Mama’s Girl: Our journey with a high-need baby

posted by Andrea | 09/11/2013

To say that my little girl loves her mama is such a huge UNDER-exaggeration, it’s almost funny… almost!

I’ve alway been a very independent person, and growing up, I would often say that I NEVER wanted to have “clingy” children. I wanted my kids to be able to easily play with other kids, to love having a baby sitter (we had amazing baby sitters growing up and really did love them), and to look forward to time away from Mom and Dad.

And while I know Nora is not quite 2 years old yet and still has a lot of growing up to do, her ultra-clingy, needs-her-mama-ALL-the-time personality has made these last 2 years pretty challenging for my overly-independent self.

.

Life with Nora has been a struggle for me from the moment she was born.

In fact, I can still vividly remember laying in my hospital bed that first night. She was hardly even 12 hours old when the nurse brought her to me saying, “we can’t get her to stop crying; I think you should just hold her for a bit.”

The moment Nora reached my arms, she stopped crying… and although I was exhausted, I remember feeling such a huge sense of pride that my baby “knew” her mama.

brand new

And then the same thing happened the 2nd night in the hospital. I was so tired from not sleeping much the night before, and I could tell the nurse felt horrible — but Nora just would not stop crying.

Then we took Nora home, and after relentlessly trying to “force” her to sleep in her crib, in her swing, in her carseat, or in her bouncy chair, we quickly realized that everyone slept a whole lot better if I slept on the couch with Nora on my chest (and to this day, that is still one of the easiest ways to get her to sleep.)

She’s even figured out how to adjust and make room for the new baby :)

sleeping on mama

Over the next many months, I came to realize that Nora was one “special” baby. She loved her mama more than most babies — and not necessarily in the cute cuddly way you might all be envisioning.

all wrapped up

Picture endless screaming any time I left her with Dave or with her grandparents for short periods of time. Picture violent fits any time I took a shower, went to the bathroom, or even left the room while she was awake (even if another grownup was playing with her).

Neither Dave nor I had much parenting experience (a.k.a. we had NO idea what we were doing) but it didn’t take long for us to realize that her behavior was NOT normal — especially as she got older and nothing seemed to improve.

We tried getting involved in a couple play groups, interacting with some neighbor kids, and inviting other kids over to our house; but Nora would just freak out and cling to me the entire time.

We tried regularly leaving her for very short periods of time with close family and friends; but we would always come home to a snotty nosed baby who was so exhausted from screaming, that after a while, I didn’t enjoy myself when I was out. Thankfully I’m a major home-body so I didn’t feel trapped staying at home — at least in the beginning.

It was so bad that we couldn’t even put her in nursery at church because her screaming was disruptive for the other kids and super overwhelming for the adults.

Yes, this cute little face is only THAT happy when she’s with me :)

.

After 17 months of almost never being away from Nora for more than a couple hours (and starting to feel like I was literally going insane, losing my whole identity, and failing miserably at parenting) I learned about a new therapy program that was much more economical than our current therapy program and much closer to home.

We started the following week and one of the first things the therapist told me was that Nora was SUPER high-needs and had major sensory issues. 

Seriously, I had talked with numerous doctors and therapists and no one had ever told me this before.

Our new therapist sent me a link to an article: 12 Features of a High Need Baby — and I read the entire thing nodding and saying “yes”, “yes”, “yes!”

If you don’t feel like reading the entire article, I’ll sum it up for you — High Need babies are NOT like other babies.

They are (as the article states) intense, hyper-active, demanding, and completely draining.

They feed frequently (like ALL the time!) and awake frequently.

They are unsatisfied, unpredictable, unable to self-sooth, and super sensitive.

They require constant attention, they don’t like to be put down, and they have severe separation anxiety.

So for those of you who know Nora — or for those of you who have read my blog posts about her and about motherhood these past 2 years – does any of this sound familiar?

It’s like that article was written specifically to describe Nora!

.

I hardly finished the article before I yelled for Dave to come read it too. We looked at each other after he finished reading it, and it was like a light bulb went off.

We hadn’t royally messed up. We hadn’t ruined our child. We hadn’t failed in our desperate attempts to implement the (mostly) well-meaning suggestions from friends, family, doctors, therapists, and parenting books.

