Surviving the life of a "High Needs" child & parent.

Category Archives: High Needs

A while back I posted about some concern I was having that the little man might have some symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder. Because he has been hitting all his development milestones according to the doctor and daycare I haven’t really though much of it again. Now with the way things have been going I’m starting to wonder again if it could be an issue for us.

I stumbled on an article on the Fussy Baby Site recently and it’s got me thinking again. It’s good to know that I’m not the only parent considering this about their high needs child.  In any event, through the article listed above I intend to actually follow up this time on investigating the Habanero’s Sensory Profile.

We are still struggling with getting him to “sleep through the night” at over year and a half and according to our doctor by 18 months we should no longer be doing night time bottles. This goal seems somewhat more attainable that it has in months past but still somewhat of a challenge. I have noticed that the little man doesn’t like to eat when we are in a public place for dinner he is so easily distracted by all the goings on around him. I’m not really sure if this normal kid behavior since I’m a first time parent or if it’s a personality thing.

My husband has been claiming for a while now that he thinks my son has ADHD and from what I saw in the article it looks like we aren’t the only parents with this concern. So I guess what I’m saying is, if you suspect you have a high needs child that these are other concerns you might also want to familiarize yourself with or be aware of the symptoms. Obviously not all children who are high needs might have additional challenges such as these but I think we owe it to ourselves and them to at least be aware. Here are some of the symptoms for SPD listed in this article:

  • Difficulty falling and remaining asleep without external soothing.
  • Trouble latching on to breastfeed.
  • Tantrums and crying that are more intense and last longer than they do for most babies and toddlers.
  • Especially clingy and difficulty self-soothing or being soothed by someone other than the primary caregiver.
  • Very picky about how he or she is held.
  • Very high or very low pain threshold.
  • Constantly on the move.
  • Clumsy, uncoordinated, drops items often.
  • Trouble shifting focus from one activity to the next or one toy to the next.
  • Doesn’t like rocking at all OR wants to rock all the time.
  • Very distressed or even nauseated by swinging OR won’t come out of the baby swing without wailing because she loves swinging so much.
  • Very sensitive to certain sounds, too much light or a certain quality of light, temperature, sights including certain colors or a busy visual field, a lot of sounds at once such as people singing in unison, being touched unexpectedly, pressure against the skin (in other words, a light touch may be very distressing compared to a heavy touch, temperature, clothing fabrics, and so on). Think extreme responses to everyday sensations.
  • Constantly sensory seeking—touching, tasting, etc.—more so than most babies and toddlers. For example, the baby might enjoy sucking on a lemon!
  • Upset by having to transition from one sensory environment to another, such as from a warm room to a cool one.
  • Eating difficulties, such as transitioning to solid foods, keeping the food together to chew it and swallow it effectively.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Slow to toilet train.

The Habanero has always been dramatic in his fits and is easily upset. A while back he started occasionally sending himself into a coughing tantrum when he was mad about something and I didn’t think much of it. Sometimes the coughs would lead to him spitting up, but most the time we have been able to calm him down before it gets to that point.

Last week in our car rides he started shoving his fingers down his throat (and other objects) to make himself gag which eventually leads to him puking. As you can imagine, this behavior is very frustrating in the car because there’s really nothing I can do to stop it besides telling him not to do it which of course he doesn’t listen to.

I thought maybe it was just normal for a kid to put their fingers in their mouth and gag themselves all this time, so I really haven’t thought much about it. In talking to some other people I’m realizing that this behavior of his really seems to be more about attention than anything else. There is little in the way of advice online for this that I can find and everything I’ve read says to interfere with the behavior by stopping the child physically from doing it and tell them not to, but as you can imagine that’s pretty hard to do when I’m driving.

For a while now I’ve been hoping that this coughing/gagging himself thing was just a phase that he would eventually grow out of as I’ve seen others say this about their children. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon without some sort of intervention and it’s probably going to get worse as we get closer to the age of 2. Getting tired of cleaning the car seat…

I’m going to start this post out by saying I love being a parent, so as anyone doesn’t think I absolutely despise it or gets any other crazy ideas in that regard. I know I’ve made mention before of the fact that my husband is working some shift work right now, he’s about to transition to a new job but I’ve been living like this for a while and I just need to vent. It’s important to note too that I have only two family members living in the area local to where I live to help me out (who aren’t incredibly reliable) and that I don’t have many friends that I can ask on to help me out who aren’t too busy with their own lives.

