Moving, with toddler.

by Alissa

24 hours ago, we dropped off Ace, his kayak, and a copy of the Barry Moser Moby Dick at Glacier Park International Airport. What more do you need to start a new life in Australia? Octavia promptly napped for the three hours it takes to get from there to my sister’s house, leaving me alone with the Mission Mountains, the Jetta’s rapidly aging clutch, and the thought of 50 days of quasi-single parenting. Ace just landed in Brisbane and few hours from now he will begin the last leg of his journey to Newcastle. While he is settling in at work, paddling the waves, and finding housing for us, I will be slowly talking myself and O into the other half of our move.

How to move with a toddler? It’s a work in progress. If this is something you’ve had experience doing, please leave any good ideas or advice you might have in the comments. Later on, I expect to have some advice on how not to move with a toddler, but right at this moment things seem to be going well.

  • One of the most helpful things to happen is that four households of good friends/relations that we’ve seen in the past two weeks are also in new homes or in the process of moving. This makes our own limbo perfectly normal. Exciting, even! Wednesday O helped me clean Emily’s new kitchen, and had an inaugural bath in the sink, and we wondered what our new kitchen in Oz will be like.
  • We’ve been emphasizing greetings and partings, saying lots of hellos and goodbyes, and taking many photos. O will now grab my phone and say, “We need a picture! Stand back, smile!”
  • For the last three afternoons, O has come up with at least one distressed question about where her things are. Chin quivers and tears over the little chicky jammies, the teddy bears… Once it occurred to me to explain that they were snuggled all together in a box on the boat on their way to our new house in Australia, she’s been pretty accepting of the state of things. Playing trains with the cousins this morning, she told us that her train track is going to Australia now.
  • I keep repeating the basic summary of what is happening: Daddy is going to start his new job and find us a house to live in. It has definitely registered as something good. Earlier this week, she exclaimed, “Let’s go now!” She knows that Ace is en route, looking up this morning she said, “Daddy’s far away in the sky, on his way to Australia. Hello, Daddy!”

While I usually get caught up in a combination of nostalgia/grief/shyness/depression during moves, O is keeping me very much grounded in the moment: we are well preoccupied with meals, naps, and the beautiful exhaustion that comes with chasing a small child. Now to make it through July and August to Uncle NaNa’s wedding.