Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Peaks and Valleys

I thought I would blog about the highs and lows of mothering a high need baby. 

It is no easy task, but at the same time there are great moments of pure joy!  I have every emotion every day. 

The Peaks:
Have you ever climbed to the top of a mountian?  (If you're saying, Yeah right sister! I guess I can really only say I've driven to a spot that allowed me to climb about 300 steps to the top of a mountian).  The view is amazing and you stand there for several minutes just to admire the view and all of God's grand creation.  You feel at peace and joyful. 

I have had so many of those joyful and peaceful moments with my son lately.  He has hit this wonderful stage of walking and at the same time he has really blossomed into a child that responds and understands language.  In the past two weeks my amazing son has learned and is incorporating about 6 signs in sign language.  A genius, right?!?!  haha.  Well it totally shocked me because I was convinced he was going to be too stubborn to learn sign language.  But we watch Baby Signing Time at least three times a week and he is just picking it up rapidly.  So my moments of joy are when he signs when he wants something or wants to communicate.  It is absolutely thrilling!  The joy also floods my heart when he lays his precious little head on my lap when he gets tired or nervous in a new setting.  It shows me that he really trusts me to protect him and comfort him.  It melts my heart!

The Valleys:
Now I am originally from the central valley of California, so I won't say anything bad about the valley, because I really love it there and plan to move back there.  But for the purposes of imagery I will explain one particularly undesirable features of living there.  It gets hot in the summer.  It gets over 100 degrees for at least a week each summer and is typically above 90 the whole summer.  Nights don't cool down until about midnight or later.  It can be so miserable and you feel trapped inside your house because it's too hot to go out. 

Speaking of trapped... do you ever feel trapped in your house because of you high needs baby?  There are times that he is having one of those days that he's beyond cranky.  He gets angry at everything and cries at the drop of a hat and I convince myself that I can't take him in public and have a meltdown.  So I decide it is better to stay at home and suffer silently.  There are also days, like I've had in the past week, when I take particular notice of other babies and their gentle temperment.  The way they sleep soundly in a crowded room, or sleep for long periods of time for naps.  The way they smile at EVERYTHING and never show signs of real anger.  And I begin to feel sorry for myself that I was "robbed" of that experience.  I have gotten pretty good at minimizing these thoughts because I am so proud of my son and how far we've come.  But those thoughts do come and sometimes I entertain them.  Because, when we are really honest with ourselves, it is really hard some days to parent a high needs baby. 
On a side note - the valley also has wonderfully fertile soil and it so great for growing produce for people to eat.  Just as the actions we take and the love we give our children are creating fertile soil for growing wonderfully well adjusted children.  We just need to practice our patience and give an overabundance of love even when we don't feel it.  So that our children will be able to grow into people that bring greatness to the world.  You can always find something positive - even in the valleys of life.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Finally Met Another!

It has been the hope that some day I would meet another mother of a High Need baby.  We could sit and share our experiences and understand each other in a way that most other mothers can't.  It would be a blissful experience and we would laugh and joke together. 

Guess what?  Today it happened for me!

The school that my husband is going to has a really nice fitness facility that we get free membership to because he's a student.  (Well, it's not free really, they just included it in the enormous amount we are paying in tuition).  There is this great pool that has a lap area, a super fun slide and a beach entrance with a very slow progression of getting deeper so young ones can enjoy it too!  So, being that the last three days here in Southern California have been MISERABLE I thought it would be a great time to enjoy the pool.  So we sunscreened up and headed out.  (This is when I accidentally locked the door behind me and realized my keys were in the house.  Then my husband had to leave school to rescue us.  It's been a long day). 

So, when we got to the beach entrance, where we hang out, I was getting us all ready and I see this mom and little boy interacting together.  She was asking him to stop jumping in the pool and he was jumping in the pool over and over again.  He was very persistent and energetic. I actually thought to myself... I bet he's a high needs kid.  I laughed to myself and my son and I did our own thing.  Soon enough they were right next to us playing with a toy they had brought.  They saw that my little one was interested in it and so they brought it over.  This little boy, Alex, was not so thrilled about sharing his toy.  His way of showing that was to collect some pool water in his mouth and release it over my son's head.  My guy did NOT like this, he cried and his mom scolded him, to which he grabbed their cup and dumped it over my son's head.  He went directly to time-out. 

