A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about sleep

Packing Light

semi-overcast 78 °F

Another long trip from Hawaii to the mainland. First to the Bay, then a drive to Lake Tahoe. Another flight to Seattle, and then back home to Hawaii. Our son has become such an experienced traveler. I have heard not to travel with kids, that it is difficult for them. Actually, it doesn't seem to faze our son. It is my husband and I that appear worse for the wear. Sometimes we get less sleep staying in an unfamiliar bed. We are hot and sweaty from hauling many bags around. We have come to the conclusion based on our 9 (!) bags from this past trip, that somehow, someway, our packing strategy & our bag count has to change. We are currently traveling with two more bags than we took for our three month excursion through Italy. With five more bags than our joint trip round the world in 2003. Granted, a toddler needs many more items to keep them entertained than travel sans children, or even travel with infant. With infant, you need diapers, wipes, a rattle and possibly a monitor and you're good. With a toddler, you still need the diapers and wipes, but now you also need a ton of food and snacks, books, the trusty blankie or in our case 'wolfie' (the stuffed wolf Bodhi sleeps with), several key books, a few toys, an ipod and speaker, a video player... I could go on, but we realized between my husband and I, we bring about a full bag for each of us, the other 7 seem to all be essentials for Bodhi.

So...now I realize that the real deterrent to travel with children is the sheer volume of items that you need for them to be comfortable and entertained. We are going to go through some serious inventory work and some downsizing, much like corporate America has been assessing their work force and productivity. What items can we live without? What items are duplicates? What items can we possibly replace with newer more efficient (or smaller) versions?

We recently received a tiny Monster iClarity bluetooth speaker as a gift. This is perfect, because it is a wireless speaker, small and perfect for travel because you can 'stream' music from your computer, ipad or iphone = perfect travel device. No need for additional ipod used solely as a nighttime wave machine. Speaking of technology, the ipad has been the greatest travel invention of our time. OK, we still bring 'real books' along too, but we also have a virtual library of books, apps, videos, and hours of plane ride entertainment of one small device. It has easily been the best purchase and best travel device for our son. At first, I admit, I thought it was indulgent for a two year old to play with such a pricey machine. I thought it was overkill. After several long flights from Hawaii to the mainland, I can tell you that was some of the best money we spent, letting him have our old ipad, buying a new one for ourselves. Our two year old is blissfully entertained and able to sit in his car seat on the airplane for several hours without fussing. And this is the same child who refuses to sit in a stroller or sit still for more than several seconds: always, always on the move. Climbing, jumping, running, swimming, hiking, bouncing balls, moving from toy to toy, into everything and anything. This same child can be mesmerized by an Elmo app for an hour. AND it has taught him the alphabet, how to trace letters, and countless words. Pretty incredible stuff. This admitted techno-phobe is now a complete convert to the amazing world of the ipad.

But I digress...other things that we do to make travel easier are to always travel with small detergent packets, for washing on the go. I recommend if traveling with children to get a few items that are synthetic fibers (i.e. a fleece sweatshirt, instead of cotton) and that way, you can wash and easily drop it when it gets inevitably dirty on first wear. The amount of clothing you need to pack for a small child is ridiculous when you consider during half of their meals they spill something, they are still occasionally waking soaking wet from sleep, and jumping in mud puddles or climbing trees. They get dirty. It's best to have clothes you can wash and re-wear. We try to bring toys that have multiple functions or can provide different forms of entertainment. I like flashcards, and crayons or those invisible markers. We usually bring a soft ball, some type of bath or water toy, and a truck or train. Nothing annoyingly loud with batteries for the airplane. I like to bring toys that don't have small parts, and not ones that are favorites...ones that are dispensable, or at least can be easily replaced. I don't like to have to worry about finding small pieces or leaving something behind that will cause tears. Less travel stress = happier momma.

The essentials for me (to travel with less stress) are the sleep routine items. For us, that means 2 books, Wolfie his stuffed wolf, alternative milk, (soy or rice if we don't think we can get it where we are going), and his wave music that we put on when he sleeps. That way, he feels a sense of home no matter where we are. This seems to be a key component to our success with traveling. When Bodhi was younger, we traveled everywhere with our own crib. We literally hauled an extra bag that was his travel crib. He slept so much better that way than when we tried various cribs in different hotels. You know, they smell different, the sheets are different...you can't blame him really. I reasoned, better to have his own crib, even if we set that bed in a different place every night, he has a comfort, a piece of home. Like the calm in the center of a storm, if you provide an anchor for children to feel secure, than I think they have no problem adjusting to external fluctuations of time and place. Plus, it made us more flexible to stay in pensions, rental houses and other places where sometimes cribs are not available. Now that he's older, he does OK sleeping on other beds and cribs as long as we are with him and he has his bedtime routine. And when your child/infant sleeps better on a trip, I don't think I have to tell you how much better that is for everyone... to us, it's the most important thing of all when traveling with your child, to bring the items they need to sleep well.

