Another photo dump. It’s been a busy week! I started off on Sunday by driving to Alliance, Nebraska to catch the total solar eclipse. We weren’t planning on going anywhere, since we couldn’t get a last-minute cat sitter, and after all the planning involved in the camping trip, we didn’t have the logistical energy leftover for planning an eclipse trip.
Especially since it would have either required making hotel reservations back in June (nothing but pure survival was on our radar that far back) or doing another camping trip. But even then, I’m sure the campsites were booked months ago too. So the night before, around 7pm, we were discussing going to downtown Boulder to attend an eclipse-viewing event there. That was when FOMO started hitting me VERY HARD. I’m not usually susceptible to such things, but it came out of nowhere and I started getting a bit depressed thinking about being so close to totality, a once-in-a-lifetime event, and not making the effort to see the eclipse in its full glory. I had to go!!!
So by 8pm, I was frantically packing the car, planning to drive out there overnight, sleep in the car once I got to Nebraska, and then driving back right after the eclipse so that I’d be home in time for Emily’s Dr.’s appointment the next day. After a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up 24 hours worth of food and water (apples, bread, cherry tomatoes, mini carrots, peanut butter, and granola bars) I was on the road by 9pm. I got to Alliance, NE around 2am and bought eclipse glasses from a guy selling them at a gas station. I then managed maybe 2 hours of sleep in my car. I hadn’t banked on sleeping in the car being quite so difficult! So around 5:30 I gave up and went to the gas station again for a quick pit stop. It was good that I got such an early start to the day though, because it meant that I was able to easily find parking up by Carhenge (for $30!). Luckily I had cash. Amazing how many aspects of this insane last-minute trip worked out despite my complete lack of planning.
The eclipse itself did not disappoint. All of the hype is 100% justified. It was incredible, utterly magical, impossible to describe. Have you ever been in a crowd of hundreds of people, all cheering and gasping and applauding and shouting “Oh my God”, over an astronomical event? Probably not unless you’ve seen a total eclipse of the Sun. It’s that ridiculous. Unlike seemingly everyone else, I was at a loss for words. All I could do was stand there hyperventilating with one hand over my heart and another over my mouth and tears streaming down my face. I don’t know why. But I was so grateful to be there, in the path of this otherworldly shadow traversing the continent at around 2,000 mph, surrounded by other eclipse nuts, science nerds, astronophiles, bucket listers, and also just regular folks who might have thought the hype was overblown but were dragged along by family or friends. 10 out of 10, would do again!
The next day, after a 9 hour drive home, we took Emily to her Dr. appointment during which we discussed at length how Emily seems to be having tremendous difficulty with bottle feeding. When she’s asleep, she can chug 6 ounces easily (thanks to the sucking reflex, she can eat while dreaming). But awake, the level of disorganization in her sucking and swallowing is quite bad. She cries, and arches her back, and turns her head every which-way. When she’s not doing that, she’s chewing on the nipple, or making very loud noises when swallowing, pushing air back into the bottle, and dripping massive amounts of milk down her chin. It’s not a good scene.
We’ve also been working with an occupational therapist who has given us a truck-load of strategies and tips for helping her get more organized, stronger, more aware of her oral position, and calmer. No progress or improvement as of yet, so we are going to get her an appointment to get a full suite of diagnostic tests. My hunch is that there might be some physiological barrier, given how exceptionally hard she has to work to eat while awake, and the loud swallowing / gulping /popping noises that happen. Why this doesn’t happen when she’s asleep, I don’t know!! It’s a tough nut to crack, but we’ll get there..
That’s all for now. Feeding difficulties haven’t stopped us from continuing to have lots of adventures though! We can easily go out in the mornings between feeds (bringing milk just in case, of course! In a pinch, I could feed her anywhere, but I like a more controlled environment when possible). Still, I feel like once she is finally eating with pleasure and without trouble, anything else is going to seem easy! Teething? Potty training? Tantrums? Bring it on. Hahaha, I feel like nothing will phase us, because we’ll be able to say “Hey, at least she can eat her food!”. I know, I’m dreaming. Parenting does not have any easy roads, or shortcuts. It is what it is. The fact that we are taking this all in stride, and still enjoying, cherishing every moment and finding things to laugh about and rejoice – I think that’s the key. Onwards!