After Amelia was born and it was determined that there was some sort of issue with her head and brain (bright spots, although excellent on jewelry–think diamonds–are not something, apparently, you want to see on an MRI), I could barely watch that commercial with Alec Baldwin and the brain. Nor could I watch House, MD without having to avert my eyes whenever the picture of the brain came up in the credits.

Neurotic much?

Why yes, yes I was neurotic. I was probably as bat-shit crazy as I’ll ever be (God willing) and there’s a small part of me that feels as though I should be apologetic for it. Things did, after all, turn out as well as they could, especially considering the diagnosis.

But I’m not sorry. Not even remotely. Since I hadn’t thought there was an actual encephalocele, I’d actually prepared myself for a better Worst Case scenario than. Which means I wasn’t nearly as neurotic as I could have been. How frightening is THAT?

Besides, from the moment she was born, no one told us jack SHIT about anything. It was kind of remarkable, just how little information the hospital and it’s employees would divulge. I probably could have learned more from the lady who cleaned my bathroom than I did from all of the nurses and doctors. COMBINED. My friends who have been there will know if that’s standard or not, but damn, how powerless did we feel?

Moving right ahead, now that my neuroses have been well documented yet again. (If that’s not the purpose of blogging, I don’t know what is)

Amelia turned a whopping 2 months old on the 28th of March and we celebrated, perhaps a bit belatedly, by going to back-to-back doctors appointments. Lucky girl!

Before we went to her pediatrician yesterday, I had a rare couple of quiet minutes wherein I waxed eloquent (If Aunt Becky waxes eloquent and no one is around to hear it…? Did it happen?) about how relieved I am that this is my last child. With my other two, even with Ben’s autism, I was much more laid back and relaxed.

So what if Ben ate from exactly one food group (White Food, for those who wonder)? Who cares if Alex didn’t walk until 16 months? That rash on his ass? Slap some Vaseline on it and call it a damn morning.

But suddenly, after Amelia was born and the threat of her developing abnormally was a Front and Center Issue, I consistently noticed things about her. Wait, she’s rolling her eyes into the back of her head as she sleeps, IS THAT A SEIZURE? Oh my GOD, what is WRONG with her hard and soft palate? IT LOOKS WEIRD.

From neurotic to MORE neurotic, I quickly went.

Until yesterday, when I went to the ped with her and I had an epiphany (ala Arby’s = RB’s = Roast Beef! What? I never claimed my epiphanies were bright.). My daughter seemed…normal. Completely normal. She eats well, has regular craptastrophies wherein several items of clothing are damaged, smiles when she’s happy, pouts and screams when she’s mad, and acts just like a…baby.

MY baby.

Maybe she’ll never join MENSA (to be fair, they’ve certainly never beat down MY door either), maybe she’ll have as hard a time with fractions as her dear old mother does, and maybe she’ll never be known as a Brilliant Mind.

Say it with me now: So. Fucking. What?

Today, at her follow up with with her neuro (F/U in medical lingo. Which always brought me much satisfaction to see in a chart when I was an actual nurse because I am very, very mature) she was discharged from the neurologist who told us that we’d see him in the next lifetime. Which may be entirely too soon for me.

Next week, we’ll be visited by the county health nurse who will follow Amelia for the next two years to determine if she’s meeting all of her milestones. We’re also being followed by the University of Illinois. Apparently her diagnosis is not only rare, but totally interesting!

And they’ll probably find something, because if you look for something long enough, you’re bound to find something or another wrong. But I don’t care.

Normality is totally overrated.

49 thoughts on “Amelia’s Grace

  1. Ok, I’ll say it with you:
    SO. FU…
    ok, just cant bring myself to comment with the F-bomb, but saying it aloud instead, ok? S.F.W?

    My Amelia is 6, and has Down syndrome. I’ve struggled with her NOT having delays to having the school board smack down the “r” word on me. Same with my 3 yr old, Zoe, with autism. I’ve given up my worship at the island of intellectualism that I was CERTAIN would be the fated destination of my children, and learned to jump up and down for a 6 year old counting to 4, and a 3 year saying “nana”.

    Normality has never really followed me around, not sure I expected it to show up with my children! But I’ve got buckets of interesting tales, and that’s much more…um, fun.

    peace out, and good luck with Amelia’s doctor visits. I’ll be checking out yr blog from time to time.

  2. You must be so totally relieved. And none of my children is normal. Nor am I. Nor are you.
    For this we are all grateful.
    Bless little Amelia and also her mama.

  3. Boy I hate to do this to you, but the R. B. actually stands for the brothers’ initials who started the company (Raffel Brothers). I worked at the original Arby’s in Boardman, OH during high school. They had some sort of milestone celebration and we all had to “learn” the history of the company. Sorry.

    I still think you’re brilliant! And normality is completely unnecessary. Boring, even. Who needs that?

  4. Seriously? You really expected a child of YOUR loins to be normal? 😉 I couldn’t help myself with that comment.
    I am just so happy that she has been released and that they see no further need of their services for that beautiful little girl. Wishing you the best with all the studies others have planned for the girl.

