Remember how we were going to move to rural Colorado in early 2015, and how we were going to spend the intervening 12 months taking Max to thrice-weekly doctor’s appointments, running the household, parenting an energetic 2-year-old, doing baby feedings every two hours through the night, and holding down 2 jobs? Yeah, we’re not going to do that. Let’s play…

All That and a Pediatric Cardiologist, Too?

how to play: read through the list below, answering each question with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Give yourself a point for each ‘yes’ answer.

  • Imagine that you sleep roughly six hours per night, in three two-hour intervals. Would you like, instead, to have eight straight hours of sleep per night?
  • Imagine that your bedmate and husband has been accruing a sleep deficit such that he is routinely falling asleep with the lights on/with his glasses on/with a toddler crawling all over him. Would you like to help him get a little more sleep?
  • Rather than managing his case yourself across multiple providers and payers, would you like to have a well-coordinated team of experts care for your high-needs baby? Are you okay with not paying a copay for office visits? Do you like having several options for therapy depending on age, need, and social readiness? Does in-home care appeal to you? Does it feel good to know that your state-sponsored health insurance will send someone to help with household chores if you let them know that would be useful?
  • When buying very good French/Italian/German wine, would you like to pay €6/bottle or less?
  • Do you like it when your excellent pediatrician’s practice is 300 meters from your front door? Do you like walking by 7 cafes, 2 music clubs, an ice cream shop, a decent little Italian grocer, and a leftist community center on the way there?
  • Can you convince yourself, when you quit the job you’ve loved wholeheartedly for the last 14 years, that you’re just ‘taking a break’?

When I took this little quiz, I got about a million points so we’re staying in Hamburg, my last day at Planned Parenthood is May 9th, and we’re very much looking forward to having the parent who does the night feedings be different from the parent who works the next day.

Oh, and the wonderful au pair who’s been making our hectic scheduled possible for lo these last few months? Yeah, we’re keeping her. Let the napping begin!

I made this when I was busy. Imagine the playdough I'll be able to make with all my new extra time!













The plan is that we’ll spend a month or so three times per year in Colorado, which will make for a lot of flying but which will hopefully give us the best of both worlds. Last weekend, we went to the Italian Alps so that Tobias could prove that Europe has snow and snow sports, too. Here he is sledding with Frida; I took this picture from our deck because you just don’t go sledding two days after you get off crutches, even if your knee brace is feeling pretty sturdy and your new ACL is barely hurting at all.

In closing, I will encourage you to please please come visit. We have excellent cheese! Charming cobblestone streets! Pediatric cardiologists specializing in exactly Max’s condition! And, last but not least, as of May 9th we’ll also have TIME!































If the days are getting longer, it must be time for our Third Annual Hospital Food Review! This year’s entry brought to you by my brand-new ACL and the German practice of providing shelter, food, and 3 days of round-the-clock care for the recently anesthetized. I started spluttering about wasted time/quick healing/you-can’t-make-me when the doctor first explained that I’d stay at the clinic for two nights after what would be an outpatient surgery in the U.S., but then I remembered that I have two tiny kids, flour flights of stairs, and a husband very much capable of managing the household in my absence. I started downloading Downton Abbey episodes and brainless novels to the iPad and deciding how many bonbons I’d need to make it through three straight days of lounging in bed.

The food was plentiful and bland. Note that, despite certain challenges in navigating a trip to the bathroom, patients at the Klinik Manhagen are served an entire carafe of coffee:













Upon checking in at the Klinik, you receive written information about the risks of surgery and anesthesia, a form allowing the insurance company and the state access to your health information, and an order card for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea time (or, as I like to call it, Cake Break.) The anesthesiologist checks to make sure that you’ve followed the instructions to fast from 9pm the night before, and, realizing that you allowed your pre-procedure hunger to take over the breakfast order, you start to wonder if muesli+fruit+bread+meat+cheese+coffee+yoghurt might have been a little ambitious. Turns out it wasn’t; bored confinement and overeating are happy bedfellows. When my surgery ran long and at 2pm the nurse suggested a slice of cake and a coffee for my postoperative meal, explaining that lunch ends at 1:30, I laughed out loud and said, ‘Nein.’  She looked shocked, I realized that I was asking her to flout the laws of GermanLunchTime, and I explained that I hadn’t eaten since the previous day and would very much appreciate something more substantial. She came 30 long minutes later with a reheated lunch, I was grateful, and we spent the rest of my stay there in the certain understanding that she had gone to great, amazing, wondrous lengths for me despite the unreasonable demand.

Tobias, meanwhile, wasn’t antagonizing caretakers but was instead providing excellent care to his charges: he took them to music class, they went swimming, he and Frida together cooked a fish and ate it. Tobias might be ready for a serious nap (Max still wakes up every 2 hours in the night to eat, and Tobias has been on call for going on 120 hours straight now,) but he’s doing a bang-up job:

first thought: oh, good, she's learning about the world! first-and-a-half thought: wash those hands!

for his first birthday, Max gives himself a new vantage point: sitting!














Frida and Papa delight themselves