After 17 months (and for the FIRST time since Nora was born) we finally realized that we were not horrible parents. We just had a “horrible” child :) (said in jest, but also kind of true!)

While Dave and I breathed two humongous sighs of relief,  I continued to scour the internet for more information about high-need babies — and of course, we continued our therapy program.

After two more therapy sessions (with homework in between) we could already tell a big difference. The difference was so obvious that our therapist told us to take a couple months off (yes, after just 3 sessions total) and just work on the homework exercises she gave us over the summer.

So for the past couple months, we’ve been rubbing and massaging Nora’s skin with a special “brush”, and Nora has been listening to special music on her headphones — isn’t she cute!

These homework assignments might sound like nothing — and yes, they are super easy to do — but I can’t tell you the difference they are already making in our lives.

There is a light at the end of this long tunnel!

.

These are the changes we’ve noticed in just 3 short months:

1. Almost immediately, she started taking daily naps (she never took naps before). It’s still not great, but I’ll take 30-45 minutes over nothing any day!

2. She cries SO much less — around us and around others.

3. She was able to stay home with Dave for large chunks of the day this summer without getting anxious or crying for hours — this might sound ridiculous, but it’s a big accomplishment for us.

4. At 18 months, she finally started accepting people food without throwing up or freaking out (she refused all baby food, people food, formula, and even breast milk from a bottle before this).

5. She finally stopped nursing completely after 21 very VERY long months (this is a long story for another day, but I did write about it eventually.)

6. At 19 months, she made it through her very first church nursery with no tears!

7. At 20 months, she sat on my grandparent’s laps voluntarily (she’s been scared of them since birth)

8. She has let Dave put her to bed twice now — which means there is hope that I will eventually be able to attend evening functions like meetings and social events (if anyone ever invites me out again!)

9. As of a month ago, she is now OK with Dave comforting her in the middle of the night — which means we can share the sleeplessness for a change :)

10. She has been more willing to play by herself and much more willing to interact with other kids (as long as I’m still around)

11. She willingly and excitedly plays with our 9th grade neighbor girl (who loves babies) even if Dave and I are inside or in a different part of the yard.

surprise face

I realize that those of you with “normal” kids must think we are absolutely insane (believe me, sometimes we feel insane) but this is huge, HUGE progress for Nora and for us.

Although we still have a long way to go (like the fact that she still wakes up several times EVERY SINGLE night), just knowing that we’re making continual positive improvement is so reassuring.

I finally feel like I can live my life (or at least a few hours of my life) without worrying over how difficult Nora is being for Dave, for our parents, or for a babysitter.

I no longer have horrible dreams about what Dave would do if something ever happened to me.

I no longer have tons of anxiety about Sunday mornings, family gatherings, or outings with friends.

I no longer feel completely trapped and suffocated.

I no longer feel like I have to do everything alone — Dave can FINALLY help with childcare, mealtimes, and late nights.

I don’t think I have to tell any of you how amazing it feels! 

So with a 2nd surprise baby on the way, I can’t help but wonder if he or she will be super high needs like Nora, or if we’ll actually get to experience what it’s like to have a “normal” infant in the house.

Of course I hope that our next child will not be a high need baby — but if he/she is, I know it will be easier than it was with Nora. We’ll be able to detect the signs, we’ll start therapy MUCH earlier, and (most importantly) we won’t feel like complete parenting failures for 17 long months.

Yes, our little girl is healthy, happy (most of the time), cuter than cute, and full of life. She makes us laugh all the time — and I mean REALLY laugh. I also realize that compare to some families, our “issues” are teeny tiny. I suppose it’s just different when you’re living it every day (and every night!)

I’d never give Nora back… but sometimes I wish we could have those first 17 months of her life back to do over again.

.

After reading this post, if you feel like you might have a high need baby, please know that there is NOTHING you did or didn’t do to make your child that way. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help — I can’t tell you what a transformation our therapy program has made in our lives!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Filed under: ChildrenFamilyParenting

 
 

Leave a comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

152 comments

  1. Brandy

    09/11/2013

    Sounds like I had a high need baby and still have a high need 4 year old. WE are just getting her to feel comfortable her Sunday school class without me there! I will check into the therapy program! Thanks for your honesty.