    Still working on trucking my behind back to your front door. I still can’t find an adult diaper that doesn’t make my ass look fat though. 😉

  5. I heart you so much. Your epiphany is not only excellent it is also KICK ASS triumphant.

    (& dude- to show you how epiphany challenged I am I TOTALLY went all , “OOOO!!!” reading about the Arby=RB=Roast Beef moment and THEN went all “OOOOO!!!” again reading the comment from The Mommy. Who knew?!)

  6. I am so glad her appt went well!
    I am working on the So Fucking What. thinking.
    My son is autistic but is also severely developmentally delayed.
    Is easy to let yourself get wrapped in the down the dooms day thinking, but you are right who cares about the little things!

  7. Uh yeah there is no such thing as normal… right from the mouth of my 17 year old on a good day!!

    She is goona be great, esp. with you as her mom!!!


  8. Normalcy has certainly eluded us as well. I figure it gives me something to blog about.

    Glad she’s clear of the neuro now…we’re just starting that journey ourselves.

  9. OMG, you summed it up when you talked about being more laid back with the 1st one compared to the total anxiety fest of the 2nd. Farty is almost a year old, hasn’t had to see the specialist since LAST JULY!!!! and I still obsess over every little thing. Every time he spits up, I’m looking to call 911. If he doesn’t shit himself full every single day, I’m calling the ped.
    It’s crack-whore craziness.
    It’s OUR normal.

  10. Now you can worry about really important things like “who can I get to watch the kids, so I an go do IT with The Daver while drunk”. That’s usually what I think after I pop out a kid…yeah I know, I’m a bad mom.

  11. You’re going to be followed by U of I? That’s going to be annoying – as far as I can tell they are completely composed of concrete (and I’m not just talking about their campuses). As a graduate, I can tell you that they are far worse than any telemarketer. Or spammer, for that matter. Look forward to Illini crap gracing your mailbox until time ends (or you move without forwarding your mail). That was a particular annoyance to a UIC graduate, because UIC? Not the same as U of I.

    Anyway, awesome epiphany. Clearly, though, you are too young to remember the commercials (America’s Roast Beef, Yes Sir!) that explained the concept.

    Ben, Alex, and Amelia will be fine, no matter how they turn out. Because they have a loving mommy, who at the very least will instill an appreciation of vodka…

  12. What is normal? Typical?

    Honest, I want to know. With my two, severe food allergies and PKU, I have no idea.

    And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    Sweet Amelia – may you always be healthy, but NEVER normal. Em

  13. I have a friend with a daughter with Downs. When she was born, due to some OB issues, she had a stand in Dr. that she had never seen before. They knew she had Downs already. But he said the mood was pretty happy when she was pushing and almost immediately when the nurses got the baby, the room went errily silent and no one said a word about it to them.

    Well, aparently, a lot of people just leave Downs babies at the hospital (there is also a long waiting list of people who want to adopt Downs babies, but that’s neither here nor there). They never check them out. They just pack up their shit and leave their child at the hospital. He even told a story of a couple who had twins and one had Downs, the mom fed and loved on and fed the “normal” one and ignored the Downs baby, they told family the other one died in childbirth and left it at the hospital.

    I suppose it’s possible the same is true of babies with thingies on their heads, thus the not speaking of it.

    And as for the extra followers, you should be used to it by now, we’re all following you too!

  14. Crap we are all supposed to be normal now??? Damb I missed that by a long shot!! Glad it all went so great and she no longer has to look up the nose hairs of the neuro.

  15. I’m happy that you’re done with at least one doctor. Hopefully, things will calm down now and get back to what passes for normal in a house with (ack) three kids.

  16. Maybe they are really following YOU…you know to seee how someone like you spawned such a NORMAL little being like beautiful Amelia:)

  17. Three kids, two dogs, a cat or two, that abnormally large mutant rabbit – is he still around? Girl, normal’s been gone a while, I think.

    So. Fucking. What.

    Who wants to be normal anyway?

  18. Your baby may not turn out to be the brightest or bulbs, but then again she might be a goddamn Rhodes Scholar. It is just WAY to early to tell.

    But for now, she sure is fucking cute.

  19. I feel like I spend a lot of time convincing other people to back off the “normal” labels so I can focus on convincing MYSELF I am ok with the abnormality I live in. If, perhaps, the medical professionals weren’t judging size and milestones against what is “normal” and thus labelling babies as “behind”, we as parents would be able to relax and just enjoy what IS.

  20. If you are being followed by the University of Illinois for a rare and interesting reason does that mean we will be seeing you on one of those shows on Discovery?. Glad the appointments went well & everything seems normal.

  21. thats like the best news of the day! she’s totally perfect too!! i’m happy for you becky, and this is coming from someone else who too can go bat shit crazy, but tries to hide it.

    and i can totally relate to the cleaning lady knowing more about your situation than you. they must totally get an ear full running in and out of rooms like that! i don’t know about your cleaning ladies, but mine never talked. they were totally like a fly on a wall, complete with a swiffer mop and rag.

