Conversations About Captain

I just wanted to add this little tidbit to last week's post about how we came up with Max' first name.

Before we brought the babies home from the hospital, I had to call and make an appointment with their pediatrician for a follow-up appointment. I explained to the scheduler about our situation, that the babies had been in the hospital but were coming home now. She then started asking me their basic info {names, birthdates, etc.} so she could put them in the computer. Maggie's information we got through no problem, but afterwards we had this conversation:

"And the other baby's first name?"
"His first name?"
"Yes, his first name."
"I'm sorry?"
"It's Captain?"
"Can you spell that for me?"

We now get those lovely automated messages from our pediatrician's office, reminding us of our appointment times -- the ones where one robot voice says most of the message, but a second robot voice jumps in for the names, dates, and times. Ours sound like this:

"This is a message reminding you that... a member of your family... and... Maggie... have an appointment for Thursday, August 21st at 1:00 pm. If you have any questions, please call..."

Because if people are confused about my son's name, you better believe robots are.


Captain Maxwell Plautz

How DID Max's first name come about? I'm pretty certain it was Christian's doing
but am curious about the whole story.

When Christian and I decided that our first son's first name would be Captain, we had an idea of the reactions we were going to receive. We knew a lot of people would think it was strange. Even worse, we knew the puns would start and probably cease only after a very long time. But I'm starting in the middle; I should start at the beginning.

The beginning is sometime during the summer of 1996, when my mother-in-law was extremely pregnant with Christian's youngest brother, Alex. {It might have started even earlier than that, with the creation of my father-in-law's brain, but for the purposes of this story I'm starting in '96.} Christian's parents knew they were going to call their sixth son Alex, but they also knew it was going to be his middle name.

They needed a first name; one that sounded good with Alexander. During the ongoing discussion my father-in-law suggested Captain, but this idea was immediately rejected by my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law has very strong ideas about what makes a good name, and Captain does not fit her requirements. They settled instead on Benjamin.


Fast forward twelve years. Christian and I were engaged in early 2008, and one of my favorite conversation topics was baby names. I remember that pretty early on we decided that none of our children would have names that started with P, because that would be like the cheesiest thing ever. However, the exact series of events -- when we realized we both loved the name Max, when we decided to give our first boy Christian's same initials, or when he told me his father's unorthodox suggestion for Alex -- it's all mixed up in my head.

I do remember that after Christian related the story about his dad and Captain, I said, "That is an awesome name." And he looked at me and said, "Are you serious? Because if you're serious, that would be really cool."

The problem with picking out your children's names more than three years in advance {a few months into our marriage we had chosen ten, in total} is that family members have more than three years to make fun of them before anything is actually set in stone. In our case, our family members had three years to doubt that we'd follow through. "Are you really going to name your son Captain?" was a frequent question. My sister even said, "If you name your son Captain, then your kids can't play with my kids." But we had our minds made up, and endless iterations of "Aye aye, Captain" weren't going to stop us.

Honestly, I hardly ever think about the fact that my son's name is Captain. {I think about it a lot less than I ever thought about Maggie's extra thumb.} We call him Max or Maxwell 90 percent of the time. The other ten percent Christian calls him Buddy, and I call him my Maxi-Bear.



{Zinnias from my walk with the babes today.}

So this is a post about what a big clueless dork I am.

As you may recall, I wrote a post asking for questions over a month ago. I made the comments on that post private, because other people did and it made sense {for reasons explained in the previously referenced post}. Since I have Blogger send me e-mails whenever someone comments on ye olde blog, I waited for the questions to pour into my inbox. None came, and none came, and none came, and I felt a little forlorn. No questions, not even out of courtesy or friendship or pity?

But no, not one. I contemplated whether I should call myself out for being pretentious enough to assume that people wonder anything about my life, or whether I should bluff it and answer pretend-asked questions {pathetic, I know}. Finally, last night as I was blogging because I just couldn't hold back the words that were in me, I had almost decided to pretend like the whole FAQ post hadn't happened at all. And then I saw it -- I had unmoderated comments waiting for my approval. I had gotten questions, and, dense as I occasionally prove myself to be, hadn't realized.

I apologize. I'm now getting my answers to your questions ready, and I'll start posting them next week. First up: the story behind Max's first name.

