I guess the concept of moving to a new house is hard to understand when you’re only four years old.
The first phase was the Can-We-Buy-a-House-Full-of-Toys phase. Maddie kept asking if we could buy a house with a “yot” of stairs, just like my sister’s old third floor walk-up condo. After many conversations with Maddie, I finally realized she wanted us to buy that condo because she thought that meant we got to keep all of my niece’s toys. So, I explained that when we move, we bring all of our belongings with us, including our toys. This seemed to bring her comfort, but led us to Phase Two…
The Even-the-Heavy-Stuff Phase. This phase lasted only a day or two as Maddie took mental inventory of all the large things in our house. “Mom, even the couch?” and “Mommy, will we even bring your bed?” This led to a long conversation about who could possibly lift that stuff which led to a long conversation about muscles which led to a long conversation about vitamins and vegetables which led to a long conversation about how Maddie doesn’t “yike” green beans. “All of that stuff – even the heavy stuff – will go into the moving truck,” I told Maddie. This led us directly to Phase Three, which was the Moving-Truck-Phase.
The Moving-Truck Phase was a difficult one. It started with a simple question as we drove past a truck one day on our way home from daycare. “Mommy, is that a moving truck?” This led quickly into:
What color will our moving truck be?
Is that moving truck?
Can I stand in the moving truck?
Who will drive the moving truck?
Can I drive the moving truck?
Is that a moving truck?
Will our couch fit in the moving truck?
Will my bed fit in the moving truck?
Is Clifford going to ride in the moving truck?
Is that a moving truck?
Will Daddy drive the moving truck?
You get the point.
We are currently in the Is-This-Attached Phase. When Maddie said something about moving the kitchen cabinets, my husband explained that we wouldn’t be bringing the cabinets, that the new house already had cabinets. This was a direct contradiction to the information we had previously given her in the Can-We-Buy-A-House-Full-Of-Toys-Phase, when we had explained that we would be bringing all of our belongings with us. Maddie was rightfully confused. My husband told her that we only bring things that aren’t attached to the house. So, in the current phase, Maddie names what we will bring and what we leave. Pointing to the bathroom sink, she’ll say, “This is battached, so it stays.” (Yes, she says battached.) Then, to a loaf of bread, “This isn’t battached, so we’ll bring this.” Then, to the stove, “I think this is battached. We should leave this.”
She’s figuring it all out. It’s complicated, when you’re 4.