Worst Night of My Life: Swiss Edition

 In Europe, Travel Tales

Tears rolled down my face. I paced back and forth, bouncing, rocking, making annoying shushing sounds over and over again.

Nothing was working. My throat was dry and I was going hoarse. I was ready to give up.

The baby was not going to go to sleep.

Bern, Switzerland – where our journey began

 

Our journey begins

The night we arrived in Bern, Switzerland, the first stop on our European adventure in October, was rough. That’s a little too mild. It was probably one of my worst nights ever and definitely on my “Top 5 Nights From Hell” list with the kids.

Our flight from Seattle to London was seamless. Well unless you count that nigh terror Dek had in the middle of the 2 hours of sleep he got during the 9-hour flight. The connecting flight to Zurich passed quickly. It was when we finally got to Zurich 12+ hours later (keep in mind we left Seattle at 6:45pm and Dek never got a nap that day) that I started to lose it.

I couldn’t get the pay phones to work. I needed to call my friend Tara to let her know what train we would be on. My brain was not functioning enough to get a SIM card for my unlocked cell phone. I hopped on the train to Bern and just prayed I’d find a pay phone that worked once we arrived.

Divine intervention

In Bern the pay phone still would not work for me.

I knew where to catch my next train; I just didn’t know what to do once I got off of the train in Tara’s village.

In my moment of desperation, and semi-lucidity, I decided to ask the man in the information booth if he could call my friend for me. I didn’t know what else to do.

Meanwhile, heaven had been smiling down on me and the kids were about to reach sainthood with their behavior.

Ty was fast asleep in the baby carrier. Dek knew that mommy had reached her limit. He listened when I told him not to move, and sat in the stroller when I asked him.

I bent over to grab my bag and make my way to the information desk. I knew the water works were coming. My vision was getting blurry with unshed tears.

Great. Just great.

As I stood back up I watched my friend Tara walked right past me.

What was she doing there I asked?!

She looked at me like I had lost my mind. She reminded me that she said she would meet me at my train from Zurich and take me the rest of the way to her village.

I had no recollection on this. I let a few tears fall out.

Exhausted, I was just grateful to have someone take care of me at that point in our journey. I’d been “on” with the kids for so long I just couldn’t smile and pretend it was all OK anymore. I didn’t want to think.

Finally I didn’t have to anymore, at least not for a few hours.

When enough is enough

With our train journey complete we walked up to Tara’s apartment building. All Dek had to do was walk down 6 steps to her front door so I could carry the stroller down. That was it.

This was the final straw for Dek. He was beyond exhausted. He told me he just wanted to go home.

My heart sank. We had come so far and now all he wanted was his own bed and toys. He had no idea we were at the beginning of a 5-week journey that would have him moving to a new bed almost every week.

Somehow with Ty strapped in the baby carrier I managed to pick Dek up and get him down the steps and up to Tara’s apartment.

Dek perk up as soon as we walked into the door and saw Tara’s little girl and all her toys.

Cute isn’t he? Not so happy at 3am our first night though.

Let the crying marathon begin

Once we were all fed and  bathed with fresh pajamas it was time to settle in for the night.

Now I blocked out part of the night so I may be missing a few details, but here is the general gist.

Ty cried. A lot. Dek cried. A lot. The boys spent the night playing a game of tag.

We were sharing a small room. I was in a twin bed, Ty was in a crib next to me, and Dek was on a mattress on the floor a few feet away.

Ty got our night started off.

He woke up to eat. He fussed at me like he usually does, but I figured he would go back to sleep. I was very, very wrong.

Ty continued to fuss off and on for hours. I would finally get him to sleep and Dek would wake up crying, which of course would wake up Ty.

I bounced, rocked, hugged, did squats, lunges, whatever movement I could to try to get Ty to be quiet, stop waking up the house and just go to sleep.

Nothing worked.

Well when nothing works you generally just have to give it up. If the boys were going to cry than so was I.

