We've got a lot going on at the moment - an impending house move, complete with rafts of builders, plumbers, electricians and decorators to sort out, not to mention fixing up the house we're currently living in, ready to rent out after we move. Lots of organising, juggling, liaising and writing cheques . . . big, big cheques!
And then, of course, there's the prospect of moving NB on to his new Mummy right in the middle of it all, which will involve several days in a hotel as new Mummy lives a considerable distance away. Booking the hotel has been a nightmare as it is wedding season, and our stay will include a Saturday night. In the end we had to settle for a place in the next town, so there will be lots of driving in an unfamiliar environment for me.
So much packing and sorting. As if packing up the whole house for the move wasn't bad enough, I also need to sort out all of NB's clothes, toys and books, ready for him to take with him. Then there's his paperwork, memory box, scrapbook, and all the other little things that will need to be prepared for him so that in the future he has some chance of looking back to his past and being able to 'see' it clearly. And to make it just a little bit more difficult, I'm trying to do all of this packing and sorting in such a way that the boys don't notice everything disappearing so that NB, in particular, is not disrupted any more than he needs to be prior to his big move.
Oh, and our central heating boiler has been intermittently broken for over a week now (I keep hoping it will magically fix itself!) and then the other day my letting agent phoned to say that the tenant that lives in my old house (yes, I'm a property magnate thanks to our sluggish house market!) had reported that the boiler there is broken too.
I'm not normally a stressy person. I probably come across quite 'on the edge' sometimes just because I'm loud and fast-talking and rather overtly passionate about everything but, in my head, I'm usually pretty sorted and relaxed about things. I'm the complete opposite of the serene swan paddling madly underwater! More like a motheaten duck flapping my wings about crazily while my hidden feet are smooth and measured, propelling me along without needing to be tended to.
However, driving over to the new house the other morning, with the text from the boiler repair man fresh on my phone (burnt out circuit board . . . prepare to write a big cheque!), and knowing that I was going to have to have conversations with my builder where I'd be required to make loads of decisions about fiddly things like what handles I want on my kitchen cupboards, or what paint colours I want on the walls, my head just sort of went BOOM!
It was only a temporary glitch - like a contained explosion in a lead-lined box - and it was over very quickly but, for the first time in all of this hassle, I'll admit that for a moment there I did feel genuinely stressed out! By the time I arrived at the house, equilibrium was restored and I was able to tell the builder that I have no strong feelings about kitchen door handles but would be happy to look at some samples, and just to paint all the walls white!
I wonder if this is what happens in NB's head sometimes? I think my life is being turned upside down at the moment, but it's nothing compared to what's about to happen to him. He's seen the DVD and the photo album that his new Mummy has prepared and he seems to like them. Sometimes he asks for them again, but sometimes he says, "No like it!". Sometimes he wants to talk about new Mummy, but sometimes he says "No Mummy!" and puts his sulking face on.
New Mummy emailed me this week and asked me for tips on how to prepare NB for the experience of missing me and OB after he moves. I have nothing - but any of your suggestions would be gratefully received! I've made him a scrapbook with photos of us all, and we'll be sending special gifts from us that he can keep as he grows older, but how can I prepare him for that when I'm fairly sure that he doesn't really understand what's going on?
Of course we've watched the DVD and talked about sleeping in his new bed with the train on it, and playing on his bike in the lovely garden. He likes the idea of these things, but I'm pretty sure that none of that equates to 'I'm leaving here and never coming back' in his head. In just over two weeks I'm going to drop him off at that house with the train bed and the lovely garden, give him a kiss and say bye bye, and then walk out of his life. How can I prepare him for that?
NB approaches stressful or unfamiliar situations by going completely quiet and still, like a little frightened dormouse, all motionless and watchful, but with a heart fluttering madly inside. Then, at some future, unrelated time, he will present me with a series of meltdowns that crash into our family like tsunamis. So I've no doubt that he will appear to handle all of these changes with complete equanimity, taking everything in his stride and lulling us all into a false sense of security.
But inside his head? BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!