For those mamas with 2 or more high needs kids..... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 04-06-2010, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(mods-I put this here for more mamas to see it as it is more of a "how it affects life afterwards" than a family planning question-hope that's OK)

What helped you decide whether or not to have any more kids?
DH and I are trying to decide if we want to TTC for #3. We have 2 high needs kids-DS is 3 ½ and DD is 15 months. DH is 43 and I am 39, so we can’t really wait several years before deciding. I know a lot of women are having kids well into their 40’s but that’s not something DH and I are interested in.

DH is worried about how much time the 2 we have now need. He is also worried about finances and things like paying for weddings and retirement. I am not as worried about the financial side of things- we are doing fine and there is room to tighten up if we needed to, I AM worried about demands on our time-we have very little help, and both the kids are bad sleepers, DD is extremely clingy, and DH and I rarely get time to ourselves or as a couple. DH would be fine with no more kids, but I don’t feel done yet, although I think I may be crazy wanting another one sometimes!!

What made you decide to either have another or not? Looking back, how did it affect your parenting and would you have done things differently? I know no one can decide for us, but I am looking for other perspectives. I know these hard early years will go by SO fast in retrospect. Thanks!

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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#2 of 13 Old 04-07-2010, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No one wants to share their perspective?? (or maybe those with 2 or more HN kids don't have a lot of time to post LOL)

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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#3 of 13 Old 04-07-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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Well, we had 1 HN child, then 1 "regular" child. We gambled on a third and got the highest-needs yet. He still takes more energy and time than the other two combined. Little guy was even BORN high-stress: water broke at 33 weeks and he came out breech, then had an unrelated stomach condition that required sugery at 7 weeks, then had really bad GERD for a year, then developed seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. And those aren't the high needs things about him. He is high needs day-to-day in personality.

And here we are with #4 due any day.

It was a VERY difficult decision to have a fourth child. Our second child has suffered for the needs of her younger brother, more than I can bear sometimes .

We also have very little help. Never grandparents or aunts and uncles to hang out with the kids. We reserve what limited child care we can muster from friends (who have their own kids and grandparents around so don't need to swap) for emergencies like trips to the hospital.

However, it is because we have very little family around ourselves that we decided to have another child. We want our children to have each other. Even though we do have a harder time than many families in terms of energy expenditure caring for our kids (did I mention this third child rarely sleeps past 5:00am, even going to bed at 10:00pm many nights?), I'm finding the kids really benefiting from the existence of one another. In particular, I find my first HN child and my second HN child (our 3rd child) really click together and help each other in positive ways. Perhaps they understand each other better. The older is very protective of the younger.

I imagine I was a very HN child myself, as I am still very sensitive and sensory-seeking, though I've learned to 'adapt to the real world'. Having been this way myself, I am able to see the positive sides too. There are many. And someday, my HN kids will thrive too.

This all said, we really hope the fourth baby is a regular kind of kid . We're getting old, LOL.


Oh more to add:

The comment about the early years going by so quickly...
Our experience is that our high-needs babies became high-needs toddlers and preschoolers and now our oldest is almost 9 and as high-needs as ever. This isn't something that goes away, IME.

Also, I wanted to mention that we did agree on a 'contingency plan' in the case that this baby is also high-needs. We had several discussions about our parenting standards, and agreed that we were comfortable with the necessary changes this might mean for our family. For instance, this might mean: less cooked-at-home fresh food, setting the baby down into containers like a swing more often than we'd like, using disposable diapers to cut down a bit on laundry if we need to, and yes even using formula if I have breastfeeding problems that require pumping after every feed like I have done in the past.

We've also discussed that we can only do so much as parents and we need to let go of guilt. We have AP ideals, and we will work with these as much as possible. People will have to wait when they need us. People will have to deal with some of their own issues without our help sometimes. People will have to wait for food. People will have to wait because we can't be everywhere all the time. We tell ourselves that these will be important lessons about what it means to be part of a family.

4 kids under 10
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#4 of 13 Old 04-08-2010, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for sharing, sanguine. A lot of what you wrote really resonated with me, esp. in terms of what "had to give" when you have high needs kids with little/no help. I had already discussed with DH that if we had another, I would be more relaxed about TV watching, etc. Food intolerances made it really hard this time around as we could not just get take out, or at least not for myself and DD. But now it's almost second nature to make stuff with the needed changes for the allergies.

