Where in the World?

The other day, while Jack and I were hanging out on the couch in our "hotel house" (the corporate apartment we'll be staying in for the next two months), he turned to me and asked if we were going back to Russia. I told him no, which is the simplest answer for now, even though John will be going back, and he looked at me with his big blue eyes and asked, "We're together again?"


Jack is understandably confused about a few things right now. Yesterday he asked if we were staying in Washington, D.C. "We're not going to any more countries?" he asked when I told him yes. So then I had to explain that we'll be here for a year, before we move to Peru, and then the next question was, "What's Peru?" So we looked at some pictures of Peru for a while, and a world map, and volcanoes, until he saw a Chip and Dale cartoon on the YouTube sidebar and I finally gave up.

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I find explaining the Foreign Service lifestyle to a preschooler to be daunting. When we moved to Russia, Jack was too little to really understand, and I'm sure in a few years when he's older he'll "get it" a bit better. But right now, it's confusing as hell. My own mom can't seem to keep track of the fact that we're moving to Peru and not Chile. Trying to explain geography to Jack is nearly impossible - he gets confused between cities and states and countries, and when you add a boy's limited attention span into the mix (and the fact that he likes to ask "why?" about EVERYTHING), it crosses over into downright futility. I keep trying because it's not his fault he hasn't grasped all these concepts yet, but good lord, where is his preschool teacher when I need her?

I think about the fact that moving into a new house a few miles away seemed like a life-changing event to me at age 11, and it's no wonder that Jack is a little overwhelmed. I worry living in three different countries in the course of a year and a half is going to mess with my kid, but fortunately he's a pretty adaptable little chap. Still, this morning he told me he doesn't want to go to Peru and that he's sad we can't take our new car with us. (I'm kind of with him on that one - it's a nice car!)

I'm curious what the rest of you tell your young kids about this. Have you found a good way to explain all the moves? Any geography tools for preschoolers you recommend? As usual, I'm definitely open to suggestions!


  1. We got a standing globe. That way they could spin it and find family members and countries past, present and future. Other than that we still ride the tide of emotions with moves. As they get older they fret less about the where they are but more about leaving and making new friends. One day at a time is about the best I can tell ya, but they'll be resilient kids and that is something.

  2. Yep, my kids love the globe too. My dad got us the Intelliglobe, which also include a little pen that tell facts about places and (my kids' favorite) the national anthems of each country, among many many other things. They still ask if we can move back to the pink house, so it certainly isn't perfect.

  3. I can totally relate! My son is old enough to be asking questions about Mexico, our next post, but not old enough to truly understand what moving means. In fact, I realized the other day he thinks Mexico is a mall by our house where he saw a puppet show that just so happened to have a song about Mexico. He's in for a bit of a shock...

    By the way, are you guys still in the DC area? I just thought to check and I don't think you're part of the FS blogger facebook group, are you? Send me a private message if you'd like to join. We've been doing regular dinners and occasional playdates with those in the DC area. Would be great to meet you in person if you're still around!


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