Later, they came over to us and he apologized.  Alex went off playing and his mom and I sat and talked.  It's funny because she is the one who used the words high needs first.  I told her that my little guy has been a challenge and she said "Oh, did your pediatrician tell you he's high needs?"  I told her I haven't discussed that specifically with the ped. but that I did my own research and discovered that he is.  We found so much comfort in knowing that we understood each other and patted each other on the back (not literally) for being a good mom.  The thing that stuck in my mind is the fact that her son is "3 years and 9 months" and he's her only child.  She said, "It makes you not want to have another doesn't it?"  I told her we felt the same way, but that I can't imagine letting him be an only child. 

We really enjoyed our time talking and relating.  The time flew by all too soon and eventually we had to go.

What a blessing to finally meet another high needs mommy!  Have you met another?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Didn't We Say He Doesn't Like Change?

So our lives have been turned upside down these last two weeks.  My husband and I made the prayerful decision to move down to southern California for him to go back to school.  We were thinking about it the other day and realized that at the end of this schooling term we will have been married for 8 years and he will have been in school for 6 of those 8 years.  I guess he just likes learning.  But this is serious schooling. Like, he just left the house at 8:50pm to work on a project at school and won't be home until 11, kind of serious.  We hear that the first three months are the worst.  So we just need to take it one day at a time until we see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

It might have been pure insanity to think that we could move away from family and friends and start a new life with our high needs baby.  The first week for him was torture.  His sleep was all off, he barely napped, and he was CRANKY!!!!  I cried two times in the two days we had before my husband started school because I feared being alone with my son all day with no place to go for relief.  Sounds sissy, right?  But for the past year I had a way out.  My mom and mother-in-law were usually around.  And if not, I had many friends to choose from to just call up and see if we could hang out.  Because, you see, when Aaron is having a bad day, sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery and a friend his age.  Add on top of all of this the fact that I became a single mom all of a sudden because my husband spends most of the day at school, and when he's home his brain is at school.  *sigh*  (do you feel bummed out yet?)  Sorry to be so depressing, but this is my reality right now.  Some days I smile and giggle with my little boy all day.  Some days I breathe deeply and count the minutes until he goes to bed so I can have a  real break. 

I must point out though, that I have found a wonderful book, Raising Your Spirited Child.  I must admit that it depressed me in the beginning because I really had to face the fact that this is his temperment, and it's up to me to learn to help him cope with his intensity and persistence so he uses them for good rather than chaos.  The main points that I have taken away from it so far (and I'm only 1/4th of the way done) is that I need to help him label his feelings and help him find solutions to what is frustrating him.  I also need to change my mindset.  I used to long for the perfect baby that I didn't get.  I had to lay that baby to rest, because I got this spirited child and he needs his mommy to support him and help him through his rough patches.  Once I changed my mindset to helping him rather than regretting him (*ouch* those words are harsh but painfully true) I have been able to enjoy each day much more.  I heard that it is geared more towards the toddler years and up, which is very true.  It doesn't really apply to the baby stage.  But if you have a baby, keep this book in mind when they reach the toddler stage.

*I have gained a few new readers and to you...WELCOME!!!! I love being real and sharing what's really going on for me as a mommy of a high needs baby-- well, toddler now.  Please send me a message or leave a comment and I will try my best to get back to you as soon as I can!  Tell me how you cope, or how hard it is for you to cope.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A New Kind of Normal

Finally I can say that I have a normal in my life. 

Since Aaron was born there has been no schedule to my life at all!  And I am a schedule kind of person.  I like to expect things.  I like predictability.  And this baby has been anything but predictable. 

But life is evolving, like it has a tendency to do.  And we are developing a new kind of normal.

I have read that routines are one of the most important things you can give your child.  But there was just no way I could develop a routine in the past.  Aaron would wake up at different times in the morning, which would put his eating and naps at different times during the day.  And his sleepiness would even vary from day to day.  It was hard to plan anything ahead of time.  So I mostly only went out when I could get someone to my house to watch Aaron while I took a couple of hours to run errands. 

These days I can expect Aaron awake around 6:30, which means a nap around 8:30 until around 10, and another nap around 12 or 1 until around 2.  And he eats only solids at regular meal times.  So our lives have some predictability back to them.  It feels like a whole new life and I'm loving it.

