Some of the recent questions that came in just needed to be answered. Thank you for asking (you know who you are)!
Q: Do you see changes in the munchkins that you attribute to exposure to more adults/college age young adults?
A: Since they are evolving and growing so rapidly, it’s really hard to know what the influences are. They are having a ton of interaction with students all the time, so there must be an influence. Wait – I think the influence is on the students! :)
We tend to say that the Lehigh students have really “stepped up to the plate”, and they really have. At the same time, our kids have too. They have begun to get a good handle on social interaction and social boundaries in a way that we didn’t have before. Even in their extreme social-ways, they don’t run up to everyone they see to interact, whereas they did before. They are more cognizant of their interactions and the limitations of what is appropriate.
Similarly, they have become ultra-aware of how much the students work/study. When we first came on campus we thought there was going to be a lot more hanging out, down time and partying, but we are constantly struck by how much Lehigh students study and work (academically). So much in fact, that when asking students if they want to do something (play basketball, watch a movie, hang out, whatever), they now ask first if they have to study or if they have time.
At the same time, they seem to be more free to be kids. Maybe because Heather and I are clearly so much older than the students (how was it that 40 became old???), and they are clearly so much younger than the students, but whatever it is, there is no one-upmanship on who is older, or cooler or anything. Which I think is very freeing.
Q: One “management” area I’ve been watching for is an explanation of how you dealt with your photographs. Are they on DVDs, on a hard-drive, in boxes, with back-ups elsewhere? Did you reduce your collection as well before you packed, given the transitory nature of moving and storing for periods of time?
A: After 2002, we went fully digital with all our photography, and we have a pretty robust backup system for all our 100,000 digital images (we could do better digital house-cleaning I suppose!). However, before 2002, we had all normal photos, in boxes, in albums and in their original paper-1-hour-development sleeves, and we had to make some pretty tough decisions when we moved. We kept all our wedding photos and some key sentimental photos, but we tossed – literally – hundreds of photos. We felt it wasn’t worth scanning and archiving them – often we found we didn’t even know what they were photos of – so why bother even archiving them? Of the ones we kept, some wound up in our storage unit in a couple boxes of memorabilia, some (like our wedding photos) came with us in the apartment. We didn’t really become massive photographers until we had kids…which I suspect is pretty typical.
Over the years I have spent a ton of time on our technical setup (which in recent years has finally become far more simple), and if there is interest, I’ll outline that in a separate post.
Q. I was just wondering if you would be writing any more about how you helped the kids come to terms with the idea of letting Quinn and Hudson go prior to the move? Given how you described it, “We know it was the right decision for the CATS, but WE miss them a lot” did you feel there were parallels to adoption and if so, did that impact how you discussed it with your bambinos both at the time and now?
A. I am sure it will keep coming up on the blog as we continue to figure things out. And lately I’ve noticed quite a bit of discussion of wanting pets (and interestingly, not just from the kids, so I am not sure what that foretells!). When we originally started talking about it with the kids, I don’t think we really drew any lines to adoption, but we were very worried about how they would take it that the cats were going to take an “extended vacation” in NH.
Amazingly, they all handled it really well. I don’t know if it’s their general ability to just roll with things or what, but they have not really had much difficulty.
Tangentially, for the kids whole life we’ve noticed that when we get in the car for a road trip, they are the most settled of almost any time. I think it’s that they just happy we are all together, noone is going anywhere without everyone else and they don’t have to worry about separation. I believe that for these three, that as long as they have their brother, sister and parents, then anything else is pretty much a non-issue.
Q. Just curious, are there any real downsides/things to be wary of when a family like yours (with young children) considers moving on campus? Do you have nightime fire drills? Or rowdy neighbour issues? Or other things to contend with/bear in mind?
A. As much as I tend to see only the upside, there are things that are less than ideal - especially with kids. Fortunately they only do day-time, 2x/year fire-drills (which is not how I remember some late night drills in -10 degree weather in college), and the neighbors have been very quiet. But we do have to worry about smoking (and there are a variety of kinds of smoking of course) and drinking, although not so much where we live, but in generally on a campus. The kids also must have their ID’s with them anytime they go outside (so they can get back in). We have also set the rules that they can’t go by themselves into anyone’s room alone. There is no banging on the ceiling or floor (anyone in an apartment can get that, but in a single family home you don’t realize how much stomping there is going on at any given moment).
Having just come off spring break I’ve noticed when students are here, there is quite a bit more (often unconscious) pressure to be “on”. Keeping kids quiet and in-line is more on our minds. You can’t quite ever just totally let it “all hang out”, if you know what I mean.