Whoa. I always thought people kind of exaggerated jet lag. Prior to this trip, the biggest time zone change I had ever experienced was 3 hours from east coast to west coast. Flying to Oz was different because we left LAX late at bedtime and arrived in the morning. Even though we skipped an entire day, that timing makes sense to the brain and body. Coming back to the US was rough. I had heard coming this way was harder, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this bad.
In retrospect, it took just a few days to bounce back. We arrived on Tuesday (we had 2 Tuesdays…both were spent traveling) and we felt human again by Saturday. That’s not terrible, except we felt pretty terrible those few days.
Here’s how things went down:
We left Sydney at 9:30am Tuesday July 11th. We got all our bags checked and borded nice and easy. I got the pleasure of sitting with Lukie. Since it was 9:30am flight time, we were not sleepy. This first flight was 13.5hours. The flight began with dinner service. Yup. Dinner at about 10am. Weird. Then they dim the cabin lights hoping you will sleep. Mid flight they gave us lunch. And 2 hours before we landed we got breakfast. So weird. Getting us on LAX time, I guess. Virgin Australia is awesome. Very comfy flight. Nice flight attendants. Coffee was good. We had decent food, and the kids got pretty good kids meals. Free drinks. It really wasn’t bad. Luke dozed at the end of the flight. The girls stayed awake the entire time. Mae kept saying over and over “The number one rule is to never go to sleep.” She watched Boss Baby 3 times and Trolls twice. She also didn’t even get up to use the bathroom. I watched Hidden Figures and a season of Weeds.
When we landed in LAX, it was 5:30am local time, but for us it felt like 11pm so that was definitely confusing. We had to show our passports, get all our bags (9 checked plus a car seat), go through customs and then drop all our bags off again and get to our connection. It felt hot and humid in LA and we were all ready to sleep.
We were happy to be safe and sound in America, but we had a 5 hour 40 min flight ahead of us. 8:10am was our flight time and everyone on board was chippy and chatty. The Marshalls needed to go to bed. It seemed so bright and loud. We all slept…a little. This flight was a blur. I sat with Elle. We arrived to Boston at 4:50pm local time. It was nice to arrive in the daylight. Grandma picked us up. Unfortunately, our car seat and golf clubs didn’t make it and Mae thew up a little while waiting for bags. Thankfully, I had wet wipes and a change of clothes ready and she was good to go. She did it again in the car, but she really was okay. Got a Dunkin iced coffee and a loaner car seat from the airline. Next, we had to drive 2 hours to Cape Cod. PS. We got our missing bags back the next day.
Door to door we traveled 28 hours. But we made it. And I wasn’t thinking about jet lag or getting on the right time zone. We just needed to survive the long haul and we did it. Phew. The adrenaline was about to wear off and the honeymoon ended.
We got settled in to my dad’s house on Cape Cod just before 9pm. We visited and ate and unpacked the car. Bedtime came around midnight and Elle fell asleep. Mae, Wes and I fell asleep around 1am. Luke couldn’t fall asleep until 4am. That was Tuesday night. Wednesday came. OMG…I woke up at 3:30pm!!!!!! I wish you could’ve seen my face when I came downstairs and saw those numbers on the oven clock. I could NOT believe it. Mae and Luke were still asleep. Elle had woken up at 2pm and Wes got up at 11am. I was mad at Wes for not waking us. The rule of thumb is you sleep/lie down at night and stay awake during the day….in order to get on the right time zone. We didn’t have a conversation about this, but I assumed that was the plan..I never expected to sleep that long and that deep that I had no idea what time it was when I woke up. I quickly woke up Mae and Luke, but the day was a bust and so was our adjustment. Poor Wes took all the blame, but he was going by the other rule of thumb to never wake a sleeping baby…or Debbie. He kept thinking we needed the sleep. And the room we slept in is like a cave. Dark blackout blinds and a window a/c unit with a nice noise canceling hum. I was mad, but it was a really good sleep.
I was having my morning coffee while they were prepping dinner. My brother, my niece and nephew arrived at 6pm for our annual cousin visit. We had a great dinner and made smores. We weren’t on the right time zone, but we were rested. Bedtime came and we were not CLOSE to ready for sleep. Wednesday night was missssseeerrrable. So bad. Nobody could fall asleep. Mae slept 1-3am. Wes and Elle slept 5-10am. Luke and I didn’t sleep. I could have slept…but I was busy trying to help everyone else get some sleep. By 6am, I let the kids “get up” and I had some coffee. It was a sleepless night.
Now it’s Thursday and we are having our cousin fun day. The goal was to NOT sleep during the day, which was easy because we had fun plans with cousins, but hard because we hadn’t slept. Around 2pm…Mae and Luke passed out on the couch. We let them nap for 1 hour and then came the crazy attempts to wake them up. They did NOT want to wake up. We were desperate for them to wake up because we were desperate for a normal nights sleep. So desperate. Wes dragged Luke to an arcade…that worked. I was spoon feeding ice cream to Mae…also worked. I know…I should write a parenting book. It was hilariously miserable. Luke doesn’t remember this nap.
I hadn’t slept and didn’t care. My goal was to get the kids on track so I could do the same. We had a great time with the cousins…go karts, bumper boats, Sundae School and lots of hugs. They left and we made it til 8:30pm. Everyone went to bed and we almost did it! 4/5 of us slept through the night. Wes! He woke up at 11pm and couldn’t fall back asleep. So close.
Friday and Saturday night were normal nights sleep. Finally. No longer nocternal! We did it. The biggest challenge was getting all 5 of us on track. We didn’t each get the same amount of sleep on the plane or the first night and our bodies all adjusted at a different pace. It was time to visit East Coast friends and family as we do every summer, but it definitely feels different this year. We are a little different.
Feels great to back in the USA physically and mentally. Sleep training the Marshalls was just another part of the adventure.