The Packing Game


I’ve haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been in the process of moving.  It has been the most stressful move.  I didn’t anticipate how hard it would actually be.  I’ve moved before in the pre kid era but having everything in chaos around us with a child in the home was so much harder.  On top of our day to day activities- gymnastics, swim, doctor’s appointments- and our jobs, we were trying to squeeze in keeping our house perfectly clean so we could sell it, finding a new house, and packing all of our stuff.  The move involved a stay in a hotel room for a week too, which did not make life any easier.  It was all completely overwhelming, so I gave myself a break from everything that wasn’t essential. 
Thea didn’t seem to mind the move and the tight schedule as much as I did.  She invented a game called “packing” which basically meant she would grab a reusable grocery bag, fill it with stuff from all over the house, and then put it in a corner.  Then she would get another bag and fill that one.  Since she was keeping herself occupied and everything was disorganized anyway, I let it happen.
Organized Toys!
Finally, we settled into our new home and every box got unpacked.  I could feel the tension and stress lifting as everything was put back in order.  Unfortunately, Thea was really into the packing game…still.  I would be unpacking only to find a bag full of random items in the corner.  These items had to be resorted and reorganized all over again.  “No more packing game,” I told her with a frown.  “It is time to unpack things now.  Help me put this stuff away.”  But as soon as my attention was focused on setting up house, she was packing again.  I made her put everything back in its place, and we switched to coloring instead. 
On Friday, we came home with a basket of Indian food in various containers.  Thea eyed the basket with interest.  “Can I play with that?” she said.  “Yes,” I responded, "but no packing game.”  She looked unhappy but took the basket.  I found it a few minutes later with a few necklaces in it.  I put them away.  She came back in the room and asked where the necklaces were.  I told her that I put them away because we are not playing the packing game anymore.  “We need to put things away,” I reiterated. 
I went into the office and found another bag full of things in a corner.  When I unzipped the bag, it was full of toys and the Indian food we had brought home, upside down in the container, juices dripping in a puddle on our new carpet. 
Time for some fun!
This time, I was angry.  “No More Packing Game!” I said in a stern voice.  Thea’s face crumpled as she let out a loud wail.  Tyson took her to her room for a time out and she lay in her bed crying.  Tyson and I began the work of sopping up the juices and cleaning the mess.  Thea cried and cried.  When we were finished, I went into her room. 
“You are a good girl but this was not a good choice,” I told her.  “It is not okay to play the packing game anymore and it’s not okay to not listen to mommy.”  She nodded through her tears.  “It makes a big mess and it takes up our family time to clean it up.”  She nodded again, sniffling.  We lay in bed for a bit and after a few minutes, she fell asleep. 
Since then, the new place feels more like ours with our pictures on the walls and furniture that we picked out one rainy Saturday.  Thea is no longer playing the packing game.  Now that things are slowing down, we too are finding it hard to stop playing “the packing game.”  We’ve been stuck in rushed, messy, chaotic pace of life for such a stretch of time, I’m reminding myself what it’s like to have a moment to go for a walk or play games by the pool with Thea.  Once again, we are reminded to be grateful for simple things like our day to day routine and an organized home that feels just right.   



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