Six Flights, One Toddler, One Baby: Our Trip to Paris and Beirut

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.

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Even parks in Paris are magical

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!

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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 😉

xoxo

 

Being a Mom of T W O 

Being a mom of one is no easy task. But no one can prepare you for the reality of being a mom of two (especially two under 2). I started this post in hopes of writing about my positive experiences so far, but quite honestly that would be a disservice to you other moms out there. Because the truth is that right now it sucks most of the time. The first few weeks Maya slept a lot (as newborns do) and I thought I had this parent thing in the bag. But then in the last 2 weeks or so she started to be awake more. And fussy more. And wanting to be held more (aka all the time).  Paired with a 23 month old who wants attention but also needs me physically (lifting her into her high chair and crib, helping her on the stairs,  changing her diapers, cutting up her food, etc.) I find myself often feeling overwhelmed when they both need me simultaneously. As a result, I feel nervous and anxious a lot of the time…Will Maya need to nurse when I need to be getting Nesrine in for her nap? After all, a mere 15 minutes is the difference between a long, restful nap and a short, restless one.  And so forth.. Continue reading

Dealing With Toddler Frustration

As we inch closer to 2, N has definitely started acting out in full toddler form, biting me or her toys when she gets upset, throwing herself on the floor, refusals to comply, etc. The usual stuff. It’s so hard to stay calm sometimes even though I’m repeating to myself that she doesn’t understand yet, she’s only 1. What we as moms and dads need to constantly keep reminding ourselves (especially when everything spirals out of control) is that they can’t express themselves yet. Language is still developing and they can’t say exactly what they want, even though they know exactly what they want/need. I tell myself probably daily to put myself in her shoes and imagine how incredibly frustrating it must be to understand the world around you (to some extent at least) but not be able to fully engage in it. Hence the full on meltdowns for reasons often unbeknownst to me. I have been trying out some different preventative techniques in the last months so that her and I can avoid getting to the tantrum point to start with. I want to share these strategies with you mamas of 1-2 year olds out there (I’ve heard 3 and 4 year olds can be just as challenging, but that is a whole different ball game!). They have worked wonders for us, so I hope they can help you, too! 

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Second Time Around: What’s In My Hospital Bag

This week was bag packing week! I unpacked our bags from D.C. and filled up my duffle and diaper bag with all the essentials, which also made me realize that I actually have to give birth in 4-6 weeks yeeee! I am more nervous about this birth experience but also more excited. I feel more prepared since I already know in general what to expect during and after labor, but at the same time that also makes me more anxious! Especially because this time I also have a toddler who is suddenly very attached to me. Last time, I packed a lot of unnecessary items such as my bose music player and an inflatable exercise ball…both of which went untouched, and didn’t bring things like nursing pads! I had a birth playlist all picked out and a printed out birth plan. Ha!! Granted, I had a very quick labor (4 hours) so there just wasn’t the opportunity to even want music, and my birth plan was very open but all of that goes out the window the moment the baby’s heart starts to decelerate. The point: I have lived and learned, and therefore the contents of my hospital bag are quite a bit different than the first time. With that in mind, in this post I will tell you all the lovely things I am putting in my bag (for me and for baby)!  Continue reading

The Importance of Boredom

I often find myself feeling guilty when Nesrine and I are stuck at home for the day. I try to go out with her at least once every day, even if it is simply outside to play or to go to the library. We both seem to always feel better to get out for a bit. Some days that just doesn’t happen…she is home with the nanny while I take care of errands or doctor appointments, or the weather is bad for driving, or I don’t have the energy for it and we just can’t get it together to get out. You mamas out there know exactly what I mean. Mamas-to-be, you will find out soon 🙂 Continue reading

The Ultimate Guide: How To Travel Internationally With Your Tiny Human

So, you want to take an international trip with your little one? YAY! Even with a baby, this is such a valuable and enriching experience for your family. I promise. You aren’t crazy! However, it is a daunting task to travel for 12 hours (and often times much more), as well as pack for an extended stay away from the comforts of home. Let me share with you my borderline crazy, obsessive planning techniques. I truly hope this will empower you to go explore somewhere and to enjoy every moment! 

I will start with travel tips and strategies for planning a long trip with a little one in general, and then go into details of travel broken down by age (baby and toddler). The reason being is because, as you know, a newborn is vastly different from a 5 month old who is vastly different from a 13 month old who is vastly different from a 2 year old. Okay. Let’s take this journey together! Continue reading