  22. Duuude, if we wanted to be normal, why would we blog?

    Seriously, though, Amelia will be exactly who she needs to be and of course completely adorable into the bargain.

  23. I’d like to know who decides what “normal” is. It’s always seemed pretty subjective to me. I’m sure I am no where on that spectrum, and neither is my child or my husband or my dogs or my cats. We’re all a little off 😉

    Glad you had two good doctor visits!

  24. I’m so happy that Amelia is doing so well!! And seriously, meeting milestones and MENSA are so very overrated (I didn’t walk until I was almost two, apparently, and while I’m certainly not athletic I *can* now walk, so I think it turned out alright…), as is normalcy. I have a pretty severe chronic illness, and I gave up on normal yeeeeeears ago.

    Oh, and my husband and I always chuckle heartily upon reviewing my medical records and seeing the notation F/U. We’re TOTALLY grown ups. Maybe.

  25. 2 months already?! Geez. I’m glad everything went all right and hey, at least you have an excuse for your neurotic tendencies.
    And you are, as usual (King Friday), completely right: normality IS highly overrated. xoxo

  26. when my kinda distant cousin was a baby, her dumb-ass monther kept some religious-themed picture over her crib…and she also used the picture (some puffy quilt-like totally pureto rican jesus or the like) as a nifty place to keep her sewing needles. one day, the quilt-pin cushion-jesus picture fell into the crib and right onto her head.

    this stupidity resulted in the girl with a needle…IN HER BRAIN. miraculously, the needle lodged itself in a section not utilized (likely the one that tells moms not to hang pictures with fucking needles sticking out of it over their baby’s crib). they decided risks of operating would outweigh any benefit and they left the needle there.

    said cousin has to be almost 60 now…my mother grew up with her. my mother tells me needlegirl had a LOT of fun getting out of school with *headaches* any damn time she wanted, getting spoiled, etc.

    amelia will tell her brain surgery fresh out of the womb many, many times. she’s special!!

  27. Excellent to know the FU (teeheehee) went well. And while I know in my heart of hearts that I couldn’t possibly know how you were feeling, I do know that I was as scared as I have ever been for someone I don’t even “know”. So glad Amelia is as close to normal as her mother. Oh god, I hope she’s a little closer to normal than you are. At least for now.

    I have a question though.
    ” I had a rare couple of quiet minutes wherein I waxed eloquent”
    When you wax eloquent, does it remove unwanted body hair? I’m looking for an easy button.

  28. Arby’s? RB’s? Roast Beef! Holy shit…I never noticed that.

    I related to this post on every level. Particularly that whole thing about finding something if you look long enough. Sort of my worst fear.

  29. Oh man, Becky, you are so ON today! I think this is my favorite entry like EVER. First off, loving the word sh*t, the RB’s and the “craptastrophies” and especially the F/U!! As for the Mensa, I know these two lesbians who have twin 8-year olds who are members and man are they gonna be F/U, just from the pressure to learn it all before they become teens.

    From a different angle, I was reading something about Down Syndrome babies the other day and the freaking PERSPECTIVE CHANGE hit me square in the face like it does sometimes — like when I realized that I’d been against the idea of scheduling Cesarean’s but now those bitches have intact tight vaginas and mine is a gaping volcano — but anyway — here I did amnio to make sure my daughter would be “normal” and not affect her brother “negatively” cause he was 11 years old and I didn’t want him to have his life “ruined” just cause I wanted another baby. I would absolutely have had an abortion.

    The stupid part? I have this “thing” with retarded people. They GET me & they LIKE me & I laugh with them & have this random & quick connection whenever I am with someone who has a lower than normal IQ (like MINE). They TALK to me & make me giggle. I entertain for them and make THEM giggle. In other words, I would have someone to talk to and laugh with all the time if I’d had a child with “PROBLEMS.”

    Instead? I have a brilliant 23-year old who never talks to me. He doesn’t think I’m funny. He is annoyed by my sense of humor and tendency toward idiocy.

    So, for all the atheists & agnostics out there, God DOES SO have such a f*cking FANTASTIC sense of humor & is alive & well & messes with me daily. If you ever think you’re sure about anything, just wait a while:) Now I think I gotta go make a blog entry out of this comment. Thanks!

  30. I thought that was you I heard waxing eloquent. Either that or it was the squirrels. Yeah, it was you. (I don’t like squirrels.)

    S.F.W! She’s a beautiful baby, she’s all yours, and she’s perfect. Normal is way overrated. Now go nom-nom on those cheeks for me. I need a fix. 🙂

  31. I’ve been there. I’ve been THAT neurotic. When my little one was born hearing impaired, that scared the total S**T out of me! They told me things like, “Hearing impairment can be only one symptom of many, many, syndromes,”

    So of course we had to go through all of this testing on my three week old, who was little more than a lump. (It’s so hard to tell if they’re normal at that stage)

    I can remember feeling the same relief that you feel though. Seeing those first smiles…seeing my kid do “normal” things–slowly helped relieve the neurosis a bit.

    I’m happy things are looking up for you.

    She looks beautiful and perfect to me! 😉

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