April 20, 2017

Big Changes for Our Little Girl

We’ve talked about what it means for Zach and I to leave New York but what about our little girl? It’s the only home she’s ever lived in, where she was born, started school, made friends… it’s all she knows. And, granted, she’ll only be four (in May), not fourteen and is fairly young to have it impact her negatively but, still, for such a young kid who’s starting to be more aware, she has a lot of transition ahead.

First, she’s leaving the only home she’s known. For four years, she’s lived in a small apartment. Who knows how she’ll react to a new room and a big house (I would think given her visits there, she’ll be thrilled with more space but what if it feels too big for her? Perhaps she’ll feel too far away from me and, therefore, be more clingy?). Second, she’s a city kid through and through. We walk everywhere, she gets severely carsick, she’s used to a lobby, an elevator, talking to doorman.  While, thankfully, we’ll still be able to walk to her preschool and elementary school, which is amazing considering we’re in the suburbs and I’ll have a newborn baby, everything else will be new. We’ll get in a car, which she dreads, for activities, errands, the grocery store, doctor appointments, haircuts, pretty much everything but school. That will be quite the adjustment. Third, she’s getting a new sibling, which is game-changing for any kid, especially an only child and the center of our universe for so long. And fourth and probably most traumatizing, after two years of the same school, same teacher and same friends, she’ll be entering a new one with all new faces for just one year and then the following year have to do it all over again for kindergarten. And she’s in such a good groove at her school now. At the beginning of the year, she wasn’t listening well, a little more shy, still having days where she said she didn’t want to go. Now, she runs there, barely says goodbye and is the first to raise her hand, volunteer, help out and pick up. I hope we don’t ruin that progress.

On top of it, she hasn’t had the easiest year. Beyond the usual growing pains of threenager, she was very well aware that Mommy was off, sick, tired and not herself for large portions of time. First, there was my second pregnancy, being so sick and extremely exhausted (hypothyroidism that went undetected for a bit), then the loss, which she was actually, unintentionally witness to (“What’s wrong with Mama? Is she okay? Where’s she going?”), the aftermath and healing, the emotions, sadness, anger, depression, short-temperedness, which made her more clingy than usual, and then, eventually, my third and current pregnancy, where I was once again severely sick, tired and, now, anxious, cautious, worried… In short, a full year of hormones and a range of emotions and conditions.

But, thankfully, we’re doing all this change in stages. While she’s being pulled out of her current school six weeks early (Something I’m so sad about but I don’t think she quite gets it. She’s more excited for her moving party at school and the bounce house waiting for her at home.), we’re not putting her in school out there for the remainder of the year. It’s only a few weeks and I think that’d be more jarring than beneficial. Instead, she’ll be at her new home, with my mom, who is her best buddy and a former preschool teacher, (she’s going to be helping us out weekly until September), who will probably teach her more in a summer than I or school have in the last two years. And, she’ll have two months of adjusting to her new town and home before her baby brother arrives. Then she’ll have two and a half months of big sister training before her new school starts. So, hopefully, all the kinks will be worked out.

And, I’m going to try for a few playdates with students from her new class over the summer, to take her by the school and introduce her to her teachers ahead of time and prepare her as much as I can for the new school year. She’ll probably handle it all better than I will. But I’m praying we don’t scar her. I’d love any advice for bringing a new baby into the home (Do I get her a gift from him, throw a big sister party, take a trip with just her?) and moving and/or starting a new school. What tips and tricks do you have for me mamas? I need all the help I can get!