The Fifth Child

I had cleaned every bedroom to within an inch of its life. Beds were made with hospital corners, pressed sheets and the prettiest quilts. Pillows were plumped. A formerly occupied closet had became an official linen cupboard and now held all the sheets neatly folded and organized by size.

Forty five wet towels were no longer slung over hooks, rails and the bathtub but laundered and folded in a closet all their own. The upstairs bathroom had been polished as for a military inspection.

The freezer was sorted with no lingering freezer burned ice cream. The refrigerator was scrubbed with room on the shelves. A wandering child, through for a few hours, said its spaciousness alarmed her. Somehow the empty shelves did not scream welcome like the overstuffed ones of old. Then she saw the pantry, tidy for the first time in 25 years. What had happened to her mother who never knowingly under catered?

At my work station, I could see the wood top of my desk for the first time in years. Papers were filed and books reshelved. I was now able to find my Flower identification books because they sat in a neat row in front of me. I created a list of every Flower Essence in our inventory complete with latin names.

My personal clutter was sorted as well. My yarn inventory was under control. Each knitting project was tucked in a cosy basket all its own. Even my knitting needles were sorted by size and kind. In my closet, clothes had been sorted by season, style and color. Freaky was one way to describe it.

Yes…..Life with all four children out of the house was getting a little OCD. It was time for a fifth. It was time for an iPhone.

I know. I know. I probably complained here about my children’s obsession with their iPhones. I probably ranted about “people” who were on their iPhones instead of “being there.” I certainly got sniffy when my kids looked more at their iPhones during dinner than at me. I went on ad nauseum in a luddite sort of way about the decline and fall of manners and civilization because of iPhones.

Then our fifth child arrived, a cute little iPhone all our own. It was love at first sight.

Within moments of holding her, I was blissed out by texting. It was so easy and irreverent. I could bug my missing children but in a way that (maybe) didn’t drive them too crazy.

With the photo option I could send them silly photos of things that reminded me of them.


This was for Will of course.

I could keep them updated on Alli’s drawings for the cookbook and even send recipes from the pages when needed.


I could take gobs of pictures of Grace and send them to all her fans.


I could even laugh when Will, home for a long weekend, spent so much quality time with his iPhone.

At last I understood.

But then, like the sheets in my newly organized linen cupboard, I found wrinkles in paradise.

In the early weeks, I took care of our iPhone baby during the day and Jim got his quality time at night. The kids didn’t even need us to tell who was texting. They seemed to get that it probably wasn’t me when the topics drifted to the Arsenal-Liverpool game or Jon Lester’s pitching.

Yet now, several months in, we have run into some troubling dilemmas. Like right now. Jim is away for four days. Of course, it is sensible to have him have the iPhone while he is away from the land line. He, after all, NEEDS it. But I am missing my baby. I WANT it. Last night when he called me, I broached a new topic. With Jim and the iPhone baby gone, I had cleaned the last messy closet, finished off a sweater and raked the yard. Gently I asked him, “Honey, is time for Baby number six: an iPhone of my very own?”