If you’ve been following along since our first son was an infant, you know it is no secret that he was not an “easy” baby. He wasn’t a great nurser, despised his car seat ( I didn’t even know this was a thing, didn’t all babies fall asleep in the car?) hated being put down, and sleep…forget about it. We tried everything, including letting him cry. Most everything I read said most babies only cried for 15-30 minutes, and by the third day they were falling asleep on their own. Not our baby…he would cry for an hour (with us checking on him) and it went on for weeks. I finally gave in and decided I couldn’t do that anymore and rocked him to sleep until he turned 2. After that, it just got too hard with a little baby to continue to draw out our nap and sleep routine like we had been doing. You can imagine the change in this routine has kind of rocked his world (he’s currently sitting next to me doing his “quiet time” because he now often refuses to nap.) When he was an infant I found solace in reading about “the high needs baby” from Dr. Sears. Although this knowledge doesn’t bring about any solutions, at least there’s some comfort knowing other parents are going through similar struggles, and while every baby is unique and high needs in some ways, it’s comforting to know that it’s not just your baby who is struggling.
Enter Baby #2… Jeff and I would often joke about how our second baby would need to be an “easy” one. He just had to be! Surely we were due for one? Plus, how likely was it going to be that we had another baby who hated the car?! It wasn’t possible was it? Oh, how very wrong we were! We are so grateful and feel so blessed to have two healthy and mainly happy little boys. I will say though that William is so similar to his big brother, it’s almost frightening. The only thing that has been easier with him is that he likes to nurse… in fact, he likes to nurse all night long! (yet is as tiny as his brother was…)
I recently read an article that completely resonated with me. It is seriously so good, go read it! I too have often been asked the question “oh, how is he? Is he a ‘good’ baby?” As a parent to a “high needs baby” what an awkward question! Do you answer “no, he’s a bad baby!” (it gives me images of small infants, dressed in masks robbing a bank or something…) there’s no such thing as a “bad” baby! I used to fumble around trying to find the right words, I’ve now started answering “he’s not an ‘easy’ baby if that’s what you mean…but he is ‘good’!”
Because I have been pretty forthcoming about our struggles with Jack when he was a baby, many people have reached out and asked when it got easier, or if there was something they could do, because they were also experiencing the same issues. Honestly I will say, as hard as Jack was as a baby, he has been THAT easy as a toddler. He definitely has his days and is very much a wild and crazy 2 year old, but I think many of those traits that made him a tough baby, have become assets (except that whole not sleeping thing). He’s still very much a cuddly boy, he loves to be with his mommy and is therefore a fairly cautious toddler. He likes to please, follows rules pretty well, and I’ve never met a more affectionate 2 year old. We’ve also lucked out that he is a voracious eater, and very verbal, so he can easily express his emotions. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his moments, but in hindsight I’d tell my past self that the very qualities that made baby Jack difficult, would some day be the very qualities that made him who he is… a compassionate, affectionate, opinionated toddler who knows exactly what he wants and has found ways to express those very clearly.
If you’re in the thick of it, (as we now are with our second) know that with time it will get easier, and the traits that make your arms tired from holding and ears ache from the screaming may very well be the same traits that make your little one who they are some day. These little ones really are just tiny humans, and while they can’t express their opinions, their personalities are already forming. While we are already getting glimpses of who Jack will be as he grows older, we are looking forward to seeing the little toddler William will grow to be. Will he continue to be like his big brother, or will his personality traits serve him differently? Only time will tell…
So for now, I’m continuing to perfect my baby-wearing skills, contemplating buying some stock in Starbucks and continuing to take pictures because it’s true- the years are short!