As for an update on Aaron: he is still teething (I think we're cutting four teeth at once right now, so some days like today, are especially hard).  And he is a crawling machine, which makes him tired enough to take longer naps!  Good news for mommy and baby!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Life Lately

Things have evened out a little lately.  There was a time (right around when I stopped blogging here for a while) that I thought I was going to go insane.  My son was throwing tantrums and I felt like I had a two year old, but worse because he was only 9 months old.  But I decided that I want to be a calm mother.  I want my son (and any future children for that matter) to remember me as calm in the face of pressure and high stress situations.  To be honest I can't manage that on my own.  I don't have the ability to be calm in these moments, but I have decided to let my hope in God pave the way for me.  And it has worked.  Since those moments 2 weeks ago I have been able to stay so calm my husband has been perplexed with me.  And, in turn, I think my son is enjoying life a little more too.  We find ways to enjoy each other, even in the midst of teething. 

Our new challenge lately has been a vacation that brought change and fighting sleep again.  Recently our family took a little vacation to Monterey.  It was so much fun, and he loved the beach.  However, it threw off his sleep BIG time.  Before we went he was doing great with naps.  I was leaving him in his crib for at least an hour and he was able to stay asleep for at least an hour.  But that all changed when we were away.  He hated going down for naps and even going to bed.  We were sharing the house with our family and I didn't want to disturb them so I gave him a pacifier at night to help him sleep.  This has transferred to an hour of screaming each night in protest because he wants his binky back now that we are home.  But I don't want to have to fight him about this in a year or so when we take the binky away completely.  So I keep telling myself it will be worth it in the long run. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Jinxed It!

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted that we were having napping success?  Remember how I hoped that I wouldn't jinx that success by celebrating with a blot post? 

Well.... I jinxed it!

We have gone back to square one, and I'm wondering if any form of nap training is ever going to work with my son.  He IS a very strong willed child you know?  

I asked his pediatrician about this today and he said to follow his schedule.  If he is acting tired before he has had a waketime I thought appropriate then put him down when the baby says so.  It is his body after all, he knows when he's tired better than me.  So today I did just that.  I put him down an hour and a half after he woke in the morning, and he slept for over and hour.  I put him down 2 and a half hours after he woke from the first nap, and he is reaching the hour mark in his crib currently.  I may drive myself crazy thinking about naps, but we will be successful eventually.....RIGHT?!?!?!

Now let's make sure this blog doesn't jinx this success. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

At My Limit

This morning (yes, it's only been 2 hours since my baby woke up) I am at my limit!!!!

I am frustrated to the max with him.  He has almost done nothing but cry, moan, and whine all morning!  Some days I can handle it.  I just scoop him up and do whatever it takes to get him to stop.  But this morning I had things to do.  I sat him in his highchair for his bottle and cereal and when he was done I got up to put dishes in the dishwasher, load up his diaper bag, and hoping to do a host of other things.  The WHOLE time he was in his highchair he moaned, whined and cried.  I lost it!  What does that mean?  Well my blood pressure went through the roof, I thought my head was going to explode from so much frustration and I yelled "STOP"!!!  He did stop and looked at me like "are you yelling at me?  are you mad at me?"  and then proceeded to cry and moan and whine. 

I picked him up and decided to put him to bed.  I gave him a pacifier and held him for a while until he was ready to sleep.  I put him down in his crib and he was out.  Poor thing was just so tired he couldn't handle it anymore. 

It was then that I cried.  Uncontrollable crying.  How could I yell at my baby?  Why couldn't I just stop and figure out what he needed?  And why can't he just let me get a few things done during the day without being SO DEMANDING?!?!? 

Granted it will be "that time of the month" in a day or so.  Maybe I can blame it on the hormones?  But this part of being his mommy becomes too hard sometimes. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nap Training Update

I feel like I have thought about nothing but nap training for a good month.  I have been reading up on different ways to nap train and implementing many of the suggestions.  But finally we are making headway (please don't let this jinx our success!)  I think what is working for us now is a combination of: longer wake times between naps, a noise machine, a nap time routine, and nap extensions! 

3 months ago I swore I would never do nap extensions again.  When I tried it in conjunction with sleep training (meaning cry it out) my little son would hard cry for an hour or more.  He would rarely get himself back to sleep, and IF he did he was so busy sucking in air (you know, like they do when they've been hard crying for an hour....) that it would disrupt his sleep and it was lousy.  Plus the fact that I felt like a terrible mother for letting my son cry that hard and that much for that long.  However, I was not doing the nap extensions properly.  I was letting him cry to extinction instead of setting an amount of time in which I would get him if he hadn't gotten back to sleep yet. 

