Over the past few weeks, C’s been having problems sleeping. My baby boy fell asleep in my arms a couple of times recently. Before that, he hadn’t fallen asleep in my arms in over a year.
I didn’t have my feet up, so my legs and feet swelled from the pregnancy. My arm fell asleep. But gosh was he perfect to look at.
His long eyelashes, his little belly going up and down with every breath. That soft, smooth baby skin. The sweet smell of his breath. Those little hands that are changing from baby hands to little boy hands. When did his legs get so long? How is he growing so quickly?
My heart beat faster thinking about how fast this time with him is going. Soon he’ll no longer be the baby in our family. My baby boy will become the big brother. He’ll keep growing bigger. My sweet, perfect baby boy.
C has been sleeping more than he’s been awake this week. Yesterday, we had plans to go out to lunch with Hubster and some of his coworkers; but Mr. Growth Spurt had other plans. He decided to take a 3-hour nap instead. THREE HOURS. This is so unlike him!
In addition to taking a morning nap, C has still been taking his typical afternoon nap and going to bed at 7pm. He’s been sleeping until 7:30am and then repeating this routine. It will be interesting to see how much taller Mr. Growth Spurt gets after this!
Apparently C has decided that instead of the more palatable wake-up time of 7 or 8, he would prefer to wake up at 5:30am. FIVE THIRTY IN THE MORNING. Naturally, he insists on continuing two night feedings, the second of which is typically between 3:30 and 4:30. Thus, he leaves me with somewhat of a “cat nap” before getting up for the day.
Let me remind you, lest you forget, that C also does not nap during the day unless he is held.
This leaves me with the age-old question (oh wait, it’s not an age-old question? You mean there are babies who actually sleep?): Why, dear child, do you not require more sleep than an adult?
Ever since C’s colic started, I’ve been following The Fussy Baby Site‘s blog. Today, they posted a list of the Top Websites for Colic. I visited the Ask Dr. Sears website that was listed and stumbled upon information on high needs babies. I had an “aha” moment – FINALLY, C’s personality is explained.
I knew he was a strong-willed and determined baby, but I’ve been spending a lot of time scouring parenting books to figure out how to conform him to a schedule – especially for his naps. He refuses to nap more than 20 minutes at a time. Even getting him to do that is a struggle that typically involves screaming on his part. Now I understand that it’s not something that I’m doing wrong, and it’s not something that he’s likely to grow out of. It’s just his personality. And he’s not alone – there are many other high needs babies. Their parents also feel exasperated and at a loss for what to do, since their baby’s personality is unlike that of others they know. High needs babies even tend to make their feelings known in the womb by being extremely active. I feel validated!
According to Dr. Sears, whose forth child had this personality, there are 12 features of a high needs baby. C exhibits many of these features:
Intense. Whenever C wants something, he starts screaming. He goes from “0 to 60″ in the blink of an eye.
Draining. After an entire day of needing to actively entertain him and fighting to get him to nap, I am completely drained. It’s exhausting.
Demanding. He needs to be held a lot, entertained, switch positions often while feeding, etc. When he’s not getting what he wants, he screams.
Unsatisfied. He’s only content doing something for a short amount of time. I constantly need to switch things up for him, whether that’s moving him from gym to bouncer to floor to swing or parading toy after toy in front of him to keep him entertained.
Unpredictable. I’ve tracked C’s feeding and sleep schedule since he was born. There has NEVER been a pattern to it. I think we’ll always be an “on-demand” household, because that’s the only thing that seems to work for him.
Super sensitive. Whenever something is the least bit wrong in his world, he starts to cry. In one respect, this is good because he lets us know he needs something. When it happens frequently, it becomes a bit frustrating.
Can’t put baby down. Sometimes he just cries and screams no matter what we do unless he is held. If we sit down, he cries because he wants to be rocked or walked around with. He has a need to see everything that is happening around him, which I believe is another reason that he doesn’t want to nap.
Not a self-soother. Some children can soothe themselves with their thumbs, fists or a pacifier. Not C – his cries will continue to become louder and more frantic until you attend to his needs. It’s best to get to him quickly before it escalates.
It’s challenging to be a parent of a high needs baby, because your baby doesn’t accept common methods (i.e. crying it out or other sleep training). Because you see other babies who are easily calmed or content, you sometimes question your ability as a parent. I’m so thankful to The Fussy Baby Site for posting this information! C is not just a difficult child, and I am not doing something wrong as a parent. This is simply C’s personality and I need to learn how to conform to HIS needs. While it may be hard at times to raise a high needs child, if Hubster and I learn how to positively direct his passion and intensity, these traits will serve him well in life. I just need to remind myself that when I feel like I’m going insane!
*Special thanks to my parents; I, too, was a spirited high needs child. Their patience with me and encouragement of all of my energy has served me well. I hope that I will be able to do the same for C.*
Every time C takes a nap in the afternoon, I never know how long he’s going to sleep. The first things I get done are the essentials – pumping, washing bottles, laundry. If he’s still sleeping, I check my email, Twitter, Facebook. If he’s still sleeping, I start to think about the things I need to do that take more time – work, cleaning the counter, filing the stack of papers on the desk. By the time I get to that point, I’m always afraid to get started on those projects. I think he’ll wake up as soon as I begin.
No wonder I never get anything substantial done. I keep falling into the nap trap.