Last week, we took both kids to Taiwan so they could meet their great grandma for the first time. An exhausting trip, but a precious time. I spent the weeks prior to the trip fretting and planning ways to keep us sane on a 14 hour flight with two squirmy toddlers. I had assumed that the flight itself would be the worst part of the trip. Little did I realize that the adjustment back to life at home would be far worse.
This has been a miserable week for all of us.
Taiwan is 15 hours ahead. Our night is their day. Our day is their night. Jet lag is bad enough for myself. Jet lag with kids who also have jet lag is an entirely different beast. We should’ve planned a vacation from the vacation.
What I didn’t expect coming home:
- A week to adjust. I don’t know why I thought it would take just a couple days, but I did. In fact, I was just beginning to pat myself on the back for how well the first two days back home had gone. Then all progress was lost again by day 3. The kids began to wake up in the middle of the night. They were hungry at odd hours. They began to fight naps and bedtime. Those initial days were misleading because they were still pretty tired from the trip. With renewed energy, the underlying jet lag resurfaced with a vengeance.
- Excessive grumpiness. TL has been a frightening grouch since we’ve returned. The moment she doesn’t get her way with something (which she can’t fully express in words yet either), she breaks into a dramatic show of shrieks and tears. We stand there completely perplexed and clueless as to what just set her off. Even the best tricks up our sleeves have been failing us.
- Off-the-charts whining. Every little thing is suddenly difficult or impossible for MM. Suddenly he has forgotten how to use his spoon or pull up his pants. The moment his sister even comes near him, he whines about how he needs his space. He whines about the Legos not staying together. He whines about food being too hot, too cold, too spicy, too green. And he whines about how he needs another hug. “Hold me, mommy.” Cute, but seriously?
- A new bout of separation anxiety. Our previously independent kids now constantly beg to be picked up and held. Leaving for work and dropping them off at daycare has become painful again. They demand and beg for either me or Smartypants to be right by their side, even at home. They climb all over me, fighting for the most cozy spot in my lap or arms. The worse of it: TL has fought with tears and shrieks to sleep with us in our bed, despite having slept fine on her own up until now. We eventually caved and let her sleep with us. It’s tough falling asleep with a toddler screaming in your ear at bedside. Tonight she did fall asleep in her own bed though, so we have hope again that these regressions are not permanent.
- Water leak. This has nothing to do with jet lag, but it’s not the kind of thing you want to deal with when you’ve just come back from a trip. The leak turned out to be under the concrete foundation of the house, involving the main hot water line. We went without hot water for a couple days to prevent further water damage until the pipes could be rerouted. Makes me appreciate the luxury of hot water.
Now airplane flights with children seem like a breeze. 14 hours? Sure, not a problem. Deal with jet lag again? No way.
On the other hand, their passports only last for 5 years. I feel this incredible urge to fill it up with more stamps….