A Month of Settling In and Smoothing Out.

We have been in our new house for almost a month. We have gotten most everything unpacked and our place feels like a home. I got to work in the morning, come home to dinner at the table with my wife and kid. It’s almost suburban. Punky sets the table and helps clear the dishes after dinner. She asks to be excused and tells me about her day.

Our kid is settling in. (her bed did break and now she is delightfully sleeping on her ‘pull out couch’ on the floor) She dances around the living room, makes up stories about ‘her kids’ and plays with the new sandbox in our backyard.

We have a backyard!

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Watching all the kids on my Facebook feed headed off to Pre-K and Kindergarten; I get all sad that we can’t afford to send Miss Punky to preschool. I wish it was about education though. It’s not about education when you look into preschool. It’s about “daycare” – and we don’t need daycare. I’m not paying for daycare and education should be free.

So instead, her teacher is Super Why? And Daniel Tiger. Would someone think that inferior? Yea, probably. She gets “too much screen time” and then again, she’s learning a ton.

  • She knows how to write her name (backwards, but it’s all the letters)
  • She knows how to spell her name. (she can name the letters, when not prompted, because she’s not a monkey on command)
  • She can count to thirteen, she can recognize 1-5, and on a good day 1-10
  • She knows her ‘number’ (age) and her birthday.
  • She’s mostly potty trained, though the minute I type it out here, she will have six accidents on my new stairs. She’s not night trained. Without a washer and dryer (waiting on one soon!) we aren’t overly worried about it.
  • She’s known all her colors and her shapes since she was one.
  • Animal sounds are in the bag.

She pretends like no one’s business. She has ‘kids’ that she plays with. Not sure if it’s because she’s an only child or she is just a three year old with imagination and imaginary friend(s). She’s such a cute storyteller. She says all sorts of fun things.

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She’s currently into babies, fancy dresses and magical lands. We have made the ‘trek to the Magical Land of Potty” at least four times a day in the last week. She’s all about adventure. Climbing. Dancing. She asks questions, questions I’m not prepared to answer – but I do.

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She collects rocks and fairy stories. She watches the stars and asks the big questions. The questions on religion hasn’t come up. She’s not really been exposed. I have been thinking alot about that. When it comes. Because she has SO many questions. I don’t want to indoctrinate her one way or the other. I don’t want to give her my truth or their truth. I want to teach her to think and to question and to make up her mind.

That’s just too much for a three year old – so for now, I give her answers to the questions she asks, and prepare myself for the ones she hasn’t thought of yet.

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In the end, we made a move and we got back on our feet and we weathered the storm of our kid in the process. She’s somehow lost her listening ears along the way, but I’m confident we will get them back. Find out where she hid them. I’m hopefully that we will continue to smooth out, it’s already in the works.

Operation Move Out: Bumpy Road Still Traveled

We moved into our new home a week ago. I have not felt this light and stress free in a long time. So, with the new job being the perfect job for me, the new home being the perfect home for me, so far life couldn’t get much better in my mind. I wake up in the morning, I bask in the quiet of the day before I start getting ready. I go to work, I come home to ….

the BUMPS.

Punky hasn’t been adjusting near as well as I have. It makes me feel bad, but she’s been going between fits of hateful, to being her old happy self. To put some perspective on it, she was so little when we moved in with Gram, she doesn’t remember a time when it was just the three of us, in a house, alone. Throw in a few phrases that have been said around her hugely empathetic heart and she’s gotten worried.

She’s transfixed on the thought that Gram and Pop are lonely without her. She’s sad that she doesn’t see them every day. She is bored because she doesn’t get to go outside as much as she wants or doesn’t have a pool in the backyard. She’s pissy because she didn’t get a choice, she didn’t have control over this and it’s all so brand new still.

My first instinct when we decided to move was to make sure she had an awesome room that she could play in. That would be all hers. A place she could go and be and have her own space. And I think she likes her room. I wish she would have helped pick out more of the things, but being a three year old with a small attention span, Mommy was unrealistic in thinking that would happen. But we spent a whole night putting it together and when she got to see her new home for the first time, she got to see her new room.