DS has remained high needs so far (at 3 1/2) and I don't see it changing anytime soon. However, the "got-to-be-held-every-second" part of it has passed for him, which is one of the things that REALLY stresses me out, and I am still going through with DD. I like to call them my Border Collie kids-intense, high energy, sensitive, and intelligent. (and I actually have 2 border collies) I think the more I am around my kids, the more I realize how many "issues" *I* actually have....

How do you handle trying to find time for yourself? As an introvert, that is one of the things that REALLY drains me. We have not had good luck finding babysitters, even those we pay! (which to me is weird in this economy, but....) We have also had very little couple time in the last 15+ months and it is really starting to put a strain on our marriage. We have tried to develop some support systems, and I DO have a great group of mama friends, but we just can't seem to find good, conistent, reliable care-not to mention that DD is extremely attached to me and has a very hard time being separated from me-I've just gotten to the point that I just HAVE to get a break sometimes.

I don't want to look back 10 years from now and wish we had had another child, and it be too late! BUT I also want to survive to see the kids grow up, LOL!

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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#5 of 13 Old 04-08-2010, 10:35 PM
 
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I agree with sanguine on pretty much everything. You do things that you never thought you would, hello fast food drive through for dinner! My HN 7 year is still high needs, it has never gone away, that child can suck my soul out still on a daily basis. DD2 isn't like DD1, she doesn't have all the many, many quirks. She had medical problems, well still does, they are just less the older she gets, that made life very difficult along with everything else. DS is the baby and an easy peasy little guy.


Time for myself never really happened before last year, but then I started going out with a friend to a movie or dinner without children every couple months and it really has helped. I have a good friend with an older child similar to mine, and we just go have a drink and vent, very theraputic. DH and I never ever get out together, it just doesn't happen with our 3 children but we are ok with that now.

I really go back and forth about a 4th. I am finally at a point where I can handle my 3, DD1 is older and easier to manage and reason with, not to say she is still ever going to be an easy child but I don't have to carry her kicking and screaming out of places like I was still doing at age 5. I like the direction my life is headed, it is really tempting not to ever go back there and have the chance of yet another child who needs so much, cause knowing my luck, I would get DD1 all over again, who is a carbon copy of my DH. 2 of them is more then enough!

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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#6 of 13 Old 04-09-2010, 06:32 AM
 
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Oh gosh ladies. I'm up right now because my 2yo has been up since 4:30 screaming. He's having so.many.tantrums. I don't know what we're going to do with a newborn anyday , especially a newborn like he was if that's what we're going to get. Yup, I still have freakouts about how this is all going to work. But it's just going to have to and everyone will survive.
He's destroying the room ATM, just threw his sister's pottery bowl and broke it, and has woken up that same sister (yup, HN #1). Thank heavens she didn't freak out about the bowl...and of course I've taken the things away that he's causing damage to and with and he's freaking out about those!

Uh, what were the questions again?

Oh, time for us.

The two oldest are in school (one ft, one pt) and the toddler goes to preschool part-time. So we steal a lunch now and then. Almost never an evening. It's just too hard to find a sitter who could manage them all and it's just too hard to get ahead of ourselves enough to get things ready for a babysitter and the idea of 'recovering' and getting back to normal afterward just is too much.

4 kids under 10
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#7 of 13 Old 04-09-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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I love this message! I have two special needs children and one of them is very high needs. We are having our third. It was a difficult decision but I have learned to let go of some of my standards and realized that I really do want more children and I think it is important for my children to have siblings in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanguine_speed View Post
Also, I wanted to mention that we did agree on a 'contingency plan' in the case that this baby is also high-needs. We had several discussions about our parenting standards, and agreed that we were comfortable with the necessary changes this might mean for our family. For instance, this might mean: less cooked-at-home fresh food, setting the baby down into containers like a swing more often than we'd like, using disposable diapers to cut down a bit on laundry if we need to, and yes even using formula if I have breastfeeding problems that require pumping after every feed like I have done in the past.

We've also discussed that we can only do so much as parents and we need to let go of guilt. We have AP ideals, and we will work with these as much as possible. People will have to wait when they need us. People will have to deal with some of their own issues without our help sometimes. People will have to wait for food. People will have to wait because we can't be everywhere all the time. We tell ourselves that these will be important lessons about what it means to be part of a family.
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#8 of 13 Old 04-09-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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We always wanted 3 kids 2-3 years apart each. Then ds was born LOL. We always say he was born screaming and still is (he will be 9 this month). When he was about 15 ish months we started talking about having another and seriously the converstation went something along the lines of "it can't get any worse...... he hasn't killed us yet". When dd1 was born we thought she was easy. In reality she was high needs just not as high needs so it was much more managable. You could put her down for 30 seconds to pee and she wouldn't break out screaming, that was amazing.

