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#1 of 64 Old 06-09-2012, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's so hard to admit but I've found myself often disliking being a parent. First let me say I am a good mom. A really good mom. I practice AP because it comes naturally to me. I am still breastfeeding my 16 month old. I co-sleep, I'm a stay at home mom. We go on play dates, I try to meet all her needs. Just needed to clear that up before I continue.

 

But some days I just don't like it. I have a very high needs DD. Who screams at the top of her lungs to get what she wants. And who often gets frustrated because she cant communicate - She is a late talker.. I've been teaching her sign language to cut down on that frustration and she knows a few.

 

I'm very mellow. I like to spend my days in a calm relaxing state. Reading a book and listening to some yoga music is a perfect day for me. Chaos and screaming drive me crazy and turn me into a very grumpy irritable person. I say chaos because DD is unpredictable and as much as I try to have a routine/schedule she resists it.

 

I miss my old life. I miss the way my husband and I used to be together. Now we bicker so much. It's like we are enemies rather than being on the same team. I miss my peaceful home.  I miss vacations. I miss the days when I could do whatever I want and didn't have to be home for nap time. I  miss running errands and not having a toddler with me.

 

I love my DD , don't get me wrong. When she is in a good mood she is absolutely delightful. She makes me smile and laugh, and my heart is full of love for her. She has filled a hole in my heart I used to have.

 

But the screaming fits, the whining and clinging to my leg, the waking up 5 times a night, fighting bedtime with tears, the temper tantrums. They are too much for me to handle. I never imagined having a child would be this hard. I knew they cried, but I didnt know they could scream so loud it would hurt my ears (as she often does). I don't believe in CIO, but with her it wouldnt even be an option. The times she wants me and not my husband to put her to sleep often end in choking and gasping for breath.

 

And this crying and screaming isnt anything new. Its been going on since day 1 in the hospital. She had really bad colic which we finally resolved. But the screaming has continued with teething, when a food doesnt agree with her, when we put her in the car, when she is tired, i could go on and on. I tried dr. sears' approach of responding to her cries quickly and teaching her to cry better. It worked for a while until she started teething. and now shes in the fighting sleep stage.

 

So back to what I was saying. I just dont like being a parent. Sometimes I think I got started to late - 34 years old. Maybe I am too selfish now. I used to want 3 kids. Now I think I am done with just one. I hate to think of having an only child cause I think siblings are so important. But I honestly don't know that I could handle a second one. Or my marriage could handle it. Speaking of my marriage. My husband feels the same way - just overwhelmed by how hard this is.

 

I know I am just rambling and venting. But I have no where else to do this. Its not very PC to tell your friends you dont like being a parent. But I also would like to know - am I doing something wrong here? Do other people feel the same way?

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#2 of 64 Old 06-09-2012, 04:48 PM
 
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Becoming a parent is a HUGE adjustment. I think a lot of mom's have a rough time, and you're right, it's kind of taboo to talk about it. We are just supposed to be these madonna's that love to give and give. We don't always feel that way and it doesn't mean we're bad.

 

A couple of things pop out to me. It sounds to me like your baby has a fairly spirited temperament and that she does have higher needs than many babies. Meaning she is more sensitive to changes, to sensory stimulation, to transitions. Children with intense temperaments can be more challenging to raise--unless you kind of have some strategies to help them along. In addition to that it sounds like you are kind of an introvert in a way-- which is why the noise and excess stimulation is not feeling like a good fit for  you. You may also have some qualities of an intense temperament in that you have specific needs around levels of stimulation (noise, touch, light, etc.) So in some ways you are kind of rubbing each other the wrong way and it is making you very grumpy.

 

You might consider really researching temperament and learning a lot more about how to mesh your styles, as well as help her become more adaptable and flexible. A great place to start is Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, but you can also poke around on the web for sites that explain temperament in children.

 

Good for you for reaching out on this.
 

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#3 of 64 Old 06-09-2012, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Lauren

Wow I think you summed us up perfectly. I do have the Raising Your Spirited Child book, I need to go back and read it. When I first read it the suggestions just seemed more for older kids. But maybe they will work on a 16 mo old. Do you have any recommendations for websites? I just did a quick google and found sites explaining the different types of temperament. But I didn't see much in the way of how to best parent the active/ feisty child.

Thanks so much for your insight.
 

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#4 of 64 Old 06-09-2012, 06:29 PM
 
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It might help to think of yourself as some who doesn't like parenting babies/toddlers, instead of disliking parenting in general.  It took me a while to realize that while I love the newborn stage, I would also love to trade in my toddlers until they are about 5.  As my kids get older, I am enjoying my time with them again.  Give yourself a break, no one says you have to love this exact stage in your child's development. Adding guilt on top of all the other difficulties isn't going to do you or your little one any good.  Sometimes we have to "mother" ourselves a bit, so getting breaks and time to yourself might be the thing you need to help you cope. Best of luck mama!

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#5 of 64 Old 06-10-2012, 07:17 AM
 
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Here are some leads. I have more stuff in my office I can look up.

 

http://www.aboutourkids.org/articles/parenting_styleschildren039s_temperaments_match

 

http://www.temperament.com/atqweb.html

For this one you can pay a $12 fee to take an adult temperament questionnaire.

