In my former life as a single person I prided myself on handling jet lag like a champ. I had a strategy that allowed me not to miss a minute. In fact I hardly believed in jet lag at all. It was mind over matter all the way.
Fast forward to my present life. None of this applies anymore. And it turns out jet lag is very real since there is no way to explain mind over matter to a baby.
Our trip to the US could’ve been entitled, Baby’s First East Coast Tour. She was the star and we were only her road crew. While it was fantastic fun and we got to see almost everyone we ever knew it certainly was not relaxing and so it is difficult to call it a vacation. And so it’s likely that the jet lag mixed with all the holidays and hub-bub, running around and staying with friends, meant we didn’t get a lot of rest.
Flying internationally with a six month old does have its perks–You get the front seat in the section. You get to board the plane early. And if the baby isn’t annoying, everyone smiles at you.
But it was upon our arrival back in Germany that I discovered what I think is actually the best perk of flying through time zones with a baby.
Baby Jet lag. You may think I’m being sarcastic and I should be because staying up until all hours while the baby thinks its the middle of the day is not a bowl of cherries but the side effect, at least for us, has been actual deep sleep. What? How is that possible?
Since we’ve been back our evenings go like this: she goes to bed at 7 or 8 or 9 and wakes up about 2 hours later–Totally refreshed from what she seems to think was a naptime, not a bedtime...She plays until 12 or 1 when she is finally tired enough to go to sleep. But luckily, once her head hits the pillow (and mine for that matter) we both sleep like rocks till morning. And even then, we wake up for a little while and hit the pillow again til 10am. 10am? No more middle of the night feedings. This must be a dream, I haven’t seen the back of my eyelids til 10am in years.
Seriously years–Motherhood is not the first thing to steal my sleep. Before relocating to Germany I was completing a graduate program that had us running from the rain forests of Manaus, Brazil to the tip of Maine, USA. Between zigzagging around the states and flying over the ocean writing case studies, not much time was left for sleep. Before that even, I was in the garden at the crack of dawn and teaching ballet to children long after dusk. Because I have always worked, moving to Germany without a job felt strange and so I have felt an incredible pressure to be productive all the time–learn the language, read the news, squeeze in some exercise, make new friends, find my way, look for a job, navigate the grocery store, plan our meals….etc. Even with a new born, I tried to have a schedule, take a shower and apply make-up everyday. Maybe it gave me a feeling of control in a world full of chaos. Whatever it is, I think it’s likely that after all that I am really tired!
And maybe now I have just given in to the chaos (and the sleep.) I would say I have more than given in, I am sinking into the deep pillows of the chaos, snuggling up and staying in my pj’s til noon. Making up for all those years of lost sleep, I’m breathing in the fresh realization that I don’t have a job to run to yet and so I don’t have to drop her at daycare yet. What a luxury that we can snuggle up and let the jet lag run its course together.
A week of sleepy mornings with my chubby, giggly little mouse feels like a delicious, decadent vacation. I know it won’t last but this side effect of jet lag is a most expected unexpected gift.
Happy New Year!