Monday 26 April 2010

Sleep is for the weak

Well we survived the billion hour flights. There and back. Even with a sodding Icelandic volcano to add to the joy. And you know, the kids weren't even awful. We had one weeing in pants incident that resulted in a very over tired little boy crying because he couldn't understand why he was wet, and a mother who didn't really want to cuddle him too closely because of said wetness, and several extremely grumpy Germans who felt the child should stop crying, and a mother who wanted to tell them to knob off but couldn't remember any German swear words having had no sleep for 48 hours.

But besides that, they were fine. Except that they were small boys in a confined space for 26 hours a pop. Even as an adult, getting free drinks from the wine trolley (and believe me, I had many of those) and having a full understanding of how to use the remote controls for the on-board entertainment system, 26 hours is a long, long time to sit in one small space.

So this is sort of how it went:

son1: Can you help me get the games on? No, not that game, this game.
son2: I also want the games on.
me: attempt to juggle two remote controls, finding games for son2 and a film for me.
son2: I can't work the controller. Show me how.
me: sigh. Like this....10 seconds of peace. I choose a film of my own and watch 2 minutes of it
son1: I'm hungry. When can we get food?
son2: I'm also hungry. Can we have a sweet yet?
me: food is coming. They only have to serve the 200 people seated in front of us, then we'll get ours. And no, you can't have a sweet yet.
son2: are we there yet?
me: No. We still have 25 hours and 50 minutes to go.....

The food trolley finally arrives, just as the nagging and cries of 'I'm starving' start to get quite volumatic. We're served our little over-filled trays of plastic nastiness. The children rip their cutlery packets open like presents on Christmas morning, immediately dropping their knives and forks on the floor under their seats with no way of getting them out without me loading up three trays in front of me like the leaning tower of Plastic, while they scrabble on the floor looking for their feeding implements. As I set their food trays back in front of them and am about to take a bite of congealed egg (which may have been breakfast, lunch or dinner but my body clock is way out of kilter and it's hard to know what meal it's meant to be) one of them will announce that they need to poo.

It will invariably be the child closest to the window that needs to poo, thus requiring the three way tray pile again, only now less evenly balanced as things have been openened and rearranged. It wobbles ominously. The child will attempt to walk across the seats but will stand on his brother which will prompt a swift punch by the stepped on brother to the legs of the brother in need of a poo. He will then attempt to bunch / kick back resulting in the teetering food tower to wobble precariously.

We'll finally manage to extricate ourselves from our seats, wait with a small boy holding his hand on his bottom, indicating the immediacy of the poo while the food trolley moves painstakingly slowly out of the aisle. When we finally make it there and the job is done, we will have the usual angst of having to block our ears while we flush as airplane loos are a little loud. Why is that?

Then we go back to our seats and repeat the whole performance.

Eventually one child will fall asleep. I will attempt to fall asleep. The other child will wake me just as I finally manage to drift off asking me to put a different film on or perhaps saying he needs a wee or a drink of water or a blanket. As that child drifts off to the land of nod, the other will wake up and ask for a film, a wee, a drink of water or a blanket. The result is absolutely no sleep for the lone parent trying to juggle this.

After hours and hours and hours of this I give up all hope of sleep and opt to watch films instead. Here are the films I started watching:

It's Complicated
Up in the Air
The Hurt Locker
An Education
Blind Side
New Moon
Couples Retreat
The Time Travellers Wife

I don't think I saw the end of any of them, due to previously mentioned interruptions.

All in all, from when you wake up on the day you are due to fly out, to going to sleep in your destination, it will be roughly 48 hours. That is 48 hours of no sleep, eating crappy food, sitting in a teeny space getting a very numb bum, constantly whispering: DON'T KICK THE SEAT, and dealing with foreign customs people who aren't blessed with humour or understanding.

Once you get to your destination, you might think you can now sleep. But jet lag kicks in. And even though your body is way overtired, it's also telling you that it's day time, not night time and you should be awake. So you lie there wishing yourself to sleep. And just as sleep eventually steals over you like a heavy blanket, you hear: 'Mummy, I can't sleep.' And just as you settle that one several hours later, you hear the next one say the exact same thing.

And then the sun rises and you have to face the day. Your brain feels like its clogged with soggy cotton wool and your vision is slightly blurry around the edges.

It took me 10 days to get over the jetlag going there. We got back home on Friday. Today is Monday. I can still barely lift my head off my desk. I might be this way for some time to come.

PS - we had a fab holiday. But next time, I want a Star Trek Beam me up Scottie machine to get there.


Helen said...

Oh dear, not nice! A trip to be remembered - it will be interesting to see what the boys remember of this trip in the future - they probably will have a whole different take on it!! Just think, I don't think it could get worse, besides, they'll be older on the next trip... LOL I hope you get over the jet lag!

nappy valley girl said...

That sounds a lot like our flight to the States - and that was only 7hours, and I had my husband there......well done to you for surviving.

Nadia.Is.Cute said...

Hats off for getting back in one piece! Now go get sleep. Do it before laundry comes screaming back to haunt you!

katyboo1 said...

I hear you. And I only had nine hours of it. And nine hours today. Thanks for rendering it so vividly for me! Glad you had a great time though.xx

Metropolitan Mum said...

Holy s***, I don't envy you. I was once stuck for four hours in an airplane on a runway - in the boiling heat of Florida's summer sun. There were no kids in sight (well, apart from the bump), but I felt like I wanted to jump out of that thing there and then.
Heads off for surviving.

part mummy part me said...

What an ordeal! Well done you for keeping your humour. I can't bear long haul flights myself, they are soo boring.

BTW tagged you over at mine, looking forward to reading your response!

Anonymous said...

Oh my good God. You are a saint. I bow before you...

Home Office Mum said...

Helen - every time we go in the car now, my kids say: let's pretend we're travelling in a plane for a long time and they start whining: are we there yet? They do it just to see my blood pressure rise.

Nappy Valley - thanks. I'm kinda wishing my husband had been there too

Nadia - the laundry is already haunting me. Speaking of which, must go do some ironing now

Katyboo - 9 hours previously would have seemed an ordeal. Now its a breezy stroll in the park. Glad you got home

Metropolitan Mum - I know. Even without kids being stuck on a plane is a nightmare. Your florida ordeal doesn't sound too lovely either

Part mummy - boredeom is alleviate by frequent visits to the drinks trolley

More than - I shall polish my halo forthwith, but I think I might have left it stuck in the seat pocket on the plane

Nicola said...

Hats off to you for 26 hours! My god, I thought 8 was bad enough. Mind you, our experiences sound absolutely just had to endure it for 3x longer than I did. how did you do that?

As for the jetlag - even when coming to the UK I feel as if I am attempting to walk on an unstable surface for at least 48 hours. It is so disorientating! I never used to believe jetlag existed - believing that nampy-pampy people with nothing better to do were making it up. Those were the days. Now I always suffer - and dread the jetlag more than the flight itself. There is something so satisfying after all about managing that 3 tray balancing act for an urgent loo trip without the whole lot coming crashing down around your ears.

lox said...

I think 2010 may be the year for embracing holidays in Britain!