We waited longer than we initailly planned to have dd2, we just couldn't handle a 3rd with the other 2 being young. If if gives you hope dd2 is so normal it's strange and I never know quite what to make of it.

I agree with relaxing your standards and having a back-up plan. There are so many things I wanted to do as a parent that I just can't do, but that is ok.

Mom to ds 9 dd 7 : and dd 3/08 : if I can I go to
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#9 of 13 Old 04-09-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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Well, the decision was more made for us as we did not intend on this pregnancy right now at this time in our life. We agreed we would wait until DD#2 was at least 5 before we started talking about ttc#3, if ever.

Having 2 HN kids, really has been an interesting journey. And i agree with others. I pick my battles now. I started off parenthood with a HN infant and still clung to my ideal AP/NFL ideal of life. I was going to stick to it at all costs. Then at 14 months when dd was able to communicate, her HN ways didn't seem as demanding and we immedaitely conceived #2. That rocked our world and suddenly I was back working fulltime just to keep my sanity, because with them 2 years apart it seemed impossible to parent both their HN personalities and not lose myself. I thought for a LONG time it was ME. But 2 daycare providers later, i realized . . . it is the way they are made (much like myself). I returned home with them and life settled back into a way that was manageable and enjoyable most of the time. But i had to pick my battles.

And that is my mantra. I pick my battles. We have Mc Donalds now, we don't have the perfectly tailored and healthy diet we use to. My kids watch TV and I take a mental break for at least 30 mins on the computer daily so that I can unwind and parent better. All things i never would have done 6 years ago.

Add #3 and im terrified, i have a few weeks to go. But i know in the end, this happened for a reason and it will all come out in the wash. The girls are still HN, i see it in the reactions of other parents and my mom constantly reiterates how well we are raising 2 children that are very high demand and how amazing they are. That helps a lot. Positive reinforcement in all of our lives from someone who loves us all, helps us know we are doing ok and HN children isnt a reflection on parenting. We arent 'perfect parenting' (but who does and who wants to hold themselves to that ideal), we don't get a lot of 1 on 1 time as a couple (but the shine in my children's eyes at bi-weekly family dates is priceless) and we aren't the typical AP/NFL family. But its OK and we are happy with it. One day they will be grown and have families of their own and I can only hope that I did a good enough job that they always felt loved, safe and secure in themselves.

ETA: I also had to lower my standards in regards to MY quality of life. I use to be very me oriented, something that i needed due to my own HN/sensory issues. I know my children are who they are because of me, at first i really was down on myself about it. But now almost 7 years later, it's become a tool and in a way reparented me because i had no active parent in my life who could tend to my own HN childhood. But the hardest parts of it all, are that i'm putting off things i need for longer. I miss running, working out, manicures, pedicures, working, ect. . . Those are the hardest part of parenting a HN child. And i think when you have HN's children, parents have to be rejuvinated to be able to plug in efficiently and lovingly. Finances have knocked those options out for me, as dh is 100% capable of giving me me time but we are the brokest we've ever been. So that for me is the biggest fears i have about #3, and risking putting me over the edge and into PPD-land because i wont have the ability to take breaks. But we've also come up with similar contingency plans. This child we will have swings and take the baby on our schedule (older kids schedule more like). We are open to bottles and pumping and so on. And i intend on getting a jogging stroller and getting daily exercise in some form.

I'm rambling, sorry. Good topic though!

Loving mom to 2energy.gif ,1jammin.gif , & 1dog2.gif . Surrodaughter 4/09
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#10 of 13 Old 04-09-2010, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Peony, I LOL'd at you saying that your DD1 "sucked your soul out"....we called DS "vampire baby" for his 1st 18 months as in "he sucked the life out of you". He still does, just in different ways now.

