Okay bloggies I really need your input on a conundrum I’m having. I have this wonderful opportunity and I’m really really reluctant to take advantage of it and I’d love for you to weigh in on what you think, especially if you’ve ever traveled a long distance to a very different time zone with a baby.
The Husband has to go to California for 2 weeks in May for training for work. He’s doing two courses which take up his time during the day, but he has 4 days in between them where he is totally free. Because he’s going for work, his travel accommodations are covered. Now, The Peanut and I can go with him and if we did, it’s not out of the question to extend the stay for a few extra days or even a week to allow for some more family time. Sounds like a pretty good deal, eh!! (That’s that Canadian “eh” talking for any of you American or international readers :-D). Also I should mention that I have a good friend who lives about an hour and a half away from where we’ll be going, so we’d get to see her too. I was supposed to be a bridesmaid in her wedding last August, but well, I was busy having a baby
It all sounds like the perfect opportunity! I mean I just picture taking him to the beach and playing in the sand (which we can still do here this summer too), swimming in the pool every day and then there’s the possibility that it could be an opportunity to expose him to an entirely new situation which could be amazing for him and nudge him to be a bit more flexible. Of course that’s just looking on the “could be” side of things & while babies can be incredibly resilient, it can all blow up in your face, let’s be realistic. And truly, a trip to the grocery store is usually enough to tickle his fancy
So with the thought of this wonderful opportunity, why is it that I’m 95% leaning toward “No?”
Because of sleep.
I am not the only parent who has struggled to the nth degree with their baby’s sleep so I know there are some of you out there who can relate to my hesitance. In fact, hesitance isn’t even the right word I would call it full out anxiety to be frank. I feel like I went through “H E double hockey sticks” since he was born dealing with his frequent wakings and trying to get him sleeping better and for longer. Lately we are having some success with some sleeping through the night, but it’s not reliable. There has been nights (and even a week long stint) of him going to sleep at 7 p.m. and waking up at 6 a.m. which was a looooong time coming. It has been a long sleepless road to this point. That said, after a week of that, he’s now waking at 4 a.m. and or 5:15a.m. again where I need to change him and give him a bottle to try to get him back to sleep for a while longer (Some of his wakings I think are because he was soaking through his diaper and sleepers and he’s also cutting two new teeth). His naps are still a work in progress too. At least now I’m usually getting 1 hr (sometimes 1 hr 45m) out of him rather than 30 minutes.
But I gotta admit, I think going through so much sleep deprivation with him has affected me so much that the mere possibility of being set back causes me serious anxiety. The truth is, there were many wee hours of the morning that I couldn’t help by sob because I was so tired and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Ever. It goes without saying that I would do anything for him and it was all worth it etc etc., but I’m just being honest about how tough it was.
We’ll get into the whole “travel” aspect in a minute, but aside from that, I feel like a 4 hour time difference is a series shift for a baby. Routines and schedules are the backbone of his improvement with his sleep. It’s tough on anyone and some people say that babies can be more resilient, but given his sleeping track record, I somehow don’t think my little guy will fall into the “go with the flow” category of babies that I hear about, but I have been wrong before. I should also mention that he’d be sleeping in a hotel crib or pack and play in an entirely new and unfamiliar room which is also unsettling (I know this from experience from a night over at my Dad’s house in which 1 night away took about a week to recover from, but he was about 6 1/2 months old then).
So then there’s the travel aspect. The shortest flight time traveling to California is around 10.5 hrs. That’s a LONG time to travel with a 9 month old or any baby for that matter. That’s not counting waiting in the airport before the flight (you have to arrive 2 hrs early for international travel) and the possibility of delays etc., then getting the car seat installed in the rental when we get there and getting settled into our hotel. That’s a pretty intense day for a baby. And how in the world would you keep a very curious (and possibly crawling) 9 month old on your lap for the duration of such a long flight (oh yeah and there would be at least 1 connecting flight), not to mention you’d have to feed & change multiple times and have him sleep on your lap. Can you imagine holding a baby for that long trying to prevent him from wanting to roam up and down the aisles and exploring?
So all of these scenarios are wrecking havoc on me and making me stress in a BIG BIG way. It’s so easy to say “Oh he’ll adjust and be fine” and that’s a possibility, but not probable. I’m VERY protective of his sleep. Like I always make sure he’s able to nap during his nap times and everything else in my life is planned around that. If we have to go to the grocery storey, it is pretty much the only thing I will squeeze into his day because I know that we can do it in between naps. There’s no running errands here and there etc. if I know that it will cut into his nap time. It’s just not pleasant for anybody.
Baby sleep is sooo, sooooo important, it pretty much dictates everything else in their/our lives, including their behaviour. How fun would our vacation be if our baby was miserable and tired all the time and sleeping during the day and awake at 2a.m? I still see these parents with their babies at Costco sleeping away in their strollers while the hustle and bustle and clanging and bright lights and everything is going on around them and I can’t help but be slightly envious to have that kind of flexibility, but every baby is different and you have no control over that. I do what I need to do for my little guy to give him what he needs and he’s a baby who needs a quiet familiar place to sleep.
Is it all worth it? We will be going long enough that a few days of adjustment (if we’re lucky) is only a small part of our entire stay there so it “could” work and we could have a great holiday in sunny California! We can’t forget the positives!!! We also can’t forget that there will be about 8 days where it will just be me and the little guy during the day while the husband is training and it’s not like we have our evenings to be off doing anything because the little one will be in bed.
If we decide to stay home, we have to spend 2 weeks without The Husband which is a long time in itself and it means I likely won’t be able to do the Bluenose. If we decide to go and it all blows up in our faces, guess who’s suffering the consequences if this doesn’t work out along with baby boy? Mama, that’s who.