Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jet-lag meet our children. Children we would like you to meet Jet-lag.

First off, the kids did an amazing job on the long flight. Our flight left Dallas at about 4:20pm Dallas time. The kids played rather nicely during the first hour or so until we were served dinner. At the end of the meal, Dawn and I gave all the kids a little happy pill. :) While the kids twisted their faces at the nasty tasting pill, we (the caring, kind-hearted parents) assured them that it would make them feel better during the flight. This was partly true, but we all know the REAL purpose of the medicine is much more sinister. Quite pleased with ourselves, we watched the children's eyes drooping as the yawning began. We carefully arranged them so that they could all spread out either on the floor or on the seat. As the snoring commenced, Dawn and I grinned at each other knowingly and closed our eyes. To our utter surprise the girls slept all the way till they served breakfast about an hour before landing and Jacob slept all the way till we landed.

Parents - 1; Kids - 0!!!

Now, we Christians aren't supposed to believe in karma, right? Hmm. After the complete success of our medicinal malfeasance, our false sense of security surged.

It all started when the flight attendants began to serve us breakfast, Isabel looked at me funny and said, "Breakfast? I'm not hungry for breakfast, we just ate dinner." (which in fact we did less than 4 hours ago.) while Madeline pooched her lips out (doing what we call her duck lips). I tried my best to explain that issues of global positioning and the effects of crossing multiple time zones, but she gave me the exact look she gave to the German flight attendants when they spoke German to her (we flew Lufthansa... the German Airlines). It wasn't until later that I would realize that the eating problems would be the least of our worries. The kids ate without much fuss and the rest of the trip went rather well.

Parents - 2; Kids - 0. Not too shabby, eh?

We finally got to our new/temporary apartment about 2:00pm Prague time (PT)... or 7:00am the next morning Dallas time (DT). By this point the happy veneer was beginning to break down and the children were starting to show signs of fatigue. Ok, for the readers who don't have children, children are like a car's break pads. When they are fresh everything runs pretty smooth. But, when the pads start to wear down, they let you know by emitting this annoying, high-pitched, teeth grinding, blood coming out of my ears, constant squeal! :) But wait, we are in our apartment! We have food and beds!!! Problem solved.

We first start out with a short, controlled, 1 hour nap. At 5:00pm PT (or 10:00am DT), we have dinner. The kids eat a little, but complain that they aren't hungry. Hmm. So, I make another run at explaining why we need to eat even though we aren't hungry. "It helps reset the biochemical mechanism that controls when you get hungry and when you get sleepy," I say. "Uh, but we're not hungry for dinner," they say. "EAT," I say. As Dawn gets the kids ready for bed, I scrape the uneaten food off the kids' plates.

Parents - 2; Kids - 1!!! Uh... hmm.

At this point, our brains are pretty mushy from fatigue, but we manage to discuss the options for bedtime. We decide that 9:00pm PT (or 2:00pm DT) would be good to put the kids in bed. Everything runs sorta smooth and the kids go to sleep. Done. Dawn took some medicine to help her sleep and went to bed, while I worked for a few more hours on the internet connection. As I get into bed, I hear Jacob. Evidently, Jacob's biochemical clock thought this was only his afternoon nap and that it was time to wake up. Jacob, seeing the pitch-blackness in the room, starts to cry. Now, we have all three children in one room. Hey look. We're all awake... uh, all except Dawn.

Parents - 2; Kids 2!!! What's happening!

I do my best at calming them down, but to no avail. It is now about 12:00am PT (5:00pm DT - dinner time). So, guess what. They're all hungry now. At this point, my brain has passed mushy and moved on to gushy! I struggle to maintain control as Mr. Hyde knocks at the door. I pat, I stroke, I even SING!!! Nothing.

AH HA! The jet-lag cocktail!!! I rush to the kitchen and fumble around for a minute. Upon my return, I have crackers, peanut m&ms, Tang, and a Dramamine chaser in hand. The children sing my praises at the veritable smorgasbord I present them. As they happily munched, I slipped in the sleepy medicine. The children bounced around for another 30 mins. before the medicine started to work. Finally, about 1:30am PT (or 6:30pm DT) sleep catches up to the children. I drag myself to bed after a few crackers, m&ms, Tang, and Dramamine. Hey, I've got a biochemical clock too!

Parents - 2; Kids 3!!! The darkness closes in!