But recently I just knew he was ready for it and I was ready to give it a try again.  So I literally told him one day before his nap, "Naps are going to be one hour long now.  You will stay in your crib for one hour whether you are sleeping or not".  It sounds kind of silly, but it made me feel like I was expressing my expectation to him.  So that nap he woke after 30 minutes (on the dot... I swear the kid has a timer in his brain) and he cried.  I put in my ear phones and listened to some music while watching him on the video monitor.  He cried for 15 minutes and then fell asleep.  He slept another 40 minutes!  YAHOO!!  Not all naps have gone that way.  Some have been better, less crying more sleeping... and some have been worse, more crying no sleeping.  But these last two days I feel like we have made a break through.  These two days he has stirred at 30 minutes and then gone right back to sleep.  As I type this his nap has been 1 hour 23 minutes long with no waking at 30 minutes!  I am so excited to be making forward progress!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


This one is going to be fun!....

The fourth feature of a high needs baby is demanding.  In my son, this is the most obvious feature on a daily basis.  It's my attention that he mostly demands. 

Most babies have demands that need to be met, and so they fuss, whimper, and sometimes cry a little to get their needs across to their caregivers.  High need babies, on the other hand, DEMAND that their needs get met NOW!  There is no waiting, no virtues of patience in a high need baby.  I like to joke that patience is not one of my son's strong suits as he is moaning loudly and without end until he gets what he wants.  This is mostly evident when he is hungry, or while I am preparing his food, and when he is tired and needs to go down for a nap.  There is no warning or pleasant hint that he needs to eat or sleep.  He immediately moans, and if his needs are not met within a minute he resorts to full blown crying. 

He has also very demanding of my attention.  My son has never been an independent player.  I have three baskets full of toys in our living room that were bought, or given, in hopes of finding something that he enjoys to play with on his own.  The toys DO get played with, when either I or my husband are sitting next to him or have him on our laps playing with him.  Lately he has been going through a cranky phase that is making him more demanding than normal and sitting with him is not enough anymore. 

On Dr. Sears' website he says, "This feature more than any of the others pushes parents' buttons, causing them to feel manipulated and controlled."  I have absolutely felt this way many times.  When I am on the floor with him and it's not enough for him, I have to be holding him.  When I'm trying to cook a meal and have him play in his highchair and he moans and cries until I pick him up.  When I'm trying to get ready in the morning.... etc, etc... you get the picture and I'm sure you see it daily too. 

Does my laundry get done?  Eventually, though sometimes wrinkled and not folded for a day or so.  Do I get dinner cooked every night?  Rarely.  Usually my husband has to come home and make something or grab something from a restaurant.  Does my house get cleaned?  It does, but that is why I take him to daycare once a week.  I just need to reevaluate the situation daily and realize that his way of communicating his needs is demanding.  I mean, when you think about it, can't we all be a little demanding with our needs too?  Even if we don't vocalize it, we think it.  Maybe high need babies just wear their hearts on their sleeves more than others.  That may turn out to be a good thing as they grow older.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bad Days

Can I just be honest?  Today was a REALLY bad day. 

I was expecting it to be a hard day today because I had to watch my 2 1/2 year old nephew at the same time as my own child.  My son has been pretty clingy and cranky the last few days and I've been chalking it up to teething.  I'm still hoping it is teething, although we are trying to reintroduce dairy into his diet, so it could be that too. 

Has your child ever moaned, cried and complained ALL day?  I feel like that was my day today.  You know the awful annoying kind of moan over and over and over and over?  Yup... my day.  Nothing would make him happy.  Even being in my arms with a pacifier and a fuzzy blanket wouldn't do the trick (usually does).  Everything just added up to be a bad day for the two of us.

Recalling my post about nap training him, things were going very well.  I got a nature sounds machine that plays constantly (unlike the cute little lamb I bought that has a maximum time of 45 minutes on) which has been really helping him make it over the 30 minute mark.  I thought we were turning a new leaf.  He was napping anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours!!  But today was the opposite.  He napped 30 minutes in the morning before watching my nephew and then another 30 around 3pm.  Absolutely not enough time for this little one. 

