Thursday, March 4, 2010


From Beginning of March 2010
Ladies and gentleman, babies and toddlers--the word of the day is OVERFLOW.

I cannot think of a more apt way to describe our lives right now. There is an overflow of everything--good (blue) and bad (purple). Here's the list:

1. Chunk. There is a overflow of chunky baby butter love. And by association, breastmilk! Any breastfeeding mother knows that deep dark fear of having a supply issue, and despite my size (as Eric kindly assessed, "smaller than before"), and never really feeling "full," this kid is getting his sustenance.
From Beginning of March 2010
Felonious Chunk had his 2 month appointment today and he is just chugging (nursing) along, looking great! He is 11lbs, 22 inches long. That puts him at the 60th percentile for weight, folks. His head jumped to the 19th percentile. I still marvel at how Eric and I have a chunky baby, especially given that he was premature and was supposed to have catching up to do. I clearly don't know how to manage the rolls as the pediatrician noticed some yeast in one of his cracks. (Okay, I just re-read that and realized that the only reason I didn't gag at writing "yeast in one of his cracks" is because this baby is just too delicious and amazing to be grossed out.) I guess it is normal, it just looks a little shiny and red, but  I kind of felt embarrassed. I remember in nursing school bed bathing a 400 lb woman, and finding refuse from like 4 years ago hibernating under the ga-jillienth breast fold--yes, ga-jillienth is a number--wondering how anyone could let themselves get to such a dire state. And then I had visions of this baby getting rolls so bountiful that he wouldn't be able to bend his knees or turn his head--we'd have to start tube feeding him because the fast would clog up his trachea and we'd be on Entertainment Tonight followed by Dr Phil for world's fattest baby, and people would think the same thing about me.
From Beginning of March 2010

2. Nursing issues. Hold on, Ali. I see the pictures above. How is there a nursing problem? I don't know if it is a weak latch, tongue problem (apparently they run in our family), over supply, rapid let-down, or digestive maelstrom, but nursing is not easy for Felix. Although, he attempts it every hour TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY (read: overflow). He swallows air, gags, panics, squeals, and then writhes in pain until a lot of time he passes out, only to wake up with gas. The pediatrician said it is normal and he'll grow out of it. I asked, "what are the chances he'll grow out of it by next Tuesday?" His response was a laugh. Yeah, I get it. Miles caught on to nursing and bottles pretty easily, but Felix is having trouble. I'm not sure where to go with this one, but let's just say that nursing isn't this 45 minute dream time where we cuddle, coo and bond. Ah well. Oh, and bottles? It's like I am insulting child when I tried giving him one. How dare you stick that rubber nipple in my mouth. I can just see "Puh-LEAZE" written all over his face. He better get used to one soon--like by tonight, because I have a hot date with a consignment sale. And let's be honest, worst case scenario, he won't starve tonight. He may cry all night for Eric, but he has enough butter on his thighs to feed his systen for months. Heck, we could all "live off the fat" of Felix's land for a good week. (First she compares toddlers to cancer in her last post, and now she is going cannibal with her newborn. Take her uterus out now!)

I could add a part 2b. to this one and revisit colic, but hear no evil, see no evil, write no evil. They say what you don't acknowledge you cannot fix. But we've acknowledged it for weeks and it hasn't been "fixed." So, I am ignoring it, hoping it gets the message. (I'm also going to start the breatharian diet again. Air, brown rice and chicken. Anyone got any good recipes for those 3 ingredients? Yeah, I didn't think so. At least I'll shed the last of my pregnancy weight.)

And 2c. could be Miles's sleep regression. But we are ignoring that, too.

3. Smiles. When Felix isn't in digestive hell, he has started blessing us with the most amazing open-mouthed smiles. I have been awful with taking pictures, but I need to start documenting this time more because you'll start pooing cartoons (as they said on the Bachelor this season--yes, my mother-in-law got me hooked on watching for the first time, some of the most soul decaying reality television. Vienna? What was Jake thinking?) because his smiles are so infectious.The smirks were enough for me to keep him after staying up every night, but the new gummy smiles may just be enough to get me to potty training without a nervous breakdown. The only downside, besides hearing myself talk to the child like a high pitched loony goon, is that he gets so worked up, he swallows air, wants to nurse, and then...just go reference #2 above.

4. Laundry and dirt. My house is a wreck. Ever seen the show Hoarders on A&E? I'll be applying shortly. It's not that I want to collect stuff, it's just that I don't have time to deal with any of it. The paperwork, toys, laundry, dishes, life is overflowing with STUFF...and I hate it. I did pack up my maternity clothing to store in case we ever want to go completely gray and have another child, but how much do you want to bet they will sit on my floor, folded for at least a week before we get up into the attic to put them away? The real problem is that most of my non-maternity clothes are still up in the attic, too (not that the pants could fit, yet), so my wardrobe offerings are limited. Good thing the Cancer Warrior uniform is PJs.