One thing I struggle with is a lack of positive reinforcement...I don't see my parents very often, but when I do they make comments, and MIL also tends to make comments...usually nothing too bad, just little digs that build up and drive me crazy. And she has some definite favoritism for the grandson who is between DS and DD in age, which I get sick of. I find myself slipping into the mindset of "it's not fair..." from time to time...other moms complain about how "hard" their kids are...you mean the one who just sat there in his stroller for an hour with his hands folded in his lap??? While DD stood in her stroller hanging on to the bar and leaning out and turning around and....which I let her do as she wasn't screaming at the time?? My SIL (who I do love) complained about her DS who didn't STTN until 15 weeks (gasp!) whereas her DD's STTN at 9-10 weeks. I can't get anything done. Going anywhere is an act of planning and preparation on the level with planning a military manuver. We've gotten pretty good at it, but it still is exhausting.

I did use a swing with DS (and it saved us in the early days before I knew about babywearing) and I will again with any kid who will tolerate it. I didn't have a successful bfing experience with DS, so I was determined to with DD, come he!! or high water, and it was an extremely rocky road for the 1st several months involving a type 4 posterior tongue tie and improper tongue movements. Both kids had pretty severe GERD. DD never took a bottle, so if I wasn't around milk was dropped into her mouth with a spoon or dropper.

If we have another, I am going to eliminate milk and soy during pregnancy in an attempt to prevent intolerances again (not holding my breath, but). I will inroduce a bottle earlier. If the next is as sensitive to being put down as the first 2 are, I'm going to get that thing that rocks the stinking carseat so they will stay asleep for a while longer- I hold my kids more than enough.

...and my dh just finished giving them their baths (my 15 min break a day) and the screaming is building, so I have to stop for now.....

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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#11 of 13 Old 04-10-2010, 01:23 AM
 
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There's this new gadget on the market and i told dh we have to have it this time, it's called a mamaroo. My last dd, had to be bounced to sleep. Specifically on a yoga ball and held for hours while being bounced. This mamaroo thingy, does a bouncing motion. I told dh that while i love holding my newborns, colic and hours of bouncing about sent me to the looney bin. So, yeah its something i felt guilty about at first. But i make up for touch time during the rest of the day.

And sorry my post was so spotty. I was up ALL last night. Literally got 2 hours of sleep. DD#2 was over stimulated, my own fault since we stayed at park day for 4.5 hours with our homeschool group. We'd missed a month, due to sickness, and i forgot that we had gradually built up to spending 4-5 hours on thursdays to avoid the meltdowns and issues with over stimulation. So, dd #2 was literally sleeping as close to me as she could and woke up every hour upset. DD#1, woke up a dozen times too. Such a fun night lol.

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#12 of 13 Old 04-18-2010, 08:32 PM
 
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I was enjoying reading this thread, wrote a bunch of posts and then deleted them because I hate to seem like I'm whining!

But I totally get it. Ours are all HN and only none of them sleep through the night. Only the eldest goes back to sleep on his own with no intervention from dp and me.

I was reading that at 30 weeks pg, the baby sleeps 95% of the time, so since that's not nearly true in this case, as with all of our others, I am anticipating another non-sleeper, and another several years of sleep deprivation.

For us, the only way to have a healthy, happy, productive family was to end up with the ideals we have. We moved to the wilderness in the remote north so that dp could work less and be home more, we're setting up our homestead because the less often we have to leave home, the better for all of us, and farming is whole body outdoor work that addresses a lot of our dc's issues incidentally. We free-learn and losely schedule meal times according to how everyone is feeling. It's pretty loosey-goosey here.

Diet absolutely has to be very healthy- traditional foods- because anything else and we are all miserable in short time, even though it takes work for me to make sure we're eating. Fast food is fruit, bread and butter, and left-over meat.

I have to limit screen time, so my down time is short because if they watch too much or too late (after 3pm) they will take longer than the usual 2-3 hrs to fall asleep. Two of them are extremely photosensitive.

Our dc are hyper-aware, very sensitive, have neurological characteristics of ADHD that runs in both sides of our family, and dp too, whereas I have tendencies toward over-focus. They sleep little and always have, as have I.

Anyway, I find that certain things have to be just so, but as much as possible, it is free-flowing and the children self-regulate in their play. The more 'rules,' the worse it is for all of us.

Freedom and peace are very important to me, and it is a balancing act to maintain my own sanity while meeting my dc's needs. I have only dp for support and I've met my capacity for mothering my children with compassion with this baby. I want them to have a loving family-life.

This will be our last baby.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#13 of 13 Old 04-19-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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My son has Asperger's Syndrome and my DD is just all-natural high needs (LOL). We are TTC for #3.

Jen, Mom to DS (8) , DD (5) & Alli
(1-04) (8-09)
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