Thailand A Tough Conversation

March 22, 2011 2 Comments by afamilyinmotion
Moving to Thailand, A Big Conversation

Moving to Thailand, A Big Conversation

Photo Courtesy of Mastin Studio

Thailand A Tough Conversation

Thailand Can Be Scary To A Three-Year Old

It’s pretty obvious that something’s going on at our house, despite the attempt at complete normalcy and nonchalance for our lovely three-year old daughter’s sake.  You see, we made the mistake of broaching the subject of moving to Thailand with our daughter the other day, and she kind of freaked out.  According to her preschool teacher, we shouldn’t mention it at all, after the moment we board the airplane, to avoid the trauma of her stressing out about the change.  Adults don’t like change, even when they can intellectually understand it.  Kids don’t even have the luxury to think rationally–change is flat-out terrifying for them.  Unless they have no idea it’s coming.  Then they just tend to take everything in stride.  Case in point: in January we went to Hawaii for a much-needed vacation.  It was paradise.  But for two days Little Miss I (in between chasing waves, building sand castles, and having an amazing time in general) kept asking to go home.  When we told her that we’d be staying in Hawaii for a while, but that we would eventually be going home, she was totally ok with that.  By the end of the trip, she was calling our hotel room our house.  Not sure how we’ll answer once we get to Thailand and she continually asks to go home, but I’m sure we can think of something by then.

Making a Home in Thailand

Meanwhile, the house is a mess.  The painters have arrived to turn our house (built in the 30’s, decorated in the 70’s) into the idyllic English Tudor.  Until they’ve finished, however, it will just look like the money pit.  Little Miss I’s bed is exactly where it’s always been; it just has our bed piled on top.  And her favorite very large cardboard box cum playhouse (I know, it sounds hideous, and it was, but she loved it) has disappeared (I was waiting for the opportunity to chuck the box, even if her doting dad did make it for her).  There’s paper all over the floor, and until they start spraying, we’ll all be crammed together in the downstairs guest bedroom, mommy and daddy in the bed and Little Miss I on the blow-up mattress on the floor.  We told her it was camping and that it was fun.  She was ok with that, until about 2AM when she woke up sobbing.  She couldn’t really articulate what she was feeling, but I think she was subconsciously working things out when she suddenly realized that something big and scary was going on around her.  We told her the night before that we were planning to move to Thailand for some warmer weather and a new adventure.  We told her that her grandparents would be coming with us so we’d all be together, and we asked her what she thought about the idea.  She said she didn’t want to go.  We tried to cajole her, but she was adamant about not wanting to go.  We decided not to bring up the subject again.

Amazingly, since those two instances, she hasn’t mentioned the move or the disheveled house.  Neither have we.  We haven’t breathed a word about Thailand nor mentioned any change whatsoever, and suddenly, the paper on the floor, the bed on top of her bed and the camping out in the guest bedroom is the new normal.  She was upset when her friend came over and wasn’t interested in seeing her air mattress bed (I tried to explain that her friend wasn’t being rude, she just preferred to play with all my daughter’s fun toys).  I’m content to keep things under wraps if it keeps her happy and secure.

Communicating A Move To Thailand

I can’t help but feel that the obvious avoidance of such a tremendous change is counter-intuitive to all the touchy-feely insistence on better communication these days.  In fact, it’s something that my husband and I have been working on a lot, and as much as I hate to admit it, I’m not a great communicator.  I tend to bottle up my emotions, turn inward and brood for days, or even weeks or months sometimes.  After conscious effort on both our parts and some gentle encouragement from my husband, we have made incredible strides in our communication.  I have also been trying to include my daughter in that process, hopeful that she will grow up and reap the benefits of profound relationships that are the by-product of successful communication and mutual understanding.  So, to not communicate with Little Miss I about the topic of our move seems unfair, almost cruel that we’ll be springing this change on her with virtually no warning.  But I trust our preschool teacher, and most importantly, I trust my daughter.  She is strong and tough, but also flexible and incredibly smart; she’ll do just fine.

Post: Thailand A Tough Conversation | Moving To Thailand

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  1. Alexa Weinstein
    9 years ago

    I am so excited to follow your adventures on this blog!

    My daughter went through a divorce and a major house move (albeit within Portland) when she was two. After we moved, she would often ask about “the house with the red door” (our old house). I began calling our new house “the house with the blue door.” I felt this pressure to take her back to visit the house with the red door, to help her process our move, but when I took her there it didn’t seem to have any meaning for her—I think it was just confusing and frustrating that we couldn’t go inside.

    In the end, the most helpful thing has been to play games involving the house with the red door, right here in our new house with the blue door. We have a lot of fun with this. So when Little Miss I gets to Thailand, try playing games involving your old house and the things you used to do in Portland! Maybe it will help her too.


    • afamilyinmotion
      9 years ago

      Thanks for your comment, Alexa! Any creative suggestions for making the transition easier are welcome. Your daughter is lucky to have such a “tuned-in” and caring mom.


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