 

 

http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/temperament-behavior/

This is a great professionally based website.

 

http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/health/941-temperament-affects-parents-children-family.gs

 

Hang in there. It does get better when they get a little older and less needy. Keep reaching out.


 
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#6 of 64 Old 06-10-2012, 07:19 AM
 
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Also you can google 'high needs baby' for some ideas. If you look at the segments of temperament, such as adaptability, you can try tuning in to her experience and try to understand how to accommodate her before she moves into tantrum mode. I would caution against refraining from setting limits though. Sometimes there are just natural limits and it makes babies/kids sad and that's o.k. too!


 
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#7 of 64 Old 06-10-2012, 09:39 AM
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From about 9 months to about 21 months was a really hard year for me as a parent - it was just constant going, going, going, one thing after another, and some days I just wanted to lay on the floor and cry. I'm also an introvert, and I needed that "piece of quiet" (as my kid called it when she was a little older), and my kid was intense and active and all that...

I wish I had gotten a sitter and spent a couple hours once or twice a week just sitting in a coffee shop reading. Really. I needed that, and my kid would honestly have been okay. Yes, she might have cried when I left, but then she would have been okay. I sometimes watch a friend's toddler (also 16 months) and his older sister, and he's always upset when she leaves but then he gets past that and has a good time and laughs and plays. If you do this, you can have your sitter text you a half hour after you leave if your daughter is still upset, or text you a photo of her if she's happily playing.

What I did do, which wasn't quite as good but almost, was to hire two people from our neighborhood to play with Rain (separately) while I read a book in the other room. One was an 8 year old boy who had 3 younger siblings, and Rain knew him and liked him - actually, she found him hilarious. The other was a teenage girl with moderate developmental delays who lived next door to us. If I had some sort of "project" ready that would keep them busy, I usually got between half an hour and an hour of mostly-uninterrupted time that way...

 
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#8 of 64 Old 06-10-2012, 04:15 PM
 
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"So back to what I was saying. I just dont like being a parent. Sometimes I think I got started to late - 34 years old. Maybe I am too selfish now. I used to want 3 kids. Now I think I am done with just one. I hate to think of having an only child cause I think siblings are so important. But I honestly don't know that I could handle a second one. Or my marriage could handle it. Speaking of my marriage. My husband feels the same way - just overwhelmed by how hard this is."

 

I feel very similar to you about this, and share the introvert thing.  I actually think that's a very large part of it for me.  I never realized how basic a need my quiet solitude was until it was gone and impossible to get back.  I sometimes think that I don't like being a parent, too, and it's a very hard thing to let myself feel.  I try to think of it as grieving for my old life.  Like you, I started late, so I had a long history of me, myself, and I.  It's very hard to break.  My partner and I are not married, and our daughter was not planned.  He and I are in this for the long haul, but I probably would have moved on by now if we hadn't had our daughter.  It's just my style.  Our relationship has been rough since we "became a family," which makes everything still harder.  I, too, still really miss my old life.  I think I'll be able to get some of it back when DD gets older.  I think I'll be able to share some of it with her, too.  Hope so, anyway!  What helps me a teeny bit is to not always plan outings around DD, but to sometimes have them be for me.  DD usually enjoys the mom-style outings almost as much as the kid-focused ones.  And I feel like I've gotten a little of myself back. 
 

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#9 of 64 Old 06-13-2012, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel like such a huge weight has been lifted just by being able to talk about this somewhere. Thank you all for your support.

Yellow - that is a really good way to look at it. Maybe I just don't like this stage. Though the thought of toughing it out until she is five seems rather daunting right now. Hopefully it will be sooner than that.

Lauren - those links were so helpful. I sent a bunch to my husband too. I really hope that his attitude will change soon. He seems to think we have either been cursed or have done something wrong to make our DD this way. Which I hate hearing. She is very high needs with a few "bonus traits." So yes she is a challenge, but I dont feel like we created it or that we are unlucky. She is delightful, she just doesnt mesh with our personalities right now. I wish he would see it that way. His way seems so full of resentment. And I dont want her to feel resented. I wish there was a fathering.com so he could vent and get support too.

Dar - Ive been thinking about getting a sitter for awhile now. I just havent yet partly because I have trust issues and the thought of hiring a stranger bothers me. I dont have a lot of family around to help watch her, so I guess at some point I am going to have to trust someone. Also, with her being high needs I worry how she will react and how the babysitter will handle it. But I like the idea of having the sitter text me. So maybe I just need to push myself to do this.

Newmama - hugs! I know exactly how you feel. I too hope that down the road I will be able to get some of my old life back. That is a good idea to do mom type outings. What do you usually do? I find running errands with her stresses me out.

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#10 of 64 Old 06-15-2012, 04:53 PM
 
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I mean more "adventures" than errands, although we do those, too.  Back in the day, one of my favorite things to do was go on solo adventures, usually involving hiking and nature.  So when I find myself in a rut of taking DD to the playground, the farm, the play area at the mall... I take her to the ocean for the day, or take her on a hike to see a waterfall, or to a funky town to explore the shops and parks, or to a cafe for a special treat, to a museum - an adult museum, like natural history or art.  An orchestra recital or jazz show.  Oh, and she LOVES going to Ikea.  Don't know where you're from, but we're lucky here in MA to have literally hundreds of options available, including big cities, the ocean, museums, and large natural areas.  Plus, I grew up here, so I've done a lot of exploring.  I definitely have to adjust my expectations of any of these outings, but it is sooo worth it.  Reminds me that I've been wanting to do an arboretum trip....
 

