"Wow, your baby is so alert!" "I've never seen such an active baby." "What do you mean he won't nap in the stroller or on the floor? He'll only sleep in his crib?" These are the responses I get whenever family or friends visit SoJo. It's like they don't believe me when I tell them how he is, but need to see it for themselves. I've referred to this article on high-needs babies by Dr. Sears in a past post, but I swear I read this at least every other week to assure myself I'm not alone.
My first experience as a mother to a high-needs baby happened in the hospital the night after Soren was born when even the nurses couldn't soothe him. They brought the little bundle back to me a half an hour after I asked them if they could take him for a few hours so I could get some desperately-needed sleep. I cried a lot that night while I clung to my little vacuum-cleaner nurser in my hospital bed. If only I knew that 12 hours of labor was nothing compared to the exhaustion that would accompany me for the following months (and probably years).
This past week has really drained me. My body and mind are just so tired from this baby. I've been around babies before but I don't recall ever knowing one who is so active and alert and demanding of my attention. I love him dearly but MAN! I wasn't expecting a baby who abuses me while nursing (constantly slapping his arm on me or intensely groping my clothes) and who still needs to be swaddled tightly to get to sleep because he can't calm his arms down enough to relax. By the time he busts out of the swaddle, he's fine, but it's just that initial departure to sleep that he needs restraints. Will I have to buy a straight jacket for when he's older (where would you buy one of those anyway...kidding of course). This baby on You Tube is a very mild version of what SoJo is like. Add in some "hoooing" and squealing that accompanies the kicking and arm slapping.
I don't know about you, but it irks me when many older family members (who shall remain nameless due to some of them who may read this...MOM!) tell me that I should let him cry in his crib until he falls asleep, that I am spoling him by going to him when he's crying, that he's manipulating me, and that I am feeding him too often (he's asking for it!). It's exhasting enough trying to survive each day, let alone second-guessing my parenting skills.
I hate hearing him cry and will always respond within 10 minutes (sometimes he'll fall back asleep on his own). I want him to develop a sense of trust with me and his dad, that he knows we'll always be there for him, especially when he can't vocalize his needs. And don't get me started on the laisez-faire attitude toward car seats (Dad!..and others). Just because you didn't have them for us, doesn't mean I should not worry about buckling him in or using one in the first place. This is why you don't get to babysit SoJo alone.
Thanks for listening to my rant. I hope my next post will be a little more positive. Gotta go, guess who's up again!