Sunday, January 18, 2009

No sleep for you

On Friday morning I had to drag Rachel out of bed at 8:30 to get her ready for church. That wasn't even the first time I tried to wake her up. She has this amazing skill of sleeping in when she shouldn't and waking up early when she could sleep in.

So on Saturday morning she woke up at 7:00. Of course. I convinced her that, since it wasn't all the way light outside, and since daddy was still sleeping, and since she was kind of grumpy, that she she should go back to sleep. And so she did, until around 8:30.

She took a one hour nap later in the day.

We left to catch a taxi to the airport at 8:00 PM, which happens to be about the time we start trying to put her to bed. We got to the airport around 9:00, made it though security and everything about an hour later and then had about an hour and a half to chill before our flight.

We started out by waiting at our gate, but Rachel soon grew bored of that so she and Andrew went for a walk around the terminal. A few minutes later I got a phone call.

"Pack up our stuff and head to gate 1," Andrew said, "We've found Paradise."

"Ok. What?"

"There's a playground here."

"Sweet! I'll be right over."

Rachel played her little heart out until 11:30 when we were called to board our plane. She was a little tipsy since it was quite a while past her regularly scheduled bedtime, but we figured it was good for her to get her energy out before the 5 hour flight. Ha, ha.

She stayed awake the entire flight, practically. She took a, get this, 15 minute nap. Seriously. I was probably the grumpiest mother alive at 3:00 AM today. Unless you saw how happy I was at 4...or even 5:00. Not a happy camper.

And neither was Rachel.

I haven't figured out how to enforce bedtime while traveling yet. Usually I put Rachel to bed and she just goes, a little begrudgingly. Sometimes she'll cry a little and sometimes she won't make a peep. Sometimes she'll stay up and play with her toys and sometimes she'll go straight to sleep. Truthfully I don't care what she does because she's in bed.

(Family. Isn't it about...[nap]time? Sometimes I think so.)

Anyway, Rachel was in a "you can't make me go to bed" mood once she figured out that if she squawked the lady across the aisle would glare at me and then I would give Rachel anything she wanted, if only she'd be quiet.

(Dear Lady-Across-the-Aisle: I hope you have kids someday. And I hope they scream in enclosed public areas. Loudly. Have fun and good luck.)

My mood was only compounded by the turbulence we experienced midway. Flying makes me queasy. Especially when they are handing out newspapers left and right with pictures of planes in rivers. Especially when my husband points out that, incidentally, we are also flying an Airbus A320. And especially when I've been listening to my own child whine and complain for hours on end while everyone else stares at me. I was pretty sure I was going to lose my dinner. I also thought Rachel would eventually fall asleep.

Neither happened. I don't know if that's lucky or not.

We disembarked at Madrid and, even though it was cold,* I was so, so happy to be there! Madrid is a beautiful city, from what I've seen (basically all I saw was the airport, the metro, and the train station).


They have drinking fountains at the airport. We spent several hours strolling around with Rachel, trying to get her to go to sleep, and trying out all the drinking fountains, while we waited for the metro to open. All the drinking fountains were of equal quality. Go figure. We also used most of the restrooms (because of all the drinking fountains). Those were also very nice. And clean. Something we're really not used to when it comes to public restrooms.

The metro was nice, but a little creepy. Apparently Madrid has a wild night life. And apparently that wild night life carries on until the wee hours of the morning...and all the party-goers who are completely drunk (and obnoxious) take the metro home when it opens, at 6 AM. Wow. There are some crazy people in Madrid, let me just say. I'm not sure we saw any normal ones.

But Rachel slept. And slept. And slept. She slept through the loud drunken song of a bunch of boys hanging from their knees in the metro. She slept through 3 train switches. She slept going up and down escalators and elevators. She slept all through our wait at the train station--completely missing the turtles and tropical gardens. It was nice to have something to do while we waited, other than counting drunk people.


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She slept through most of the train ride to Cordoba, and most of the walk to our hotel. And even when she did wake up she was quite the zombie.


She was pretty sleepy all day, in fact. Quite content to just sit in the stroller and stare at things, which is rather unusual for her.


