Now that my son is nearly two years old, I have found that he can be extremely helpful with some household chores. Unfortunately, when it comes to moving, his playful passions can get in the way – big time.
My enterprising toddler loves, more than anything, to throw things away. If he finds the smallest crumb on the floor, he drops everything and makes a beeline for the garbage can. If the dog needs a treat, Jake is thrilled to be the one to take care of things for me. And when I bring home a bag of groceries, he insists on helping me carry it into the house, and on unpacking everything for me. (He hasn’t quite grasped the fact that some of the food goes in the pantry and some in the refrigerator – as far as he’s concerned it all belongs on the living room floor. But he’ll get there eventually…) It can be unbearably adorable when he wants to help out.
Just last week, my husband and I moved from our New York City apartment to our new home in the suburbs. The whole moving process can be incredibly stressful for anyone, but we learned all too quickly that it is more so when you have a 20-month-old on hand. When it came to actually living in our new place, Jake was an absolute gem. He adjusted to the new house immediately (far better than the dog did, in fact). But actually moving us into the new home took a bit of doing.
Many of the ways in which Jake can be helpful unfortunately did not apply to moving. Toddlers – and my son especially – really love to unpack things. This tendency made it difficult for the family to box up an entire apartment. For every two books we put into a box, one came immediately out. And for Jake, the whole event was a riot. Books, bowls, clothes – you name it – came flying from boxes and bins with a belly-full of laughter. It was the best game that my husband and I could have ever come up with for him.
When we finally did get some boxes packed and stacked up against the wall, Jake discovered his new passion for climbing. Every day until the move, we had to frantically run across the room to stop him from mounting the new obstacle course. One box would be ok, and so would two. But when he insisted on climbing four or five boxes piled high, we knew we desperately needed to get to our new place ASAP.
If you have a tiny human inhabiting your home, here are some other ways that he or she will “help” you when it comes time for the family to move:
- Pulling tape off of freshly taped boxes. It’s especially fun when it sticks to them and they can’t for the life of them figure out why.
- Pushing boxes from one end of the room to the other.
- Sticking tape on the family dog or cat.
- “Packing up” the food that they refuse to eat (“Hey, everything else is going in these boxes, so why not my peas and carrots?!”).
- Tossing giant rolls of bubble wrap across the room, and throwing a tantrum when you dare rip off a piece for the dishes you’re wrapping up.
- Tipping over rolled up rugs that are leaning against the wall.
- Eyeing the scissors that you’ve been using to cut the tape, and darting for them as soon as your back is turned.
- Doing the same with the Sharpee you’ve been using to mark the boxes. Bonus points if your kid can remove the top, and ends up running around your home with an uncapped permanent marker.
- Falling fast asleep after a full day of packing activities, leaving mom and dad to frantically finish everything before their own bedtime.
Toddlers are adorable, but they get in the way more often than not when it comes to moving. Keep your eye out for these warning signs, and let me know if I missed anything by leaving a comment.