You know how E-books are all the rage these days and bloggers are making thousands off of them? I should totally write one called "how to move three times in a year with small children without killing yourself or them". However after this last move I may have to amend the title to "...while only killing one twin, that's why you have a spare".
Because seriously even though we are all moved and "settled in", I am still stressed to the nth degree.
See while this is my third move in 18 months, this is my first one with the kids actually involved. The first time my husband and I flew back to Texas and spent a few glorious days drinking with our friends and gorging on TexMex. Sure we packed and loaded the entire three bedroom house in a day because we wasted most of our time dunking ourselves in Shiner Bock, crab wine, and salsa but we were away from our kids so we could have been breaking rocks and it would have been a nice change of scenery.
The second time we moved the relocation package included a full service move. Having experienced this only once before when we owned a futon and an Ikea bookcase (the truck was so empty that they were able to fit our cars) I wasn't sure what to expect. So I sent my husband to his new job and my kids off to the grandparents so I could supervise. Turns out that full service moves are like staying at the Four Seasons when you're used to Motel Six. I handed them my keys and they packed and loaded everything while I supervised by laying on the porch drinking Black Bavarian and reading a pile of garage sale novels. In spite of having the swine flu it was the best two days of my year.
So I rolled on into this move thinking how much of an expert I was and how this would be a piece of cake since we are just moving across town instead of across the country. What I did not factor in was my two "helpful" assistants.
The girls are in that "I do it! I help!" stage so I tried to engage them in packing which worked out to them holding each item up and saying anxiously: "Going to new house Mommy?" At first I lovingly got down to their level, held their hands, looked into their eyes, and reassured them that the precious item they were holding be it a barrette or their blanket would be going with us to the new house.
But after reassuring about fifty times in a row that yes, each Megablock would be moving with us I lost it and semi-shouted "Yes! All the TOYS are coming with us! Yes! Daddy is moving with us! Yes! Peanut is moving with us!". They looked at me with big eyes then ran off to unpack all the boxes I had packed. Amazing what two determined three year olds can get into.
Finally we managed to pack ourselves up and move the new house which is amazingly big and has a beautiful room for them to share as well as a giant playroom and an even bigger basement that they can ride their toys around in. So what do they want to do? Go back to the old house. Sigh.
But there are a few tips I have managed to pick up throughout the three moves that actually work:
1) If possible, give them a complete change of scenery between the old house and the new house. Take the long way if you're moving from your city or get someone to take the kids overnight or just take a day to go somewhere like an amusement park. This has worked like a charm in the past and I wish we had done it this time.
2) Set up their room(s) first. It doesn't have to be perfect. For months the girls' room in St. Paul only contained two pack and plays, stuffed chairs, and a pile of books but they were just happy to have their own space.
3) Routine, routine, routine. Keep it going even when it seems like it isn't working. It will remain a constant for your kids much the way Desmond is for Farraday.
4) Bring out a few new toys. I find big boucey balls and new bath toys to be the biggest moving hit.
5) Stock up on alcohol, you're going to need it. Just don't give it to your kids no matter how tempting.