The Best & The Worst: Raising My High Needs Kid

I knew my baby was different within the first few days of her birth.  She was sleepy for the first 24 hours or so, as expected, but after that, I remember calling my mom and saying, "Isn't she supposed to be sleepy?"  This strange, wide-eyed newborn would stay awake for hours and hours at a time.  Like 12 hours at a time.  More than once.  She was satisfied as long as I was bouncing her on the birth ball and nursing her at the same time. Yes, she knew exactly what she wanted and requested it loudly.

She demanded to be held 24/7, and only by me.  She nursed around the clock for months--no, years--and fought taking the bottle when I returned to births.  My stubborn girl went 8 hours without eating when I went to my first post-maternity leave birth when she was 4.5 months old.  She screamed in the car seat until 18 months of age.  My husband and I walked her to sleep every evening in the Beco Gemini until she was 18 months old and my tired feet couldn't take it anymore.  She would only nap in the jogging stroller--at running speed.  Yes, I was in great shape! We still lay with her to fall asleep, and she just started sleeping through the night within the last few weeks at almost three years of age.  She loves to nurse.  Those kids that self-wean?  I don't think I have one of those.  It takes us 10 minutes to get into the carseat every where we go because she insists on doing it all herself on her time.  Tonight we had to beg her to get dressed so we could get ice cream (yes ice cream!)

She is totally a "high needs" kid, no doubt about it.  My mom told me I was parenting myself.  Sorry, Mom.

Parenting a kid who is stubborn, decisive, sensitive, intense, perpetually in motion, unpredictable, and (now that she is verbal) downright bossy is a challenge every minute of every day.  NOTHING is easy with this child.  Except--let me take a moment to brag--she essentially potty-trained herself at less than 18 months old, elaborately nurses, diapers, and gently rocks her babies in her mini Beco, and slides down that fireman pole at the playground better than kids years older than her.  

These qualities that suck to parent are actually qualities that aren't so bad for life.  I'm proud every day of my budding feminist, my little leader, my rule breaker.  This girl is going to change the world, and I want to be sure I don't squash her.

 

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