October was a HUGE month for us. Not only was Madeleine turning three, but we also found out that we were moving to Kansas City. The idea was thrown around for awhile but this time it was really going to happen. We were planning a cross country move! With a late November start date, I knew we had some time to iron out all of the details. The one thing I was most worried about was making sure the girls were totally aware of what was happening. After reaching out to friends who had made similar moves and asking lot’s of question, I was able to come up with an outline of how to prepare our kids.
The first thing I did was talk to them. Eloise is still pretty young but Madeleine fully understood what was going on. This was a huge change for us and I knew it could have a negative impact on them if we didn’t do it properly. When Jeremy was traveling for his interview I told her exactly where he was going, and why he was going there. I was 100% honest with her the entire time.
Get excited! We would chat about our move, how fun a new city would be and all of the things we were going to explore. Madeleine loved to hear about LegoLand and looking at photos of parks in our soon-to-be neighborhood.
Sugar coat it. But just a little bit. I knew from the beginning that our family would be upset we were leaving. We had done it once before when we moved to Chicago, but that was before we had kids. Life is so different when children are involved. The one thing I asked was that they always spoke in a positive manner when the girls were around. I was fine with family saying they were going to miss us because I wanted Madeleine to understand that we were going to be far away. I was more concerned with the “I’m so sad” talk. That wasn’t allowed around them.
Get them involved. Madeleine loved to help me pack, and Eloise loved to help me unpack! Just not at the right times. Ha! But seriously, give them tasks. Madeleine would help me collect items to pack and she had a blast. Eloise loved to sit on the boxes while I taped them closed. I feel like this was a good way to keep them busy, but also helped them to understand that we were packing up and leaving.
Keep the mess to a minimum. This was hard for us. We had a big house and A LOT of things. We worked on one room at time, and moved all of the boxes to one area of the house. Even when the house was filling up with boxes, we never let their rooms get messy. I feel like this is super important.
Stay on schedule. If you have one- stick to it. No matter where you are or what you are doing! The last thing you want is a crazy kiddo who has missed nap time and is eating dinner 2 hours past their normal time. Trust me.
Hope for the best, plan for the worst. We had the car checked out, enough clothes for two weeks (just in case our things were delayed), blankets, pillows and air beds. I thought we had everything covered, until we didn’t. Madeleine came down with something the day we were leaving. We were six hours into our drive when we realized just how sick she was. Between vomiting and a consistent fever of 104, I didn’t think we were going to make it. We got to our half way point and took her in to the ER. They gave her something to ease her stomach and motrin to bring the fever down.
We got back on the road the next day but not even an hour into our drive she was sick again. We did the best we could to make her comfortable and got here as fast as we could. The next morning we were advised by her doctors back in Philadelphia to take her in to the nearest hospital. This was also Jeremy’s first day at work. Worst timing ever. We were admitted into Children’s Mercy hospital almost right away. She was given IV fluids because she was severely dehydrated and they ran tons of tests. There were moments I just wanted to break down and cry but that leads me to this.
Laugh it off and make it work. Nothing about our situation was funny, but it was just so extreme that I found myself laughing about it. Here we are, in a brand new city with a child in the hospital who’s only ever been on antibiotics once. Trying to entertain her little sister who had no idea what was going on and just wanted to play. It wasn’t ideal, but I had to make it work. The hospital had a great team who brought us toys and Jeremy came to pick her up as soon as he could. Luckily when Jeremy’s company found out what was going on they sent him home and told him to take the rest of the week off. Thinking back on that week still makes me tear up but it also makes me remember why we made this move- for a better family life.
I’m no expert but I feel like we did a pretty good job considering the circumstances. Hopefully this will help you and you’re family if you’re getting ready to make a huge move!