I cried on Ty. I cried on Dek. We all had one big crying fest together. It didn’t really make me feel better, but it was nice to get a little of that liquid stress out.

Finally, after I had gotten Dek to sleep I laid down in my bed with Ty on top of me. I figured if he was going to cry either way I might as well stop pacing and rest for a moment. After much fussing, Ty finally, FINALLY fell asleep. And so did I.

Tara swings with her daughter at the nearby playground the morning after we arrive

Dawn of a new day

The next morning I was scared to show my face in the living room. Tara had to have been up all night too. My boys were not quiet. My only saving grace was that I never her daughter crying, which means she slept through the night and wasn’t bothered by us.

I gathered up my gumption and entered the living room.

Tara just gave me a knowing smile only another mom who had lived through more than her fair share of rough nights could give. She assured me that although she was up her boyfriend was not and went off to work just fine.

Dek and her daughter launched right into playing that morning. I had a strong cup of tea to perk myself up.

We started a new day.

It would not be perfect, but every night did get better until Ty was back on track with his usual sleep routine. Dek quickly went back to sleeping through the night again.

Dek never did ask to go home after that first night. He would ask to go back to the house, but by the end for 5 weeks I had no idea what house he wanted to go back to. I’m not sure he did either.

That first night is still hard to digest when I look back on it. I knew the transition would not be easy, especially since I would be doing it on my own with the 2 boys. It was worse than I ever anticipated, but we survived. We made it through.

I would do it all over again to experience the weeks of discovery we later had.

Sometimes a few tears are worth it.

Keryn Means
Keryn is the founder and editor-in-chief of Walking on Travels, an award-winning site that gives hope to today’s active parents who don’t want to stop their lives; they simply bring their kids along for the ride. Keryn utilizes her project management background, along with a masters degree in journalism and an undergrad degree in photography to the team to create dynamic content and a vision that keeps up with the latest technology and trends. You can find Keryn dragging her 2 boys around the DC area most days and across the globe several times a year. Follow along on their adventures on Instagram and Pinterest.
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Showing 8 comments
  • Mom
    Reply

    I’m glad I didn’t know about this..but thanks for being honest! I’m sure it will give courage to many others to try new adventures.

  • Cam @ Traveling Canucks
    Reply

    Ah yes, the joys of baby jet lag! No pain, no gain… right? 🙂

  • Living Outside of the Box
    Reply

    Liquid stress…I love that description! Yes, I can totally sympathize. That overseas flight is a tough one…and without 2 extra hands from a hubby, I’m glad you survived (not sure I would have…or maybe I’m not sure my kids would have?!)!!

  • Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    Reply

    You’re one brave lady! I don’t know many mothers who would tackle what you did with two little kids. A few bad nights? Well that’s OK. I’d take that over being stuck at home any day!!!

  • Tracey - Life Changing Year
    Reply

    Urggghh!!! You did so well…there’s nothing worse than a child who won’t be comforted no matter what you do! And kudos to Tara for taking it so well too!!

  • Lisa wood
    Reply

    Gosh you are so brave! so glad that you all were able to settle a bit more after your first night – and imagine the fun you can have at your boys 21st Birthday Party…telling all their friends about “The time they spent the night keeping Mum awake” 🙂
    Travel is worth it in the end. Such a great education they are getting.

  • Vacation Wanderer
    Reply

    WOW! Lugging a pack or bag is difficult enough when traveling! I give you HUGE kudos for your strength in traveling with children. I love kids, so please don’t misunderstand. 🙂

  • Reply

    I can feel the frustration! Oh gosh, this brings me back to the first night I had the happy meal home from the hospital. She wasn’t pooping on her own and it was just too much for me. I was crying and she was crying and i couldnt do anything.

    I feel like crying while reading this post!

    Congratulations on surviving it! I get through times like this by thinking that I will laugh about this in the morning — or at the time when the exhaustion has past 😛

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