When I think about it that way it seems so simple. I tried to tell myself, "All you have to do is pack the boxes, clean the house, and then get in the car. No more cleaning or unpacking on the other end."
Unfortunately, my pep talk hasn't really worked so far, and it is not so easy anymore to convice a 3, 4 and 5 year old that it is fun to play in boxes all day, either.
After the first disastrous day of trying to pack up the house, it was clear I would need A PLAN. We would need to keep all of us happy and that meant doing stuff we all enjoy.
I spent that first weekend brainstorming, and this is what I came up with:
It is a list of fun things that we want to do, along with the list of things that we must do. It goes something like this:
- play "possum" (L.'s idea)
- go out for ice cream (my idea)
- read stories (BR's idea)
- go to a playground (A.'s idea)
- play "escape the robot" (L's idea)
- paint our nails (A & L's idea)
- make a race car course in the livingroom (BR's idea)
- do "awesome stuff" (BR's idea)
- play with bubbles & water balloons
So that's what we have been doing: BR and A. help me tape some boxes closed and L. does the labeling. Then we do the other stuff on the list and come back for more boxes later. I have also been making sure there is a steady supply of homemade fruit-juice popsicles in the freezer (in case of emergency) and some fun little stuff to play with somewhere close by (like old crepe paper I find in desk drawers as I am cleaning them out--it's good for playing mummy, remember?).
For most of the past week, we've been sticking to the plan and not messing around. When it's time to play porcupine, that's what we do goshdarnit, and when it's time to do awesome stuff, you better believe we're ready for it.
We have also accomplished quite a bit of packing.
Sometimes it is maddening to have to drop what I am doing to go paint fingernails, but other times it is very easy to do something fun in the middle of a chaotic mess. For example: throw the picnic blanket down on the kitchen floor and voila, a "picnic lunch"!
Other times, however, we deviate from The Plan. For instance, I do not recall that "playing with mom's camera" was on our Master List. But then I found these...
So yeah, um... I have no idea where was I when that was happening.
Also, in case anyone is tempted to think these are the not-so-humble confessions of a supermom, I also need to publicly and profusely thank Aunt Kay because she has had all the kiddos over to her place twice to free up both of my hands for a couple of hours.
And finally, to make this post a more complete picture of life here over the last 10 days, here is a sample from A's debut as a filmmaker. Clearly someone's mother was too preoccupied with the computer to pay any attention to them: