One House, Two House, Clean House, New House

We are hoping to move to a new house sometime in the near future. So John and I have been casually trying to prepare our boys.
I’ve talked about why we’re trying to keep our house clean so people can visit and think about buying it. I’ve explained that we will pack our things and then unpack them in a new house. And I’ve talked about how much fun we’ll have once we get there, wherever there may be.
But you never know how effective your explanations are until the questions start. And mine are apparently going right over our 3-year-old’s head.
As we pulled into our parking spot one night, Daniel asked, “Mama, is this our new house?”
The house looked the same to me, although John had just cut the lawn. I couldn’t figure out why he was asking.
Then this morning Daniel ran to show me something.
“Look, Mama!” he said. “Our new house!”
He grabbed my hand to pull me into the bathroom and proudly pointed to two clean hand towels on the rack. “See?”

I tried to explain that they were just clean towels, but he was so pleased with himself for noticing them. So I let it go.
Then tonight he proudly showed me that his brother’s bed had fresh sheets on it.
“New sheets for our new house!” he said.

He’s clearly missing the point, and I was a little bewildered. But I think I understand his confusion.
For the first time in his life, the house has been unusually clean and tidy, with everything put away all the time, and even—astonishingly, as it turns out—fresh towels hanging in the bathrooms. And that is all different.
No wonder Daniel thinks this is a new house. He’s confused “new” with “clean.” And I really can’t blame him. The house hasn’t been this clean since the health inspector came through before we adopted Leo in 2009. And it will never be this clean again—not until the moving van is loaded and we’re on our way.
I just hope Daniel isn’t disappointed when we get to the actual new house. Unless it comes with a new housekeeping staff, I’m afraid that house won’t feel “new” for a while.

Showing off his new, (but not clean) big-boy bed and his three bedtime books

Catholic Review

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