05 February 2015

The Storm Within The Storm

Teething is really, totally awful. Every morning brings with it a level of dread. The crying. The never ending crying. All day. Crying as she crawls around the apartment after me. Crying in my arms. Crying in the Ergo. Crying while I do dishes. Crying until my ears are ringing and my head aches. I've tried chilled teethers, frozen juice popsicles, Tylenol, teething tablets, teething gel, amber necklaces. It all works a little bit for a little while. I thought once the top two teeth were clear of the gums, we'd get some relief, but just yesterday I saw teeth on either side of the front two teeth just beginning their journey. These long, dark days of constant frustration remind me so much of the days after Abigail's heart surgery. That was harder, but the two situations still have a lot in common. Sometimes in life there is no solution. You just have to keep getting up in the morning. Everyday. Until the storm passes. It sounds really easy, but it's intensely hard. It's all mental and the toughest, toughest battles are the mental ones.

I (obviously) knew things with Abigail were different, harder. I (obviously) knew not having open heart surgery would be easier than having it. And I knew that to some extent, daily things were harder with Abigail, but I didn't know how and since I couldn't explain how, part of me was worried that they weren't. That all kids would be as difficult as her. I always knew I wanted to have more kids, but there were many days when more kids seemed impossibly difficult.

And that's how I feel now. I know I want to have more kids (someday), but right now, Eleanor seems so incredibly difficult that I wonder if I could handle another. For example, she is almost nine months old and sleeps in five hours stretches. The longest she ever slept in her whole life was six hours and she only did that once. Is that normal? That can't be normal. Part of me knows that because when I'm swapping kid stories with friends at parties, the majority of responses my stories get aren't ones that say, "Oh my kid is doing that too."

When I finally did have another kid after Abigail, it was easier. Despite it all, Eleanor is easier than Abigail. For example, Matt and I very rarely ever let Abigail feed herself. She was just too messy. Our friends and family would be like, "Yup, kids are messy! You just have to get over that!" At the next mealtime, I would work up the courage to let her messily feed herself, but as I cleaned up the mess, I vowed that I would never again let that happen. And I totally get it now. Most typically developing kids are Eleanor-level messy. An Eleanor-level mess and Abigail-level mess are two totally different worlds.

Eleanor-level mess?

Abigail-level mess:

No wonder people thought I was crazy for dreading the storm. They were used to just rain. So because of all this, I know that there must be easier children than Eleanor. A friend sent me an article by Dr. Sears to help recognize high needs babies. Eleanor gets an 83%. She hits 10 of the 12 points. She's intense, draining, demanding, awakens frequently, is unsatisfied, unpredictable, super-sensitive, and can't be put down, not a self-soother, and separation sensitive.

The article assures, "you have not failed as a mother even if your baby is miserable much of the time.
This is simply part of his personality." LOVELY!

Some people hate labels, but I love them. The more labels I have, the easier it is for me to understand and find solutions. Abigail is a special needs baby, Eleanor is high needs baby, and I hope and pray to the high heavens that future, someday baby #3 is a regular needs baby.

Oi. Well, I have been using electronic devices while my children are awake and it has officially caught up with me. Thank you for letting me vent. Maybe the force be with...me. Because Eleanor is crying. Again.

1 comment:

Cammie Wollner said...

High needs babies are soooooo hard.

I don't know if it's any consolation, but my high needs baby grew up to my most helpful kid.

Praying for you guys. I remember those nights and they were so long... so vent away!