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I Love Change. My Kids Don’t.

2013 January 30

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 11.11.16 AM

When I was little, I would rearrange the furniture in my bedroom every month or so. I can remember the excitement of coming up with a new scheme, the physical anticipation of sleeping in my bed with a whole new viewpoint, of waking up that first morning and momentarily feeling a little lost and confused as I found my inner compass again. I can vividly recall changing out the posters on my walls, moving picture frames around, even flipping my pillow over to the fresh side was a welcome moment of change.

It was the only space in my life I had some semblance of control over (my parents weren’t letting me paint the walls red or anything) and I twisted it and turned it as often as I could. I craved the change. And it’s an attribute that has managed to stay with me for most of my adult life.

I love change. I truly believe it’s the only thing that propels life forward. I like to change my skincare products. I like to lease cars so I can change every few years. I am a consultant and the best thing about it is that I get to work on new things all the time and no two days are the same. I am always house-hunting…much to my husband’s chagrin. Sometimes in another state. Occasionally in another country. I thrive on change. Too much of the same old makes me itchy.

Fast-forward 25 years or so from my early redecorating days.

Little D is five and has had the same bedroom for the past two years. So one day a few months ago we thought it would be fun to switch it up a bit. Move the bed under the window, change where her dresser sits, rearrange some stuffed animals. I could almost feel the excitement of being a kid again. I was so giddy to show her how much fun it would be to rethink her space. I told her with excitement how cool it would be to sleep in a new spot and wake up to a new view. So we tucked her in that night and turned out the light and went about our evening. Minutes later, the whimpering started and it quickly graduated into full-blown crying. Little D didn’t like the new layout. She wasn’t excited to sleep under the window. She did not want anything – not one stuffed animal – to change. At all.

So we moved it all back.

That’s the life of my 5-year-old. Stability is king. She wants the same yogurt every morning with her multi-vitamin and her pink spoon laid out and waiting for her. She wants to brush her teeth in my bathroom in the morning and her bathroom at night. She wants me to pick her up from school between 3:30pm – 4pm every day. No earlier because it wouldn’t give her enough time to play on the yard. No later because it would make her feel left behind. She wants her Friday night movie and she doesn’t want it on Saturday. And she wants her bed right where it is, piled high with stuffed animals every night.

And as her mother, it’s my job to give her all that. To maintain schedules and predictability. To give her a sense of comfort and reliability and security…even when I am starving for less of the same.

So how does my nomadic nature fit in with the happily routine life my kids are longing for? Can it? Will it ever? I say yes…and no.

I need to create a sense of stability and comfort for my kids but they can (and should) also learn about adapting to new things…in baby steps.

Moving to a new house? Ok. Doable. Moving to a new country? Probably not the best idea. For now.

But the way I see it, as long as her bed stays in the exact same place, mine can move around just a little.


*tired of me using Pinterest quotes as images? sorry! this one was too perfect to pass up*

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Lindsay permalink
    January 31, 2013

    We are the same on this note! As a kid, I changed my bedroom furniture all the time and had so much fun doing it. Now I start to itch if I live in the same place for too long – two years seems to be my current limit – but I can’t seem to bring myself to rearrange furniture in my apartments any more. Once it has a place, it stays (for better or for worse!)

  2. January 31, 2013

    I crave change too, but not anywhere near as much as my husband does. We just moved home to LA from Boston, and he’s already talking about moving to New York. Which actually does sound pretty amazing…all the Broadway I can afford?

  3. stella permalink
    January 31, 2013

    I love this post and relate to it so much.
    I feel as though I thrive on change so much – over the last 15 years, I have watched my life change in a variety of ways. Some have been forced and uncomfortable and others have been initiated by me. Either way, as I look back on the changes, they all led me to where I am now and that’s a good thing. Now with my two year old, I am experiencing a different relationship with change…it feels like she has changed so much over the last almost 3 years as she becomes a little person. Part of me wants to slow everything down so that I can savor this time with her but the other part of me knows that these changes are important and I just need to stay in the present moment when I am with her. She is also very attached to her routines and I need to be careful about radically changing things in her world as the routines bring them so much comfort.

  4. January 31, 2013

    I love how you describe rearranging your room. As a child I was EXACTLY the same! My eldest daughter is now seven and she does not like change, does not thrive on it, does not find it invigorating or exciting. At all. We moved 3 times in five years (all within a ten mile radius) and she did fine. We assumed that it was because we kept the same friends, school, pets etc, so the cornerstones of her life remained the same.
    In August when we upped sticks. left Minneapolis and moved to New Zealand I assumed that it would be really hard on the kids, especially my eldest. To my surprise and delight, both our girls coped amazingly, through living in a hotel, trudging around in buses and in the rain looking for a house to rent, and especially living out of a suitcase waiting 12 weeks for most of their soft toy mountains to arrive by ship. Oh and getting a little baby sister after 6 weeks in a new country. They did amazing. My husband and I? Maybe not so much! Moving countries is hard! Anyway, my point being, it seems like all the conversations we had about it being most important that we were all moving together and that our love and family would be enough when everything else around us changed, may have actually been true. It’s blown my mind how well they have adapted to our new life. I think we can do one more change to buy our own house, but after that we need to settle for a while, for our sake as much as theirs!

  5. January 31, 2013

    I’m sorry she was so anxious about it! It’s important to have a routine, but I think it’s also important to experience some flexibility as well. Maybe the room was too big for her, but one thing I find helpful is to make a book about stuff like that–worries and anxieties. There are also tons of books out there about adjusting to new things/change, when she’s ready. 🙂

  6. February 1, 2013

    I loved this post. I lived for rearranging my room when I was a kid. Thanks for the nudge to take a walk down memory lane.

    • WWGD permalink*
      February 2, 2013

      Thanks, Sharyn! Can’t you remember it so vividly? So great.

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