    [Reply]

  2. Elizabeth

    09/11/2013

    What a great post! I think you are so blessed to have found some things that really seem to help. My 2 year old is my 6th baby and we are at a loss sometimes dealing with his behavior! And here I was thinking I might just have this parenting thing down. HA! God’s blessings and thank you for sharing your experience!

    [Reply]

  3. Siobhan

    09/11/2013

    I had a very similar experience with my first baby. I actually took a child care leave from my teaching position b/c I commuted close to 3 hours a day and it was realty tough to be so far from her so many hours a day. It was also difficult because friends & co workers just didn’t get it so I kind of felt alone at times. She just turned four and is in pre-school getting OT, speech, PT and play therapy. She also just started taking the school bus this week without any issue…which was amazing.

    On the other hand my two year old daughter is totally different. So much easier to parent, although a bit mischievous :) My parents tell us she’ll give us our troubles during the teenage years lol. However, since both girls are so different they love each other to pieces. Since my younger daughter is so relaxed and outgoing it has helped my older daughter with her social anxiety issues.

    Baby #3 is due in Feb. so like you we’ll hope for the best and take it as it comes. Parenting is definitely a journey filled with ups and downs. Thank you so much for sharing yours :)

    [Reply]

  4. Kristen

    09/11/2013

    I’ve had two fabulous, high-need boys, and I’m sure it’s a sign of giftedness. My older son, who’s 25, is getting his PhD, and my little guy, who’s almost 6, reads amazingly and does incredible mental math. It was nice of you to share what worked for you. However, I wish you hadn’t repeatedly referred to Nora as “not normal.” High-need behavior is just one end of the spectrum of “normal” behavior. Nora IS normal! I object to your language and your use of “horrible.” My boys were just like Nora at that age. I would never have called them “horrible.” Your post is part of history now, for Nora to see one day. It’s unfair to label anyone’s behavior as not being normal. What is “normal” anyway? The problem we have as parents is comparing our children to other children, even to their siblings. Yes, it would be easier to have a child who goes to someone else, or who can let Daddy comfort them in the middle of the night, or who doesn’t cry so much. But God gave us our children for a reason. They are gifts, whether they are low- or high-need. We get what we get; it’s kind of like a lottery. :)

    [Reply]

  5. kathy w

    09/11/2013

    I am so happy you found a therapy to help all of you. I wish they had this around when I had
    my 18 yr old son. I was always told we were spoiling him or too strict no matter what we did. I can relate to all of your issues. I didn’t think I wanted to have any more children. I had our second son 4 yrs later and he was also high needs but not as much as our first son, or maybe since we had been through it with our first the second wasn’t as noticeable. Both of our sons
    are highly intelligent and are very similar to Lisa’s in the first post stated. It has been very challenging raising our boys but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Of course, when they were
    smaller I thought I wouldn’t see this day, but it has been so worth it. Hang in there, you have come a long way and it will only get better.

    [Reply]

  6. Andrea

    09/12/2013

    Andrea – Your post is making my heart do flip flops. I can’t express how happy I am that you have found this therapy. It sounds like it has been life-changing for all of you. I have a 14 year old daughter who started out life that way as well… we have muddled our way through and learned to cope and avoid and have done fairly well. She still has a lot of anxieties and we’ve taken her to psychological therapy but never anything like this. I emailed Molly from your center and am hoping she can point me in the right direction around here. Although my daughter is able to get by with what she’s dealing with now it would be amazing if we could help her even further alleviate her anxieties.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us. And for reminding me that we’re not bad parents (It’s just HARD to not blame yourself). I wish you all of the best with your new little bundle. When I had my second (when my first was 3) my mother said “I can’t believe she’s as hard as the first”. To be fair… she wasn’t. But she was NOT the opposite ;) But, my first handled it pretty well and really didn’t start getting jealous until the second started crawling and getting into her toys. With all of the knowledge that you have now – I’m sure you will handle it great!

    Hugs!
    Andrea

    [Reply]

  7. Kristin

    09/12/2013

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Andrea! It sure has been quite a journey, huh? :) I appreciate your honesty. And congrats on baby #2!

