Today Lucia had her follow up visit with the pediatrician. She’s back up to her birth weight and the heart murmur they were keeping an eye on has closed. She is a perfectly healthy little girl and a very happy calm baby.

The visit was the first time all five kids have left the house together, a test for my mom and me in herding children and managing logistics. There were a couple of sticky moments but on the whole it went rather smoothly. Ben, now firmly settling into his role as middle child, did not want my mom to help him get ready. I had to do his coat and walk him to the car. But once I’d conceded and walked him through the process of getting into his car seat, he was amiable enough. We managed to squeeze everyone in, with my mom doing all the lifting because I’m not supposed to wrangle anything over ten pounds right now.

When we got to the doctor we managed to get everyone out and herded into the office. Ben and Sophie accompanied Lucia and I into the checkup while Bella and Anthony stayed with my mom in the waiting room. As usual the receptionist remarked on how well behaved they are, making me wonder who these poor parents are whose kids jump off of the furniture at the doctor’s office. The visit was quick and Anthony was not ready to leave the fun toys. I had to resort to bribery, promising him some chocolate when we got home. That was enough to get his coat on and get him out the door. When we got down to the lobby, though, he plopped himself on the floor in front of the door and began to howl. I had my mom herd everyone else out to the car while I tried to coax him. After a minute I resorted to a reminder about the chocolate bribe and he again became a cooperative toddler, taking my hand to walk to the car. He fell asleep in the car on the way home, it being well past his nap time. Unfortunately the pediatrician sees newborns after lunch, which works well for avoiding germy kids but not so well for toddlers who need naps.

So that was our big excitement, hopefully for the week. Now back to my regular schedule of staying in bed most of the day with a pile of books and my laptop and the baby. And getting up to refill my water bottle, get a snack, and make lunch for the kids. I am so grateful to my mother for cooking meals, doing laundry, changing diapers, reading books, wrangling toddlers, getting kids dressed, going to the store, and all the other bits and pieces of our busy life that I can’t manage right now. On the one hand this is rather a nice little vacation from reality—except when it’s about time to take my next dose of painkillers. On the other hand, one reason I’m hiding in my room is so that I don’t crumple under the load of guilt for all the things I think I should be doing. It’s really hard to sit back, put my feet up, and hand over the reigns to someone else. I am so very grateful that I do have help and so very frustrated that I need it. However, I do think I’m managing a bit more gracefully this time. It’s hard not to feel lazy when I’m spending the day in bed and not feeling particularly bad. But I know I need to rest and recuperate.

So now back to resting, cuddling with my sweet little Lucia, reading books with the bigger kids—and trying to keep them from jumping on us.

Today Bella came in with a pile of books for me to read. We’ve been neglecting her read alouds for the past few weeks. She put the books down on my bed and then headed for the door. I was perplexed and asked where she was going. “I need to get the bounces out,” she explained. So she jumped around in the other room until her bounces were gone. Then she came in for her story time. If only I could get Anthony to follow suit. But he can be very sweet about giving Lucia kisses and hugs.

So far all the kids love to sing to their baby sister. Silent Night seems to be the Official Baby Calming Song. Even Anthony sings his own version, a recognizable little snippet of tune and words that can be made out to be,
all is bright.” I’m not sure about all being calm but all is certainly very full of love.

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