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#11 of 64 Old 06-18-2012, 11:29 AM
 
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Zenmama--thank you for your honesty and creating space for talking about this! Parenting is 100 times harder than I ever imagined---and I worked as a nanny and a preschool teacher before having my son, so I thought I had a pretty good idea. My son (25 months) is also a very high needs kiddo and I feel like we're just finally getting over the hump. 12-20 months was reallllllly rough. Tantrums, intense screaming, impossible car rides, waking 5-10 times a night. It wore me down, tested the strength of our marriage, and made me wonder if I ever wanted more kids. 

 

That being said, things have really settled down in the past couple of months. DS is getting much better at talking, so he doesn't get quite as frustrated trying to explain himself, and I've cut down on nursing, which helped me feel a little more sane. We still battle tantrums, whining, and night weaning, but I feel like a totally different woman compared to 6 months ago. You may find that you really like later stages of parenting and want more---or not! 

 

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Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post

I feel very similar to you about this, and share the introvert thing.  I actually think that's a very large part of it for me.  I never realized how basic a need my quiet solitude was until it was gone and impossible to get back.  I sometimes think that I don't like being a parent, too, and it's a very hard thing to let myself feel.  I try to think of it as grieving for my old life.  Like you, I started late, so I had a long history of me, myself, and I.  It's very hard to break. 

 

Yes!! I never realized how much I value and need time to myself---silence, space, solitude---until it was gone. I think that's the hardest part of parenting for me. At the end of the day, I'm ready to just tune out, read a book, or soak in the bath, but DH wants to chat, cuddle, and reconnect. It's so hard for me to balance my need for solitude with the needs of my marriage. 


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#12 of 64 Old 06-18-2012, 08:42 PM
 
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You could also do some reading on sensory issues, "Raising a Sensory Smart Child" comes to mind; you could also search the Special Needs board.

 

Another thing to consider is consulting with an speech therapist; they may have some ideas that would help her communication or at least help you feel like you're not on your own. An OT could help with possible sensory concerns.


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#13 of 64 Old 06-19-2012, 01:19 PM
 
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I haven't read absolutely everything here- naptime is too short, and I already feel rushed.

I do my best to be sympathetic during crying/upset times, but the screaming gets to me like nothing else. I actually use ear protection that we got at home depot. When I can't take the screaming, and I have no alternatives, I use the ear protection so I don't try to lock myself in the bathroom or something. Nothing attracts a kid like a closed door! My boys also use the ear protection when I am vacuuming or using the juicer or anything else that is too loud for them. I consider it my way to say, "I'm still here for you. I am just doing what I need to stay sane."

As a pregnant mom of a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old, I also second the comment that it sounds more like you don't like parenting at this stage. Nearly everything you've mentioned will be long forgotten when she is 8. Yes, older kids create their own struggles, and they have more difficult problems to solve as they get more involved with the world, but it will, without a doubt, be different. You may very well find that those later years are right up your alley, and you are the one encouraging others here with their struggles.

I hope you find a wealth of helpful information!!!
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#14 of 64 Old 06-19-2012, 05:11 PM
 
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Just so you know..this sounds completely normal. Just really try hard to remember that this stage will only last a short time and you'll be on to a new one, most likely an easier one(in some ways), and to miss your old life is normal. At least I think so. I missed pre-baby for a long time before I accepted my new "role" and embraced it. It honestly took me having another child to get there though! Just wanted to send a virtual hug and tell you you are not alone!


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#15 of 64 Old 06-19-2012, 05:20 PM
 
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Also wanted to point out that it was tough on our marriage, really tough and we had our moments of doubt, but now we have a 3 1/2 year old and a 13 month old and it's so much better now. I can tell that DH has embraced fatherhood more than he did with just the first kiddo.


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#16 of 64 Old 06-24-2012, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Earplugs are a good idea for those tough days. I have them and use them from time to time. But I should probably carry them in my pocket :). Recently we stopped trying to have a set bedtime and if DD isnt tired and wants to run around and play we just let her. That has helped with the bedtime screaming. I just thought regular nap times and bed times were so important to kids. But we as a family are happy to just wait it out until she crashes...usually not until 9:30 or 10:30 at night :( Which unfortunately means no time to hang with just my husband.  and sometimes we have to resort to a car ride to get her to calm down enough to sleep. but otherwise it seems to be working. I just hope we aren't going to regret this.

 

I also decided to take a yoga class once a week on saturday mornings. so I have carved out a little me time. Now I just have to stick to it.

 

And I found a family member who can babysit, so we are going to try and have her come once a week. Only prob is she is 16 and her and her family travel a lot. But I hope she will be around enough to babysit so my DH and I can have a date night now and then.

