Changes on the way

At the start of a new year, everyone seems to have plans for how things will change in their lives in the coming months, whether stated aloud or kept private. One person I know has the biggest changes of his life coming his way, and at this point, he's thankfully oblivious to how those changes are going to rock his world.

I'm talking, of course, about Bubby.

As many of you know, Bubby has a sibling on the way. Sure, it all sounds fine and good when told "You're going to be a big brother" and "You'll have a new baby to share your toys with" and to be given a new babydoll to practice his big-brother skills. All those things make Bubby smile. (Well, not so much the idea of sharing his toys.) But it's the sharing of Mommy and Daddy that Bubby's not yet grasped, not yet even considered. But it'll happen, like it or not, and I'm crossing my fingers he does okay with it, remains the happy, usually silly, sometimes snippy (aren't all toddlers at times?) kiddo who has a firm and forever hold of my heart.

That's change No. 1. Although there's a lot of talk about it now, the true changes won't take place until the end of May.

Change No. 2, on the other hand, is happening soon. Which makes it the very first major change in the little guy's life. It's a move to a new house ... to accommodate change No. 1.

Bubby and his family will be moving into a larger home the first of February. Which is a good thing. But it can be a scary thing, too, to have one's world packed up in boxes, turned upside down, shaken here and there, then set down reassembled in a whole new spot, a whole new design. Especially scary for a 31-month-old who has never known anything but the happy little place he, Mommy, Daddy, and Roxy currently call home.

In the new place, Bubby will again have his own room -- no need to share with his new brother. He'll get a dedicated playroom out of the deal, too, and a new backyard that faces north instead of south like it currently does, with the scorching desert sun putting the kibosh on outdoor play most of the day, most of the year.

Even with all the good things coming his way with both changes, the changes mean stress. And, as we all know, high stress levels can do a number on mind, body and soul.

Based on the Social Adjustment Rating Scale, a list rating stressful life events, a new baby and a new home puts one's stress level at the "low" point (considering no other stressful factors are involved). That's for an adult. For a little boy who's always been the one and only child, the one and only grandchild and who has always and forever lived in only one home, I'd say the 'high" point as a more appropriate score.

The answer to high stress levels, according to the experts, is to create a "stress-management plan." The answer to high stress levels for Bubby, according to this admittedly non-expert grandma, is an "extra-hugs-kisses-and-attention-from-Gramma plan."

My advice when it comes to stress-reduction plans of any sort? They're far more effective when set into motion sooner rather than later. Which is why it's a splendid coincidence that I just so happen to have an airline ticket booked for a visit to Bubby -- just four days after his move into his new home. (Thank you, Preston!)

I say forget laughter being the best medicine, it's hugs from Grandma that are going to do the trick this time. And as I've been a little stressed out myself lately, I suspect my hugs-and-kisses-stress-management plan designed especially for Bubby is going to do us both a heap of good.

Photo by Megan's friend Alison.

Today's question:

What is your favorite stress reliever?