The next morning... uh... afternoon, Dawn (happy as a chipmunk after her full night of sleep) comes in the room and rousts me out of bed. I look at the clock thinking that it must be like 6:00am!!! Ok, so it was actually 11:00am PT. My biochemical clock is telling me that is it 4:00am DT. We then burst into the kids room and happily wake them up. Vengeance is ours! (Ok, it was more like, "Time to get up sweetie," but that doesn't sounds as cool. Anyway.)

Wanting to get over the first day jitters, we start the day off with a simple scouting trip around our block (or should I say bloc! HA.). After taking at least 30 mins to get all of the coats, hats, gloves, scarfs, boots, etc. on the kids, we set foot on... The Outside! For whatever reason, I was pretty nervous. I felt like every was watching us... they weren't, but you know. Up until now, the kids had been hounding us to take them outside to play in the snow. So we did. After they remembered that snow is cold, we agreed it was time to go back inside, and so began the 30 mins of taking off the coats, hats, gloves, scarfs, boots, etc. 1.5 hours for 30 mins outside!. Dinner time... we're not hungry. And so it continued. Then came bedtime. Learning from our tactical error the night before, we gave them Dramamine as soon as we put on their jammies. At 9:00pm PT we laid them down and soon after they were asleep.

Parents - 3; Kids 3. Tie! HA!

The next morning they woke up at 8:00am PT and we were feeling rather proud that we had weathered jet-lag so well. Everything seemed to be going our way. We even had visions of reprogramming the kids normal waking-up time. Again, for those who don't have children... an illustration. Kids are like break pads... and like roosters! No need for an alarm clock with a 2-year old that wakes up at 6:30am sharp every morning.

The funny thing about Dramamine – it seems kids can become immune to the stuff. That night and the next night have kinda blurred together into one. (Reminds me of the time when I had my endoscopy done. They used conscious sedation on me. Evidently, I was awake and talking, but there are a few days there that I don't remember.) I do remember giving the kids the medicine and thinking... just wait 30 mins for it to start working. 120 mins later and the kids are still awake.

Parents - 1 (minus 2 points for Dramamine penalty); Kids 4. We were robbed!!!

The thing that panicked me was that it was Saturday night and language school started the very next Monday morning at 9:00am. This had to get better. And it did. Sunday night went much better and the next week ran very smoothly. We even thought we had been successful at reprogramming Jacob. He slept until 8:00am every morning the whole week... yeah every morning except for Saturday. 6:30am!!! ARRRRGGG!

Parents - 0 (minus 1 point for Reprogramming penalty); Kids 5. Game over. Good game. Good game.

Oh well. Things are returning to normal. I guess that is appropriate. Life is like that – even after going through such tremendous changes and turmoil in our lives by moving to Europe, it all still boils down to a mundane, day-to-day routine. This is the key thing that I know I always seem to miss... a life well lived is not usually about the grandiose or noteworthy, but about the mundane. How we choose to live day-to-day is what really matters. We all know about how great God used Noah to build the ark and rebuild humanity, but we pass over the fact that he had pleased God for over 500 years before he even started building the ark.

Prayer Request:
  • That we honor God in the mundane.
  • That a schooling situation becomes available for Isabel.
  • Wisdom and discernment with our next decision of whether to stay in Prague or not.

  • Language school is going well and the kids' babysitter is great.
  • We have gotten quite good at the tram and metro system.


Rod said...

We love hearing about your fun.. We are praying for you... Rod

Josh 1:5

Paige said...

Took me about 5 days to get over the jet-lag. :-(
Glad to hear things are going well.
I miss you guys!

Seth, Jen, Hannah, and Cailyn said...

AWESOME story! We were counting on you and you came through...go ahead an add a couple more points back up for yourselves. Parents catch at least a 3 point gimme!


John H said...

You forgot your cat. He is crated, on the way, and will be with you soon.

Philip said...

Ha. John... I don't remember giving you our address here.:)

Foxpaw said...

Reminds me of our first night in Germany. Our BSC said "Y'all get a good nights sleep, I'll be back tomorrow around 12 (noon) with lunch stuff for you."

I hardly get my head on the pillow and fall asleep (I think) and the door buzzes "who is that, dropping by in the middle of the night?!?". It's the BSC. It's now 12:30 (the next day) and I'd slept over 14 hours. I was tot-mude! (Dead tired, auf Deutsch).

So is it possible that Prague is not the final destination? hmmmm

personman said...

What adventures! Wow. That put a smile right on my face I tell you what. God Bless you King Family.

Shannon said...

Welcome back to Europe. We are glad to have you back and look forward to working with you in the future. We also look forward to meeting you guys.

Shannon Musselman in Düsseldorf