About a year and a half ago, Happy Dude started talking about a “New House,” as in “At my New House, [this or that] happens.” He just brought it up casually one day as if it were a given that he had another life outside of the one with which I’m familiar.
For over a year, AMAZING things happened at his New House. He stayed up late there and ate ice cream for breakfast every day. He never had time outs at his New House and he saw a LOT of movies because he “NEVER had to put down the screen.”
Whether or not he had family members living there changed depending on his mood. On some days, there were “NO parents and NO brothers and sisters” but on other days, he had “… 100 sisters, but DEFINITELY no brothers” at the New House.
The stories of his New House became so elaborate that I started having a bit of an existential crisis… what if HD really does have this alternate life that’s soooo much better than this one?!?
I mean, it’s easy to laugh off an imaginary friend or two, but this was an elaborately created entire WORLD full of candy, toys and non-stop FUN.
Hell, I wanted to live there.
So, we just continued to listen to tales of the New House. And then I started documenting some of the details.
For a little over the year, these are just a FEW of the things we heard about HD’s New House. (I promise you, these are direct quotes.)
“Oh, at my New House…
… there are no parents.”
… there is only a Mom, but I call her Ma’am.”
… I have a New Mom. She’s nicer than you, but not as tall.” (what. the. effing. eff?)
… there are brothers and sisters named Gleek, Skeek, Midge, LaLa and listen to this… this is crazy… there’s a baby, named BABY. <cracks up.>”
… there are two dogs that don’t jump. But they eat ALL the stuff.”
… there is a toy store in the basement!”
… I have a treehouse and a beaver was eating it.”
… I have a million pet ducks; 1,000 horses and 15 cows. But then one of the ducks died, so I have [pause for math struggles] not a million anymore.”
Clearly, life was better at the New House… so of course LO and the Nibbit wanted in. Once in a while, they would ask HD if they could visit his New House. He was consistently vague and evasive offering excuses like, “Oh, no one’s home there right now,” or “It’s really only for little kids.”
The little punk wasn’t sharing.
Sometimes tales from the New House got extreme. For instance…
“I DID try the broccoli, I tried ALL the vegetables at my NEW HOUSE and I didn’t like any of them.”
“I’m going to a Yankee game with my New Mom and we’re going to cheer for the hippos.”
“I had a driving lesson at my new house. (Me: I didn’t know you were old enough to drive. Are you older at your new house?) Yeah, I’m 8.”
When the Nibbit left a note for the Tooth Fairy recently asking for her name and she responded that her name is Ivy, HD announced, “Oh, my Grandma at my New House’s name is Ivy.”
The following was the most elaborate story I heard regarding the New House. (I just typed as he talked so you’ll excuse the grammar/poor sentence structure. I mean, the kid IS only four. Geez.)
“I saw a movie at my New House that you don’t know. It’s called Anachalo. [pronounced Ah-NA-chel-low]. There’s a line in it that says, ‘I don’t know you but I’m going to punch you in the face.’ There’s a bad guy who says that. He’s a penguin. And the good guys are the tigers. The bad guy kept walking and he saw a robot army and they went crazy with <makes crazy noises>. And then he saw snowmans that could not talk so he smashed them. But then he said, ‘Oh. But that’s a dead snake.’ It WAS a dead snake but it actually wasn’t a dead snake; it was a LIVE snake. And it was really one of the bad guys and he comes back to life and then he was like, ‘I don’t like you <crazy noises>.’ And that’s the end of the movie.”
Me: That sounds pretty cool… do you think I can see that movie sometime?
“Well, I could drive all the way there to the New House. I drove there three weeks ago. When we were at Florida… I mean, when I was at Florida with my New Family, I… wait, do you forget the name of the movie? “
Me: I think it was Anachalo, right?
“No. It’s actually called Kitty Cat with a Water Bottle. With Sauce on Her Head.”
There were so many mentions of his New House in daily conversation; I think we all started to kind of believe it was real. Like he would say, “Oh Mom, I saw a squirrel eating an acorn!” and I’d be all, “Oh at your New House?” He’d look at me like I was crazy and say, “Um, no. Here in our backyard.”
If the other kids came home from school and HD wasn’t home, they’d ask, “Is HD at his New House?” I’d remind them that his alternate abode was a figment of his imagination… <nervous giggle>.
And then, as suddenly as it started, it was over.
About a month ago, HD informed us that he doesn’t have a New House anymore. He clarified that the New House is still there but he doesn’t go there anymore. He still references experiences he had there (“Mom, remember? I did that at my New House?”) but it’s just not a part of his life anymore.
I have no idea why exactly HD created this alternate life – maybe he needed a place with more flexibility? or more fun? A place where he had more control? But it clearly served its purpose and he was able to move on. And while the stories about the New House were always entertaining, I will admit that I’m kind of glad he got tired of it.
I hated that New Mom.