my child is high-needs/active-alert/spirited; should i have another baby? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-09-2008, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i'd like to know
a) if you have more than one HN child?
b) if you have at least one HN child; what are your experiences parenting 2 or more children?

my boy is a toddler of 16mo, a classic HN/active-alert/spirited baby and now toddler.
and i've found it TOUGH since the beginning, but we're doing well and i think he's thriving, and i've found ways to cope while parenting him as he needs.

but oh boy, is it tough.... i literally can't get anything done while i have him; i have his grandmas care for him a few hours each day, which gives me sanity and a decent amount of housework done. but our lives are basically upside down, as is my marriage.

anyway, so i really want at least 2 children, and i've been wondering how to space them.

On the one hand,
what if i find myself with a high-needs baby at the same time as a high needs young child?? i would simply fall apart....
and even if no 2 wasn't high needs, would i be able to cope with a baby and a young high needs child?

On the other hand,
i hear most people only hit the high-needs jackpot once.
and in fact, having a baby and a toddler at the same time means that they entertain each other quite well, and then become good companions through childhood.

and it seems that having two children close together means that i would only have to do everything once, eg homeschool them at the same time and pace, entertain them with similar activities...
eg if i'm sitting around a playground watching one play, i might as well be doing so while 2 children play.. and maybe even together.

whereas spacing them wide apart would mean that i'd have to do everything that i'm doing now, all over again...

what do you think?
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:55 PM
 
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My first was a high needs spirited baby/toddler and is now a fairly laid back seven year old, as long as he gets enough exercise and fresh air. I had my second when he was almost three and that worked well for us. My third came two years after and number four was along 23 months after him.

Ds1 is the kind of spirited child who's an extrovert and does well with lots of kids around.

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:46 AM
 
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My first three are all high needs, in their own way. Alex is off-the-radar bright and started mellowing out as soon as he could walk independently, though is still very spirited. Isaac is highly sensitive and Skye is just high-needs. The first year or so of Isaac's life, I barely remember (blocked most of it out, it was so traumatic) but you'll come through it.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:56 AM
 
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My kids are 2.5, 15 months and 3 months. My oldest was quite a challenge...always cried, never slept, out of control hysterics when routine was disrupted. It was HARD. When I had my second baby my dad kept asking me why I would do that to myself. I really had no idea that what the doctors said was "colic" would still be an issue by the time 2nd baby was born. The first couple weeks were REALLY rough because it was a change in routine for her. My second baby was an angel...She slept well, ate well, smiled all the time...was so content. When baby #3 came along, she had the WORST time adjusting..she is just getting better now. Anyway, I'm babbling, but I guess what I'm trying to say is because your child is high-need etc, doesn't mean you should put off having other children. You will find a way to work it out. My oldest two actually get along really really well.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:21 PM
 
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I'll be honest, it's HARD. My first baby was so hn that there was no way I was having another anytime soon. He was 11 when he got siblings. Part of that was my divorce, being single etc and then finally meeting dh. DD came along and was one of those really easy babies, so ds2 came 19mos later. I cried everyday for several weeks. Having two kids that close no matter what is very hard. Now that they are five and three however, they are bestfriends, playmates, they have none of the lonliness ds1 did. Yes, they fight, but they do everything togather and cry if the other one isnt around> They potty trained togather,both avoided then both started climbing on playlands at the same time etc. But I coudlnt do that close again so ds3 is 28mos younger than ds2. THis is my limit I think. DS2 is hn in the active category see my post in this thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=860416

and ds3 is a velcro baby, in other words, if Im not holding him he is screeching and screaming. So, lots of stuff doesnt get done. It drives me crazy the mess we live in these days but I often cant just drop ds3 to clean up after ds2 and so it stays this way until dh decided to clean or fil takes ds3 for a nap on a day im off work.

IM not saying dont do it. I am very glad to have every one of mine. Just know that it will be difficult. If you are of the "do it quick and get these years behind you"type, then by allmeans, do so. But ifyour marriage is already suffering under the strain of one hn kid, just be sure it can survive two. Even if the next is a calm, easy baby, its still stressful trying to juggle two. Now, the older they get the easier it is as they become more independant. If you wait, then you have two kids whose interests are far apart, its nice that my three little ones all enjoy splash pools, thomas the tank engine, the park etc. Its very hard to find anythign to do which they and my 16yr old will enjoy. So there are pros and cons both ways.

For my own saneity, I have had to let a lot of things go, like having a clean house or being able to cook dinner every night. are you a person who can do that if you have to? And what about your dh? If so, then go for it. I mean, at the bottom of it all, what is your gut impulse? I mean, when I wanted another baby, that was that for me, I think with my heart which may or may not be good!! I think its good. Only you can really decide whats right for you, there is no one answer that works for everyone. Good luck!

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:35 PM
 
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It has been really hard in this house as well. I didn't win the HN child lotto the second time around but rather the health issues one. DD1 was 3y and 10m when DD2 was born, and had she been any younger I don't know if we all would be here today. It hard enough as it was. I basically ignored her for over 6m to focus on DD2, she was either parked in front of the TV or I was trying to find a friend or relative to take her for part of the day because I could NOT handle medically fragile DD2 and HN DD1 at the same time. Once DD2 was 7m and got off O2, life became easier.