I do have a couple people that have offered to babysit for me and while I think it would be helpful – I’m not going to pretend it’s going to help with what I’m about to talk about. Being a mother is so hard, so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I’m sure many parents think this but I don’t think it’s really something you can quite comprehend until your in the position yourself. If you are mother then you’ll probably know exactly what I’m about to rant about.

These people I know that complain about getting a break from their kids and say things like “Oh, I don’t know what to do with myself because my kid is spending the day with so and so” really irk me. Rather than appreciate their time alone, they complain about it. Maybe they aren’t complaining – maybe they are just stating fact… but to someone like me that let’s face it, never gets a break, it’s really freaking bothersome. Let me explain.

I can’t eat by myself. By that I mean, if I’m eating something, the Habanero wants some – and rightfully so I can’t fault him for wanting to try everything he’s a curious little guy. I can’t drink by myself, if I am trying to drink even some water, I get whined at to share. If I try to get him his own water and it’s not in my cup more often than not he gets incredibly pissed and goes into a tantrum. No mom, I didn’t want my own water… I wanted your water to blow bubbles in and backwash with. Maybe my own kid’s backwash shouldn’t bother me so much, but I’m admittedly a germaphob. I can’t crap alone, in fact I mostly can’t crap anyways because I can’t even relax enough to unless I’m at work and I don’t have someone staring at me like a kid or a dog. If I close the door, the crying commences. If I want to shower by myself, its not going to happen. Even if dad is home, I’m expected to shower the little man. And not only does dad expect me to shower him, but the Habanero expects to be let into the shower anytime the water is running. Have you ever had a slobber filled ice cream cone? He doesn’t actually eat it he just slobbers all over it until I have lost the will to eat it.

Is it too much to ask for to be able to be open a package of anything in my own house without my kid or my dog at my feet begging me? You know, I’m starting to wonder if maybe this all is getting to me more than it normally would because I’m pregnant and I have to eat and drink ALL THE TIME. I don’t know. Anyways, I just wanted to share how little I know realize I thought I knew about what it’s like to be a parent, besides all the other responsibilities of actually developing a human being into a good person. This is exhausting.

Well it’s been a while hasn’t it?! (My apologies in advance this is going to be a bit of a rant.) I’ve been pretty busy with travel this summer. The Habanero has taken two trips this summer, one in June with the whole family and one in July with just mom. I’ve had a couple of visits this summer as well. It’s a lot of work as you may know if you’ve ever traveled with a tot under 2. Even just being home all the time with a little person, is a bit of work, especially when they want your attention most of the time (I don’t know how you stay at home mom’s keep your sanity!).

For my first post back, I thought I’d write about perceptions. Because, unfortunately I’ve been getting a lot of commentary from my family members lately about how I’ve become “lazy” and I “don’t clean up after myself” during my travels and at home. I’ve also been told that I don’t do much to help out the people I’m visiting. I’m not going to point any fingers or name any names but these are individuals who have never had the experience I’m currently living so it really shouldn’t bother me but it does.

Now, I don’t know about you… but when I go on vacation, even though I’m spending what little vacation time I get every year on seeing family, I still like to at least TRY to pretend I’m on vacation and take a little bit of break from my norm. My norm these days is a 40+ hour work week, at least 1 or 2 doctors appointments and then a weekend of quality time with my little guy, while his dad is sleeping and working. During the week, dad has class two nights a week during which we are also on our own. This amounts to a grand total of 2 evenings a week I get the pleasure of being with my husband for more than an hour or 2.

Suffice to say that with a husband working full time and going to school full time, I spend a lot of time on my own. If you’ve got a High Needs baby yourself you probably are very familiar with the idea that getting anything done when they are conscious in the way of chores or errands is basically mission impossible. My husband has all but given up on even trying to get anything accomplished when he’s home with the little guy (usually when I’m shopping or the Habanero is home from school sick).

