I’m in the running for Funniest Blog and while I won’t win, I will hassle you to vote for me. Because you can vote daily and that rules the school.

2009 BlogLuxe Awards


As part of the requirement to get into nursing school (other requirements at my school included: a general bad attitude and the disregard for others), I had to enroll–and pass–Anatomy and Physiology I and II. And as part of A & P I and II, we had a weekly lab practicum. In addition to a nifty cadaver and an actual skeleton (now they are often made of hard plastic), my professor had somehow acquired a brain.

Now and again, he’d pull it out and leave it on the front lab bench. It would float there in it’s glass house, suspended in a clear yellow liquid almost as though it were another member of the class, nodding along. Because my professor had a great sense of humor, he’d labeled it years before with a fading sticker that read: “Abby Matter.”

It was a nerdy Young Frankenstein joke, he explained when I asked, wondering if the name was of the brain’s previous owner.

So to pay tribute to him, I have begun the process of labeling all the entries that involve me whining about Amelia’s encephalocele “Abby Matter.”


In a valiant effort to distract myself from myself, I tried my daughter on solids this morning now that she is the same age as my son’s were when they tried solids for the first time. I was sad to note that the formula, unlike breast milk, does not digest those simple carbohydrates the same way, so the longer it sat, the more it stayed the same.

Amelia was…not thrilled by the idea. Maybe she was picking up on the grimace I was no doubt making as I tried to feed her the paste-like rice cereal, maybe she just has better sensibilities than her brothers, but she was less than thrilled by the entire experience.


What I have not been talking about, though, is that Amelia’s Early Intervention interview with the therapists begins on Friday afternoon. I am less than thrilled by this idea, even though I keep reminding myself over and over than so many kids have problems so much greater than hers and that I should just shut the fuck up.

The marked rigidity of her limbs could just be a further sign of her awesomeness and her readiness to take on the world, but I’ll admit to you, Internet, that my heart breaks a little every time I see the strange Frankenstein way she uses her arms sometimes. Is this something? Is this nothing?

I’m just not sure.


I’m just not sure.

50 thoughts on “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

  1. I don’t have anything witty or creative to say! I just wanted to stop by and say Hi because, in general, I really suck at commenting on people’s blogs but then I get really sad when people don’t comment on mine so I should really comment, right? And I love your blog.

    So, long story short: Hi! 🙂

  2. I don’t have anything witty to say either. Except I know where you are coming from , its scary, wondering what every little things means. And fearful of what the future holds.
    I say the same thing to myself all the time, there are so many kids that are worse off than my son. As true as that maybe we still have the right to be stressed and just plain scared.
    None of it is any fun.
    and Btw she is freaking adorable!!

  3. IF, big, big IF, it means something, it doesn’t matter*. She’s yours, she’s perfect, and she’s so stinkin’ cute. Also, she is obviously a genius, she knows rice cereal is revolting.

    *Not to say that you don’t have every right in the world to worry your ass off. I would too.

  4. I voted for you.
    and Amelia makes weird Frankenstien arms like all babies do. Wait til she starts walking like him, too. She’s fine – just look at those eyes. So expressive.

  5. I will say a prayer for you. I can’t tell you how many times I have locked myself in a bathroom to hide the tears from Emerson, screaming inside to myself “This is NOT the life I dreamt for him.”

    I understand. And I can’t think of a single thing other than that to offer you. Understanding and prayers, that is what I can give.

  6. Oh the joys of pasty white rice cereal. My kids hoovered it down gleefully while I sat back in a state of semi-revolt over just how much it looked and smelled like library paste. She sounds like a smart cookie to spit it back. Perhaps this will be your baby with the most refined palate. Chicken nuggets may get hurled at your head in a flurry of demands for lobster tail with drawn butter.

    Despite her cereal protestations, she has the kind of face that they put on the cereal box. She is such a pretty little one.

  7. It’s futile to say ‘don’t worry about it.’ You’ll worry and worry and then worry some more. Hopefully everything will turn out just fine. You are a joy to read. I love your honesty, your sincerity and your sense of humor. Your daughter is beautiful. Now iIm off to go vote for you.

  8. She is BEAUTIFUL, Young Frankenstein is my favourite movie, and I really hope the EI interview on Friday goes well. Boring, even.