 

But I still can't shake this feeling of loss. Like I have lost my old life. I was just looking at pictures of my husband and I hiking, snorkeling, jet skiing and rock climbing and I am so sad that we can't just pick up and go do that again. I guess I am struggling because I don't know how to fit a baby into the things I love to do. I can't even just read a book on the couch and have her play on the floor with toys, because she will cry for my attention and want to be on the couch with me. If I move to the floor she is crawling all over me.  I really dont want to wait until she is much to start enjoying things again. Any suggestions?

 

Dealing with a spirited kid is a huge challenge. I wish they came with an instruction manual. But hearing from you mammas has definitely helped me during this tough time. I have hope that I may enjoy being a parent at another stage.  So thank you!

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#17 of 64 Old 06-25-2012, 05:39 AM
 
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Quote:
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But I still can't shake this feeling of loss. Like I have lost my old life. I was just looking at pictures of my husband and I hiking, snorkeling, jet skiing and rock climbing and I am so sad that we can't just pick up and go do that again. I guess I am struggling because I don't know how to fit a baby into the things I love to do. I can't even just read a book on the couch and have her play on the floor with toys, because she will cry for my attention and want to be on the couch with me. If I move to the floor she is crawling all over me.  I really dont want to wait until she is much to start enjoying things again. Any suggestions?

 

What did you think it would be like when you had a baby? I mean that seriously, not in a snarky way. The baby/toddler stage doesn't last forever, and you will be able to do those things again. I think you can still do them now, even if you have to modify your expectations. You can hike with the baby in a carrier for example. I would look into finding a regular babysitter that you trust. You can build up to leaving your dd with the babysitter for longer amounts of time so that you can do the other things you enjoy. You might be limited for the next few years. What about grandparents. My youngest DS is 4 now, and just got back from a week with the grandparents. He loves it there, and has spent up to a week at a time for about two years now. We started with a few days, but they live 3 hours away, and like to take turns having the kids for a visit each summer or over spring break. Does your daughter have grandparents that would do that? Even now you could work on an overnight with the grandparents or other relative. Make time for yourself, it's ok to do that. :) I didn't realize that with my oldest, but after 3, I realize how important it is. 


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#18 of 64 Old 06-25-2012, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Simonmom

That's a good question...What did I think it would be like. I guess yesterday I just felt like complaining lol. Because truthfully I can hold off on doing those activities for a few years until she is old enough to participate. But to answer your question I thought the every day stuff would be A LOT easier. Stupid me, huh. I hadnt really been around many young babies, so I didnt really know what to expect. But I had never heard of attachment parenting or spirited babies, so I envisioned my baby sleeping in a crib by 8pm every night, breast feeding for a few months, napping at a set time wherever we were and just kinda going with the flow.  But in reality I sleep in a separate room from my husband in a bed with my DD because she wakes so often to nurse. I am breastfeeding about every 2-3 hours day & night still. she won't nap anywhere but at home or in the car. transferring her from car to bed doesnt work. Getting her to take a nap and go to bed are often a struggle. I thought my husband would be able to put her to sleep at night...but in the off chance she does fall asleep in his arms, she wakes right up as soon as he lays her in bed. I dread even going places because she hates being confined in a car seat and cries after 15-20 mins. I pictured my husband and I doing more baby friendly traveling, but driving with her gives me anxiety, and being in a new place/bed with her completely throws off any kind of schedule we had. I imagined babies were just more easy going and I had never heard a baby cry so ear piercingly loud.

 

In hind sight I realize I was just disillusioned. Probably because I see so many babies at the mall sound asleep in their strollers :) And those infant car seats that unlatch so you can bring your peacefully sleeping baby inside - haha what a joke. DD would be wide awake crying before we were even out of the car. But I never expected it to be so drastically different than my crazy perception. I guess that comes with the territory of having a spirited baby.

 

I also haven't mentioned several other challenges that have presented themselves along the way. I had hyperemesis during my pregnancy. A difficult delivery. A baby with severe colic, eczema and hive break outs.  She has a severe dairy allergy. She has also had to have a lot of medical testing and doctor visits due to "failure to thrive." So we definitely havent had the easy road.

 

Also, as far as having help goes. I don't have many options. Grandparents are either "too busy," too far, or no longer living. I did find a 16 year old relative that is willing to babysit from time to time but that is all. I'm also thinking of trying to hire a neighborhood kid to come over and play with her while I am home some days. So hopefully these things will help.

 

Sorry if all this sounds kinda random. My DD has pulled me away from the keyboard about 10 times since i started trying to type this :)
 

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#19 of 64 Old 06-25-2012, 07:34 PM
 
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Simonmom asked a really great question and it brought me back also to before I had my first (who is now 17 years old and was my very spirited one). I remember thinking that I could get a puppy during my maternity leave, because I would have so much "free time" when I was "just" home with the baby. I can remember the strange looks my friends who already had kids gave me when I said this! Like, for real, a puppy???!!

 

When my son turned out to have an intense temperament it was a real eye opener. Friends of ours had convinced us to have a baby (we had been married about 5 years, just having a good time as a couple) because they showed us pics of them and their baby/toddler traveling and backpacking, going to the Bahamas, etc. We thought, we can do this, we can still do what we enjoyed, go backpacking, etc.

