Sunday, February 21, 2010

In Which Connor Likes His Routine

There's my guys hanging out together-- aren't they cute?

 I'm glad that Jer's able to be home so much, because hopefully having him here will help Connor with the move.

Connor does not like change.  And when I say "does not like," I mean "hates with every fiber of his being."  The kid has a comfortable routine that we follow, and that's how he organizes his world.  When we start switching things up on him, he doesn't take it well.

This is why we will be moving into the new house slowly.

It's already started.  I've been packing up the house, and as a result Connor is now waking up with nightmares.  Horrible screaming nightmares, and he refuses to be calmed down until both Jeremy and I are in the room together.  His fear of the dark, which had tapered off, is now back in full force.  So he's not sleeping well at night, which makes him kind of clingy and crabby during the day.  It also lowers his seizure threshold, though thankfully we haven't had any issues with those since January. 

I'd intended to go over to the new house today and work on the yard, but last night Connor had a particularly bad time, waking up four or five times and crying until he threw up.  So we had a take-it-easy day and I stayed home and cleaned out the pantry instead.  It was a shame, too, because it was a gorgeous day outside and would have been perfect for gardening.

I think it's a combination of his sensory procesessing disorder, which makes him extremely wary of anything new and different, and also his being a toddler.  I think as a general rule three year olds don't deal with change very well.  It's hard being three.

I'm going to ease him into things as much as I can; he's had such a hard time in the last few months with all of the unexpected changes to his cozy little world.  We're keeping his comfort zones-- the places where he eats, naps and plays-- intact until the last minute.  Hopefully that will help keep him grounded.  We're also taking him over to the house as much as possible so that he's used to it and so will hopefully be a little more comfortable with it by the time we move in.  And we're talking with him about the move a lot, taking him around the new house and showing him where his bed will be, looking in the oven and the microwave, and talking about the fun things we'll do there.  I'm hoping this will stave off the worst of the meltdowns and the anxiety, but we'll just have to see.

Anybody have any suggestions for other things we can do to help him make the transtition smoothly?



Julia O'C said...

Emmett is about to switch preschools in a few weeks, which is going to be...interesting. His IEP coordinator suggested that I go to his new school, take lots of pictures and make a storyboard for him. She suggested I go over it with him several times a day: "This is Emmett's new school," and "This is where Emmett will have snacks," etc. etc.

Since this isn't something we've actually *tried* yet, I have no idea if it's a good suggestion. I'll add Connor to my prayers for an easy transition!

leah said...

We did switch Matt's preschool at age three, and WHOA. I had no idea how hard it would be! We had a lot of regression, but he did get into the swing of things within a month or so.

The only advice I can give is to try and make the new house part of your routine now. Like going over and spending an hour every day at the same time, so that he gets used to it. I have no idea what to do about the whole moving process, because it is hard to keep the packed-up items from being noticeable.

My thoughts are with you guys!

Anonymous said...

Make Connors current room look about the same in the new house. Take it down after he gets up in the morning, move everything to the new house, but all of it back up. Keeping everything the same. Yes his new room may be larger, use the same floor space and layout he has currently. This also includes window coverings. Allow Connor to adjust and adapt to the new room before you make any changes.

smgoodie - one who moved many times as a child.

MFA Mama said...

Oh, poor baby! I feel you on the move thing. The commenter above me had good ideas; my middle child has pretty significant SPD and doesn't like change either, and after a couple of moves I found that dismantling the entire room after he was up and getting it totally back together in the new location (or as much as possible anyway) is the way to go. That and talking it up to him like "this is my room here, this is the way to get to my room from your room, LOOK AT YOUR AWESOME ROOM with all of your stuff, and here is how you get from your room to MINE!" I realize Connor isn't independently mobile, but it still might be a good idea to show him how to get back and forth a few times to reinforce that you and Jer are still right nearby if he needs you. Poor little guy; I really hope the adjustment is as painless as possible!

*Tasha* said...

I like what MFA mama said, as well as some of the other commenters. I'd also suggest making sure Connor knows he'll still go to school & that the Move doesn't mean other things will change. It should definitely be noted that three year olds understand cause-and-effect but don't always draw the right conclusions in their attempts to make sense of the world. So let him know WHY you're moving- "The new house is (fill in the blank), which is why we like it!" Also, is it possible at all to downplay it? Like trick him into thinking it's not a big deal? oh well, it was a thought! (Hehe) Good luck! :D The house seems fabulous thus far! By the way, I had an article I happened to stumble upon, about accessible housing. I wanted to send you it- so I'll try to get on that soon.

Heating Filters said...

Its very nice Routine

Tom said...

@smgoodie and MFAMama:
unfortunately I think just transporting Connor's bookshelf would take all afternoon. That kid has more books than a Children's library.

Dede said...

I have no idea if this would help but here about a game/toy/books that he really really likes. He gets to play with it when you visit the new house (it "lives" there). Make it something he really enjoys and looks forward to playing with...maybe that will make the house seem less strange...

leah said...

It sounds like the move and the preschool transition will happen fairly close together- that might be a little tough. I can say that Matt's teachers were WONDERFUL with helping him out during his "rough patches." Can you contact Connor's future preschool teachers to see if they have any ideas about smoothing the transition to the new preschool? They might have ideas for the big house move, too.

I showed Dennis the pictures of your glorious built-in units. More accurately, I left the photos up with giant post-it notes stating, "hint, hint"- I really want to do something like that in our family room. Thanks for detailing all the makeover-work that has been done on your house!

Anonymous said...

No suggestions about the transition, sorry. I totally empathize with Connor, though, as I am a creature of habit and really despise any changes in my thoroughly-entrenched routine.

I actually just wanted to post to say that Connor is looking SO grown-up in the pictures you've posted recently, like a little boy rather than a baby. :)

Jess said...

Wow, thanks for all of the great suggestions!

Julia, I hope that the preschool transition goes well; we'll be thinking about you guys!

leah, I think that's a great idea. We're trying to go by the house every day, though it's hard to find a good time. Connor gets overwhelmed if we're there while the construction is going on, but in the evenings he's scared of all the rooms that don't have functional lights yet-- which includes his room, unfortunately. Oh well. He's not changing preschools, though-- unless that part of the message was for Julia. We're pretty happy with his school. And thanks for the compliments about the house-- we still can't believe we get to live in it!

smgoodie, I like your idea. Connor has outgrown his crib, unfortunately, and he'll have a new bed that's being specially made for him in the new house. Currently he's sleeping on a pad on the floor; not something we want him to do for any longer than he has to. My hope is that enough elements in his room will be the same that he'll be okay with the transition.

MFA Mama, that's pretty much what we did last time we moved, and it worked pretty well. He may end up in our bed the first week or so after the move, though, as he tends to get really clingy and anxious when he's stressed out.

Tasha, that's a really good point-- we should keep his routine as similar as possible. I think that's what's really freaking him out right now; I'm packing everything up instead of doing our usual routine. That and the fact that the last time packing happened in the house, Jeremy left for a long time. Maybe he thinks that because packing is happening someone is leaving. It's hard to tell sometimes with him. I'm looking forward to your e-mail, and wanted to see if maybe you wanted to hit the Seattle Home Show this week with us-- if you aren't too busy!

Tom, the kid's up to 200 books or so now. Books are a requirement in our house. He likes the pictures. Guess what your kid is getting for presents for the rest of his life?

Dede, I think that's a great idea, and I'm off to the store this week to find something he really likes!


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