    I voted for you.

  9. My kids did the crazy stiff arm thing quite a bit when they were the same age. Of course in your shoes I would be scrutinizing every little thing too, so I get it. Being a mom is so hard sometimes. I won’t say that I know she’ll be fine because I know it won’t help and obviously I don’t know a fucking thing about it. BUT I can say that whatever happens you will always find support over this way. xoxo

  10. I do that to myself–tell myself that I should not be so upset by the challenges we’ve faced because we have it better than others. The sad fact is, though, that we have it worse than others, too. I’ve decided that it is okay to feel the feelings I have about our experience. Our reactions are as unique to us as the experience.

    Try not to beat yourself up for your feelings. They are natural! It is okay for you to feel the way you feel.

    I get your worries about EI. I so get it. Hugs. Hoping that you are pleasantly surprised. 🙂

  11. Oh, honey.

    Listen, no matter what happens, I’m here for you. I know how scary just waiting for answers is.

    FWIW, Badger had Fanken-arms too, for a long time. And now he works the computer better than I do.

    Incidentally? Rice cereal tastes like wallpaper paste. Don’t sweat it if Amelia never quite digs it. Badger didn’t.

  12. I have no idea. I will say that all four of my children wanted to eat “real” food at different ages and dealt with it differently.
    I will also say that until it starts raining, there is no need to put your umbrella up. Just love your baby. Which you do. And you will love her no matter what.

  13. While I, too, have nothing particularly witty to say, what I do have is faith that she’s going to be fine. It may not be much to go on, and I know as a mother, heck, as a person, it’s easy to plan for the worst so when we get the best, we can laugh off our previous worry. I’d like to think that what she’s demonstrating is normal baby development (hell, some days I walk around here like Frankentstein, and goodness knows I’m nowhere near infant age!). I’ll continue to hope for good things. Then I’ll go vote!

  14. My mom has been calling my dad Abby ever since that movie came out. It’s the ONE insult that truly gets to him, and we have no idea why, but it’s a laff riot.

    I often look the same way after trying to eat oatmeal. No biggie.

    I voted for you, and I hope you win, and I’ll try to vote every day.

  15. Stiff arms = all the better to flip you off, my dear. I’m sure EI will help ease your mind. Good luck on Friday.

    I love Young Frankenstein (that’s Frahnk-en-shteen)

    Who likes rice cereal? My daughter would eat the mixed grain and after a while she would only eat it mixed with applesauce. Of course, Daddy was letting her taste ketchup before she ate any solids.

    Looks like the Daver brought souvenirs!

  16. You are twelve different kinds of awesome and I am proud to have you as my new best friend. And I’ve linked you in my blogroll. Best I can do without shedding blood. 🙂

  17. Maybe it’s something. But maybe it’s nothing. And while it’s easy for ME from over here to say that you should just chill about it, I’m going to say it anyway. Just chill – as much as you can.

    When the OT decided Sadie had CP and went on a campaign to convince my pediatrician – see here http://joshuaross.blogspot.com/2009/02/long-time-gone.html – I freaked. Daily. I overanalyzed. And she’s fine. I still look at here and see her clenching one fist more than the other, or that one arm seems floppier. I’m looking for something, so I see it.

    Maybe you’re the same way…it might just be nothing. Prepare for that possibility too, okay?

  18. go ahead, worry. feel the worry. be the worry. how can you not? do not add the expectation that you shouldn’t worry. of course you should, because hello? have you met her? she’s lovely and she’s your sweet girl, and of course you want her to be just fine. i will worry too, and pray.

  19. No matter what they say at the interview, we’ll be here to hold your hand. We’ll rally with you and for you, if need be. Of course, that won’t take away The Worry, but we got your back, love!

  20. I think you are over- analyzing the situation.
    Just relax. It will work out just fine!

    Love the cereal all over Amelia’s face!!! Can’t wait for the spaghetti picture!

  21. Without a video, all I can say is that I’ve seen a lot of babies that age doing the Frankenstein arms thing. I know that doesn’t help one bit though.

  22. Throw some applesauce in there with the rice cereal! That’ll get her going 😉 That picture is exactly what both my boys looked like after their first attempts at rice cereal.

    She is so beautiful, and I just know everything is going to be OK.