5. GENEROSITY. I don't even know where to begin. We are overflowing with support here on Vanet Road. Outside of the hundreds of e-mails, facebook messages and snail mail we have received in support of Eric, we have also been blessed with some amazing gifts:
  • Lance Armstrong LIVESTRONG bracelets courtesy of Heather
  • A huge package of "Ninja Juice" (highly potent wolfberry antioxidant drink) and some Frankincense organic oil (aromatherapy) courtesy of Tracey
  • Meals provided by Eric's school
  • Meals soon to be provided by our neighborhood mother's club
  • An enormous box of organic produce courtesy of a wonderful friend of mine, Brooke, from growing up
  • An anonymous Kroger grocery store gift card courtesy of the universe?
  • Movie tickets from some people at Eric's work
  • Lunch date tabs picked up by amazing friends Carol and Co. and MB and co.
  • A house cleaning appointment AND acupuncture for Eric gifted by Meaghan
  • Inspirational books for both me and Eric courtesy of Roy and Jenni
  • Prayer chains across the country...perhaps even other countries?
  • Babysitting offers from just about every female I come in contact with
  • A weekend stay at a Marist Family's lake house
  • Running skirt for the Mama, much to Eric's dismay, courtesy of Studs
  • An operating room on the 9th offered up by a Marist parent who is an oncologist. (He said he is giving it to our surgeon for the 9th--still not a sure bet, but I am hoping that makes the 50/50 odds unbalanced in our favor!)
  • Stories. I have had a number of people send me stories about their own struggles, but also fun stories about their past with me. A high school English teacher, a college friend I lost touch with, and even one of the first friends I ever had (Sarah), have all e-mailed me with stories about their time with me earlier in life. Even though it doesn't directly relate to Eric's situation, I cannot tell you what sharing past moments has done for my own spirit, and in turn, my ability to lift up Eric's spirit. And I also need to acknowledge another Sara and Karen, who are also Cancer Warriors, who keep me grounded and are shepherding me emotionally through this unpredictable and overwhelming process.
I still try to acknowledge at least 3 e-mails/messages a day, but am getting so behind. We are actually still getting lovely notes and gifts for Felix, so our thank you note list is just growing exponentially. And it's not about the "stuff"--please keep me from going on Hoarders! And PLEASE don't feel compelled to add to my bullet list, but I need to acknowledge in a public way the bounty of support we've received. It's about the thought, the care and the concern.

I cannot tell you how many people are in line to help out--close friends, family, friends from graduate school, from work, mother's from Eric's track team, Eric's co-workers, Miles's childcare staff...even complete strangers.

A wonderful story to end on: Eric conducts a weekly adult running group on Tuesday nights. One of his runners said she was going to a fish fry at a local catholic middle school. This is a school I had actually never heard of (Eric and I have no connections with it), but apparently is a local school. As she was in line to get her food, she saw the prayer wall and guess whose name was on it? Eric's. How it got there, we have no idea.

Doesn't it take your breath away?

I knew this guy was special. I knew he was loved...and perhaps there is something magical about Eric being able to see it for himself during his lifetime.
From Beginning of March 2010
(A few beginning of march photos here.)


  1. oh my gosh! so i always read your blog through google reader and thus never really see the layout - i love the new look and name!! all the pictures are so beautiful!

    let me know if you need me to fly down for a weekend and help clean/organize or de-yeast felix, ha ha ha.

  2. Damn the dirt and mess. Love the life cause it will make you strong!

    If all else fails, a Xanax and some wine sure do put things in perspective. Imagine Chunk will dose well that night--well maybe don't do that unless you are pumping and dumping.

    Hugs as always, your CWS (that's Cancer Warrior Sister)

  3. hmmm. I meant doze, not dose. He does not really need a dose of Xanax

  4. Honestly, it is a riot to see roly poly Felix with Eric. You two are so slender that it seems impossible that you have produced such a well fed baby! As you say, all that constant nursing is effective.
    Eric is well loved indeed as are you all. My parents at school come in and email me with their good wishes and prayers. Prayer chains in Westborough and in Maine are in operation, too. So much love surrounds you.

  5. Laughter is the best medicine, even if you have to fake it! Great stories Alison.

    Kiss those boys and enjoy, as much as you can at 3am, the alone time.

    Thinking of you all and still hoping for the 9th.


    PS Ben, our oldest and 11yrs old, is 96% for height - you know how tall we all are - crazy, just like Felix.