When Poppies is in Charge

When I went into labor a few weeks ago, I immediately called my neighbor to see if we could throw three kids her way. I didn’t know if labor would take off at a fast clip at any second, and I needed to know where to put the kids so we could get ourselves to the hospital. My neighbor was game and hosted them all for the morning and afternoon. I called my dad second, so he could be on alert to come down and take over for the long haul, should this really be “it”.

(Pause to consider that- yes- I was in some state of denial that I was in actual labor. Even though I was 99% sure my water had just broke. I still had the tiniest glimmer that maybe the hospital would send me back home?)

Dad came down that afternoon and managed the kids for the next three days. I wrote an extensive Google doc from the hospital bed, outlining school locations and rides and bedtime routines and anything else I could think of. He rolled with all of it extremely well, especially considering he was totally on his own.

I just want the world wide web to enjoy this account of dinner together, on his first night in town. I have changed my kids’ names (as I tend to do) to their internet nicknames because one day when they google their own names I want to preserve some shred of anonymity. Identities are as follows:
Chicken (girl, 6)
Monkey (boy, 4)
Turkey (boy, 2)

Here is my dad’s email:

I thought I was being a real hero tonight when I asked the kids where they wanted to go for dinner. They said CiCi’s pizza. I envisioned a highchair for the little one, crayons and a cold beer. My vision was shattered as soon as I walked in the door. A self-serve buffet with kids all over the place.

I put Turkey down long enough to pay for our entrance fee and looked up in time to see him in an uncleared booth drinking out of a glass which someone had left. I got him before he put any of the food in his mouth.

We laid claim to an empty booth and then I set about to help the kids get their food while holding Turkey. I don’t know how you do it, Katherine.
About 15 minutes into the meal Monkey advised that he had to go to the bathroom. I put Chicken in charge of Turkey and dutifully followed Monkey who then announced it was a number two, and that I could stand outside the stall, thank you very much. What followed was an extended period of contemplative musing including a dialogue on the merits of having two rolls of toilet paper in the holder and a complaint that his mother sometimes takes him into the women’s bathroom.

After a while I was little concerned about Turkey and went out to find Chicken attempting to contain him as he gotten out of his booster seat. I returned with Turkey in arms to assume the guard position just outside the stall door. At this point I gently asked Monkey if he could finish the rest of this job at home, as to which he was nonresponsive.

We did make it through the evening, the kids enjoyed the brownies and were wonderfully behaved.

I am a thankful and proud grandfather.


Life at Home

After eleven days in the hospital, our littlest baby was discharged to come home on Thanksgiving! Appropriate, no?


She is gaining weight well and sleeping like a champ, with the exception of some evening hours here and there when she is restless and discontent. Or maybe I don’t notice her restlessness as much during the day, like I do at night? It is hard to say. But I’m not complaining. (Yet- check back in with me in a few weeks and the evening thing may be less tolerable).

I have not unsubscribed to BabyCenter yet, so I still get my weekly emails to inform me about my 37th week of pregnancy. Also: what to pack for the hospital and what to expect during labor. Too little, too late BabyCenter!

For anyone who is curious, four kids is a lot of kids.

Just in case you were curious.

What I have been thankful for this week (among other things):
1. Friends who bring me ice cream, lattes, and bring my kids home from school for me. I have awesome friends.
2. Neighbors who text me when they are going to Kroger, Trader Joes, CVS, etc. and ask if they can pick anything up for me. Every time, the answer has been yes. Again- awesome friends.
3. Meals from friends.
4. A baby that sleeps a lot.
5. Healthy kids that don’t freak me out when they smooch all over their baby sister.

It is not all rainbows and sparkles and gratitude. Tonight two of the kids melted down at the exact same time, and I am sure passers-by thought I was beating them mercilessly. Their screams were pretty incredible. I wasn’t– beating them, that is. I had just made one of them give away a piece of shiny paper and the other one come inside because it was cold out. TORTURE.

This choppy, rambling post brought to you by a baby who is starting to fuss and a slightly tired mom. Laaaaaater.

Well. This Happened.

Imagine our surprise to welcome this little one to the world on Sunday.

Setting a family record among her siblings and arriving a full 5 weeks early, she weighed 6 lb 13 oz and is 19 inches. And quite cute.

She will stay here at Martha Jefferson Hospital for another week or so for monitoring. Maybe she will be home for Thanksgiving!

I was sad to think of her here and all of us at home (they kicked us parents out after our two-day stay). But then I talked to our doctor and heard some of the things they are watching here- her oxygen levels, sugar/insulin levels, and temperature, to name a few- and felt better knowing she will get care around the clock. Also, he explained how she should still be in a quiet, calm environment. Where sounds are muffled and lights are dim. The only sound she hears constantly is a heartbeat. You know, a womb.

Now, if he said she really needs to be poked and held and passed around and smooched and startled– we can deliver that sort of environment at home. But the whole womb-like thing? That only exists here at the hospital, for now. So we’ll let her get a little more reserves built up before bringing her into the chaos. And I am content with that.

Besides, there is something to be said for being here with her and getting to hold her for long stretches without interruption. And without thoughts of what else I might need to attend to.


She is doing well. We have lots of help from friends and neighbors and neighbors-who-are-friends. The nurses at Martha Jeff are wonderful. It is all well with my soul.


We thought we had a few more weeks to get things in order at home, but that time has been cut short. I need help. The one-formerly-known-as-the-baby-of-the-family has adopted an unpleasant habit of getting out of his bed during the 5:00 hour and coming into the hall to flip lights on and off. We gently (ha) and lovingly (haha) rebuke him for this transgression and send him back to his bed. Over and over. It does not appear to be “taking”. And we hope to put him in the room with his brother and put the girls together. But I don’t want to have two kids up at 5:00.

Stay in your bed, you turkey

Any tips for teaching him to stay in bed until a decent hour? We have an “Okay to Wake” owl that turns green when he can get up, but he pretty much comes out anyway, then comes out with particular excitement when the owl is actually green. Help wanted.