Where they have to take you in

The kids and I have been staying with my in-laws for eleven days now while J finished up at his Los Angeles job and a truck with all our worldly belongings traveled across the country.  J is now up in New Jersey, meeting with movers, registering for school, waiting for the cable guy, visiting the DMV, and generally being useful.  He will drive down to meet up with us either late today or early tomorrow, which means he’ll be traveling just before Thanksgiving along with 97% of the other vehicles on the West Coast.

All I can say about how staying with my in-laws is going is that we are damned lucky they haven’t thrown us out yet.  The house is filled with all sorts of exotic accents that are irresistible to my children.  Like stairs.  Lilah, not used to having stairs around, is obsessed with climbing yet not necessarily particularly skilled at the return route.  Fortunately, her grandfather took it upon himself to give her some tutelage on how to descend the steps, somewhat alleviating my anxiety.

Another fancy touch they have here is the toilet paper.  At child-level.  We don’t really keep toilet paper anyplace children can reach it in our house, so all three of my kids think it is some sort of newfangled toy.  At one point, Benjamin and Zachary removed all the paper from all three rolls of paper in the powder room and also emptied the box of tissues, while at the same time their sister was upstairs diligently unraveling another two rolls of paper in the hall bathroom.

Slightly more unusual is the laundry chute.  I, myself, think it is kind of cool.  The boys cannot get over it.  There is a lid they can lift plus a hole they can throw things in.  It’s basically begging for experimentation in the laws of gravity.  We have learned thus far that a box of diaper wipes does clog the chute while board books and sippy cups slide right on down.  Envelopes with paid bills in them only get stuck in the chute if inserted after the box of diaper wipes, whereupon my mother-in-law spends an hour-and-a-half trying to find the envelope she knows she left sitting on her bed.

Unfortunately, because we have so diligently enforced “yellow let mellow” in our own house, flushing the toilet is also a novelty.  So, Benjamin decided to test the mettle of the toilet by flushing down his toothbrush.  Plumbers are much more expensive on Saturdays, in case you were wondering.

He is lost, my Benjamin.  He cannot understand fully that he is going to a normal place with a normal school and lots of nice children.  He just does not have the cognitive ability to comprehend that the world is not flat, and we are not about to jump off the edge.  All he knows is he has been ripped out of one place, is only temporarily in this other place, and there is a big void in front of him into which he is about to be shoved with absolutely no warning.  So, while Zachary verbalizes his anxiety and Lilah suddenly learns how to talk and walk, Benjamin acts out.  We have swept up one glass and one bowl, loosened all the light bulbs in his bedroom, and – it goes without saying – revoked all unsupervised toothbrushing privileges.

This Thanksgiving, I will be grateful for many things.  We are back on the East Coast.  We will be heading up to our new home on Friday.  The kids will be starting school on Monday.  Our family is entering a new situation that could really improve our quality of life.

Mostly, however, I will be grateful that J’s parents haven’t thrown us out on our asses.

11 responses to “Where they have to take you in

  1. Did you bring them a case of wine? Or vodka?

    E, your sense of humor seems intact, but I know this is hard as all hell. Here’s hoping it settles sooner rather than later.

  2. Your in-laws are going to have anecdotes for YEARS for their friends! Glad things are coming together.

  3. Laundry chutes are the BEST! Our old neighbors had one when The Snake was about 3 — he loved to go over there and make the lady go to the basement and he’d stand at the chute and they’d yell back and forth. Then switch places. Hours of fun.

    Hang in there, the end is in sight! Great that J was able to go to the new place first and get things set, that will help a lot. Ben will do fine, you just need school to start.

    Send the in-laws a special gift for the holidays. Maybe a weekend at a hotel … alone? 😉

  4. I’m glad your inlaws have such love for you all and that you’ll be settled very soon.

  5. Having inflicted my offspring on long-suffering family not once but twice I have enormous sympathy for all of you. (Okay, but particularly YOU as I know the incredible stress of feeling responsible for everything, every last thing an innovative, bored and possible worried toddler – or three – can do!)

  6. I am willing to bet they will take all the unraveled toilet paper in the house in trade for this time with you guys, regardless of the toothbrush plumbing mishap.

    However, that doesn’t make it any easier on you and the kids, Em. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and that things finally settle in soon.

  7. Safe travels, all of you.

  8. We don’t keep toilet paper at kid level, either. We also don’t leave the bathroom door open, because my 1-year-old just LOVES throwing things in the toilet. Sometimes you don’t really see exactly how many concessions you’ve made in your life, though, until you’re living with someone who is not in that stage.

    Happy Thanksgiving and smooth travels to you. I hope that once you arrive things settle down, at least a little.

  9. Wow. Just, wow. Eleven days anywhere with children can be challenging. Keep your eye on the prize.

  10. Thank goodness for those people who have to take us, kids and all.

  11. You are so awesome and all that you have done in such a short amount of time is doubly awesome.

    Thinking about you on Friday and the new place…!