Then we had a dinner planned with my husband's family.  Which was wonderful for me because I got a break from him for an hour or so.  But that also meant a late bedtime.  He cried for 30 minutes to get himself to sleep, which doesn't sound like a lot, but when you've been listening to it all day it's just the icing on the cake. 

So to sum up.... teething? dairy? not much sleep, BAD DAY!  On days like these I feel so overwhelmed and frustrated.  Someone please tell me it gets better!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A High Maintenance Baby's Eating Habits

Moving right along in the 12 Features of a High Needs Baby.....

The next indicator is "feeds frequently".  I personally don't relate to this one.  I'm not sure if it is because of my parenting style or just the way my son is wired.  But either way my son eats by the clock.  I remember when he was a newborn he would nurse every 2 hours almost to the minute.  I thought it was the craziest thing I had ever seen.  Regardless of whether he was awake or asleep he would show signs of hunger right at 2 hours.  It took him a while to go longer periods in between feedings. 

When our little boy was 2 weeks old he was screaming up a storm and my husband and I thought we were going to loose our minds.  I called his pediatrician because I thought he was having a lot of gas and I wanted to know what I should be avoiding in my diet to help.  The doctor said it sounded like he had acid reflux and prescribed meds for him.  We started the meds that day and saw a big change (although, that wasn't even close to being the end of it).  When he suggested the acid reflux I was a bit perplexed because my son was HUGE!  He was in the 95th percentile and not having any trouble gaining every month.  One of the big symptoms of acid reflux is a baby that throws up so much that they loose weight, or a baby that won't eat because it hurts too much.  I realized then and there that my son has determination as a strong personality trait.  He was not going to let a little pain stop him from eating!  (Although it didn't stop the constant crying either). 

These days I would categorize my son as a great eater.  He is currently dabbling in many different solids.  With each new veggie or fruit that I give him he seems addicted until the dish is empty and I say "no more".  He acts like I said something so mean to him.  He gets a sad look on his face and cries.  It caused me to ask his GI specialist if I am feeding him enough.  He said it's clear by his continual growth that he is getting enough to eat. :)  That's my boy! 

Frequent feeding is a feature of a high needs baby because many moms soothe their babies by nursing them.  I have read many things recently that highly praise this way of mothering a high needs baby, especially if you are nursing.  They say that if a baby snacks often for comfort they are getting low caloric milk more often, as opposed to the high fat milk that comes at the end of a longer feeding.  So it is regulated for them to fit their needs.  Plus it helps keep them calm and it helps them to trust and bond with mommy. 

Please share if your baby is a frequent feeder or not.  What was your experience with feeding your baby?  Did you stick to a schedule or did you feed them when they got fussy? 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nap Training

Here's the deal (which I have already stated)... my son's naps are CRAP!  I can count on two hands the amount of times he has slept past 45 minutes in his 8 months of life.  I thought I was ok with his 30 minute naps, until last week.  I decided it's just not enough for him.  So I decided to do something about it.

The first change I made was to create and implement a naptime routine.  Some of you probably gasped at the thought that I haven't had a naptime routine in place for the past 8 months.  To be honest, I have tried.  When he was younger we used to swaddle him for every nap and bedtime.  It was his happy place, to be swaddled.  So I considered that a short "routine".  I figured he would know it was naptime when I swaddled him.  Well, we stopped swaddling him at 6.5 months and since then it has been sort of a quick walk him to the crib and say sleep tight and walk away, type routine.  But now, I'm serious about this routine for naps thing.  Our routine now consists of sitting in the rocking chair, reading him a story and then rocking him until he is on the verge of sleep.  Then set him down in the crib and hope he falls asleep right away.  If not, I figure I did all I can do, now he just has to get himself to sleep (which, yes, sometimes means crying himself to sleep).

The real challenge has been what to do when he wakes up after 30 minutes.  I contemplated letting him cry it out until he falls asleep again.  This makes me cringe.  When we were sleep training him at 6.5 months I tried this and I felt like a terrible mother.  He would wake up and cry for over an hour.  I mean hard crying.  Then IF he got himself back to sleep it would not be a peaceful sleep with the deep breaths he would take from crying so hard.  So I resolved to not do that anymore.  Then I heard a mother in a forum tell me that she would rock her baby to sleep after that initial wake-up.  So that's what I'm trying for now.  I pick him up out of the crib and rock him until he is asleep again.  I haven't been successful in transferring him back to the crib.  But I have been successful in getting him to sleep another hour!  So I guess I will take success in little strides.

