Monday, June 4, 2012

This weekend's installment of the end of the world was brought to you by my new bed.

We needed to replace our mattress, so we took advantage of a big Memorial Day weekend sale and ordered one of those Sleep Number beds - the glorified air mattresses designed for couples like us who can't agree on anything. The salesman told us it would arrive in "a few weeks" in "a few boxes" and would be easy to assemble.

I was quite surprised when one week later, I came home to seven enormous boxes piled up outside my door.

My apartment was already full of boxes - some packed, some waiting to be packed - because we will finally be moving to Connecticut at the end of the month. No, we have not sold our apartment yet. (We had a cash buyer lined up, stupid co-op board rejected them, seething rage, moving on...).

So while our original plan had been to move the factory-sealed bed boxes to the new house and leave our old bed at the curb, in the interest of saving space we decided to assemble the new bed on Saturday.

Ryan helped us move the box spring down to the garbage area by "guiding" us down the hall, and he watched us take the old mattress away.

Two hours later, Ryan started freaking out.

"Where is the pillow?" he shrieked in panic. He meant the mattress - he can never remember that word.

"Remember, we took the mattress down to the garbage area," I said. "We got a new bed."

"We need the pillow! Can we see it? We got to go see it!"

Um, ok. We went down to the basement to visit the old mattress in the trash room. I brought a camera so Ryan could take pictures of the old mattress and box spring.
This seemed to satisfy him.

Half an hour later, the panic attack resumed.

"Where is the pillow? Is it still in the trash? We got to bring it back up!"

I showed Ryan the picture he had taken; this didn't help. It actually seemed to make things worse.

"Aaagh, we got to get the mattress and bring it back up!"

"Where would we put it?" Stu asked.

"We got to bring it up!" Ryan non-answered.

There were tears and self-injury and racing heartbeats. We tried showing him our new bed, but the sight of it just upset him more. There was no reasoning with him.

Out of other options, I pinned Ryan to his bed and sang to him until he relaxed enough to put on his jammies.

He asked about the whereabouts of the old mattress a few more times on Sunday.

And this morning.

I imagine this is just the beginning of what will be a long period of adjustment concerning moving. We have shown Ryan the house we will move to, have discussed that the three of us and all our things will move to the new house, have taken him to a park near the new house so he can see that the geese there are as easy to chase into the water as the geese here. But moving is hard for any kid, and probably that much harder for a kid like Ryan who lacks the language to express his fears in a more sophisticated way than punching himself in the head and begging to fish an old mattress out of the trash.

It's hard for me to think about. I've always lived in the greater NYC metro area, so picking up and moving to a far more suburban area, further from my family and friends, is stressful. I've gotten very comfortable where I am, and all the unknowns ahead are a bit scary. And the co-op board springing this new obstacle on us last week certainly didn't help.

For those of you who have moved with kids, what books would you recommend I read with him to help prepare him for the big day?


  1. I can't think of any books, but there's a Sesame Street skit about moving...I will have to look at home to see if I can find an old link. L was super nervous about moving. It helped to pack a backpack for her with her favorite items (from books, to doll, to toothbrush, blanket...) so she could have easy access before we started unpacking. Good luck, and thinking of you.

  2. I can't think of any books, either, but we did a lot of looking at pictures of the new house, new room, etc. Cady had a lot of questions about what we would be leaving behind - she was worried that her things would not be coming with us. So we spent a lot of time going through each of her special things and making sure she knew they were coming with us. "Mommy, we take Duckie (her stuffed bed friend)?" "Yes, Cady, Duckie will come to our new house with us." over and over again. How about a board with a picture of the new house and his room and other pictures of his things, so he can 'put' them in the new house? It might be a bit abstract, but worth a shot?


Keep it civil, people.