Tuesday, July 01, 2008

i'm between homes

So, the move.

The moving company (they are called "Schleppers," very New York) showed up promptly at 9:30am, and proceeded, very efficiently and with good cheer, to dismantle our lives.  First they took out all the boxes.  Then they took out all the office furniture.  Then the disassembled the crib and the dining room table and wrapped everything in layers and layers of moving blankets and plastic wrap.  Then they took out the mattresses.  And then, they drove away.

I hope they know our new address is all I have to say.

We tried to minimize the trauma for all involved--Cooper went to Doggie Day Care (their term, not ours) for the day, and Cal was fed, watered, and kicked out of the house before the movers arrived.  I didn't want him to get stressed when he saw all our stuff being carted out.  I didn't want him to feel scared when he saw the house all empty.  He had a fine day out with our nanny, going to the playground and the zoo and feeding all manner of animals in Central Park, avian and rodential.  (ducks and squirrels, people, not pigeons and rats--though honestly, I'm not quite sure why we think one pairing is somehow more hygienic than the other.)  I met him early in the afternoon at my parents house, where he and I will be staying for the next few days before our flight to Atlanta on Thursday morning.  He was excited to be there, excited to see everyone, happy to run around and jump on all the furniture and generally be fawned over.

Only later that night did he start asking to go home.

I think it is difficult to understate how little you can prepare a not-quite three year-old for a big move, and how difficult it is for them to even understand the concept.  With respect to our old apartment, Cal has lived there all his life.  It's the only home he's ever known.  He knows every room and hallway, he knows the neighborhood, he knows the names of the doormen in the lobby and he knows where all his toys are.  With the exception of some limited locations in the outside world (playgrounds, school, other people's houses), our home was his whole world to him.  So it was a little difficult telling him that we wouldn't be going back there.

I've been telling him about the move to Atlanta for months, of course, trying to get him ready so that these next few weeks wouldn't come as a complete shock.  I've been talking to him and showing him pictures of our BIG NEW HOUSE and THE SWIMMING POOL and the BIG PARK right nearby, and how we're going to a FUN NEW SCHOOL and how we can go to the aquarium EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND.  In fact, I worry that I've been building it up a little too much, to the point that Cal told me blandly that there was going to be a castle with fireworks in Atlanta, making me wonder if he was equating Atlanta with Disneyland.  However, I have to admit that I have been minimizing that aspect of the move that entails us leaving our old home and everything else that that involves.  It is difficult to explain to such a young kid that, with the exception of his parents and his dog, everything he has ever known and taken for granted is about to change.

We haven't even left the city yet, but already, the transition has been rough.  Cal did not want to take a bath at my parent's house last night, for instance.  He was not against the idea of bathing itself, but as he screamed over and over again, "I want to take a bath in my own home!"  Going to bed too was rough.  "Want to sleep in my own home!"  And a few hours after he fell asleep, he actually woke up screaming and crying, which he never does, telling me that he doesn't want to stay here, that he wants to go home.  I don't know how staying at my parents house for a few days is different for him from when we stay at a hotel on vacation, but maybe some small, prescient part of him is realizing that all this talk about "moving to Atlanta" is something more than just a fun story that we tell before bedtime.   

Anyway, it's been a little rough for all of us.  Joe got the rental car early this morning and he and Cooper are now on the road, in Virginia somewhere by this point.  He's going to stop overnight at his dad's house in South Carolina, and make the final push into Atlanta tomorrow morning, hopefully getting in before or maybe a little after noon.  There, he will take care of some stuff (picking up our lease car, going to the supermarket, that sort of thing), and will be able to meet our flight when Cal and I land at Hartsfield Thursday afternoon.  Our moving van should arrive in about a week to a week and a half.  I wish it could be sooner--I think it would help Cal adjust to the new house to see all the familiar furniture, be able to have all his books and toys around him (as it is, half of the rental car that Joe is driving down is filled with Cal's "continuity" stuff, most of the heavy-rotation toys and books at least).  But what can you do? 

Scream and cry and demand to go back to my own home, I guess.

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