Another question we get asked often is how is Z reacting to the move? Well, he's not eager to go but he's not digging his heels in either. Many people who've spent time with him recently seem to attribute any outburst or meltdown to the fact that his life is being turned upside down. Personally, I think it's just because he's 4.
"Why do you guys keep selling houses. I don't want to move to China. I want to stay in the same place!"
I've been astonished by his relative maturity. He willingly gave up many of his toys for the yard sale after I explained he could buy new ones with the proceeds. But I made sure he wasn't around for the sale to watch other kids pounce on his battery powered riding mobile, the music to which my head will spin around three times if I ever hear it again.
The day his bed disappeared, I placed an Automoblox next to his mattress on the floor. Not only did he ignore the fact that he no longer had a room, he thanked me the next day and the day after that for the new toy. I feel a bit guilty buying his distraction so I've made a point of talking about the relative happiness we get from things vs experiences and really, I recognize, I'm just talking out loud to myself because I'm still fighting my dopamine-by-shopping addiction (see earlier post.)
"Daddy, everything you want to do is boring. Buying toys is more fun."
The clearing out of the house went well, aided by an excellent crew at Greabel Moving services. We didn't have to deal with packing up the kitchen, the furniture, even our clothes. Z had a different opinion of them as it appeared he suddenly had fewer toys than before they visited. The day after they left he piped up in the car:
"Have you heard about The Sell Man? He comes over to your house and takes all your toys and sells them without asking."
If anything, he's happier than usual. After all, it's summer, he gets to sleep in, not go to school. He's hanging out more than ever with friends, cousins and grandparents. I'll admit I've been farming him out as much as possible because it pains me to refuse him my attention when it's urgent I figure out which kitchen utensils to send by air vs boat. He has taken every opportunity to exploit our willingness to reconnect with him at the end of a long day by lobbying for his two favorite things:
"What's it going to be? Sugar or screen time? Your choice."
"If I don't get some ice cream I'll never be your best kid again!"
At least I know he's not blaming the move on me:
"I love Mama so much I thought about giving her the sticker with the flying wings that says "I Love You, Man."
What I fret about most is touchdown in England where I won't know a soul in St. Albans. I plan to make a point of walking the neighborhood at staggered times every day so the first impression we give off is our willingness to play. I'm crossing my fingers and toes that the 4 year old next door will be a good friend for Z and that my predilection to get around on a Razor scooter won't put off the moms.
So I'm really not too worried about Z. He's shown us from Day 1 that he is adaptable, happy to sleep where he lies, and secure in our family unit. When he left our dear friends' house the other night with the gift of a Beany Baby dog, he happily announced:
"Puppy wants to see the world!"