Well, we’ve been back from our long trip to Japan for a little over a week now.  And that phrase ‘I need a vacation from vacation’is so true.  Yes, it was very exciting to be in Japan, but we slept on the floor for three weeks and we were ready to sleep in a bed.  And after the looong flight home (which was still rough, but slightly better than the way there), we were hoping Ellie would be excited to sleep in her own crib too.

Just as it was when we got to Japan, our first concern was getting Ellie back on a sleep schedule.  Our return flight landed in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday and even though she only had maybe three hours of sleep on the plane, we wanted her to stay awake until bed time.  If we could all make it to 7pm it would be a good start towards normalcy.

When we got home, Ellie roared through the front door ecstatic to be home.  To declare her space again and to see her toys.  “I know this place!  Oh look!  My blocks!  I missed these!”  She immediately made herself at home.  And to welcome us back, my mom had cleaned the house and made a big batch of beef stew so I didn’t have to worry about cooking.  Wow, that was nice!  I made that beef stew last all week, too.  I declared the kitchen closed until further notice.  Not knowing how Ellie was going to be, I had no desire to even attempt cooking.  Plus, after all the food and donuts I ate over the last three weeks I don’t think not having a full meal for dinner would kill us.  My stomach had enough in reserve to last a few days.

Just as Ellie’s excitement for being home and seeing my mom perked her up, unpacking and sharing stories with my folks did the same for us.  But only for a little while.  Fortunately my mom agreed to stay for awhile to keep Ellie entertained (and awake) while we got ourselves situated.  But by 6:30pm we were so tired.  We were barely keeping our eyes open.  But we thought, “only 30 more minutes.”  But my mom had to remind us of the time change.  It was actually 5:30pm.  Ugh!  OF ALL THE DAYS TO GAIN AN HOUR!

Somehow we managed to make it to 7pm.  I put Ellie to bed, and by “putting her to bed,” I mean we both passed out on her bedroom floor.  I remember bringing her upstairs, putting her pajamas on, and laying on the floor with her.  The next thing I know, I was mysteriously waking up in my bed at midnight not knowing how I got there.  And then realizing I was hearing Ellie wide awake through her baby monitor.  Oh boy.  Since Aya had to go to work in the morning, it was my duty to handle the situation.  I went to get her and brought her downstairs.  She was hungry and specifically requested pizza.  “Peeja!” she shouted while pointing at the pizza box on the kitchen counter.  Until then, she had never actually said the word “pizza” before.  We were back in the USA weren’t we?  No more seaweed cravings for her, she wanted pizza.

After her midnight dinner, we were back in her room.  But she was not tired and did not want to go back in her crib.  I did manage to convince her to lay down on the floor, but she wanted me to lay down on the floor with her.  The floor!  I had just spent three weeks on the floor.  I thought I was done with this.  She fell asleep somewhere between 2 and 3am, but woke up for the day at 5am.  It’s gonna be a long week.

But to my surprise, Ellie actually did really well adjusting back.  I knew things were going to be okay when on Tuesday she fell asleep at 3pm…  and didn’t wake up until 7am the next morning!   Me being super easy on her with everything helped too.  I decided I would do whatever she wanted for the first week back.  I’d feed her whatever she wanted.  If she wanted me to sleep on the floor I would.  If she wanted TV on, we’d watch whatever she wanted and for as long as she wanted.  I now can probably recite every Yo Gabba Gabba song word for word.  I was a total softie.  I had to cut some slack for myself too, as I was dealing with jet lag as well.  During one of her tired freak outs I even offered her candy.  My candy.  I know that was a slippery slope but she didn’t like it anyway.  Good, because I didn’t want to share anyway.

I think all my easy going efforts worked because by Wednesday she was napping regularly and going to bed on time.  However, Aya and I were still falling asleep with Ellie.  But eventually we’ve managed to stay up past 8pm and after a week, I finally made it back in the kitchen to actually cook something other than scrambled eggs.  And to celebrate being back in the US, I made homemade mac n cheese.

Nothing says America like mac n cheese.  It sure is good to be back home.

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