Posted by globalmomma 05:21 Archived in USA Tagged children travel well with light sleep packing change time beds clothing toddler adjusting essentials cribs Comments (0)

Waves of Life

one nap days

sunny 80 °F

Here I am in the middle of the one nap day, the 2 hours of personal time that I get while my son sleeps. It used to be two little breaks, and now as of Christmastime, we are officially down to one. I was hoping to drag this process out. Mostly for my own sanity and time management purposes, but also so he could get two opportunities for extra sleep. But my son appears to be a cold turkey kind of guy. He stopped one day with his second nap, and never looked back. So here we are, savoring this midday pause.

I realized last night, once again, how lucky I am, and what a gift it is to have a partner to parent with. Last night our sniffly, sweaty tot couldn't sleep. His fever was making him uncomfortable so for 4 hours, from 6:30pm until 10:30 pm, we took half hour shifts, holding him to sleep. Picking him up when he woke and rocking him back down. It could be enough to drive you mad if you didn't have someone to share it with. But now it is precisely these times that cause me to be the most thankful for what I have.

The harder a moment is, the more I realize how much ease is in the majority of my life. So I am grateful for the one nap, and the little boy who lets me spend the rest of my day with him.

We are right now considering the options moving forward: toddler bed? twin? full? How do we transition from this crib that he is starting to outgrow? Most likely he will give us the answers to this question, as he has with so many other questions. We will try and try again. It will have its hard points, and then it will go smooth and easy again, as the waves of the ocean flow out and in. I have a steady reminder of the rhythm of life, and the flow of time. When one day is stormy, the next is calm. The waves rise up, crash, and retreat. Life ebbs and flows, the good days follow the bad, and time keeps moving forward.

Posted by globalmomma 03:47 Archived in USA Tagged beach waves work life sleep hawaii toddler Comments (0)

The sleep fairy

Today I slept until nearly ten AM.  It is a cathartic and totally disorienting experience for me now to sleep in so late.  I go downstairs and realize half of the day is missing. Where is everybody? What has been happening? I need to be filled in. 

My parents are here in Hawaii for the Thanksgiving holiday, and when here, they almost always take Bodhi in the morning so my husband and I can refuel.  It is just about the nicest gift you can ever give the parent of a young child, to let them sleep in.  

In fact, when being asked about Christmas gifts, all I can think about is more sleep, and pampering.  Like the song about the front teeth, 'all I want for Christmas is a little more sleep'.  

Posted by globalmomma 13:58 Archived in USA Tagged family christmas sleep gift visits Comments (0)

The Momma Funk

sunny 84 °F

If you are anything like me, this funk comes in fits and waves, like a malarian fever. One day you feel great, accomplished, energetic. The next you feel like something the cat dragged in...tired, groggy, heavy, dark. I blame it on our society - the need to do, strive and achieve, doesn't exactly lend itself to a full-time mothering position, where the epitome of your days occasionally lies in getting both baby sheets washed and dried by bedtime.

This week has been one of those moments for me, where the naps just don't seem to click, the days flow together, and the dark purple hue of my eyes reminds me how sleep-deprived I feel. This morning I was wishing I could just stare out the window and drink my cup of coffee in pure meditative silence. Do nothing. Until properly caffeinated. Now it is nearly noon, and I still do not feel awake, but at least during a nap, I have a moment to reflect and brew a cup of tea. This sleep deprivation explains my event obsession with caffeine: from Italian macchiatos to fresh tea leaves to Kona coffee pressed, I have discovered a new fascination with caffeinated beverages. We have been pouring over research for weeks on which espesso machine to purchase, before deciding on a DeLonghi we found on a discount site. Cannot wait until that package arrives and we begin experimenting with morning cappuccinos. When I open my sleepy eyes at sunrise, my first thought is to my toddler standing at the foot of the bed exclaiming, "Momma! Uppa!" (i.e. get up momma! or 'I am waking you up, Momma!'). My second thought is to how quickly I can make coffee or tea and then how fast I can drink it. I think this is the definition of sleep-deprivation that comes with the first few years of motherhood. Even though most nights he is sleeping through the night, the mornings still come surprisingly early.

The funk works as a strong antagonist to getting any work done, or even pursuing interests. Do I feel like surfing today? ugh, too tired. Running? Forget it. Art? Maybe just an iced tea, and reading a magazine on the couch. Soon the productiveness and the desire to be active will return, but for now, I will nap.

Posted by globalmomma 03:27 Archived in USA Tagged sunrise sleep baby kona motherhood tired lazy slump Comments (0)

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