There was a time when I dreaded leaving the house with Baby Ollie. At his one month red egg party, I dragged my feet, so reluctant to make the hour drive, knowing that not only would the drive cut into his nap, but so would the entire shindig. That would mean half a day with a cranky, tired baby.
People thought I was over-exaggerating his need for sleep. His need for comfort. His need for a consistent environment. So we’d push him. We’d take him out on walks where he’d scream and scream. We’d take him out to restaurants where we’d have to go outside and pace back and forth so everyone else could continue the meal in peace. We’d take travel cribs and hear him crying for 20-30 minutes before he’d fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion for 15 minutes before waking and crying again.
At three months, we went to Hawaii. And while the flight wasn’t bad (he slept on me for most the time), the drive to the hotel was brutal. We drove the entire 45 minutes of it to a soundtrack of his shrill, unhappy crying. And in fact, for the majority of the trip, he was only awake for two hours at a time, which meant we didn’t get to do much, as no one wanted to sit through another car ride with the persistent sleepyhead.
But slowly he needed less sleep. Slowly he enjoyed car rides. And now at nine months, he can cheerily enjoy the 5 hour drive to Tahoe and back.
So it’s with this progress in mind, that I was hopeful this upcoming trip would be less… disruptive. I know the time difference (day –> night) would be harsh, but I had no idea how tough the flight would be. Of the 14.5 hours in flight, he slept at most 4-6 hours. The bassinet on the flight was a joke. Not only was it very shallow but every time there’s turbulence, you have to take your baby out. Putting a baby down to sleep in a new environment is no easy task as it is. To have to constantly take him back out meant it wasn’t even worth putting him in. He slept in the bassinet once for an hour before we gave up. So Ollie basically alternated from being uber tired to finally sleeping to waking and being cranky to repeat, ad nauseum. I was never happier to deplane. The hours creeped by. People said the white noise would lure any baby to sleep. I guess mine is the exception. Granted, he was also definitely going through a growth spurt — his beanie went from being loose enough to cover his eyes on the morning walk just the day before to looking like it shrank overnight.
No matter. We are here. And I’m glad we made the trip. If nothing else, I’ve learned this year that you should not put off til next year what you can do now, in this case the long overdue Asia trip.
And, on the plus side, I figure the rest of the trip can only be downhill from here. Nothing can top that flight…