The looks say it all. “Can you shut up that baby?”, “What’d she do? Pinch it?”, “You need to take that crying one outside”, “That poor thing.” It’s something that every mother has gone through. That moment when your baby loses their shit right in the middle of the store.
Unfortunately, it’s happens to me 95% of the time I go somewhere with Bailee. I used to be so scared (still am) to go anywhere with her for fear of an sudden outburst. And rightfully so. I was embarrassed every single time; being “that” mom. Any and all trips were short, being done right after she ate, when she was the happiest. Before she could go crazy realizing she was trapped in a car seat (which she despises).
Matt and I needed to find out what was causing these sudden fits. They were always so unpredictable, like at the flip of a switch. You could hardly ever put her down, she needed that closeness, that comfort. Nobody wanted to hold her once she got that pouty look on her face. They’d hand her right back to us. Of course we got everyone’s opinions:
- “Maybe she’s teething.”
- “Have you fed her lately?”
- “She’s probably constipated.”
- “Are you sure it’s not colic?”
- “When was the last time she took a nap?”
They were all no’s. She was just a fussy baby, we thought. Until we started googling. All searches lead us to the possibility of a “high need” baby. There’s 12 traits that classify high need babies:
While some of these traits are not as prominent, the ones that are just scream “high need”. Intense, unpredictable and draining are her top three and boy, is she every little bit of them. And they all go hand in hand. She can be the happiest baby in all the land, then within 5 seconds (unpredictable) she is crying her face off (intense); which happens anywhere from 2-15 times in a day (draining).
If you want to talk about exhausted, look no further. I spend countless hours trying to keep this little one entertained. Some days I can get her to keep herself occupied for 15 minutes, which you’ll find me going pee or scarfing down food. Other days, I just can’t put her down. Few days I can occupy her little mind with music and flashing lights. Others, I find myself doing 10 different things to keep her happy in a 15 minute period. Showers are last on my priority list, along with laundry and dishes, and any other hobbies I used to have. I am a slave to my baby and it’s tough. I guess that’s why it’s the most selfless job out there.
Being the mother of a high need baby is unexplainable. You can talk about it with people, but if they never experienced it for themselves, they will never understand. Every single day I thought maybe it was something I did; questioning my mothering skills. I resented my baby. My patience was being tested every second and yes, I have lost my shit more than enough times after hitting a breaking point. I am an emotional wreck and I have probably cried a few too many times. I feel guilty every time I take a couple minutes to myself. I’m relieved when someone else takes her for a little bit, but then have separation anxiety.
But as the days go on, I try my best to see the world from Bailee’s view. When she has good days, I’m the proudest mama in the world. When the bad ones roll in, I feel like a complete and utter failure. It’s no ones fault though. She is unique in her own way and she’s just trying to build her own character. Her tantrums become less and less the more milestones she reaches, and I believe once she can get to crawling, the more independent and happier she’ll become. Every day is an adventure in learning about one another. And one day, we’re going to be a dynamic team.
For now, we will keep our heads held high, our spirits in positive ways and we will only have good days (just keep swimming, just keep swimming).