Let Sleeping Babies Lie: getting a baby over jet lag

Why take the bus when you can walk on a day as glorious as this?

Once we solved our immediate problems in our temporary housing situation, our number one challenge on arriving in Geneva was trying to get a one year old over an eight-hour jet lag. It has been rough. X has been up all hours of the night. There were times, when he was fully awake and playing at three am that I was not sure how I was going to get through it. To be honest, I’m not sure how much of X’s lack of sleeping had to do with jet lag (although it certainly isn’t helping!) and how much was him just pushing back at us for putting him through so much. The past few months have been so tumultuous, I don’t really blame him. His sleeping hasn’t been great since the last time Z went to the Middle East, four months ago, and has been getting progressively worse to the point that he’ll only sleep in bed with us.

But having a baby in bed with you kind of sucks, especially when he likes to sleep horizontally between you to and routinely dig his bony little feet into you while he sleeps, and gets up about once an hour to scream or potentially slap you in the face. So our predominant question is how do you get a fussy baby over jet lag?

My answer was to get him up at seven in the morning, no matter what. We couldn’t control when he went to sleep, but we could control when he woke, so we went with that. It was painful for all involved. This is an unprecedented sight:


I don’t think X has ever fallen asleep without lots of encouragement, lots of milk, and, let’s face it, a lot of crying. He looks so peaceful here. This is like getting the shot of some rare wildlife, my little X sleeping. He was just so exhausted from getting about two hours of sleep overall that he just drifted off hanging off the couch. If I try to get a picture of him in his crib, he usually wakes up like a shotgun was fired and immediately starts screaming.

Our other strategy has been to go back to our sleep training and letting him cry it out. It sucks so much, but the results are undeniable. Six days into our move to Geneva and the little guy slept through the night. It was the most glorious seven and a half hours I’ve had in a long time. I woke up all disoriented this morning, wondering why I felt so comfortable and rested. In part his sleeping the night might have to do with our strategy, but in part it just might be consistency. After six nights here, this is the longest we’ve spent in one place in over a month. It’s kind of sad when you think of it like that. Poor little man just wants a routine! Luckily we’re finally able to give him one.

My routine nowadays consists of going to the park and the grocery store pretty much everyday, in between naps. X still doesn’t do much in the park other than look around. And pick things up. He might be a collector, because he finds very important pieces of cedar chips and rocks that have to be taken with us. Or eaten, I’ve had to stop that a couple of times.

Our fridge situation isn’t solved but we have temporary relief in the form of … a beer fridge. It’s not ideal – the fridge is obviously small, and the living room lights have to remain on all the time to keep the power working, but at least it’s better than this:



Our fridge was really broken – so much so that there’s now only a gaping hole in the kitchen. Hopefully we’ll get a real fridge soon. Until then, this little guy in our living room is keeping our milk and beer cold, so everyone is happy.

I’ve been doing a bunch of stuff to get settled in Geneva as well. We went to immigration yesterday to get fingerprinted for our work permits. Also I opened a Swiss bank account (ooh, fancy!) This morning we met with our relocation agent to talk about neighbourhoods to check out. It will be fun to have a look around at all the nearby villages, which is where I think we’ll end up. I also bought a monthly bus pass, then completely ignored it and walked home, because it’s absolutely beautiful out. I caved and picked up a Starbucks on the way. I was asked my name and told the barrista: Lauren. I don’t know why I find this so funny, but it reminded me of How I Met Your Mother when Barney became Swarley, but apparently my new Genevois name is: Dorian. Okay, I guess?


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