  23. Sabrina had/has Frankenstein arms, too! She’s doing great with her PT (through EI) but I still try and bend her arm to go around me when I’m holding her instead of both arms just sticking straight out at the sides. We were starting to hit people in the grocery store.

    Good luck on Friday, I hope it’s nothing or nothing a little PT can take care of quick.

  24. Sending hugs of support and loving the pictures of Amelia with her stylish bib (is that with one b at the end or 2 b’s?). I especially love the “grrrr” photo with the rice cereal.

  25. For the love of God, woman, stop feeding her the crap making her look like that! It’s breaking my heart!

  26. Stiff arms could be an number of things. You’re just so worried about her little brain that it seems like everything is a neon sign pointing in that direction. I would probably be the exact same way.

    No matter what – she is precious and she is yours and she is alive and breathing and happy (well, maybe not about rice cereal – which appears to be stuck in her eyelashes? jesus becky, did you throw it at her?).

    I wish I was there so I could get a squeeze on her. She’s just so cute!

  27. They aren’t supposed to do the stiff arm thing??? I had no idea but you have my complete permission to worry away. I think it’s our job actually AND in other new…crazy beautiful, that girl of yours!

    Oh and my kids would NOT eat that crap, just wouldn’t. They actually mostly hated all baby food and really, how could you blame them?! They were all so much happier when they could just walk, talk and generally behave as little like babies as possible (except the nursing-that went on far far too long).

    She’s a doll! And I’m going to vote…again.

  28. Oh the Land of Limbo is truly a shitty place to be. Amelia was born with this problem that MAY or MAY NOT manifest itself in a MILLION different ways and you’re simply left trying to interpret every breath she takes…..”Is that normal? Should I do something?” Take a deep breath. Keep a pad and pen handy so you can write down all your observations and questions. You can use those notes in your discussions with the doctors, nurses, therapists, etc.

    FYI…In my experience of feeding 4 children, they ALL make that face when you first try to feed them solids. “GOOD GOD, WOMAN! WHAT IS THIS BOWL OF BOILED SHIT YOU’RE TRYING TO FEED ME?”

  29. My kid had the Frank arms, too, and he hated rice cereal. Now, I’m not going to say he’s any kind of genius, but he is perfectly fine. You’re like me, and you’re going to look for things until you see something that makes you worry. I even do that with the dogs, so I know there is nothing anyone can say that won’t make you worry.

    On the upside, I do tend to lose weight when I’m worrying over the kids. I think I’ll go stare at the dogs now…

  30. Hey, my baby has cerebral palsy (mild) from a brain injury. Brain. yeah, I say you should know this: the physical therapist who treats my daughter and got her sitting up in three weeks, and who has 15 years experience in pediatric PT says moms are not wrong. If you think its wrong or you think its right, you are right – righter than eveyone else.

    So follow your heart.

    And rice cereal is universally despised, right everyone?

  31. I’m not sure either, but…

    That look in that last picture says, “if you give me one more bite of this foul shit you keep sticking in my mouth, I’m gonna hurl all the fuck over you!” I wouldn’t give her anymore if I were you.

    Big {HUGS} for your worries. I won’t try to make you not worry, that never works.

  32. Also, I remembered that I wanted to tell you about this class I took. Back in college, I was a psych major. I had to take a class to graduate that was all about the anatomy of the brain.

    Oh course, we didn’t have enough donated human brains for such a thing, so we used sheep brains (the next best thing?). The whole classroom was full of these disgusting, stinking formaldahydey THINGS. And to make matters worse, they not only used them for multiple classes, they used the same ones YEAR AFTER YEAR. So, most of them were in varying states of disintigration. Fucking so fucking gross.

    Thanks for memories.

  33. I too am out of wit tonight. I am hoping it all went well last week. She is too cute for words. I am sending you hugs and support as you have sent me. We can get through this horrid battle and we will raise our girls to be strong little gals that will take on the world. Heck look at what their mothers have accomplished so far;) Hang in there <3

  34. Nothing to offer on the stiff arms except hope that you are totally over analysing. I can see that the lovely girl got a pressie from London – what did you get?

  35. Look, if you want me to stop slobbering on your daughter, just ask. Don’t paint her up with that rice cereal goop. 😉 Try the fruits and veggies first. Sending you lots of love for Friday.

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