    [Reply]

  8. Lisa

    09/12/2013

    Beautiful post, beautiful little girl. One of my twins had similar issues and it was a tough road to parent. I would be careful with the “normal” label. These personality traits are your daughter’s normal and now yours too! I wish I had some help/techniques to better deal with him. My son’s difficulties were a huge wake up call for me as a parent and one I will never forget. They are teens now and what I could not see through the sleepless nights and incessant crying was “this to shall pass” and it passes quickly. Your daughter is so young for some of the expectations you list…. that society puts on our kids. She may always be more sensitive, more anxious and have difficulty with transitions but her normal may become her best asset some day. Congratulations on baby #2, I hope your daughter becomes an amazing big sister ~ who knows what this life changing event will do for her?

    [Reply]

  9. Bev

    09/12/2013

    Andrea – I always love that your writing is so transparent and honest and that you’re willing to share so openly with others. I’m sure this blog post is going to be of great help and encouragement to those that are experiencing the same things. So glad you found something that’s working – and maybe this means we’ll see you again once in a while at West Michigan Blogger meetings :) Congrats on baby #2!!

    [Reply]

  10. Caitlin

    09/12/2013

    Hi Andrea,
    I have to say that I’m truly inspired by how much you accomplish all the while keeping a smile on your face (at least on your blog), after reading about the struggles you’ve encountered in the early months of your daughter’s life. Truly inspirational! My sister has had a similar journey with her first daughter, who is now four – “brushing”, listening therapy, feeding therapies – and although this is your “normal”, it says a whole lot about you as a person and mother! Never doubt your instincts about what you feel is best for you and your family. Thank you for sharing and being so honest! Prayers for continued progress in your daughter’s health and well-being. She looks super happy! :)
    Caitlin

    [Reply]

  11. Evie

    09/12/2013

    Andrea, I wanted to share with you something that really helped my daughter to feel more at ease and that I’m hoping you will want to get for Nora. My guess is she will love it as a place to snuggle down alone once she gets used to it!

    http://www.amazon.com/La-Siesta-Hanging-Fabric-Hammock/dp/B005P3WA9G/ref=pd_sbs_hg_3

    You and Dave are amazing parents for this wonderful and complex little girl! Yeah!!

    Evie (not recommending Amazon, necessarily, but it was easy to find it there and paste the link)

    [Reply]

  12. kris

    09/12/2013

    Yay!!! My youngest has some sensory issues (not nearly to Nora’s extent) along with some visual perception issues, low muscle tone, speech…all to a smaller degree but combined together makes life interesting. My oldest has some anxiety issues (again not huge but it’s there) and when he was younger he did not love being away from me…except for preschool and play dates but I was typically there for play dates. Thank goodness! So, I can absolutely understand your excitement over Nora’s progress. What an accomplishment for her to have less anxiety over being without Mom!

    [Reply]

  13. vanessa

    09/12/2013

    Oh my goodness, this describes my son so much! Hes 9 now, but life was rough for me when he was a baby. I went thru it all, no one but my mom could hold him, i had to take a bath w him in bouncy beside me, ate all the time( i breast fed). He still is clingy, very sensitive, and worrys about EVERYTHING. I am def doing some research! Thanks so much! Wish id known about this long ago! To give u hope, i have an 8 yr old girl who is completely opposite in personality. :)

    [Reply]

  14. Jackee

    09/12/2013

    Wow! What a relief for you to find out this information! And by sharing your experiences you will be able to help other parents….There are many families out there that struggle with the same thing and perhaps not getting a diagnosis for one reason or another. I have a special needs son who has sensory issues…and didn’t not have any information until just a few years ago. Great strides have been made in this area! I drive my son 90 miles once a week to see an occupational therapist. It makes all the difference in the world. You are not alone and you would be amazed at how many families that are out there who go through the same thing. Thank you for sharing your story!

    [Reply]

  15. Lee Cockrum

    09/13/2013

    I’m so glad that you found the therapy place that is helping so much. I am a pediatric physical therapist, and it is always so difficult for me when pediatricians don’t see when a child has needs that are atypical, or even do not see more blatant problems such as cerebral palsy. Parents know their children better than anyone else. They do not want their child to have a problem, so if they are bringing it up, they have probably “tested” their child a bunch of times to assure themselves that the child is really ok before they ask that scary question. And then they get told “he will outgrow it”

    [Reply]

  16. April

    09/13/2013

    Andrea,
    Great article. I am the parent of high-needs child also, who is now 18 and off to university. She was much like you describe your daughter to be when she was a baby and toddler. I wish I would have had access to the therapy you describe. It was a really hard thing to go through because no one really understood what we were going through. As my daughter got older things did improve, but the sensory issues were always (and still are) there. For example: the middle school and high school cafeteria was always an overwhelming experience for my daughter because of the noise/confusion. My only advice might be to make sure you are an advocate for Nora in the future to help her though those situations that might be easy for others but difficult for her.