 

I can't say I was depressed after the first, because I thought what we were going through was 'normal.' But I was overwhelmed. I honestly can't remember what I did about it; it's too long ago. I remember calling my midwives a lot, going to playgroups every chance I could, going to LaLeche meetings, calling the leader a lot,  and building a community that included lots of nursing moms. Toddlerhood was intense also for my spirited one. Made me feel like I couldn't easily go to public places due to tantrums. I just kept learning and seeking support. I guess looking back my local playgroup probably was a life line for me in that it was a group of moms I could hang with, who understood spirited children, and night nursing and co-sleeping,  and didn't judge. We all hung together until my second born entered kindergarten, so for about 10 years. These are still some of my best friends in town.

 

So I guess I would offer this: try to grapple with what "is" rather than what was supposed to be. The reality you have is the truth of what life is for you now. Fighting it will cause more stress. Get as much support as you can, find like minded mamas, go to playgroups, go on dates with your spouse whenever possible, find ways to be together even for the 15 minutes that she is sleeping. The intensity will shift.

 

Here is another thought: My 17 year old spirited child has taught me more than I ever could have imagined, about my own limitations, about letting go of my need to control 'reality,' control others, control the day. He brought me to a new place personally and professionally that I never could have gone without him teaching me. He continues to give me opportunities to learn each and every day, precisely because he knows exactly how and when to push my buttons, in a way that neither of my other two children do. I can now count that as a gift, but I surely wouldn't have looked at it that way when he was little.

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#20 of 64 Old 06-25-2012, 08:03 PM
 
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I have 3 high needs, intense, crappy-sleeping kids. Like you, I started a bit later in life-was 35 with #1, 37 with #2, and 40 with the 3rd (and LAST!!) I am a strong introvert, and having up to 3 kids attached to me every second of the day for the last 5.5 years has about killed me, and my marriage isn't exactly great right now either. Dairy and soy intolerances-yep! Kids who wake up at the slightest change in...anything-yep! My perceptions were also way off, but then I do see other babies who ride in strollers, don't scream for hours during car rides, and can sleep without having to touch their moms. So they exist-I just don't have one. I had never seen or heard of high needs kids until I had my 1st.

I will echo the recommendation to get out of the house-playgroups have saved me, despite the difficulties inherent in hauling 3 kids out and about. For me to find like-minded mamas I have to drive 45 minutes each way, but it's been worth it in terms of preserving my sanity. And it IS hard to force my introverted self out there, but the alternatives were worse.

And I do NOT like the baby stage. Sure, newborns are cute and sweet. But I much prefer my kids when they are older and can talk and also don't have to be carried EVERY FREAKING SECOND OF THE DAY!!!! So, don't get me wrong, they still will drive me nutso, but my 3.5 and 5.5 year old are so much more fun than they were. I will miss my youngest being a baby to some degree, but I am also looking forward to him developing into a person rather than just a crying/screaming/demanding bundle of raw energy that is never happy.

My oldest got a lot better once he hit 2-2.5, and my DD was better once she hit 18 months. Both were very verbal early, for which I am eternally thankful. I have fingers crossed that DS2 will be as well.

Good luck mama!

Kelly, wife to DH, mom to Caden Reese (10-2-06), Tessa Brynn (12-26-08 ), and Maddox Quinn (7-16-11). Fur-mama to Finnegan, Ripley, Raisin (my little kitty amputee) and Kimchi. 748/2011, 2028/2012-I did it!! 2023/2013-Again!!! 404/2014
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#21 of 64 Old 06-25-2012, 08:05 PM
 
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I could have written your post when I had my 1st....he is now 10 and I have 3!   I missed my old life too. I felt like I started too late also and that was why it was so difficult. I see teen moms and just wonder how they do it and I always assume it's because that's all they know(my sister).

A high needs child is so hard, draining along with all the good too. We too wondered what we had done wrong. I got so resentful of friends babies.

You are over a huge hurdle, you really are. Slowly you will get your life back, or a new version of it. No one could do what you just have with a high needs baby always, if it never changed and this was it. Like others said, she will change so fast. You gave her the best and it's not lost on her. My son is a wonderful caring boy now. You would never know he was such a high need baby. He is calm, quiet even and just really mild mannered.

Just keep doing the great job you and your husband are and stay strong. I know it seems never ending but it will pass.


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#22 of 64 Old 06-29-2012, 01:16 PM
 
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Hey there,

I really don't know how often your daughter screams and cries, but I am familiar with what it feels like.

When my daughter screams because she has seen something she wants, I lower myself to her eye-level and look at her with "very big eyes" seriously and say "no screaming". She is 13 months. She sees a lot of new things that she wants, so she tends to sometimes utter the loudest shrieks that turn to crying. However, and especially at public places, I cannot have that. I am not tough, but I cannot let her ask for things with screaming. I talk to her explaining why she cannot have that and why she cannot scream. if she calms down I give her the object if safe, if not safe, I give her another object.

I sometimes tend to go into panic mode when she screams and I can't do the above. At those moments I try to count. And I do. Things are better at 5 than at 1, and much more so at 10. 

