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?