I’ve started this post at least five different times in the last few weeks. And each time, before I get a chance to finish it, it’s all out of date and I scrap the whole thing. We’ve been back in Dublin for almost two months and are now settled into our new home. Michael started a new dream job, Maya started preschool last week, and Noah now has a wonderful nanny who comes to watch him three mornings a week so that I can work. Finally, we are getting back to a reality I can survive, because the last few months have been the hardest parenting/living I can remember doing.
A move, in isolation, probably wouldn’t have been quite so taxing. But a move that included a month with one set of grandparents, then another month in the other grandparents’ house without the actual grandparents definitely added to the transition. The first month involved two weeks in Maine with my parents but without Michael – and Noah basically wouldn’t leave my hip. I don’t think I went to the bathroom by myself for two weeks. And then the second month involved staying in Michael’s parents’ house (and trying to keep Maya from getting into her grandma’s craft supply every nap time) while gutting our new house. I watched kids and Michael helped with the work on the house, and in between we tried to make very fast decisions about what actually we wanted in the house. When we finally wrangled both kids into bed at night, I’d write until midnight. Needless to say, 6 hours of sleep or less a night for that long left me feeling fairly depleted. Maya, bless her heart, has turned into a tricky sleeper as a toddler and the stress of the move coupled with sleeping in a new spot and changing time zones led to night terrors that we’re only now recovering from. When she sleeps through the night, we’re still surprised and relieved. Noah, meanwhile, sleeps like a champ for 11 hours each night, but still isn’t willing to go into anyone else’s arms without a fuss. It’s a function of his personality (the first thing he did when I met him at 18 hours old was cling to my finger and not let go) and not having anyone around for the first 10 months of his life.
All that to say, we’re not going to sign up for any more international moves with babies and toddlers anytime soon! We are thrilled with our house, and I can’t wait to properly share it with you. Every morning we say we can’t believe how lucky we were that we bought when we did (in 2015, before we moved to Houston) and every evening we say we can’t believe this is our life. When we left Houston, all we were focused on was getting to Ireland. We didn’t think much beyond stepping off the plane and beginning the next phase of our lives together as a family. Welp, that was silly. Not unusual for me, because I don’t always think ahead in these big change situations, but silly. We should have thought about and prepared ourselves for how big a transition it was going to be for all of us. The kids rocked the jet lag so well in just a few days, but that was the easy part. New routines and places and nothing being familiar has been tricky. Not having our friends and our bagel place and our parks has been hard for Maya and for me. She asks about her Houston home still, and she doesn’t quite understand why all the houses look the same! I miss my friends, and the light, and regularly driving by places where the biggest events of our lives happened.
But we’re getting there, and in a few months hopefully all will feel a bit more peaceful. We’re going to paint our front door a pinky-peach colour so Maya knows which house is ours among a sea of same-looking buildings. We’ve found a new morning routine that often involves “baby-baccinos” from our new favorite coffee shop in Howth, and we’re working hard to make sure we talk about Houston and our life there and remember the amazing memories we can still enjoy from afar.
There are first birthday photos and first day of preschool photos and a whole lot of beach adventuring photos I’m excited to share next week. Thanks for bearing with us in this wild adventure, and for coming back to read after yet another long break.