy hotel bed. My husband is lying on another bed, working on his phone, and I’m stretched out comfortably on my own bed, writing this.
What’s so noteworthy about this cozy scene in Madrid, Spain? It’s that our 7 and 1/2 month old daughter is taking a nap in the same room, in her own bed, after being put down awake. And I feel pretty well rested and in good humor. It is absolutely glorious. But I won’t lie, it’s not been exactly a piece of cake to get to this point.
We’ve been traveling for …. well, where do I start? From when we left Ecuador when the baby, Pyra, was 2 and 1/2 months old? Or when we left Alaska when she was 5 months? Let’s be conservative and I’ll say that we’ve been traveling for 11 weeks and 1 day. That’s how long it’s been since we took off from Alaska (we were there for 10 and 1/2 weeks and before that we were in Ecuador for 5 months, where Pyra was born).
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I think folks can use their own imagination to suppose what kind of trials might arise when you travel extensively with an infant and a woman who doesn’t function well unless incredibly well-rested. I’m done dwelling on the downsides … I want to remember and relish the amazing experiences we shared as a family. My alone time should be wrapping up soon and I want to end this post with some fun memories and photos. So that’s what I’m going to do!! Here is just a tiny fraction of the 3.5 months we spent traveling … I’ll have to do more catch-up later.