Well we made it. Maya’s first international trip and Nesrine’s third. These two girls are seriously amazing. We enjoyed a few days in Paris before heading to Beirut. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you there were moments where Hashem and I seriously wondered what the hell were we thinking. This was usually at 1 am when we were all wide awake in a cramped apartment in Paris. We got an apartment style hotel but I didn’t know it was going to be a split level. My plan was to put Nesrine in the living room and we’d sleep with Maya in the bedroom. We’ve done that before and it works gloriously. Nesrine isn’t bothered by us and we don’t have to tip toe around (despite her sound machine) trying not to make noise once she goes to sleep. Newsflash, even the best sound machine won’t mask the sound of me tripping over a suitcase in the dark. Anyway, the Parisians like a good spiral staircase and that steep, winding monstrosity was smack in between the living room/kitchenfloor and the bedroom/bathroom. Thankfully they had gates but seriously?! My 2 year old is good on stairs but even I was dizzy walking up and down them. Obviously Nesrine was not interested in sleeping alone in the downstairs so we set her crib up in our room. At around 11pm, it was as if some internal alarm went off and both girls woke up instantaneously. Party time! Thanks jet lag! I’ll admit it was a kind of fun break in routine but as the hours wore on (midnight…1am…) and Nesrine was swearing she was going to sleep in our bed, it was clear she was most certainly not able to fall asleep. She was not very happy to go back into her cot but she was too tired to know what was best for her. By night 3 (the night we had to then wake her up at 4am to get to the airport🙄) she finally stopped waking up.
Once we arrived and settled in Beirut her sleep was still a bit restless but when she woke up she would lay in her bed until she fell back to sleep. I think one big factor was the jet lag (it takes about one day per hour time change to adjust) but also she knew she was somewhere new in a big way this trip. She kept calling for me to come reassure her. We talked through our daily routine over and over. She really struggled to adapt to new surroundings this time. She had a lot of fun with her grandparents but I could tell she was out of sorts compared to her usual self. Even after a week or two into being home she’s still a bit uneasy about any small change. We well over jet lag but still just getting back to our usual routine. She’s been giving me a hard time about going out of the house and going to her activities and I’m still trying to fully understand what’s going on. She cries saying she doesn’t want to go. (It’s worth noting she’s never had any bad experiences there). It has been getting progressively better the past week, though, so I hope it will pass completely. It is just that she’s not able to verbalize what complex feelings she’s having and I’m trying to validate her but it’s very difficult when I’m not entirely sure what’s the problem. Any thoughts on this please share.
You might notice that all of this so far is about Nesrine. Well, Maya was just along for the ride as usual. She wouldn’t sleep in her crib at all and just coslept with us but that’s the good thing about traveling with 4 month olds. Since she wasn’t on any real schedule then, she adjusted quickly and easily. Now that we are home we’ve started her sleep training and are working on establishing a nap schedule, but more on that another time.
Apart from toddler stuff, we sure had some great times. In Paris, Nesrine was so excited to see the Eiffel Tower and eat macaroons (yeah cliché American tourists). I found a gorgeous park walking distance from our hotel (Parc Monceau) that we had the most lovely afternoon playing at and walking around and chasing pigeons and ducks. The weather was crisp and perfectly comfortable.
In Beirut, seeing Nesrine play with her Jedo (grandfather) and Teta (grandma) warmed our hearts to the fullest. Hashem’s sister brought her some toys that she had a blast with everyday of the trip! We went out and enjoyed the city a bit, too. It was much warmer there still (70’s-80’s F!) so it was fun to play outside. My in-laws have an amazing balcony on the top floor of their apartment so Nesrine spent most of the days out there playing. I was so thankful she could easily get some fresh air without us having to pack everyone up and go out somewhere. We really enjoyed our time with the family and we miss them a lot!
The trip home was LONG. 10 hours on a plane (1 of 3 flights) long. It was 27 some hours by the time we got home. Phew. But we are here to tell the tale. That’s all the time I have now, but my goal is to start posting again more, even if that means more typos because I don’t have as much time to proofread 😉