When you’re a stay at home parent, whether it is for a few weeks or months after your baby is born or for a longer period, it is important to get out of the house.
It is even more important when you have a high need baby but then it is also much harder to do and sometimes even impossible.
After Livi was born, my husband was able to take a leave for two weeks and work the third week from home. Then I was on my own.
Trying to get out of the house with my husband’s help was a huge undertaking. Doing it on my own, was almost impossible for the first three months.
When I think about Livi, one word that comes to mind is unpredictable. This characteristic was hard to accept and difficult to handle when she was a baby and now that she is a toddler, it can mean a lot of frustration for all of us.
When she was a baby, pretty much everything about Livi was unpredictable. When she would sleep and for how long. When she would eat and how much. What calmed her down today, wouldn’t work tomorrow or next week. Going to the grocery store was a wondrous adventure one time and the most scary experience the next. It was hard to make any plans and if we did, they usually fell through.
When I imagined being a mom, I wasn’t quite certain what to expect. Sure, I had some images floating through my mind of chasing after little ones on a summer day, cuddling sleepy children in front of the fireplace, and holding my peaceful baby while watching her sleep.
Granted, I knew these Hollywood versions of parenthood wouldn’t be the norm. From watching friends, I knew there would be tears and dirty diapers and less sleep than I was used to. But there was one thing I was sure of: I would always be able to soothe my baby and meet all her needs. After all, that’s what mothers do, right?
We had a good enough start. Livi came out crying but as soon as they put her in my arms, she calmed down. The nurses even commented how beautiful it was to witness. And I’m not going to lie, it felt amazing to be able to calm this tiny new person just by being there. Had I known what lay ahead, I would have savored that moment even more.
When you are a new parent, people will tell you not to start any bad habits with your child. Do not nurse or rock or walk her to sleep. Do not hold him too much. Do not pick her up every time she cries. And on and on and on.
But when you have a high need baby and it is midnight and your child has been crying since six in the evening, you are ready to do whatever it takes to get your child to sleep.
A recent post by Sleeping Mom @ Sleeping Should Be Easy, reminded me of something I came to realize when Livi was only a few months old: our “normal” is different.
In her post, Sleeping Mom urges us not to compare our children and their skills too much as every child has his own personality and develops at her own rate.
But when Livi would cry all the time and not sleep and only wanted to be held, I could not help but compare her to other babies. In my sleep deprived state, I could not understand why other babies slept through the night, enjoyed playing on the floor and happily lounged in their swing while Livi did not.
Between the tears and cries and pure exhaustion there are precious moments hidden in every day. It is those moments that keep me going and keep me (somewhat) sane.
Here is the second part of 10 things I love about my high need baby:
6. Precious Baby Talk
All babies start out communicating by crying. As a high need baby, Livi made good use of it. She let us hear loud and clear when something was not right.
When Livi started babbling, it marked a big change for all of us. To hear her sweet voice instead of her screams, even if it was just once in a while, was so nice.
I have been talking a lot about the difficult times with my high need baby. But there are also so many wonderful moments I get to enjoy. Sometimes, they are far and few between and I really have to enjoy them while they last. Other times, I am blessed with several good days in a row.
Here are 10 things I really love about my high need baby:
1. Giggles And Laughter
As a high need baby, Livi is notoriously fussy and well, needy. And it is true that she cries pretty often. But thankfully, that does not mean that she never laughs.
Livi’s laugh is the cutest I have ever heard and her giggles are really giggly. So much so that they often end in excited high pitched shrieks. You cannot help but laugh with her.