Ok, I’ll admit it. In the craziness of making lists, organizing, cleaning out, and life in general, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that it’s the kids’ move too. As in – their world is about to change completely, and unfairly perhaps, as they really don’t have a say in it (at least up until now – John is already planning on using them to research posts a few years down the road by asking them to make presentations on why they would like to live in a certain place!).
We are about a week away from pack-out (yikes!) and 21 days from leaving Brazil (not like we are counting…) so we thought it was a good time to start having a chat here and there with Luca about what’s going to happen. We slowly brought it up a week or so ago and we’re selling it as a big trip to see family (throw in a mention of a plane and he will sit and listen for hours…ok, fine…more like minutes, but hey at least he’s paying attention!). I’ve been rearranging things in the apartment and some of our old furniture that has been with us for far too long has also already parted with us (bye-bye old Ikea table!) and we could tell that he started paying attention to all those ‘new’ and ‘weird’ things happening around him. So, rather than him assuming his world was about to fall apart, I drew back on my expertise on child development (and by ‘expertise’ I mean my on-the-spot learning) and came up with a visual aid to help him (and us) sort out what’s happening (and yes, fine, I admit it – it was fun to sit and color for a while rather than clean and organize).
So, without further ado – here’s my awesome picture of what’s about to happen…. see Luca is about to take a trip in an airplane (it’s green because his favorite color is green at the moment).
There is a nifty little countdown letting him know in how many days we will be on said (green) airplane – but most importantly – the list on the right lets him know what all he gets to take on the plane with him. Earlier today, I started filling it with who will be on the plane with him and which favorite toys he can take (I know, my picture of his blue dog and trains are definitely up for some type of coloring awards…right?). I left space for him to tell us what else he would like to take with him (hence giving him ownership of this process…and don’t all toddlers want control?!? Oh yeah – totally rocked that one, the supermom that I am!).
So after his nap, we sat down and talked a bit more about our trip and about toys that he can take with him versus those that will have to go on a boat and meet us in our new home a little bit later (because we all know that boats travel much more slowly than planes…). We talked about movers coming next week and putting things in boxes for the boat ride and I was really happy to see that he took to the idea and started talking about which toys would go on the boat and which ones should go with him on the plane. We ended up adding a second list for “things to go on the boat” and drew pictures together to fill in what was missing. He spent quite a bit of time studying his lists and talking it over (interpersonal communication, anyone? Come on – where are you Vygotsky fans?) – and I’d like to think that it really does give him some control over what’s about to happen (and, perhaps even most importantly, it saves me time from making another list of what to pack for Luca!) – so, it’s a start. And yes, he can change his mind on his list if he wants to (it’s just on paper, not set in stone!). S, we’ll see how it goes next week – if anyone has other insights into preparing your kids for moves, I am all ears! And yes, I realize that Juliana did not get a list of her own … another $5 in the therapy jar for her…