DD1 is never going to be a easy child, even at 5y she still throws many more tantrums then her 19m old toddler sister. Some stages for us have been easier then others, right now is a doozy though. : There is no right or wrong answer, just what you feel you can handle. I do know that the spacing between DD1 and DD1 was perfect for DD1, she would not of handled a closer spacing well, but DD2 is a complete different child. I could see and probably will have #3 sooner then what that spacing was.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:55 PM
 
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My first was HN, we started ttc when she turned 2, thinking by the time a baby came, she would be ready for it- thank goodness I didn't get prego right away. She would NOT have been ready. I had trouble conceiveing and we ended up with 4yrs and 11 months spacing. For me, it was great! I had thought it would be good to have them closer, for the playing and all that, but dd was so high needs, that this was MUCH better for us. When she turned 4 she was much more able to help care for herself, which was great during my late pregnancy when I was so tired and huge and just unable to focus. When the baby arrived, she was big enough to understand how the baby needed attention too and cope with it, in a way I know at 2 or 3 she could not have. My second is not high needs, but he isn't all laid back exactly either- and I think his interests are going to be very different from dd's. So though I am homeschooling and this means there will be years more homeschooling at our house, I think it would have been just as hard for me if they were closer in age, but shared no interests.

Another factor to consider- if you are still nursing- its nice to nurse the first 2 years before getting prego- you can loose your milk supply to pregnancy. Just something to think about.

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:18 AM
 
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DD was/is high needs. DS is the total opposite. Mellow, mellow, totally chill, very little upsets him. Has slept six hours straight at night since the day I brought him home from the hospital. DD still wakes more at night that DS, and has his whole life! They are toal opposites. They are almost exactly 3 years apart.

I think that having a sib has been wonderful for DD. For my high needs child, a sibling has meant learning important life lessons, becoming much more empathetic, and discovering how fun (and hard) being a big sister can be. Yes it's hard, yes she needs alot, but I won't change it. Well, maybe I would have had them closer to 4 years apart!

sleepytime.gifC.- WOHM, CPST Instructor, and all around busy Mama to  blowkiss.gifA.- 02/04, bouncy.gif I. 01/07,babyf.gifE. 09/10 and

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Old 06-11-2008, 12:20 AM
 
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My daughter is 6 and I'm pregnant again. That's how long I waited. No way would I have been able to deal with my little tantrum queen who was still nursing every hour and a half round the clock at 2 AND another colicky infant at the same time.

But I'm ready for it now. It'll be fine.
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:37 AM
 
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My high needs guy is DS#1 aka the monkey in the middle. DD screamed a lot but she had nothing on her brother who still at one week shy of 12 still doesn't need more than 6 hours of sleep a night most nights. Lucy for us ds#2 born 27 months later is super mellow kid. Exercise and fresh air has made a huge diferrence but one set of grandparents won't watch him at all and the other set will only take him without his siblings (they go visit and the day they leave he goes - then Grandma and grandpa sleep for 3 days)
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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I think it's important to wait until you feel like your older HN child is becoming a little more independent. And you feel psychologically ready to handle another HN child if it came along.

My oldest is HN and I just psyched myself up to have another high needs baby. Now my DS is NOT HN in the same way as DD - so that's a huge relief (he actually LIKES to play on his own!) but of course there are frustrations with him that are all his own (oh the screeching when he doesn't get his way!)....

It can be really draining to have 2 kids hanging off of you all day whether they are "HN" or not...but I think you're kind of at an advantage that it's your first that is HN...even if you have another HN you know what to expect - and you're used to it. The parents who seem the worst hit are those that have an easier child first then don't know what hit them when the 2nd is HN!

peace,
robyn
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:59 AM
 
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My ds is high needs/very spirited. We are only now entertaining the thought of having a second. My ds is 5yrs. So there would be a 6+ yr gap between the two if I do get pregnant again. But quite honestly, ds exhausts me. there are some days when I think "How in the world am I ever going to manage with 2 kids"

But now that ds is turning 5 in a few days, he has actually calmed down somewhat. the ages of 2 - 4 were the absolute hardest!
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:02 PM
 
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My first is like that.

My second is mellow man.
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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Only had time to read the OP so sorry if I missed something or am redundant...

DH and I had the same exact thoughts... exactly.

I got pg with DS2 when DS1 was 25 months old. Now DS1 is almost 4 and DS2 is 1, and I am soooo soooo glad I waited that long. Waiting even a bit longer would probably have been good too. (DH and his brother are 3.5 years apart and always played together and are great friends, so the age gap was not a prob for them. In my own large family, the siblings closest in age are not closest of friends... my theory is that there is some competitive thing there, being at the same needs level developmentally at the same time)

Anyhow DS2 is much better at self regulating. What a relief! Having 2 kids for us was only like 20% harder than having one. And now DS1 will try some new things that he never did before, because he sees DS2 doing them (and maybe because he's getting older and better at self-regulating too). They are starting to play together sometimes and it is grrrrreat! I am so glad I had #2 now. But I would not want them any closer in age for sure.

ETA: DS1 also learned to wait sometimes and play alone sometimes, because we could no longer give in to his demands *every single time immediately* Before DS2 was born, I would cry thinking about how hard it would be for DS1, but he adapted. He learned. And it wasn't as traumatic as I thought it would be for him.

aran .......... Mr. aran .......... DS1 .......... DS2
BIL Oct. 1961 - Jun. 2009 taken by cancer
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:18 PM
 
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Jbie I am in the exact same situation, except no help and nothing gets done. I have decided to try in Feb, ds will have just turned 2. My reasoning is if I live 80 years total, what is five crazy ones, in the big scheme of things.

They will just all have to adapt!! because even though I am strained and bonkers half the time, I really do want him to have a play mate. He would love it and be such a good brother
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