Please share your experience with this if you have naptrained your high needs baby.  What worked for you and what didn't work for you?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Do I Seem Like a Zombie to You?

The third feature of a high needs baby is that they are draining.

I'm sure any parent of any baby can say that they feel like their energy is just not like it used to be before the baby.  Parenting is a difficult, and energy sucking job.  Just when you think the baby is down for their nap and you settle in to take your own, or settle down with the fourth load of laundry to fold, the baby wakes up and you have to spend another 15 minutes getting them back to sleep.

However, with a high needs baby sleep is a luxury.

I, so naively, believed that my baby would be one of those babies that, when put down in the crib for nap time, would immediately fall asleep and sleep for two hours.  WRONG!!!!  My baby is the worst napper ever.  It used to stress me out to no end.  But I've just come to accept it.  Yet, his lack of long naps is very draining.  I haven't had a nap for myself since he was a newborn (except last week when I couldn't get out of bed I was so sick).  That little fact wouldn't be so bad if his awake time was less demanding.  He constantly needs attention and entertainment.  These last few weeks he has gotten much better about entertaining himself for more than 15 minutes.  But on really needy days I can't even walk away from him without a complete meltdown.  Some days this drains my resources more than others.  Some days I enjoy holding my baby all day, but others all I do is look around the house at all that needs to get done that won't get done today.

"You will need to muster up as much of a positive attitude as you can; try to think of these "draining" days as "giving" days."  The good news is that the energy that is being drained from me is not being wasted.  It is going into loving my son and giving him the best possible environment to grow and learn in.  So on the days when all he will let me do is sit with him no further than two feet away, I just remember that I am making big deposits in the life of my son.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Speaking of Intense...

This past weekend was President's day weekend.  My husband's family has made it a tradition, since before he was born, to go to the coast for the long weekend every year.  They rent a house and everyone has a great time playing games, hanging out, and walking to the beach.  This year was our son's first year at this event, let alone at the beach!  There was a lot of holding the baby going on.  Great-grandma wanted her fill, grandma got her turn, Auntie also took her share, even I got to hold him for a little while in between :).  As I was holding him and he was squealing and getting excited (which is his usual play these days) I could feel his whole body tense up; from head to toe, every muscle inside of the boy was tense for about 20 seconds and then he would relax and then do it again until he got tired.  It was a little strange to me to sit back and take this in from the perspective of him being a high need baby.  If he didn't do that all of the time I would think that the child was having a seizure.  His body gets THAT tense.  You would think he would be tired all of the time since he is so tense most of his waking minutes.  It makes me giggle to think that this is just a glimpse into what he will be like as a growing boy.  INTENSE!!!!  Gotta love him! 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sickness has taken over

Sorry bloggers....

I haven't updated this blog in a while because I caught a stomach bug and have been miserable!  I will get to it soon enough!  Bare with me a little while....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The future of a high needs baby?

Number two highlight of a high needs baby is Hyperactivity.  GULP! 

I was a kindergarten teacher for four years before I had my baby and became a stay-at-home mother and the thought about having a child that is hyperactive makes me sweat!  But it doesn't have to be such a negative thing. says, "Parents, remember that, like all the words used to describe high need children, the term "hyperactive" is not a negative tag. At what point a normally active child becomes a "hyperactive" child is a judgment call. Calling your busy toddler hyperactive does not mean he will be burdened with this label forever, or that he will someday be tagged hyperactive by a school psychologist. This term just describes how your child acts, without making any judgment about whether it's good or bad. "Hyperactive" in an infant or toddler is not a disorder, it's a description."  These kids are ready to go all of the time.  They are barrelling through the day at 100 MPH until they finally get too tired to continue and then they crash!

I see this play out with my son everyday (and it's so good to know that it is part of his personality that I need to foster instead of moan about).  You should see what I'm staring at right now.  Sitting on the floor in my living room I see a MESS!  ALL of his toys are sprawled out on the floor.  To keep him occupied I put all of his toys in a basket and then tip it over so he can sit there and go through each toy one after the next.  He is never satisfied with one toy for long.  He needs the whole gammut.

