“Mama, we go HOME.”
“We are home, Ellie, this is our home now.”
“No, Mama, dis is new house, not home. I wanna go HOME now!”
“Our stuff isn’t there anymore, sweetpea, it’s here in this house. Your bed is here, your toys are here, Mama and Daddy and Benjamin are here. See?”
“I wanna go home.”
“This is where we live now, bunny.”
“No, thank you. It NOT.”
“Mama, we going home now?”
“Yes, we’re going to the new house. That’s our home.”
“No!” *pouting, tears*
We take her to the old house to show her that nothing is there anymore. Then we go home.
I turn left at the light onto our new street. Ellie is in the back seat clutching her doll.
“Mama, we go to the new house now?”
“Yep, we’re going to the new house now.”
It was unprecedented. The 2-year-old was suddenly, inexplicably able to triumph over her typical rigid and maladaptive nature, adjusting to the new house in only three days. Benjamin did an equally good job. I’d love to take credit and write something profound about how I leveraged the concepts of consistent, compassionate parenting in order to effectively manage change in my children’s lives – but really, they did a good job all on their own with little input from me. The Lesson: Sometimes if you get out of your kids’ way and stop talking so much, things just fall into place.
(Now that I’ve said that, it’s certain that the first thing Benjamin will bring up to his future therapist is the time he was ripped away from the only home he ever knew, and everyone acted like it was no big freakin’ deal. Unfeeling monsters! Passive aggressive manipulators! Emotionally numbed-out zombies who eat children’s tender beating hearts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!)
Speaking of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I unpacked the kitchen first. Because BY GOD, WE HAVE TO EAT. Clothes? Medicine? Toiletry items? Books? Ppppffffftttt. I still haven’t unpacked all of that stuff. But all the food is right where I can find it.
Also unpacked and/or installed: televisions, blinds, wireless Internet, pet supplies, and sod. I’d love it if we were the kind of people who rushed to unpack their art studio first thing, or their cherished world-travel memorabilia, or even their home gym equipment…but alas, we are not those people. We are people who unpack the food and televisions first, and race to ensure that we have blinds up so the children sleep as long as possible in the morning.
I’ve given myself until the end of next weekend to get all of the rest of the boxes unpacked. The main motivation is that I’m tiring of conversations following this general template:
“Have you seen my _________?” (Fill in anything, here. Shampoo. Book. Health-sustaining medication. Cat.)
“No. Did you look in the box in the dining room?”
“The one on the top? Or maybe it’s in the box in the coat closet.”
“No, I looked there. That box is full of cleaning supplies and toddler clothes.”
“Oh. Well, there’s a box of Christmas decorations in the half bath. It could’ve gotten thrown in there.”
“Christmas decorations in the half bath?”
“Yeah. I was carrying the box, and that’s where I got tired.”
“I’ll just go look in the garage. There are tons of boxes in there, still.”
“Good idea. Maybe someday we’ll actually be able to park a car in there!”
Or a bike, at least.
As usual, I’m being slightly hyperbolous. It’s not really that bad. There are not any boxes in the half bath (anymore). We are not missing the cat. Even now, there is room to park a bike in the garage. But anyone who has moved recently knows what I’m talking about. It’s like living in a convoluted cardboard maze. And no matter how carefully you label the boxes (oh, if only I’d labeled carefully), there is just no way to know where everything is until you’ve unpacked every last one of them.
Given my history, that will probably occur sometime around 2015.