Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Fell Asleep Thinking of a Title for this Post

Unless you live on another continent than your family, there is absolutely no reason to travel internationally with babies and/or toddlers.  None.   They will wander off in museums; they will rudely spit out their Chianti on your Italian wine tour, and they will whine the entire ascent up Manchu Picchu that their “legs are tired.”   They are uncouth and will weigh you down.  And then they will ungratefully claim no memory of the experiences when asked about it later in life. 

You will also be hated on your transcontinental flight.  Little old ladies who had smiled warmly and offered to hold your infant before takeoff will be giving your whole family the “stink eye” by the time the flight is over.  On overnight flights, your children will time their cries and tantrums to occur just as you are finally drifting off to sleep.  You will depart each flight harried and weighed down by emergency toys that failed to divert tantrums. 
You might even consider this a preferable way to transport your children.
Avoid this temptation.  FAA does not look kindly upon it.
Most importantly, you will be tortured by sleep deprivation. (Ask me how I know.)

And I don’t use the word “tortured” lightly.  I use it literally. Because sleep deprivation is enough of a form of torture that our country saw fit to use it against so called “enemy combatants” in Guantanamo.  I once heard a US soldier interviewed about this.  He said you could always tell a prisoner who had been “sleep dep’ed” (it’s a verb now, pay attention) because they go a bit mad.  (He probably said “crazy” not “mad” because he’s not British, but I digress).  Sleep dep’ed people ramble incoherently, cry uncontrollably and even hallucinate.  They digress multiple times in the same paragraph.  They go out of their minds.  (Which makes me think it’s not the best intelligence extraction tool, but I digress.)

We do live on another continent than aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents necessitating horrid international travel.  And sleep deprivation.

So, we are currently on our annual trip home from Kenya.  This has entailed 4 flights, 26 full hours of travel, an 8 hour time difference and zero hours of sleep. 

We arrived at our destination simply desperate for sleep.  I once, before children, flew back from China (13 hour flight and 11 our time difference) and promptly slept for EIGHTEEN straight hours, which might just clinically qualify as a coma.  So, after our harrowing journey my body was totally ready to settle into a nice mini coma.  But my children had other ideas. 

Instead of the 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep my body was crying out for, my first night back was this:

10:00 PM: I pass out sans brushing teeth and in the same clothes I’ve been wearing for almost 2 days.  With pleasure.

Midnight:  Infant wakes and needs to be fed. 

12:20 AM: Realize I’ve fallen asleep while nursing.  Give thanks the baby has not fallen off the bed.  Put him in the crib and fall back asleep.

2:00 AM:  Excellent dream in which I eat gouda cheese is rudely interrupted by crying infant.  Nurse the baby. 

2:15 AM: Just as the baby is about asleep, the toddler starts screaming like he’s being stabbed.  Husband attempts to calm him, but it’s not going well.  Put down now sleeping infant to go soothe toddler.

2:20 – 3:30 AM: Soothe toddler.  For the whole hour.

3:30 AM: Infant wakes again demanding milk.

4:00 AM: Confess to 2 terrorist attacks and a failed coup attempt.

Are you getting the picture? 

I’ve been sleep dep’ed.  It’s hard to carry on an adult conversation or follow a train of thought to its conclusion.  Things like not finding my sunglasses might bring me to tears.  I fall asleep mid-conversation like a narcoleptic, and I’m starting to hallucinate.

Good thing I’m visiting family.  They expect little more from me.   


  1. I don't even like being around my exhausted, grumpy, smelly self after long travel days. I can't imagine having to suck it up and take care of kids too. Hope you get some much needed rest soon!

  2. Hmmm. Your mom told me the kids slept well and the trip was good. Interesting...

    1. Yes. The trip was tolerable all things considered, but adjusting to the new time zone and catching up on sleep has been another story... :(

  3. Sleep any moment you can grab

  4. sleep depping - shudder. it's brutal, you're right. and this post is all the more wonderful given the conditions (guantanamo-esque) under which you wrote it. as fuel to your "no international travel with kids," I offer my son's response to me saying "we're going on safari in kenya!" he says (without looking up from his electronic gadget du jour) "am I going to have to poop in a hole?"
    lovely. such a global perspective. ratfink.

  5. Hilarious! You have reminded me of my travels with Edem. He is a fabulous travel, when he doesn't puke all over me, 8 hours into a 32 hour journey. Oh, the joys.

  6. You poor thing! But you were still coherent enough to make me laugh out loud with this one: "Confess to 2 terrorist attacks and a failed coup attempt." Been there. Ellen

  7. This is my new favorite post. HIlarious!

    1. Thanks Nadav. You just made me re-read it and I am finally - after almost a year - able to see the humor in the situation. ; )