Hi! We're back from Germany! And actually have been for a few days now. The trip was amazing, and I will post all about it, with photos, and also potentially some thoughts about things that Germany does better and worse than the U.S., once I collect myself, but in the meantime, I'm here to say that hi! Jet lag with kids? SUCKS.
There's an eight-hour time difference between Denver and Germany, and eight hours is a LOT. The jet lag when we got to Germany was actually fine. The trip over was not easy (thanks primarily to Annika's plane barf habit), but both kids did end up sleeping 5-6 hours on the transatlantic flight, and I got a couple hours of sleep as well, so that was good. We landed in the morning, got to Torsten's parents' house at lunchtime, ate lunch, and then all four of us went for a four-hour nap. We set an alarm to not nap too long, woke up shortly before dinner time, powered through the evening, then went to bed at a normal time, got up the next morning, and were pretty much adjusted. This is the strategy we always use when we go to Europe, and it works very well for us.
Returning, though. Well. It's just harder from the start because the flight back is a daytime flight, so no sleep, and then we got home late (10:30 p.m.) and everyone was totally exhausted (Callum literally fell asleep on the floor of the airport waiting for an elevator) and we packed both kids off to bed and had high hopes that they would sleep late the next morning despite the time difference because they were just SO TIRED, having been awake for like 20 hours straight, but no dice.
Callum woke up screaming at 3 a.m. that first night back because we had put him to bed in his clothes and he wanted pajamas. He went right back to sleep, but not before his screaming woke Annika, who took forever to settle and then woke twice more over the next hour. She finally passed out for real at 4:30 a.m., only to be awakened again, and that time for the day, by Callum screaming at 6:45 a.m. These are kids who typically sleep til 8 or 8:30, so 6:45 is early, even before you calculate that it was only about nine hours of sleep for them (compared to their usual 12 hours at night) after being awake for WAY too long.
Torsten and I were both also exhausted from the long travel, our own jet lag, and the multiple overnight wakeups. That first day back was a total blur. We did end up putting both kids down for naps (Callum hasn't napped in over a year) and then having to wake them from dead stupors at 5 p.m. so that they would go to bed normally. Everyone was basically an exhausted zombie the whole day. You know how parents complain about the havoc that Daylight Saving Time wreaks? It was like that, times eight. BLARGH.
Things have been a little better since then... the overnight wakeups have stopped, thank goodness, though the kids have continued to wake up earlier than usually (around 7 most days, though one day at 6, and also, it's only Callum who's woken on his own and then awakened his sister and HEY CALLUM YOU ARE FOUR AND A HALF YEARS OLD PLEASE LEARN TO NOT SHOUT AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS THE SECOND YOUR EYES OPEN).
But the early wakeups and general disaster that is vacation reentry and trying to get back to a normal routine after two and a half weeks of doting grandparents and nonstop Mommy and Daddy time have just meant that we've all been off, and cranky, Callum especially. He's limit testing, overtired, and generally a barrel of laughs right now. Add to that that back to school is looming and he's feeling understandably anxious about his transition to a new school, and things are just... tiring around here right now.
But! Germany was wonderful, and the jet lag will pass eventually, and Torsten and I are legit excited about Callum's new school and I know that Callum will be too once he becomes familiar with it, and at least we're all sleeping through the night now.
So! You see why I need some time to collect myself. But I will! And then there will be photos and anecdotes and hey, I actually really love Germany. And I think we have a solid plan in place with my in-laws where we will visit them every other year and they will visit us at least that often as well, so at least it'll be two more years before we have to deal with this kind of jet lag again.
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