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It hurts my heart though, to see her go through this. And it makes it even more frustrating, because I want to let her know that her feelings are valid and we value her emotions; but at the same time I want to teach her that there are appropriate ways to express your sadness, that you can can’t go around telling your  Mama you hate her every time you miss Gram.

Of course, reasoning with a three year old is like trying to nail jello to a tree or however that saying goes.

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And so I feel sad that I am so much lighter since we have moved, so much has been lifted off my shoulders (emotionally, the bills haven’t come yet, as Kim liked to remind me the other day) and yet my little girl is struggling. It also sucks to come home to reports of the abuse that Kim has had to suffer at the hands of our three year old.

I know there are a lot of people in the world don’t think that a highly medicated woman with BiPolar Disorder is fit to take on the full time stay at home mom role. And it was never supposed to be the plan when we go pregnant. But that’s the life that we lead now and while I know it’s not ideal for Kim, she does an excellent job. We have had our moments this week, as we do, as all married couples do, but overall, I’m so proud of her for stepping up and taking on the responsibility.

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Living with her mom afforded us a lot of luxury in saving money, saving time, saving energy. Sleeping in when we were sick, staying out if we needed a break. I know this move is an adjustment for Kim as well.

To add a rebellious three year old to the mix – who keeps telling her she hates her and she wants to move out and she hates this house and she wants Gram; it just isn’t making for a great home life for my two girls I don’t think. Add in there the fact that when Punky has a tantrum (which really are so few and far between) she resorts to hitting, anything her little hands can connect with. Kim’s not known for her patience, but she has been doing exceptionally well, given the circumstances.

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I’ve had to resort to telling Miss Punky if she can’t be nice to Mama she will lose the privilege of calling Gram and visiting with her. And until she has a better attitude (because she demands we call Gram when she’s mad or throwing a tantrum) we will not be calling Gram. I don’t like to say things like that, and I certainly don’t want to have to enforce it, but it really seems to be the biggest thing that Punky is responding to. I don’t know what else to do. She has suddenly lost her listening ears and she willfully does the complete opposite of what we say. She’s lost that happiness that exudes from her and the silliness and the manners.

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I’m all about talking it out, figuring things out together, giving her a time and her own space. But there still have to be boundaries and limits. How do you parent with compassion and love and all that hippie dippie nonsense and still have order  and a clear balance in your house? We don’t spank her, often, like literally three times in her life I think. We don’t use physical punishment if we can help it and for the most part, she responds better to verbal talking it out, waiting til she’s ready to talk. Not lately. We haven’t figured it out yet. So it’s about 50/50 ratio of smiles and tantrums in our home.

Where did this kid go? When do we get her back?

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My rational mind knows that a big move is a big change for a kid that’s so small and doesn’t have much control over the things in her life. But, it’s frustrating, sad, and disheartening to see her battle us. Battle Kim mostly. I’m starting to feel a little helpless in how to make things better for either one of them. The only for sure peace we get is when she’s asleep. And she falls asleep AFTER us. She’s up super late, I feel like this may not be the best thing for her, but it keeps her content to lay in her bed and read books on her tablet, so we let her do it.

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So far giving her little tasks and responsibilities has helped. She helps me set the dinner table and it seems to be a really cool thing to her. She likes putting the plates where they go and the silverware. She likes picking where each of us will sit for the night’s dinner. She wants to make sure the ketchup is on the table at all times, whether it’s needed or not. She helps me clear the table after dinner, putting stuff in the dishwasher. It seems to lighten her mood, make her feel like she’s in control.

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I am hoping once we get more unpacked and more settled we will see more of these smiles and more lightness fill the eyes of our little one. Once things starting looking and feeling more like a home and not a massive pile over pile of boxes to unpack, hopefully my wife can feel the lighter load of stress on her shoulders that I feel a majority of the time now.