I ask more of the children in the summer than I do all year. After a year of eye-wateringly predictable routine (you could set your watch by the time I serve my children their dinner), we travel around a bit. That involves living out of suitcases, managing different time zones, night flights, strange diets, strange beds and trying to remember in the dark where the loo was in that particular hotel / house / ship / lighthouse (joking on the last one).
This summer, it was three countries, three time zones, five different beds and four different packings of suitcases – and the children handled it all really well. Not a single night’s trouble from either of them (could this be because I started putting them to bed three hours later than usual?).
So, we got back yesterday, after a red-eye flight from London – 10pm take-off, 8am arrival. The children each got about five hours’ sleep (me, four, as I was enjoying the Daily Mail with a glass of Pinot Noir – so shoot me) – but did they want to nap at all yesterday? No way, José – they were like Duracell bunnies, powering their way through the day despite my pleas for them to lie down just for ten minutes PLEASE!
Oh well, I thought. At least they’ll sleep well at night. Back in their own beds. Clean sheets. Clean pyjamas. Familiar surroundings at last.
But sleep well, my foot.
After crashing out at 7pm, DS was up EIGHT times between seven and 11, crying hysterically for no apparent reason, and DD got insomnia. Tearful, sobbing insomnia – till 11pm.
In the 10 times she came down in tears, she said her bed felt wrong; her bed was “at the wrong angle”; she couldn’t sleep; she didn’t like the dark; she was scared to be alone; she felt sick; her tummy was fizzy; she couldn’t breathe; her eye was popping; she didn’t like her room… the excuses went on.
I bore it till my own bedtime, after which I snuck her a tiny drop of Bach’s Night Rescue Remedy (more placebo than anything), put my ear plugs in and went to sleep.
Did DS wake up again? Did DD ever get to sleep? I’ve no idea – I slept the hard, dark sleep of the truly knackered.