Apparently I have to leave Seattle and fly four hours in order to have a truly sleepless night.
Who would've thought?!
For the next 10 days I am traveling with my two girls - by myself - with a stop first in Chicago to see my girl Chitown Momma and her two adorable nuggets and then onto Alton to spend time with my family.
So the trip through the airport and security (where the new rule is babies must be out of carriers, btw) and onboard the flight for 4+ hours ... all of that was uneventful. Natalie was so cooperative. Charlotte took a good snooze. The DVD player battery lasted through all of Curious George and about 30 minutes into Tinkerbell. Even the pick-up - despite a temporarily lost vehicle (those parking garages can be so confusing!) and a very hungry 11-month old - went well. The trip was off to a great start.
To make the experience even more enjoyable (and deceptively easy), both girls went right to sleep - NHV in the same room with her buddy Benjamin and CJV in "my" room. AND Chitown Momma and I got to enjoy two uninterrupted hours of red-wine-sipping and catching up. Good stuff, right?
I climbed into bed at 11:30 and listened to the plethora of city sounds outside the windows. Cars zooming past, buses screeching to a stop, conversations of the people walking by, the wind off the lake rattling the windows, ... all of this on the third floor, mind you. Eventually it lulled me to sleep until Charlotte woke me up at 2:30 ready for some milk. I snuggled her and nursed her in bed. Out of nowhere I got this weird mommy-tuition that Natalie needed me. To confirm this feeling, I heard her voice call out.
I carried a now sleeping (and full-bellied) Charlotte down the hall with me, opened the door where Natalie was sleeping and saw her sitting up in bed with this very confused look on her face. A look like, "Where in the world am I?" Waking up in a strange place is disorienting enough for an adult, and I could tell she was feeling upset. I quietly calmed her and climbed in next to her on the futon. The three of us - me and my girls - laid there for a while; I rubbed Natalie's back and waked a peaceful Charlotte sleeping. And then Natalie starting chatting - loudly, which woke up her baby sister and I feared would do the same to Benjamin. The three of us made the trek back down the hallway and got into my bed.
There was NO sleep after that point. From 2:30 am - when Charlotte woke to nurse and Natalie woke to be soothed - until almost 7:00 am, the three of us did not sleep. Bless Chitown Momma who helped out from about 4:00 on ... putting Natalie in bed with her, and then singing and rocking Charlotte - when Natalie refused to cooperate. None of our efforts payed off. I tried everything I could think of.
At 6:00 am - as the sun began peeking over the horizon - we climbed into Chitown Momma's bed. Natalie tried for an hour to fall asleep but finally gave up and went to play with Laurie and her two kiddos - who were awake for the day after a restful night's sleep. Charlotte and I slept until 9:00 and then joined the party.
Both girls are napping now - thankfully. Here's hoping that our second night in Chicago is not sleepless!
3 hours ago