I am already preparing myself for when he becomes mobile and is hyperactive.  I decided that we will take a daily trip to the park to run off steam and find a playground nearby that will help him get some energy out.  I was taught to dread the hyperactive child, as a teacher.  But now that I have a child that has displayed some hyperactive traits already, I am finding ways to love the endless energy in my son.

Share your experience with your hyperactive child.  Did they display hyperactivity as a baby?  Did it continue through toddlerhood and get worse or did you learn to enjoy it?

Monday, February 14, 2011

12 Features of a High Need Baby

So apparently the kinder thing to call my baby is a high needs baby, but I think I'm going to stick with high maintenance because it's too hard to change the name of the blog :)

So I found this website that highlights the 12 features of a high needs baby (click here for the link).  I find this helpful and fascinating.  So I thought I would begin blogging by talking about the way my wonderful son fits into each category and hopefully get a few laughs and a little energy out.

The first sign of a high needs baby is INTENSITY.  "You can read the intensity of the baby's feelings in her body language. The fists are clenched, back arched, muscles tensed, as if ready for action."  So that's what it's called... intense... I was calling it a fit this whole time.  If you have a high needs baby you have experienced this daily.  My son likes to tell me what he needs by being very dramatic.  The most recent environments he likes to play this out is in his high chair and car seat.  For no apparent reason, while I'm feeding him solids (which 2 months ago was a cause for intensity telling me he wanted to eat solids; now his intensity is aimed at telling me he doesn't want anymore... seems ironic to me) my son clenches his fists, gets red in the face and grunts loudly.  Sometimes it means he is loving the food, sometimes it means he's done, sometimes the cause is him wanting to take over the feeding.  Almost nothing he does is not intense...sound familiar?  Sleeping... getting tired creates an intense crying baby.  Hungry....intense crying.  Having fun... intense screaming.  Bored...intense crying.  You get the picture (but I'm sure you see the same picture in your own home if you have a high needs baby).  

I have come to realize that I actually love this trait about my little boy.  I guess because he's far from boring.  I am a stay at home mom; and as much as this exhausts me everyday, I also enjoy his intensity because it shows me how passionate he is about life already.  I just hope that this intensity for crying and screaming as a baby will turn into a passion for life and love as he gets older.

I find that it is helpful to revel in the joys of these high needs traits instead of focusing on the negative.  This helps me appreciate the child my son was created to be instead of wishing I had someone else's child. 

Share your experiences of intensity with your high needs baby.  I'd love to hear how this plays out in your home.

Next time... hyperactive!  See you then!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hello Bloggers!

I have created this new blog specifically for mommies who also have high maintenance babies. 

As I struggled this weekend with the constant whining, crying, fussing, and then a switch back to smiles, I seriously thought I was the only mommy with a baby so incredibly high maintenance.  But I thought, there has GOT to be other mommies with babies ALWAYS in need of something (more sleep, more attention, more food, etc.). 

Here, I will share my struggles with my high maintenance baby as well as my joys.  Hopefully this will help someone else out there know that you are not the only mommy with a high maintenance baby.  And maybe I can hear from some mommies out there too so that I can know I'm not the only one also! 

Here's a little info about my high maintenance baby.  I had a wonderful pregnancy.  I wasn't working full time, only a few odd jobs here and there.  My labor and delivery went great also.  The only struggle was during delivery when I had to push for 2 hours.  But other than that everything was wonderful.  He even took to breastfeeding great.

We brought our little bundle home and soon found out that life with this bundle wasn't going to be easy.  He cried almost all of the time.  It seemed when he wasn't sleeping he was crying (even when he was nursing).  I called his pediatrician and he said that all of the symptoms sound like he has acid reflux.  So he prescribed some medicine and things got better... for a while.  He still seemed to struggle with nursing.  I was getting fed up with the mess that we were when he was nursing.  He would make so many grunts and noises.  The doctor said nursing should be the happiest time of his life.  That certainly wasn't the case with our son.  We began to assume he had a milk protein sensitivity.  So the doctor told me to take dairy out of my diet to see if it helped; and it did... for a while. 

It just seems like there is always something new that we are learning about him.  It is exhausting and very taxing on my emotions. 

I have so many friends who have babies that just sit, lay, or do anything quietly and peacefully.  It's hard, sometimes, to accept my high maintenance baby for who God made him to be. 

There is how my struggle began.  I will create follow-up blogs on the struggles that have come about as he is growing older.  (He is currently 7 months old).

Please follow me and tell me about your experiences as well.