Archives for the month of: August, 2016

Let me say this first: I should be packing. Tomorrow is the big day – finally! – and we’ll be moving. That overstates it, really: we’ll make the first big step in moving and we’ll sleep in the house tomorrow night. The big stuff goes; lots of small stuff is already in our storage/shipping container, and lots more small stuff will trickle in over the next week. We’ll figure out what to do with the big things that don’t fit (seeing as how we’re moving into a partially renovated work-in-progress house that’s just across town), right?

As much as it’s been taxing for us, the grown ups, with the craziness of two houses – our rental, which we’ve lived in for over four years, and our own house, which we’ve owned for nearly nine months but have yet to sleep in (although Matthew’s put in more-than-full-time hours there most weeks, often working double shifts and never getting time and a half), it has to be more stressful for Boy and Girl. Our rental is the only house Boy has ever known, and while it’s the third house Girl has lived in, we moved in when she was just two, so it’s really the only house she remembers. We’ve all had a long time to get used to the idea of moving and have spent plenty of time there, but it’s been like a playhouse, a place to visit but not a place to stay. On top of that, we’ve also had lots of false alarms; we’ve switched move-in dates half-a-dozen times. After all that, I think it’s going to rock their world to actually be moving.

So at dinner tonight, likely our last meal in our Brick House, I asked, “How do you feel about moving?” Girl said, “I feel a little excited and a little down.”  She said she’d miss the blackberries, the big backyard (even though she acknowledged that the other yard is bigger), and “the circle of trees.” Our Brick House is ringed by trees, with sky and clouds just over the house, a little window into the heavens. This makes the backyard shady much of the day in the summer, which is good for kids who like to play outside in the summer. (Of course, this also means more ticks, I imagine, too.)

Boy didn’t say anything about moving, but then, he doesn’t have to: he’s been needier and clingier than usual. Our attempts at having him go to two days a week of preschool (which I felt uncertain of, too) haven’t gone that well; he said, “I wasn’t that excited about preschool today” and returned home with Daddy one day last week, and yesterday was a no-go, too. If he’d been a cartoon character, he would have been made of rubber and, as he clung to sofas and doorframes, his arms would have stretched like a piece of chewing gum. He played happily at home while I packed. Today, he went into near-hysterics when we took Girl to gymnastics; I went into the bathroom with her to help her change, and he walked into the room and took some pretzels (without telling us where he was going; I thought he was playing at the end of the hall). He didn’t know where I was, and even though he knew the teacher and at least one parent in the hallway (and the Community Center is someplace we go almost weekly), he sobbed. This was no mere sniffling but body-wracking. Sometimes words will do the job, but sometimes, you just have to be really, really sad. Moving is chaos and upheaval and major, major change (even on this scale).But it’s not all bad (and, coming from a person who has loathed moving her entire life, that’s saying a lot) – the house already has many charms and will have more the further we get into renovations, and it is our own!

As for Girl, when we talked about how the extra open space at the Bluestone House would both let us see the stars better and allow us to have a garden, she got excited. She loves to plant things. But she also made it clear that she’d feel better with her swingset there. We hope that having that there will convince Boy, too, that life will be OK.

And this is where we are. We’ve been caught between two worlds for too long, it seems, and I hope it will make all of us feel whole to be in one house all the time. Now, to figure out how to get that swingset moved…and get back to packing.

The school year’s begun – we’re nearly three weeks in, and starting first grade has been a little trickier than kindergarten. There were some early stomachaches and reluctance to walk into the classroom; even before school started, Girl said she was nervous (not that you can tell from her smile).

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When we asked if she had butterflies in her stomach, she said she had butterflies, birds, and worms. No wonder her stomach bothered her – she had an ecosystem inside her!

Things have mostly settled, as most things do. The only sign of homework was a reading log, which made me happy. In spite of my many years of teaching, I have some strong feelings against homework now: with only two fifteen-minute recesses (if it’s not raining and if no one has majorly misbehaved), there isn’t much free or outdoor time. I like to see her in the afternoon (or let her be involved in activities) without the extra pressure of homework. Besides that, Girl LOVES to read, and filling the log would be no hardship.

I asked her, then, if there would be other homework.

“There will be homework soon,” she said.

Tactlessly, I followed up with, “That stinks!” Not, perhaps, my best parenting moment.

“No!” replied my daughter. “That means learning and figuring it out.”

Ah. Yes it does. I think parents hope that they set the stage for a better life for their children, that their children will surpass them in all sorts of ways. I just didn’t know that it would start so soon.