Reaching back into my memory from nearly a year past I thought it might be good to write up some of the first things we noticed about life with our little bundle of joy that could have indicated that were dealing with a high needs baby. The biggest flags were likely that anytime I raised my voice around him, he would cry, even as early as when we first brought him home from the hospital. And that he was feeding all the time, clearly as a means for comfort. I can probably count on one hand the amount of times that a bottle was turned away by our little man since his birth.
Anyone that knows me well in my personal life will tell you that my inability to have an angry fit within ear shot of my child … well… it’s been like learning to be a new person for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an angry person, but when I am upset I like to be a little high needs myself in that I make sure everyone knows about it. So with a baby that can’t handle even the slightest inflection of the tone of my voice you can pretty much summarize my life as “walking on egg shells” whenever he is conscious. Now, I’m sure your thinking maybe I’m over exaggerating this – perhaps you might even think this normal for a baby to sense their mother’s moods and respond to them accordingly. Yes I have heard this before.
What I can tell you is that the Habanero does not only respond to me in this way, his teachers also tell me that he frequently cries whenever there is any tone of disapproval in their voice. And this isn’t just like a oh, you hurt my feelings cry, it usually goes into a full on fit immediately – bottom lip sticking out and all. Our son is very gifted when it comes to expressing his emotions, that much is true. What we have learned is that most of the time these times of being upset do not require comforting to end just as quickly as they have started. The nice thing about being so extreme in his reactions to things is that typically the fit doesn’t last long.
On a positive note, I wouldn’t call the Habanero a cry baby by any means, he’s not one of these kids that cries all the time about anything. In fact, as a newborn it was often remarked what a happy baby he is. If he’s crying it’s typically because either you’ve shown some sign of disapproval, or he needs something like sleep. Some other notable traits of a high needs baby that he had were that he hated being swaddled, love being cuddled and was constantly moving. He never really just kind of laid there like a bump on a log even as a newborn.
These days his constant need to explore and inability to be put down when we get home in the evenings are some of the characteristics that point more toward high needs, perhaps because we’ve gotten used to all the other things as part of every day life. When we get home after work I can’t really do much in the kitchen, even to prepare his meal for him because he’s (literally) hugging my leg the whole time. As you can imagine this makes it very hard to get much accomplished. His meals are usually very simple and require little work primarily because I don’t have the patience for trying to keep him happy while cooking. As for myself, because my husband works nights half the week he’s usually not home to help preoccupy the little guy so my dinner is almost always something completely unhealthy that I can make in 10 minutes or less at about 9 PM at night. So you see… this can be pretty draining day in and day out, but they say that is to be expected!