Tomorrow we will have lived in the Bay Area for four months. Looking back at how difficult our journey out here was, it is hard to believe we are all still standing.
On the flight out here back in June, my daughter screamed and threw things for about 90% of the flight, and my son melted down the last 20% of the flight. So that meant we had at least one child screaming and crying 100% of the time we spent on our journey from New York to San Francisco. It was so bad that the stewardess bought my husband and I bloody mary’s because she felt so bad for us. As I recall, I believe she said something like, “You need these.” At the time we couldn’t understand why they were acting so
terribly, but looking back on it, there were actually a few factors that contributed to their eventual, inevitable meltdowns.
We woke them at 5:30am for an 8:30am flight. When we booked the flight, 8:30am seemed like a great idea: Less traffic getting to the airport in New York and less traffic getting home from the airport in San Francisco, thus minimizing the overall travel time for the kids. But what we didn’t consider was that by waking our children well before their normal rising time, we were setting them up to be completely exhausted at exactly the time we needed them to be on their best behavior.
Then there was my daughter. She had come down with a fever the day before we left, and we thought she was getting sick, when in fact it turned out she was cutting two molars.
So there you have it: Lack of sleep + teething = nightmare baby. Older brother then feeds on nightmare baby’s energy, and voila! Two children screaming for 6 hours straight.
Twelve hours after we left New York, we arrived at our new “home” – a temporary rental that would serve as our two month landing pad. After screaming and thrashing for hours on end, you would think the kids would have fallen asleep the moment we walked in the door. But somehow all their previous fussing just fueled their energy, and they became what can only be described as…psychotic: They were running around our new home like bees buzzing in a hive. Non-stop motion, running to the living room, the kitchen, the deck, the bedrooms, and back again – arms and legs just flailing about uncontrollably, screaming and laughing like crazy people. I had never seen anything like this before. This was new territory. How do I calm them down? At this point it was after 8pm east coast time. They should be falling over by now. But they are still running!
After trying to calm them down as best as we could, we thought we would attempt to put them to bed at around 9pm east coast time, 6pm west coast time. This seemed logical, but in the month of June, 6pm is about as bright as mid-day, so they were not having it.
Three hours of screaming and saying “I’m not tired”, or in my daughter’s case “WAAAAAHHHHHH!” later, at Midnight east coast time, they (finally!!!) fell asleep.
This nightmare day of travel had my husband and I asking ourselves, “What were we thinking moving out here? Are we doing the right thing? Is it too late to go back??” And over the next week or two, as the kids got adjusted to the time change and this new strange world they were living in, we continued to ask these questions. It was an incredibly challenging and emotionally exhausting time.
But four months later, things are much better. The kids feel much more settled in our new home. They still scream, but at least now it’s within the confines of our house, and not on an overbooked cross-country flight.
And they sleep. Which means I sleep. And that makes everything better.