5 August 2013

Jet Lagging. With Babies.

We got back to Kinshasa a few days ago and the first night everyone slept perfectly. We had beat jet lag. We were back in our normal routine. We were proud of ourselves. So much so that I bragged to our neighbors that jet lag is totally psychological and the proof is our children who we just put to bed, tell them it's time to sleep and they do it.

Then last night came. Again Charlotte and Ani went to bed without a problem. Adam and I were wide awake. The rest of the night went like this:

9:30- Toss. Turn. Toss. Turn. Yell at Adam for doing the same.

10:45- Stare at the ceiling. Contemplate my future. What am I doing with my life? How many days until Christmas vacation? Can't sleep.

11:00- The future is boring. Finally fall asleep.

11:06- Receive sad text message from Jill and Johan. They've just returned to Congo. They're back home, but locked out of their house.

11:07- Reply with short, unhelpful message.

11:07- Feel like bad neighbors/friends. Reply with more optimistic message offering our apartment for them to crash for the night.

11:10- Pray they don't crash our apartment and wake our children.

11:15- The children wake up anyway on their own. Charlotte comes into our room to confirm Papa is making pancakes in the morning. Yes Charlotte, we'll make pancakes.

11:16- This is when I send Adam a telepathic message to stop talking to her. Do not wake up her brain. I have a theory that when our children wake up in the night, if we don't look them in the eye or engage them in conversation they will fall back asleep.

11:17- She then asks, "Pancakes cut in squares?" Yes. "With syrup?" Yes. She's obviously been thinking about her future too. Her brain is totally awake. There's no going back.

11:25- Ani starts screaming. She joins us in our bed. There we are. All 4 of us tossing and turning. Wide awake.

11:45- Charlotte strokes Ani's cheek to help her fall asleep. She gets a little too close to Ani's mouth and she bites her finger. Hard. Charlotte's feelings are hurt more than her finger. She cries. Adam tries to explain intentions vs. feelings to Charlotte.

11:46- Adam, stop talking. Do not engage her brain!

12:30- Ani starts plucking hairs out of my head one at a time. She's doing a pretty good job. People have told me she has good fine motor skills, now I understand. I completely ignore her and say nothing. This is how strongly I believe in my no-brain-engagement theory. She keeps plucking away.

12:45- Charlotte whispers, "Mama?" Um, hmm. "Mama, do you remember the Congo?" Yep, sure do.

Welcome Home. Photo by Jill.


  1. Trying not to laugh out loud while reading then when I clearly should be paying attention to the PS session I'm in right now. Jet lag in Congo is real, even for your beautiful babies who almost fell asleep on the tire swing with me yesterday afternoon.

  2. just discovered your blog - love it. i grew up an expat kid of teachers at the intl school bankgok and now live in lubumbashi. while not a (yet?) a mama, your blog gets me on lots of levels... the contrasting cultures through the eyes of an adult AND a kid, the quirky exhausting addicting energy of DRC... it's funny to feel at home in someone else's writing but i think that's about as close as i can describe it. so happy i found this!

    1. Thanks Bryna! That's the best compliment ever. If you're ever in Kinshasa. Let us know.

  3. Love it. Sorry that it was such a sleepless night! But you will get in the swing of things I am am sure!

  4. Wauw, I just discovered your blog and it is so inspiring. Very very interesting. I a following you now:)

  5. As a mama to one toddler and a one month old, I love strapping them into their carseats, grabbing some coffee at a drive thru and having some precious moments alone with my thoughts. Car dates are wonderful too. Our favorite is to put on NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. We have such a good time laughing and reconnecting with each other!

    Also my newborn was born 4 short minutes after getting to the hospital, so I totally get your experience! I was such a basketcase thinking we were going to have our own in-car labor experience!!


  6. Love this post. Hope it's all coming back together now and the sleep is beautiful!


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