I just moved this past week. No matter how you slice it, moving absolutely stinks. Packing is like eating a plate of spaghetti; you eat and eat yet the plate is still full of pasta. When you move with a 4 year old boy, it's not just about the boxes, tape, and filling out change of address forms at the post office.
Prepare for the Move
My son is not a fan of change, so we have been talking to him for months about how we would be moving to a "new" house one day. He would always say very decisively, "No, I'm staying at Luc's house." When we finally found our new place, we took him for a tour. He thought it was like Florida; nice, but he wouldn't want to live there. I knew packing was going to be tough with Luc because he always gets anxious when I pack for a trip. During the packing he's uneasy, irritable, weepy, and clingy. Once we are on the trip; he's fine. I'm not sure how many times I answered the question, "Cuz why you're putting that in the boxes Mommy?" I tried to make it more fun for him by giving him a roll of tape and dispenser and with a permanent marker I wrote his name on it. I let him help me pack boxes and talk about how we would take ALL of our stuff to our new house. I reassured him that we would not leave one thing of ours behind (except the bathtub--he really thought we should take that too).
I rented the movie, "Air Bud." It's about a boy that moves to a new town and befriends a dog that can shoot baskets. The beginning of the movie shows the boy walking into his bare room with a box of stuff. Luc was able to identify with that and see that other boys moved sometimes too. When we toured the house I let him pick out his bedroom of the 3 available. (The house is over a hundred years old and there are no master suites here so it's really not an issue.) I let him decide where his bed would go. The only down side to the movie is that I keep hearing, "I wish I had a real dog... not a stuffed one."
Ease the Transition
In order to make the transition to the new home a little easier for Luc, Grandma helped by sewing him a new quilt with matching curtains in his favorite character; Blues Clues. After we moved in we worked hard at getting Luc's room as close to normal as possible as well as getting rid of boxes in the house. Any unpacked boxes are down in the basement. I wanted Luc to understand that we were not in a hotel: we're staying here.
I kept Luc in the same preschool despite the fact that it's a great deal out of my way. I wanted something to be the same for Luc. He loves his friends and teachers so I didn't want to take that away from him.
Once You Move In
The night before we officially moved in Luc started to sob because he wanted to sleep at the new house and not go back to the old house. We camped out at the new place and I smiled because I knew that I had done all the right things to prepare Luc for the move. He was handling the move beautifully--yeah Mom! Like all my other theories on child rearing, this went right out the window the very next day when I saw Luc start to do a little bathroom "dance." I said, "Luc, the bathroom's right here" and pointed towards the door. He did some more dancing and shook his head saying, "No, no.. I want to go in my old house." I sighed. He had a few accidents and then I guess started to get sick of that and decided that the bathroom here was probably ok; after all, Grandma cleaned the heck out of it.
Don't Be Afraid to Indulge
We had a few nights where we had to sit by his bed for him to fall asleep. I had to hold him a lot and make sure we were always on the same floor at any given moment. He would peek his head into my office throughout the day checking to make sure I was still there even though he was with our sitter Alison. My normally carefree life of running out to the post office, grocery store, and other hotspots in town now included Luc in tow.
Well, it's been a week now and last night Luc walked upstairs to his room by himself, played with his toys for a while, and went to bed just like he used to do in the "old" house.
© Copyright 2002 Claudine M. Jalajas