She knows very well that screaming gets me to do things for her that she wants. If her basic needs are covered (fed, changed, comforted for a reasonable amount of time), there is no need to respond to her screams with doing things for her. I know it is hard, but try and show your DD that and she will gradually adjust to that because she has to. I read somewhere that a baby just wants to fit into her new family and find a place to please mom and dad. I believe that is true. We all want to fit in with those who love us. But you have to show her what mom and dad like- quiet. Otherwise she will be running the show. 

I have days when I have had too much, and I give in, maybe 20% of the time and especially when DH is home, because that is when I am doing dinner and it is all too much. When I give in, I just give her whatever she wants. And she immediately stops to cry or screams. Which just serves to show it was all a game to begin with.

Definitely take her out as much as you can, but not to do errands. Playgrounds, parks, coffee shops, museums. Just walk. Try and talk to other mothers. There is nothing like having a true mom friend that you can vent to for real. I bet that you can meet a friend like this somewhere around you.

And every single day have 15 min minimum to yourself. Also planning trips and vacations even if they are not soon can take your mind off of thinking about your past travels. We went to a mountain - a serious one at that with DD and we stayed in a cabin (it did have most amenities) and we went hiking. It is totally doable.

Hugs,

Terraka

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#23 of 64 Old 06-29-2012, 01:58 PM
 
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Hi Simonmom

That's a good question...What did I think it would be like. I guess yesterday I just felt like complaining lol. Because truthfully I can hold off on doing those activities for a few years until she is old enough to participate. But to answer your question I thought the every day stuff would be A LOT easier. Stupid me, huh. I hadnt really been around many young babies, so I didnt really know what to expect. But I had never heard of attachment parenting or spirited babies, so I envisioned my baby sleeping in a crib by 8pm every night, breast feeding for a few months, napping at a set time wherever we were and just kinda going with the flow.  But in reality I sleep in a separate room from my husband in a bed with my DD because she wakes so often to nurse. I am breastfeeding about every 2-3 hours day & night still. she won't nap anywhere but at home or in the car. transferring her from car to bed doesnt work. Getting her to take a nap and go to bed are often a struggle. I thought my husband would be able to put her to sleep at night...but in the off chance she does fall asleep in his arms, she wakes right up as soon as he lays her in bed. I dread even going places because she hates being confined in a car seat and cries after 15-20 mins. I pictured my husband and I doing more baby friendly traveling, but driving with her gives me anxiety, and being in a new place/bed with her completely throws off any kind of schedule we had. I imagined babies were just more easy going and I had never heard a baby cry so ear piercingly loud.

 

In hind sight I realize I was just disillusioned. Probably because I see so many babies at the mall sound asleep in their strollers :) And those infant car seats that unlatch so you can bring your peacefully sleeping baby inside - haha what a joke. DD would be wide awake crying before we were even out of the car. But I never expected it to be so drastically different than my crazy perception. I guess that comes with the territory of having a spirited baby.

 

I also haven't mentioned several other challenges that have presented themselves along the way. I had hyperemesis during my pregnancy. A difficult delivery. A baby with severe colic, eczema and hive break outs.  She has a severe dairy allergy. She has also had to have a lot of medical testing and doctor visits due to "failure to thrive." So we definitely havent had the easy road.

 

Also, as far as having help goes. I don't have many options. Grandparents are either "too busy," too far, or no longer living. I did find a 16 year old relative that is willing to babysit from time to time but that is all. I'm also thinking of trying to hire a neighborhood kid to come over and play with her while I am home some days. So hopefully these things will help.

 

Sorry if all this sounds kinda random. My DD has pulled me away from the keyboard about 10 times since i started trying to type this :)
 

 

Our daughter (our first) was/is like yours, and we also thought it would be easier based on babies we saw sleeping in strollers and car seats, at Starbucks, whereever.  Our daughter fell asleep exactly once in the stroller (and I think that was because she was exhausted from refusing to nap and screaming at top volume for the entired 35 minute car ride to where we were going), and laying her down in her crib if she was already asleep failed 8/10 times.  My husband was (and still is) the at home parent, and it was especially difficult for him being "not-the-mama".  We also thought it was our fault she was so...challenging.  You should know that its not...we now have a son who is so super mellow, and a sleeper.  He was like that from the start (within minutes of being born he nuzzled up and fell asleep, unlike our saughter who screamed for 10 minutes until she latched on).  She's 3 now, and still a challenge, but its so much easier, and she's truly a joy (except when she isn't, but this is much more rare these days).

 

Some things that helped:

 

1.  Finding a mama's group, library story/play time, LLL, something where you can bring your DD but its still a bit of break because you can talk to other mamas while worrying less about her getting hurt (like say, at a park).

 

2.  Finding a good carrier.  We spent a fortune on a stroller that faced us because we thought that's why she hated it (when we visited my family we had a borrowed one that faced us, and she seemed to hate it less).  No, she just hates strollers, but would happily be carried.

 

3.  Figuring out what calms her.  For DD it was water.  She would sometimes be in the bath fives times in the course of the day because if she was losing her shit she would be immediately calmed by going into the bath.  We also found that changing the scenery would help...it was like she was bored....going somewhere different (even just outside for a walk, in the carrier, of course) would help. 

