Moving on

Sometimes I wonder what Maddi must think of our new house. Chris and I arranged the move so that Maddi would have her crib and her favorite toys set up on her very first night here. Her routine has been kept exactly the same (only, since we now have a fabulous backyard, with more outdoor play). But still, she knows that it’s not the same room she’s slept in for the past 15 months. She keeps a happy smile on her face, but there are cracks in the facade.

The first few nights and for the majority of her naps, she’s wailed for several minutes after being tucked in in her new room. For the first week, she resorted to her old hobby of finger painting the crib after waking up from sleep or a nap. This happened four times in two days, actually. She knows she’s not supposed to do it, and she had stopped for a few weeks before the move (as opposed to the olden times when it once occurred daily for a month running), but it seems the stress of dealing with a new house and unfamiliar bedroom made it impossible for her to control the urge to remove every single, solitary clump from her diaper after her post-nap poo.

She’s also stopped handing me all those random pieces of lint and dirt she finds on the floor. For several months, she’s been so accustomed to the words, “Give it to Mommy” that she would automatically give me anything smaller than a golf ball that she happened to pick off the floor. Even if it happened to be a Cheerio, which of course are perfectly acceptable for her to have. But in the past week, she’s not only not volunteered her finds, she’s run in the opposite direction with them.

But the thing that really made me cry (yes, I literally cried!) was when we were cleaning out the old house after everything had been moved. Maddi and I went in to get one last look at her room, which had been empty for about a week. But she recognized it nonetheless. As we walked underneath her light, she reached up to touch the ceiling fixture “goodnight” as she has done every night before bed for half her little life — something she doesn’t do in any other room. Our little girl was saying goodbye forever to her first bedroom. After she saw her old room for the last time, the poop-painting ended as quickly as it had resurfaced.

Of course, it’s not all tears and sadness. Our old backyard was difficult to access, abutted a mountainside, measured about 100 square feet and was full of weeds, rocks and pine needles. The backyard at our new place is right off the family area and is maintained weekly by someone other than me. There’s lots of room for our little one to run around, and she can do so barefoot because the turf is the softest and smoothest and most weed-free grass imaginable. There’s not a pine needle to be found, and all the rocks are neatly contained in the many not-maintained-by-yours-truly flowerbeds. In short, it’s baby heaven!

Maddi spends a sizable portion of each day playing with an assortment of rubber balls on our lush lawn. When she’s tired of bouncing balls, she has a half-dozen varieties of flora at her disposal to pick and bestow on family members — or, as is her recent wont, to shake until the petals fly off. And if that gets boring, there’s a chain-link fence that makes a satisfying clanging noise when smacked, and a golden retriever next door at which Maddi enjoys panting.

Indoors, since the new house is all on one floor, she is no longer segregated from the kitty habitat, which means Maddi can chase and pet Deva to her heart’s content. In fact, her play yard is situated about a foot from the kittie feeding and litter box pen, and yesterday I caught her standing precariously atop the seat of her little ride-on toy, hanging over the side of her play yard to tease the cat, who was sitting atop her litter box and eying the wee one suspiciously.

Of course she is still moody, so who’s to know whether she likes the new house or misses her old one (or both)? She’s got plenty of words, but none that can express feelings of homesickness or loss. The most eloquent way she’s expressed her feelings so far has been by touching her old light goodbye.

On the word front, nothing new lately. She’s still working on “butterfly.” However, she hasn’t been a lazy girl; Maddi’s really got the hang of this walking thing now. She almost never crawls, and if she’s anxious enough to get to something, she breaks into what could almost be called a run, but which I will simply for now call the “power toddle.” Walking on the grass has really steadied her gait on land, and she’s pretty much unstoppable at this point.

Coming soon: Pics of our 15-month-old playing ball in the backyard.

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