What I mean by not being able to get anything done is, if I am trying to load the dishes in the dishwasher the little guy either “helps” by unloading everything I put in there, or if unloading he pushes the drawers in and stands on the door of the dishwasher when I’ve got my back turned, causing it to tip forward. Most parents I think have the problem of not being able to go to the bathroom alone… but if I close the door he sits outside crying and having a tantrum. If I leave the door open he takes off with my toilet paper. If I take him to the store or to a restaurant most the time I’m SOL because not only does he hate being confined to a cart or a high chair, the majority of the belts don’t extend far enough for him and they are too tight to actually buckle (he’s a big kid). So I’m pushing a cart, trying to hold him in it while putting things I need in the cart and trying to stop him from reaching back and throwing what I’ve put in the cart on the floor.

I end up with the kid that won’t sit still and I have to chase and or walk around the restaurant to entertain while dad and I take turns eating. Or, the store as it were. If in the cart, he likes to “shop” and add items to the cart for me when I’m busy which is always fun. Needless to say at this point I really try very hard not to go shopping with him or out to eat, which in the case of shopping means leaving him at home with dad.

For my time at home, my house is a disaster. And it’s not for lack of effort to clean or pick up, it’s because any cabinet that is unlocked or any piece of furniture with anything on it basically looks like it exploded all over the room after the little man gets done with it. I have lost the will to keep picking things up after him – I don’t even try anymore. Pretty much if I’m picking up it’s to clean and that’s because he’s sleeping. He takes every item he can, out of every storage device I own, every cabinet, every drawer. (And most of our stuff has child locks on it with the exception of 2 or 3 in the kitchen.) As you can imagine this is all pretty exhausting. So when I go on a trip and it takes everything I’ve got in me to just get through the airport, you can imagine I rely pretty heavily on whoever I’m visiting to help me out a bit when I arrive so I can get a break.

Apparently there are some people in my family (all my family with the exception of my father) that live out of state who think that me coming to visit means that I expect that everyone will do everything for me and I won’t have to lift a finger. Because most people have family close by to help out with their kids regularly I don’t think as big of a deal is made about it. But because they never see me and they don’t understand what I go through on a daily basis, it’s like an act of god for them to change my kids diaper for me. Despite the fact that I still do a lot when I am on a trip for my child – certain family members associate me visiting with a terrible inconvenience and follow up my trip by shit talking me to either my spouse or other family members about how I don’t do enough.

The irony of the term “Lazy Mom” is that as a parent I don’t believe there is any such thing. Certainly there are parents who are more laid back in their parenting style, there are some parents who are completely useless and make no effort to be part of their children’s lives… but for those of us who are here day in and day out and don’t have the help of family on a frequent basis I don’t think it’s fair to make any such accusation. You can’t be lazy and be an involved, caring, parent. Accusing someone of being a lazy parent in my mind is simply highlighting your insensitivity, inexperience, stupidity and maybe even bigotry.

As if there weren’t enough perks to co-sleeping, here’s one more. Waking up with a nice warmth on the side of your back, in your hair and all over your blanket and sheets. No I was not being snuggled by the Habanero. Recently, the little guy has figured out that he can take his diaper off. The other night I was laying in bed with him, watching tv, I turned my back toward him for a minute or two and in that time he decided it would be fun to take his diaper off.

I thought maybe it was just a fluke and he wouldn’t start making a habit of it, but it seems to me that he’s replaced playing with my hair to fall asleep with fidgeting with his diaper. This means, that he will continually unstrap it until it no longer holds closed. So last night, I think he had played with it so much that it came off while he was rolling around, or when I was sleeping and he was bored he decided it would be fun to take half of it off.

This is the final straw. We are getting ready to take our summer trip during which we will be staying in hotels for 5 nights. When we get back from our trip, I will begin working with the Habanero on sleeping on his own mattress. Additionally, I’m thinking maybe this why they tell you that you should stop bottle feeding at night? Some of us have to learn things the hard way I guess…

I wanted to post today but I’m having a hard time with the mental clarity to come up with anything that might be worth reading because well, the Habanero decided to wake up about every 30 minutes last night. My husband took care of him from about 11 PM to 3 A.M. at which point he lovingly rolled the kid over to my side of the bed to take care of. Needless to say, I’m going on fumes today and it’s just been “one of those Mondays”.