 

4.  Eliminating expectations.  Having no plans meant that we were never disappointed if DH/I didn;t get to something, and it was a huge bonus if we did.  This meant a constantly trashed house and take out more than we would have liked, but it was better than feeling angry for not getting something done that we planned on.

 

 

It really does get a lot easier.  My daughter also nursed all the time at night at 16 months, and continued to do so until about 19 months when I night weaned because I was pregnant and I was exhausted (FWIW, it went much better than I thought it would and she started sleeping through the night).  Her sleeping better/more enabled DH and I to spend more time together, which made us both happier.  She's amazing, and so much fun....smart, funny, creative, and kind.  She still has her moments, but they're less frequent.  It sounds like with your pregancy and her health issues its been a tough road, and I can imagine how drained you must be having a spirited baby on top of that.  I hope that as she gets older and more independent she'll mellow a little, and you'll enjoy her more.  I adore my daughter and wouldn't change anything about her, which is something that I/we might not have said when she was an infant.

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#24 of 64 Old 07-02-2012, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you are all so right. I definitely need to hang out with more moms. I think DD's unpredictable schedule has kept me from committing to plans. But I think I just need to do it and deal with whatever consequences there are..like screaming in the car, not napping, etc.

 

This weekend was really tough for my husband and I. My husband actually admitted that he is afraid of our DD. And then I realized I am too. We are so afraid of doing anything that will trigger her melt downs. But its such a horrible way to live. Like we are walking on eggshells because of a little 16lb girl. How crazy does that sound. We try ignoring the temper tantrums and they just escalate and never end. We can easily stop them by giving in to what she wants, but then we feel like we are spoiling her and she is going to turn into a rotten kid. We have no idea how to get her to settle down at night and go to bed. We try a bed time ritual every night but it doesnt work any more. And we end up putting a crying baby in the car to get her to sleep. Does any one have any suggestions on how to improve every day stuff like this?

 

It's so nice to hear that other moms feel the same way. And that this is just a stage that we will get through. But my DH and I are really struggling with how to make things better right now. I feel like my DH is becoming depressed and he is usually such a happy guy. It makes me sad. When things are good we love our DD. She is so cute and fun. But we haven't quite figured out how to be a family who has fun together. Does that make sense? I'm sure it just takes time to adapt. But if you have any ideas for right now let me know. What are things we can do as a family - but still feel like adults too? Or do we have to separate the two and leave DD with a sitter more often?

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#25 of 64 Old 07-02-2012, 01:33 PM
 
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I think you are all so right. I definitely need to hang out with more moms. I think DD's unpredictable schedule has kept me from committing to plans. But I think I just need to do it and deal with whatever consequences there are..like screaming in the car, not napping, etc.

 

This weekend was really tough for my husband and I. My husband actually admitted that he is afraid of our DD. And then I realized I am too. We are so afraid of doing anything that will trigger her melt downs. But its such a horrible way to live. Like we are walking on eggshells because of a little 16lb girl. How crazy does that sound. We try ignoring the temper tantrums and they just escalate and never end. We can easily stop them by giving in to what she wants, but then we feel like we are spoiling her and she is going to turn into a rotten kid. We have no idea how to get her to settle down at night and go to bed. We try a bed time ritual every night but it doesnt work any more. And we end up putting a crying baby in the car to get her to sleep. Does any one have any suggestions on how to improve every day stuff like this?

 

It's so nice to hear that other moms feel the same way. And that this is just a stage that we will get through. But my DH and I are really struggling with how to make things better right now. I feel like my DH is becoming depressed and he is usually such a happy guy. It makes me sad. When things are good we love our DD. She is so cute and fun. But we haven't quite figured out how to be a family who has fun together. Does that make sense? I'm sure it just takes time to adapt. But if you have any ideas for right now let me know. What are things we can do as a family - but still feel like adults too? Or do we have to separate the two and leave DD with a sitter more often?

 

 

My husband also gives in more than he wants to avoid conflict (except now its over playing with his phone/iPad).  With our DD, her meltdown triggers were/are unpredicatable and somewhat random but were/are most often driven by something not being as she planned (she wanted the blue cup and not the yellow, she wanted to close the front door, etc). In terms of "giving in" leading to her being spoiled....we choose what it is that is really important to us/non-negotiable (e.g holding hands crossing the road, checking the straps on her car seat), and let the rest slide because those things clearly mean a lot more to her than they do to us.  We'll have do-overs for things that we miss (like going back outside and then in again so she can close the front door) because its important to her.  I also always try and get her input as I'm doing things so that she can choose in advance to minimize surprises (do you want the strawberries cut up or big? do you want to put the raisins in the oatmeal or for me to do it?).  It's made a world of difference, and her breakdowns are greatly minimized because she's had a say.  For things that results in a meltdown that I can't change I'll explain that and ask if she wants a snuggi and distract her with something else, which usually works.  When it doesn't she cries and tantrums, and once she gets her frustrations out she's receptive to snuggles.  I think that by giving in you won't necessarily be spoiling your daughter, but respecting her need to be in control of some aspects of her life.