    [Reply]

  17. Leslie

    09/13/2013

    I wish I had read this article when out kids were younger (they are now almost 7 & 8)! Both of our kids were this way to some extent & our family never understood. It caused a lot of tension when they were babies because they thought I just didn’t want to share the kids with them. Truth is it is exhausting & lonely! I have never heard of this being an actual diagnosis (for lack of a better word) & just thought it was their personality. They both have these traits (although each of them to different extremes) so it wasn’t any easier when the 2nd one came along & only wanted mom bc her level of comfort was eased by different things than her brother. I wish there was more education on this! Especially when the nurses in the hospital can tell that a child will not be happy unless they are in moms arms! Thanks for sharing. I had an light bulb go off as I was reading this & feel much better knowing it wasn’t me that was doing this to them. Now if we could only get my daughter to be ok (at almost 7) with being in a different room than mom for more than 2 min!!

    [Reply]

  18. Becky

    09/13/2013

    I also live in west mi and believe we go to the same place for therapy. They are all wonderful!
    I feel your pain thinking what did I do wrong but God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle. I just kept repeating this over and over. Nothing ever went as planned for my pregnancy’s or the births and all went to neo natal. So normal anything would have been nice but I have three healthy children that God gave us. Therapy has been InThe cards with everything from feeding to the brushing and headphones. So glad I found this and that it has helped. FYI I my son loves the downstairs play area and loves the crashing and the tramp so we now have a small tramp in our home so he can get his input while he jumps and listens to his headphones at the same time it is a win win and help get some energy out. Maybe Nora would like that also. Praying things will keep getting better for all of you. Congrats on baby number two.

    [Reply]

  19. Fran

    09/14/2013

    I just discovered this site thru another blog, so I might be a little late in the comments. I don’t have a child like that but have a “gifted” child. I have seen a lot of information on sensory needs in gifted children from the following facebook groups (who also have websites):

    SENG – Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted
    Supporting Gifted Learners

    [Reply]

  20. Carol

    09/14/2013

    I understand what your going through, My son had the same traits when he was a baby
    and toddler. He was the sweetest child, but had a hard time with being around a lot
    of children his own age. I adjusted my working schedule and worked with him concerning
    his needs. He is very gifted and I believe Nora is also gifted. Try to work with her gift
    and your journey will be wonderful. My son’s in college now and doing great Conrats
    on baby #2.

    [Reply]

  21. Verity

    09/15/2013

    Thank you for the wonderful article!

    I think your journey the last couple years has been an encouragement to many moms. (with or without high needs babies.)

    My sister’s 2nd is a high needs toddler, and my sister was wondering where she could learn more about the therapy. (I’ve sent her several of your articles on Nora the last year, and she was just thankful to relate to another mom with a challenging child!)

    Is there an internet source or a specific name to google to find the therapy???

    [Reply]

  22. DeeDee Moore

    09/17/2013

    http://highneeds.wordpress.com/

    Interesting blog, but it looks like she took some time off for a while to concentrate on high needs toddler. It’s been 11 months since she posted. :)

    [Reply]

    Shelby Reply:

    DeeDee….

    Who are you talking about? Andrea writes her blog every day at least once! And even if she did take off 11 months, that’s her prerogative. I cannot imagine what she goes through…it sounds exhausting

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Shelby, DeeDee is talking about the women who’s blog she linked to in her comments. THAT is the lady who took 11 months off :)

    [Reply]

  23. charlene

    09/19/2013

    One of my daughters had a high needs baby. A friend finally told her about a book that had worked for someone else. It involves a higher sensory perception than “normal” babies. There is also a weighted blanket that is made by grandmas that she put on the baby after he fell asleep. That’s when he was 3 and slept through the night from then on. you also have to tell him 10 minutes or so ahead of time if you are going somewhere. Can’t just say “get in the car.” He has to know about it. The super clue was Omega 3 liquid for children. They can definitely tell within a day if they run out! This is not something usually tested for during routine checkups. I only wish I had thought to tell you way back when you first had Nora! I have followed from the beginning and always thought she was adorable. Now I understand your frustration because I watched it in my family. My husband and I babysat grandson for a few days at 3 yr old and were terrified he would have one of his fits (we made sure he didn’t but were wrecks ourselves. Sorry this is long, just hope it helps. jPlease don’t prlnt last name)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Charlene,
    Just wondering, what does the Omega 3 liquid do?

