There is an even bigger, steeper curve in learning how to parent a fussy or high-needs baby.
I am still in awe of how much my life has changed.
I lost most of my baby weight from bouncing, rocking, swaying, and carrying my son.
Then I ended up gaining a few pounds back from drowning my stress in chocolate.
Nothing has gone according to plan and my baby is far from what I expected.
I have never felt so judged and so unsure of what I am doing and I don’t think I am out of the woods by any means just yet.
About once every week I think to myself OK, I got his schedule figured out, now we can have some predictability. Then he decides to throw a curve ball and I doubt myself all over again.
Our first week home with Tyler we tried everything just for all of us to get some much needed sleep. We would think hmm, maybe Tyler is afraid of the dark and we should sleep with a lamp on?
Yes, we were so desperate and so dang tired we thought that our baby, whom had just been sprung from a pitch black womb, was possibly afraid of the dark.
Then we thought maybe he didn’t like the quiet so we tried the fan. Then when we turned on the TV and this we thought, would solve his supposed fear of the dark and of the quiet.
It still didn’t work and so we became fearful that our baby was just doomed to never sleep at night.
I remember our routine of me holding and rocking Tyler to sleep in the recliner and then waiting for an hour to make sure he was in a good sleep before laying him down in between us.
Amazingly we found that T liked it when his dad would turn off all the lights and use a flashlight to make shadows on the ceiling. It would calm him instantly for some reason. We didn’t question why. We just were glad to let the ringing in our ears subside for a few moments.
T is so very strong willed, independent and stubborn. It has been hard to meet my match in the battle of wills but it has been a challenge that is teaching me the virtue of patience.
Never in my life could I have imagined the amount of strength I would have to summon to get through each day.
Once we received his diagnosis of silent reflux, we saw minimal improvement. I enjoy going places with my son now and as long as the car ride isn’t too long and the store isn’t too noisy.
It is still hard to plan anything in advance because his naps are at different times and are a different length of time every single day.
Randomly he will nap two hours and I think how much I could have gotten done in that time but instead I sat watching the video monitor, assuring myself he would be awake any second.
I am finding that I have to push myself as a mom, I need to be better and not just for my son but for me as well.
There are some days I honestly cannot remember when I washed my hair last. I don’t even purchase shaving cream anymore.
I remember, last week I actually did my hair and makeup and when I went to go get T up from his nap, he looked at me like he didn’t recognize me.
But, there are some days when I am the only one that can calm him. I am the only one that knows just what he wants and also just what he doesn’t want.
Some days I feel like I am getting the hang of it and I feel like I can handle anything T throws my way. On these days I feel empowered, for I am not just raising a baby, I am raising and surviving a fussy baby.
My mom tells me I was fussy baby and then I read the baby book she wrote in for me. Apparently I took two hour naps and slept through the night around 4 months old…
T has these three day cycles he gets on where he will sleep 11 hours straight and then the next night I will create the exact same routine (even reading the same book and dressing him in the same pajamas) to try to figure out what I can do each night to ensure better sleep for all of us.
One day, yes one day, he will be a teenager and I will have to drag him out of bed instead of encourage him to want to go to bed, however, that day is not today.
He has already woken up twice since going to bed tonight, so again I rock him back to sleep because he was screaming.
There is always tomorrow, and I foresee a lot of napping for both of us tomorrow.
Nichelle is a stay at home mom, finishing her degree online in social science with an emphasis on early childhood education. She enjoy gardening and cooking, and reaching out to offer support and encouragement to families of fussy babies in her community.