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high needs.

whenever people ask how ramona is i usually “great!”

and if they ask how if she’s healthy, i say “she’s absolutely perfect”.

and if they ask if she is a happy baby, i grin and say “nope. she’s pretty much a classic colic.”

it’s pretty funny to see people respond with various amounts of horror/amusement. the horrified looks come from those who have lived in colic-land before, and i appreciate the implied sympathy.

but now i am starting to question my own diagnosis of the ramona baby. while it’s true that she seems miserable (angry, really) for 3-4 hours every night and only stops crying if certain procedures are implemented by certain people (basically me, the husband, and my sister lindsay who has magically learned how to effectively do the ramona jiggle). but after reading some of what dr. sears has to say i would categorize my baby as being more high needs than anything else. after all, she never sounds like she is in pain or screams her head off. she just cries. a lot. until we do everything in our power to make her happy.

one thing that dr. sears talked about is just as there is a variety of babies (calm, high needs, fussy, etc.) there are also a variety of parents. there is the uber-responsive, the semi-responsive, and the non-responsive (i am paraphrasing a bit here). he also talks about how there are some ideal pairings and not-so-ideal pairings between mothers and babies. one of the best pairings is that of a high-needs baby and a semi-responsive mom. a high-needs baby demands more interaction, which kicks the semi-responsive mom into gear.

when i read that, it changed my life a little.

i am totally the semi-responsive mom. if ramona was a chill baby, i would probably let her hang out in her crib all day or carry her around like a designer puppy dog–stopping to feed, clothe, and change her or course–but go about my life like nothing much had changed. this was honestly how i thought it would be.

but ramona does NOT like hanging out in her crib and pretty much demands a level of interaction that i previously had not known i was capable of. and i am a better mom because of my high-needs baby. i sing, i dance, i rock, i wear her around the house, i let things like housework and reading slide. and lucky for me, i have a husband and a family that helps me out with the high needs. if i didn’t, i would probably die seeing as i am a rather high-needs individual myself (i am writing this at starbucks, where i am drinking an americano and eating a pumpkin scone without worrying about ramona disturbing all the other footloose and fancy free people with her tears of rage high needs, all because my husband took her for an hour. he is truly amazing. i feel like a real person right now).

so i am grateful for the high needs, because it really has made me change my life. they say that babies who demand (and receive) lots of attention at early ages are all the better for it developmentally. but we can’t all be super-responsive moms from the get-go. i think that god knew what he was doing when he gave me the ramona baby.

what, me cry?


2 responses

  1. Whenever Ramona is content you should call it happy hour 😉

    December 7, 2010 at 3:28 am

  2. Abbie

    Sophie was “high needs” as well. But for the first year of her life I felt like she didn’t necessarily care if I existed, so long as someone– anyone, really– was there to satisfy her needs. NOTHING was easy with her. I was so envious of my friends who had babies who did what I previously thought babies were supposed to do– nurse, sleep, and cuddle while staring lovingly into their mother’s eyes. And I secretly wanted to strangle my friends who said from day one “I just love being a mother!” As if it were the most natural, easy transition in the world.

    Anyway, the good news is, high needs babies can grow into happy, spirited little toddlers who adore their mamas. Hang in there!

    December 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm

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