    [Reply]

  24. charlene loudermilk

    09/19/2013

    Andrea, my daughter found out that some people aren’t born with the ability to make enough Omega 3. It worked for her son. A nurse suggested that she take him off the supplement to see what would happen. Laurie knew what would happen – she would be right back where she started, which was not good. She lives in another state and I was there just before she started the Omega 3 and next time I saw my grandson, it was amazing! You can by it at health food stores in the refrigerated section and there is one made just for children. This all happened when he turned 3 and he had not started talking yet. The “hissy fits” were also quite amazing! Within a very short time, the difference was amazing and now he is 6 and completely caught up. I often think if she hadn’t found about the Omega 3 he would of ended up in special ed and his life would have turned out entirely different – over something that simple!
    This might not be the case with Nora but thought it was worth mentioning. She sure is cute!

    [Reply]

  25. Judy

    10/01/2013

    I too have a first born daughter that was very high maintenance. She too was under sensitive to touch and needed much more sensory input than other kids. It took us until she was almost 2 to learn more about it, no one we knew had a child who had sensory issues. We are so thankful for early intervention programs and a great OT who taught us how to get her what she. And yes we slept with her on our chest for many many many nights so that we could get some sleep. Worn out. And daughter #2, born 3 days before daughter #1 second bday, was a breeze. I finally realized how “easy” a baby could be. Hang in there.

    [Reply]

  26. Kasey

    10/05/2013

    I came across your site and can totally relate to your battle with Nora. Our situation is a little different because my little girl is pretty content as in not much crying as long as she is getting attention, from anyone. If I go out at night to go out with some friends, I have anxiety the whole time…and she fusses the whole time. She is in our bed every. single. night. Because she won’t stay asleep any other way. I am so glad to hear that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. On the other side of that though, I know time goes soooo fast and I am soaking up all the sleepless nights as long as weary as they might seem. Thank you for being honest on your blog and sharing. :)

    [Reply]

  27. Chris

    01/08/2014

    I just came across your site for the first time, and was drawn to the post about Nora’s trouble sleeping. I have 2 boys who did not sleep well for years. Consequently, I did not get a full nights sleep for about 6 years (while working full time). I found that strep was a HUGE factor. . The boys would have strep without any outward symptoms (and they were too little to communicate)– I finally discovered that not sleeping through the night was a symptom. There is a lot of information about an autoimmune disorder triggered by strep called PANDAS that you might want to explore if you haven’t already ruled it out. The best behavior modification tool that has helped is the Good Nite Lite http://www.goodnitelite.com/. Hang in there, it will get better.

    [Reply]

  28. Susan

    02/19/2014

    What sensory listening program did she use? Did you feel like it made a difference?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I have no idea — it was just some songs the therapist downloaded onto our mp3 player. They didn’t have titles and it wasn’t music I recognized — just music. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

    [Reply]

    susan Reply:

    No worries at all! Thanks for replying. Do you still use it and do the brushing? How is she doing now at 2 with her sensory issues?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    We haven’t been doing the music or brushing much lately. We started to find that the brushing was making her REALLY hyper and very active — so sometimes we actually do the brushing before we go somewhere with lots of people. She seems to be more willing to interact with them (weird I know). The music and brushing did work at times, but neither were a real “fix” for our situation.

    [Reply]

  29. Beth

    02/28/2014

    It was very surreal reading this post about your high need daughter. I have 8 children. The first 6 were born in 8yrs, so they have a very close age range. Baby #7 and #8 were born 5 yrs and 8 yrs after our youngest. I thought maybe their “high need” differences, compared to our others, were due to the gap in our parenting. Maybe we were just getting soft in our old age???

