waking up from a nap in Rome
One last post about our trip, because I haven't quite beat this horse to death yet. Ha! But this is kind of important stuff, particularly when traveling with kids. And I need to write it down because ever since I had my kids my memory doesn't function anymore.
So, jet lag. (Or is it jetlag?) I was prepared for jet lag to ruin the first several days of our trip (our precious few days in Rome.) I spoke to our pediatrician about giving the boys melatonin on the flight to ease the transition, and he didn't recommend it, so we had a drug-free flight and jet lag experience. And it wasn't quite as bad as I expected! Here's how it broke down: we left the states around 7pm and it got dark shortly after we took off. We fed the boys dinner, changed diapers/went potty, and had them both dressed in soft comfy clothes they could sleep in so as soon as the cabin lights were turned off they could go to sleep. It took a while for Michael to settle down, but eventually he fell asleep in his chair. Sam had a more difficult time, mostly, I think, because he didn't have his own chair and couldn't get horizontal. As soon as the sky started to brighten, Michael woke up (he got about 3 hours sleep) and Sam was already awake (having slept about 2 hours.) For the record, I got none. Sam demanded constant bouncing/rocking/holding and Tim was not feeling well. So, the boys got some sleep, and we parents had a rough time. Was it a fun flight? No. But my imagination had me prepared for much worse. No one got airsick, no one cried incessantly, there were no loud tantrums, and the boys woke up happy and ready to take Rome, so overall I think it went pretty well!
We arrived in Rome around 10, and we were checked into our rental by 12 (boys still awake, and a little cranky). We walked to a pizzeria in our neighborhood and had lunch. It was delicious but the boys made it hard to enjoy. They were tired and not really hungry, so Tim and I ate fast, then got the boys home and right down for naps. We all napped for a couple of hours, but at 4 we opened up the shutters, let the sun flood in, and forced ourselves to get up. This was key! Especially in those first few days, we tried to be in the sunshine as much as possible to help re-set our clocks, and it really helped. Anyway, we all woke up pretty sluggish that first afternoon, but we had a snack, got out and started walking and had a really great evening.
The first night did not go as well. Both boys were awakened by a loud thunderstorm around 11 (just about the time they would wake up from naps at home) and had a hard time going back to sleep. Sam had an especially hard time, but after a couple hours of nursing, bouncing, and patting he finally went back to sleep. The next night (and for the rest of the trip!) Michael slept like a champ. Sam had trouble sleeping through the night, though, during the entire trip. During those first few days I think he woke up hungry in the middle of the night, and I always nursed him, and Tim spent hours rocking and patting him, but as the trip went on I think he was just scared about being in unfamiliar places and he got dependent on us snuggling him back to sleep. (It was exhausting. Luckily, as soon as we got home he went back to sleeping through the night again.) So, there wasn't much quality sleep for Tim and me, and that was a bummer, but it didn't ruin the trip. We got busy making memories, and that distracted us from our weariness (most of the time).
The flight home was a little trickier because it was a day flight and the boys were awake and bouncing around the entire time, except for one quick cat nap for Sam. (At one point, I felt sure we had been flying for like six hours, so I checked the flight tracker and we had been flying for less than two hours and Sam was already stirring from his one and only nap. That was a sinking feeling.) But, with a whole lot of snacks and iPad and laps around the airplane, we made it home and had a very smooth transition back to Texas time. Both times we flew, we tried to stick to these rules:
1) start eating and sleeping in the new time zone as soon as you get on the plane
2) if it's day time, get out in the sun as much as possible and be active (as if kids give you any choice about that)
3) nap at naptime, but then get up and do something
4) if you or your offspring wake up in the middle of the night, keep it dark and quiet