P.S. You better believe Christian made fun of me last night. "You clown," I believe, were his exact words. Christian also makes fun of me whenever I say "wherps," a deliberate mispronunciation of "whoops."

UPDATE: Christian wanted me to clarify that he's the one who came up with "wherps" -- it's not funny to make fun of the way someone pronounces something, but it is funny to make fun of someone who pronounces something the same way you pronounce it and act like they're crazy for doing so. When I say "wherps!" Christian is always quick to reply, "No. Nobody says that."


The Story of Our Yesterday


My Maggiebaby was born with an extra thumb. Christian told me, after he had been to see our newly born babies and as I was being stitched up post-delivery, that our girl had a tiny extra digit. I thought he was kidding, but he told me that he "was strictly instructed not to make any jokes at this point," which was good advice.

It was never a big deal to us, this extra thumb -- we claimed our right as new parents to call our daughter perfect regardless, and meant that description with all our hearts. Since then I've smiled to myself whenever I hear soon-to-be mothers and fathers wish for ten fingers and ten toes. Um, how about eleven fingers?

Chapter 1

Christian and I put off having this little thumb dealt with. At first, perhaps, because she was such a tiny baby and we couldn't bear the thought of her going through surgery. After that point I blame exhaustion, and the fact that it was such a nothing issue for us. We made a few "what has three thumbs?" jokes, and planned to show what would be embarrassing pictures to her future boyfriends, but otherwise almost never thought of it. Eventually, though, we made an appointment to see a pediatric orthopedist, and then scheduled surgery to have that eleventh finger removed.

It was at this point I began to worry. My Maggiebaby under general anesthesia? My Maggiebaby not allowed to eat anything after midnight? I prayed to allay my fears, and did my best to have faith.

Chapter 2

The night before her surgery, we kept Maggie up extra late in the hope that she would sleep longer. In the early morning I listened closely for her sleepy voice, and ran in to give her a pacifier every time she stirred. At 8:00, however, she was definitely awake, and we still had an hour before we even needed to leave for the hospital. When she realized I wasn't going to feed her, I found it necessary to employ techniques I had learned from mothers with colicky babies, and we vacuumed the living room for 45 minutes. She did a good job in her car seat, and waited patiently while I checked us in and gave out our insurance information. At 10:30 they took us back to the waiting area where I changed her into the smallest hospital gown ever made. I prepared myself to keep her happy for another hour and a half until she was scheduled to go back for surgery.

Chapter 3

My Maggiebaby, who before yesterday I might have described as "a little fussy at times," has proved herself to be a champion among babies. The sweetest, the best-natured, the absolutely most patient baby. Maggie was not taken into surgery at 12:15. Maggie was taken into surgery at 3:00. Our doctor was delayed by an operation that took much longer than expected. And my darling girl, my adorable firstborn child, who usually waits no more than five hours between feedings, was miraculously content with her pacifier while we waited. She dozed for long periods of time on her pathetically small gurney, occasionally waking and wanting to be held, or to watch TV.

At one point, when my patience was wearing thin and she let out a weak little cry, I began sobbing to a sympathetic nurse about how she hadn't eaten for fifteen hours, and should we just give up and go home already? I'm not ashamed to admit, I think my baby is a better person than I am. She is amazing to me.

Chapter 4

The surgery, once begun, only lasted 15 minutes. She didn't even need an IV, and thank goodness -- I've had enough of baby IVs. I was told it was a simple procedure that went well. She has one stitch, which is dissolvable and should fall out on its own. The bandage on her hand, the doctor told me, could be taken off at home if we felt it was too tight. We could give her baby Tylenol if we thought she was in pain.

When I was allowed to go back to Recovery, she was in the arms of a comfortingly mothering nurse, sucking down her second bottle of Pedialyte. When I held her, she let me know just what she thought of the events of the day. All of the frustration and rage she had been holding back were now vented on me. She yelled until she suddenly fell asleep on my shoulder. I quietly packed us up, and as we were driving off the hospital campus, I cried again and said prayers of gratitude that the whole ordeal was over.


Maggie is doing well. She's been a little more sleepy than usual, I think is the biggest difference. Her hand seems a little sensitive when we pull it through the sleeves of her clothing, but she doesn't mind gnawing on the bandage when the urge to suck her thumb strikes. And now, ten fingers and ten toes -- that's what's important, right guys?