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For parents of young kids, moving to new home means taking a world of memories

And to the new owners buying our condo, be careful if you go barefoot: We might have misplaced a Lego. Or two.

Reporter Stefano Esposito’s younger boy Matteo in the arms of “Papa,” his grandfather
Reporter Stefano Esposito’s younger boy Matteo in the arms of “Papa,” his grandfather, back when the walls were Tuscan yellow.
Family photo

To the young couple moving into our home — welcome!

We have swept, vacuumed and scrubbed, as we promised we would. We hope you like the place. It hardly seems possible, but it’s been our home for 12 years.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to draw your attention to a few things we didn’t get to in the rush to vacate the premises.

The scuffed toilet lid, for one. That’s from where the toilet lock used to be. It sounds weird, I know, but all of the baby books say you need one. Imagine strolling into the bathroom and finding little Emma lapping water from the bowl.

I’m guessing it was hormones, but my very pregnant wife sometimes cursed me when she needed to go in the middle of the night and forgot to turn on the light.

Also, it’s possible you’ll stumble across a misplaced Lego or two that we missed — maybe three or four. The pain can be excruciating when soft underside of foot meets tiny brick, but, trust me on this, it doesn’t last. And you do learn to make sure the next time you creep around your home after dark to carry a flashlight.

A related note: A few years ago, we lost the toilet seat from my older son’s Lego twin-engine passenger jet. Yes, it really does come with a tiny toilet. It has sentimental value — it was a gift from his Grammy. So we’re leaving a self-addressed stamped envelope in case you find it. You also can use the same envelope for any baby teeth the Tooth Fairy neglected to carry away.

Not sure whether your real estate agent pointed this out, but your new, second-floor condo comes with a collapsible fire escape. I’m a slightly paranoid dad — which will happen when you spend many of your days writing about death and all sorts of mayhem. So I want to make sure you know that, to get to the fire escape, you have to open the little, wooden door that’s below the bedroom window, then heave the bundled ladder out the window. Make sure you open the window first. Oh, also, it’s a good idea to look down to see no one is walking by at the time before you heave.

By the way, I hope you like the new, gray paint. Our agent told us younger people no longer favor Tuscan yellow or turquoise. We tried our best to fill in and smooth over the dings and gouges — the consequence of pirate sword fights, alien invasions and the occasional bedtime tantrum.

The listing-friendly version of the former Esposito home, its Tuscan yellow walls swapped for a muted gray.
The listing-friendly version of the former Esposito home, its Tuscan yellow walls swapped for a muted gray.
Family photo

We also painted over the little pencil marks that ran up and down the door frame to my older boy’s bedroom to mark his growth. Some advice on this: When searching for something flat to put on top of your kid’s head to ensure an accurate measurement, don’t use a steak knife. Also, keep an eye out for your kid slyly creeping onto his tiptoes as you measure him.

Another thing you might have noticed is that the hardwood floors are not in pristine condition. I’m actually surprised they’re not in much worse shape because we are a dancing family. Before my back went out a couple of years ago, I liked to think of myself as being among the best Scottish-Italian salsa dancers in the neighborhood.

These days, in between dicing carrots and scrambling eggs, I serve as the announcer when my kids take center stage. You’d probably be impressed. It’s not easy doing the “Backwards Dance” or the “Fancy Pantsy” — their original creations — to the sounds of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “She’ll be Coming ’Round the Mountain.”

It’s really something to see. And we’d be happy to show you some day. You’d only have to ask. We wouldn’t stay long. Just for old time’s sake.

Stefano Esposito.
Stefano Esposito.
Rich Hein / Sun-Times


This is one of an occasional series on fatherhood by Sun-Times staff reporter Stefano Esposito, the dad of two young sons.