Treats that aren’t television and other revelations

Our first flight, from Montreal to Tokyo, was blissfully relaxing; I got to doze and watch as many films as I liked. I realise now that I reached this beatific state by allowing the kids to also watch as much television as they liked. I.e. for the entire duration of the flight. When we arrived at Narita about ten minutes after our connecting flight departed, and then got transferred across Tokyo to Haneda to catch a flight scheduled six hours later, the fallacy of this tactic was revealed – two sleep-deprived, squeaking, squalling hellions who remained so all the way through to Singapore at seven the next morning. (that would be 27 hours after takeoff in Montreal, or 32 hours after we set off for the airport). This was not restful.

Still, my wife and I showered the girls and walked them to school, leaving them to be occupied and entertained for the day. I retreated to the office and deleted emails.

When I returned home this evening, both girls were initially welcoming, but my wife inadvertently promised La Serpiente the treat of television, as long as she could stay awake until her 7pm bedtime. (Bear in mind by this point La Serpiente had successfully avoided almost all sleep for around 42 hours.) Normally, the girls get less than 30 minutes of TV per day (often none at all). 20 hours on the plane was more than a month’s worth, so I suggested ice cream as an alternative and walked both girls out.

Ice cream was not an alternative. La Serpiente screamed all the way there. La Serpiente screamed throughout our time at the ice cream parlour. And La Serpiente screamed all the way home too. The constant refrain of "I want my Mummy" was getting to be a bit much. Destroyer had had a nap at school so was admirably sanguine about the whole business, just eating ice cream while La Serpiente went purple in the face and screamed so hard I thought she would puke.

This did mean, of course, that once we got home and La Serpiente was encouraged to stop screaming, she was asleep in five minutes, without even a bedtime story. Destroyer swiftly followed suit, as did my wife, and I went off to climb.

My legs are disgusting, swollen tree trunks after all the flying, and I figured exercise might do me good.

What was revealed to me was that I need to rest more. After only two climbing sessions in the past fortnight, and precious little other exercise, I stormed the wall. Problems I would have struggled with with infuriatingly easy, all the way to 14. I only stopped because a callus frayed and tore off, signifying I should have been to work with my pumice stone to get rid of some of the too-dead dead skin. Still, the difference made by not being zonked from back to back climbing sessions for the last week (as before I went away) was startling. I thought I’d come back a mess, I came back fresh.

That’s something to remember for the future. Or I just need sleep deprivation to function well. Yeah, I’m sure that’s right.

Now, I feel, it might just be a good time to go to sleep…

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