We went and did touristy stuff all day and she was just...quiet, which was fabulous.

At around 2:40 PM she got a big smile on her face. It's the first smile she gave us all day. She laughed and laughed and laughed for a few minutes at absolutely nothing.


"Are you tired?" Andrew asked her.

She took a deep breath, stopped laughing, and said solemnly, "Yeah..."

"Let's go take a nap, okay?"


And so that was the end of our tourism for today. We were all pretty exhausted and didn't want to wake up from our nap, but I made us so that we'd be able to sleep tonight. Hopefully Rachel learned her lesson and won't try to stay awake for 24 hours ever again. It's not worth it.

So far we love Spain. I don't know if it's just because we came here from Cairo, but everything seems so beautiful. It was mystifying to see the countryside from the train: rolling hills, orchards, old stone walls, and no garbage. I'm so used to seeing sand dunes speckled with trash. Perhaps anything is a good change from that.

Madrid was a bit...much...for our taste. The people seemed too...eccentric...and, frankly, drunk. Perhaps we'd like it better if we saw it sometime other than the early hours of Sunday morning. We'll see.

We absolutely love Cordoba. It's a beautiful little city. I'm so glad we came. Everything smells so pretty here. My lungs needed a good break from the Cairo air.

*Special thanks to the Masons for lending us all their winter gear. You guys rock!


  1. So, um... why are you in Spain? Is this a little holiday, or is there some other reason? Anyway, I'm glad you're having a good time, and that you're finding it beautiful and you finally managed to get Rachel to take a nap 24 hours later! lol

  2. You're ending up in all the places I've always wanted to go. Since I was in elementary, I've wanted to go to Egypt. My want to go to Spain is rather recent though. Still, I'm quite jealous.

  3. Wow, Spain!! What are you guys doing there - is it a break between semesters or something? Glad you were able to get away and that you are enjoying it there!!

  4. Would you officially say that you've travelled the world? Or are there more places on your list?

  5. How long will you guys stay there? Sounds like quite an adventure...especially traveling with a sleepless and unhappy kid...

  6. Rachel's face tells it all. She definitely wears her emotions right out there, so no one has to guess!

  7. Let's see if I can answer all of your questions here...

    @ Heidi -- We're here on a pleasure-research trip. Andalusia has been debated territory between Islam and the Spaniards for quite some time. Andrew is studying Middle East/European influence on each other. We thought it would be interesting to see some things first hand...and have a chance to get out of Egypt.

    @ Annik -- Why Spain? Just curious. It doesn't seem like a lot of people just up and travel to Spain like they do to France or England.

    @ Shaillé -- Yes, Andrew has a 6 week semester break. He starts school the beginning of Februrary.

    @ Diana -- Andrew wants to go to Antarctica. I don't. It's just TDC (too darn cold) for me. Other than that we pretty much want to go everywhere and everywhere. India, China, Australia, and somewhere in South America are the big ones we're missing. We are hoping to spend several more years in Europe and/or the Middle East. We also want to live on the east coast. Oh, and we want to go to Sub-Saharan Africa somewhere, too. So, no. We haven't even come close to "traveling the world," unfortunately.

    @ N&R -- We will be in Spain for 5 nights, 6 days. After that we're off to Morocco (for the same reason we gave to Heidi about Spain). Rachel's mood has improved much since having a good night's rest.

    @ Mom -- I know! No secrets with her! If she's happy and she knows it her face will surely show it!

  8. Nancy some people never, ever, ever want to go to France (Jason), which makes Spain a more appealing choice. Better food than England, better company than France...although apparently they are mostly drunk :) I want to go to Italy. Sorry about the flight. Personally I've decided I never want to fly with a 2 year old again. They are the worst. We have had much better luck though on the flights that are during the day versus night hours. For some reason I always have these glorious ideas about our kids sleeping on the plane but they will not do it at night...absolutely not, so for us it will always have to be day least until we no longer have a two year old. That flight to Jordan for us was the worst. Ezra pretty much complained for eight hours...eight hours when everyone else was asleep. Anyway hopefully the flight home will be better. Have fun in Spain.