No rest for the weary I will be spending my evening at my annual volunteer orientation class for a local garden center that I’ve been working at for my 3rd year. So if this post is completely incomprehensible you’ll have to forgive me but here goes.

Every time the Habanero awoke last night he was crying. I don’t know what was going on, but sleep, bottles, and extra blankets – nothing worked. The best part is that he was cranky this morning, but non-the-less in a shouting mood so I spent the entire car ride to daycare/work with him in the back shouting. He wasn’t crying, he was talking very loudly which as you may have guessed can be pretty unnerving when you are going on only a couple of hours of sleep.

The tossing and turning, crowding and uncomfortable positions had me mostly losing hope by about 4:30 A.M. that I would be getting any rest before it was time to get up. So there I laid, pretending to sleep, trying not to move so that the little man would think maybe just maybe he should roll over and try to go back to sleep again himself. No dice. At about 6 A.M. after several hours of trying to fall back asleep I was rudely interrupted in my thoughts about how much it sucks to lose sleep by the Habanero standing on my hair.

I’m pretty thrilled to get past the stage of all out hair grasping anytime the Habanero touches my hair, but he’s started this new thing where he lays, rolls and stands on it which surprisingly hurts nearly as much if not more as his infamous little death grip. This kid loves hair. I’ve thought about cutting mine all off, but I’ve been told that this does nothing to stop the follicular attacks.

Most nights I am required to offer my sacrificial strands for the reassuring hair twirling that ensues before the Habanero’s eyeballs roll to the back of his head and he conks out. If you’ve never seen a baby’s eyes do this before I can tell you that it is pretty unnerving, even now that I’m used to seeing it. Thankfully, the Habanero no longer has his casts on his feet which means at least for now, I’m no longer getting kicked in the face with them. If you’ve never been kicked in the face by a cast, it’s a pretty memorable experience you should try it some time!

After shoving the little man off my hair and back to my husband’s side of the bed and yelling about how much it hurt to have my hair stood on, we got about 5 minutes of inconsolable crying before he finally settled back down and got over the fact that I was mad at him. I know he’s too young to understand really that he was hurting me but sometimes it just doesn’t make me any less reactionary to his attacks.

I’m sure I’ll learn to love this characteristic of the Habanero’s personality when he’s older more, but for now it is just very worrisome. He’s very determined and stubborn, and I’m pretty sure he’d crawl right off a cliff if I let him. When he sees something he wants, he goes right for it with amazing speed. Somewhat related, it seems is his demanding nature. This High Needs trait can drive us crazy sometimes. Lately he’s been snatching food off our plates and sticking his hand in our drinks before we even have the reflex to stop him. Between him and the dog it’s a wonder we even get to eat anything!

It doesn’t matter were we are – as with most kids he completely disregards his surroundings when he wants something. The thing is, he is so loud about what he wants when he wants something that you have no choice but to hear him and respond. For example, the other day when I picked him up from the daycare he was crying. He was crying so loud that I could hear him all the way down the hallway when I walked into the door to the daycare. What was wrong? Well nothing really he was just sitting there crying when I came in, I presume because he was cranky and tired.

You might think I am exaggerating his vocal abilities, but honestly, sometimes he’s so intense that you can’t even think when he’s crying. Fortunately for me, he doesn’t cry all the time or this would drive me insane. He pretty much does everything loudly though, did I mention how loud he is? The Habanero talks in high volume as well. Fortunately he’s at the stage where most people consider it cute and he’s just babbling. I think it might be almost normal for babies to have no control over their volume levels, but with any luck as he gets older he’ll learn to tone it down a little.

I cringe at the thought of the first time he says something completely embarrassing at the store where everyone stops and looks at me. I’m sure when the time comes I’ll have no choice but to laugh it off. Because he’s been so talkative since he was born I  know  it will happen several times.