    Your descriptions of Nora were like you were describing my 2 youngest daughters. In fact, Nora is 2wks younger than my 8th child.

    Thank you so much for sharing this part of your parenting journey, challenging though it has been. I *know* it will be helpful to other mamas and daddies.

    [Reply]

  30. Naomi

    04/06/2014

    I just commented on a later post about the sensory issues and my Nora…this post one made me cry though. It’s almost identical to our experience… The crying and the sleeping… I still don’t go out often and we only go to church twice a month to avoid the drama…. Anyway I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, I feel like I’m not alone, or crazy or unreasonable in avoiding a lot of other social situations.

    [Reply]

  31. Katelin Reagh

    04/06/2014

    You are wonderful, patient, kind mother and a huge blessing to your children. Great job! I hope this isn’t too personal, but have you tried any kind of massage with Nora? You of course would be the one administer massage to your child, not a stranger, but she might find it relaxing. I’ve been a therapist for 12 years and I know parent administered massage is often a wonderful way to soothe fussy & uncomfortable infants, it’s also an excellent way to alert the body it’s time for sleep. I was curious what a high needs toddler might think. If this doesn’t seem too strange to you, maybe look up infant / child massage in your area? Usually they are classes taught to parents by professionals. They teach gentle, parent administered, calming & safe massage to specific acupressure points on baby (in hands / feet etc.). If you give it a try, be sure whomever you are learning from is a licensed professional who is experienced with child / infant massage and stop if anything seems uncomfortable to you or Nora. I would also recommend asking your current doctor or therapist what they think prior to trying anything new, as they will be best at determining if this is something that is right for Nora. I hope you find this info helpful & not pushy, I’m not expressing any kind of medical opinion or advice, but sometimes simple ideas are a life saver. You are doing many parents a great service by discussing your experiences with a high needs baby so openly. I’m so happy you are having such wonderful breakthroughs with Nora. I love your blog & I think you are a very brave & strong woman.

    [Reply]

  32. Ted Olivas

    04/09/2014

    Andrea, I have been reading your blog a few months now and have related to many of your posts. After looking over some of your older posts, this is one that has really hit home lately. My wife and I have three wonderful daughters, each with their own personalities and characters. But the newest addition t our family is definitely falling into this high need category. She smiles at everyone and is definitely a happy and silly girl. But that happiness leaves the instant she is put down. This is our third child, so it’s always interesting when a well meaning stranger in a waiting room or at a store says,” don’t hold her so much, you’ll spoil her.” lol, I jut respond, ” I’m her dad. It’s my job to spoil her. It’s easier than explaining we might possibly know what we’re doing! So the accommodations are made. She will only go to sleep For daddy, yet prefers to sleep WITH mommy. Translation: I let her fall asleep in my arms on the sofa, then place her in bed with mom once asleep. Another source of well-meaning, yet unsolicited scorning. I love her with all my heart, hih maintenance and all. Even if she’s taken over my half of the bed!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing your story Ted — sounds like our little girls are very similar!

    [Reply]

  33. april

    07/28/2014

    Thank you for sharing this! My daughter and only child is eight. She was recently identified with SPD, feeding and speech issues. I wish I would have realized and helped my daughter earlier. She is now in OT and speech therapy, but could have been helped so much earlier.

    It is surprising to me that I had never learned about sensory processing issues. My husband is a physician, my daughter’s issues were discussed at doctor visits and with dietitians, she attended early childhood classes with me since she a toddler, and she was never identified by her school as needing help with speech until I requested her to be tested. I really appreciate you sharing your story so others can become aware about these issues and it so nice to know that I am not alone. Thank you!

    [Reply]

  34. mommy w

    12/11/2014

    My oldest (of 4) was a high-need baby to an extreme. Somehow we survived the first months of literally nonstop hours of crying, the first year of waking up every 45 minutes at night and NO naps, and he went on to grow into the smart, sensitive first grader that he is now. We still struggle with clothing sensitivity, and he needs a lot of attention from me. His teachers think he’s a dream child, but he can melt down completely when he’s overtired. I wish I knew of a similar therapist in my area!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing :) Glad to know school is going well for your son. I often wonder how Nora will do in school — but I think she will be similar to your son (the teachers will love her but she’ll be a pill when she gets home!)

    [Reply]