Explaining change to toddlers

We’re nearing spring, and the end of my work season. I’m burning candles at both ends, but am also settling into my new routine – and so’s my family. We’re learning how to enjoy my new, very irregular schedule. I may not always be home for bedtime or dinner, but I can have a slightly later morning. The kids are at their most alert and happy in the mornings, and it’s really fun to get to see them that way before going into the office. The older kids seem pretty excited that I work with their beloved orchestra, and always ask me if I’m going to the office or a performance. It’s pretty cool that they can experience what I do, and that they love it so heartily. Someday we’ll get to take the Littles too, and I can’t wait to see Tess and Remy showing them the ropes.

Spring is finally coming, and we’re switching out snow pants for rain pants again. This feels like the summer of bikes, and we’re trying to get Tess and Remy comfortable on their wheels so they can explore Lake Park! Due to the sudden and stunning arrivals Griffin and Lilou last summer, we missed a lot of the park concerts we lived for previously. After 2015, the year of frenetic excitement and change, our whole family seems to feel a sense of peace as we move into Wisconsin’s short yet abundant season of green. David is getting ready to garden and the kids stare longingly out the window at the park when they’re not already out there. Griffin is not convinced the grass is cool yet, but everyone else runs for the swings the minute we cross the street. We’ve been discussing seasons with the kids, and paying attention to little changes like the color of grass. Tess yells at us if we walk on it, telling us it’s its turn to grow.

More change is coming! Joy will be going home soon, a transition I think will be difficult for all of us to digest. She is such a part of our family, and the kids love her so intensely. We chose the Au pair program as a means to teach our children the people we love may not always be as close as we want them, but the love doesn’t stop. In this instance, they’re old enough to understand she’s not there, but not necessarily why she’s leaving. We are speaking about it from time to time, and the kids sense a departure is eminent.

Our next Au pair, Elise, arrives on the 29th. She seems warm, energetic, fun and funny, and ready for an adventure with our family. With less than two weeks to go, our enthusiasm and anxiousness are growing. I am a much better band aid ripper then slow change person, and am dying to have our transition and move on! But life doesn’t work that way. We talk about how resilient kids are and how much they dislike change at the same time. I suspect I have a lot to learn from our kids, as they are so openhearted and welcome new friends easily.

So we’re looking forward to a summer with minimal travel, a season to get to know Elise and rediscover our beautiful city. The kids are excited about playing with their friends outside, and going on little jaunts to museums and Sassy’s house. We are excited to use the deck and get used to being part of the neighborhood again after the winter of hibernation and adjustment to life as a family of six. Our kids are so bonded now that we can only laugh and enjoy. Two years ago, Tess and Remy used to make each other laugh at meals over nothing. Lilou and Griff did the exact same thing last night, and I could tell Dave felt as close to bursting with joy as I did watching their bond get even tighter. They wrapped the evening up by chasing each other on all fours around the kitchen counter, giggling ferociously.

This year of gentle aftershocks is flying by. The little kids are catching up to the big kids very quickly, and the big kids are astounding us with their ability to learn and grow. So will continue to stop what we’re doing and have conversations about greener grass and arrivals and departures, whether that’s me going to work or Joy finally getting to see her family again. We’ll see if we can make our children less change averse than their mama!

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