 

As for family fun....I don't have great ideas except that we found we used to underestimate what our daughter could do and how she would be in "adult" situations (like say, going to dinner).  I travel a lot for work and my family comes with me.  As long as the restaraunt isn't super quiet, DD would do really well sitting for extended periods because there were new things to look at.  this may be from the fact that she's always had to do this though.  We also try and go places that gives her (and now her 15 month old brother) more control....farmer's market, beach, places where she/he can "lead" and we can follow.  Its sometimes annoying and we still need to step in (i.e. don;t walk in the water!!), but it makes a huge difference, and still mostly fun for us too.

 

Finally, I know you said that you've read Raising Your Spiritied Child" and found it for older kids.  It is, but its the one book that's always on my bedside table because its a reminder that DD is normal when things get rough, and I find I always get something new out of it because something that wasn;t relevant during the last read is now.


Camille~
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#26 of 64 Old 07-02-2012, 05:36 PM
 
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One thing is certain, changing what you currently do until you find something that works will have to be your daily effort. Have you thought of consulting an expert? Is she eating a protein-poor diet? What is her pediatrician saying? What triggers her meltdowns? 

Is there anyway you guys can get a sitter so that you can get a break?

Hang in there and keep trying new things!


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#27 of 64 Old 07-02-2012, 05:50 PM
 
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I can only offer suggestions for the going to sleep issues (not that we have it down- I'm currently incredibly upset due to the screaming that happened at naptime). When I found myself unable to sleep while pregnant, my midwives recommended Wishgarden's Sleepy Time, and I recently discovered there is a children's version. That would be my first choice if we had nighttime issue (our current issues are all napping at home rather than in the car). However, I have a friend whose DD has serious sleep issues, and my friend eventually started giving her melatonin. She was not able to find much research about its use in kids, but it has found to be non-habit forming in adults, and she was at her wits' end. Considering how her daughter reacted with it (their first real restful sleep of the girl's life), she thinks her DD has a deficiency or disruption of her sleep cycle.

Anyhow, I can honestly say that I wish I had more friends of any sort, locally. Moving with small kids and no job away from home has really made me feel isolated. It sucks.
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#28 of 64 Old 07-02-2012, 06:54 PM
 
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I do have friends that would allow their baby to sleep in a car seat in the house, because it was the only place she was happy. And they had already had a child that was completely happy either co-sleeping or in a crib, so they were stymied by their second child who was ONLY happy in a car seat. They would swing her in it at night time back and forth until she settled. She would sleep for several hours this way. So that is something that may work.

 

You might want to look into getting an occupational therapy evaluation to see if she is experiencing sensory integration issues that are constantly triggering her.

 

In terms of family fun,  I would consider things that involve swinging and water play. These are things that spirited children typically enjoy. Is there a park nearby? How about one of those cool water parks with squirting fountains and such. Have you considered a water table at home, or even allowing her to just play in a bucket or trough, pouring and using the water? I got many a dinner cooked by allowed my spirited one to have unlimited access to water with various cups and pitchers to pour and dump.

 

Re: meltdowns, I'd suggest talking to her about transitions and things that are outside her control, even though she may seem too young to understand. she will begin to grasp that you are trying to help her through it.

 

In the dept. of choosing your battles, you can adapt the Ross Greene approach (The Explosive Child). Decide which things are non-negotiable, such as safety seats in the car, hitting, etc, for which you will always have to assert what is 'right' or good for her. This is Basket A. Basket B are things where there is some wiggle room and you can give her some choices--the green pear or the red pear, a bath or dinner first, which book to listen to. Basket C are things that really don't matter but that everyone previously thought did because they thought they needed to be in control/teach the child, etc. Things like, when a banana breaks and there is a meltdown over it--perhaps it is o.k. to give another banana. Getting a strategy like this in place might help you two feel more in control because you are deciding which things you are willing to endure a meltdown over and which things it is possible to navigate around.

 

It's possible to respond to a tantrum with empathy without giving in. This can feel a lot better than ignoring. "I am so sorry you are mad that it is time to leave, but we are late. We'll help you with your strong feelings," rather than giving in and staying, being late, and having her feel over-empowered that she was able to change your plan. Again decide which things you can negotiate on and which things are "must do's."

 

Praise her when she is flexible or adapts to a situation and is able to go with the flow. Make flexibility and adaptability a trait that you notice and reinforce when she is able to do it.
 


 
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#29 of 64 Old 07-04-2012, 05:10 PM
 
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I just want to thank you for your post. It's a hard feeling to cope with and while I also love my dd very much, I am no stranger to these feelings. I know of the ambivalence too. Of loving dd so much, she has given my life direction, new meaning, unimaginable love and I also regret the decisions that led to her birth. My backstory is different than yours, I am not married and my dd has a complex vocabulary ( for a 2yo) but I can still relate or at least commiserate. Again I'm glad u wrote this. Its important to get these feelings out n the open that way they loose their clout and we gain perspective.
Best of luck to you!
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#30 of 64 Old 07-04-2012, 08:22 PM
 
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My number one getting baby/toddler to sleep tip is baby wearing. Wrapping in particular. I truly don't know what I would do without it. Wrapping your kiddo and swaying/bouncing in a dark room works wonders. Also wrapping the kiddo and sitting down on a yoga ball and bouncing that way. It truly works magic. Good luck!


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