Tuesday, March 29, 2011

High Needs

I have a lot to say (write/post/blog), mostly about my eldest child. I start a million blog posts a day about her. I'm just so gosh darn confused by her really I am. I first read the term "high needs baby" when she was only a few weeks old and thought how awful that was since I couldn't imagine any baby requiring more from it's caregivers than mine did and therefore "high needs" sounded like hell on earth. It took me until she was 12 months old, yes, an entire year to realise she actually was high needs. I looked at a similar aged baby one day happily cooing in it's pram and realised that there was a possibility that child was not just pretending to be happy there because it had been tortured by being left screaming in the pram until it realised it wasn't going to be picked up. A possibility that that particular baby might just maybe possibly have been naturally ok with not being constantly held. That did my head in. I honestly thought up until that moment that all non-attachment parents were baby torturers. I really did. Because that's what it would have been to M for us to parent any differently.
The thing is, before I had that realisation I also had a niggling little thought hidden deep within that I was somehow failing at motherhood. That because I found my baby so hard that I was somehow lacking.
What I've realised in the last week is that although they've changed a lot at the age of not-quite-five-years, those high needs haven't gone away like I thought they had. No, they haven't gone anywhere at all. That niggling little shameful thought though, it's come back with a vengeance. Go away little thought! I am not failing because our days are hard sometimes. I am not failing because I'm not a perfect unschooler nor am I failing because I'm not a perfect Waldorf mother or a rigorous classical homeschooler. I am also not failing because I sometimes contemplate trying to fit those or any other labels, sometimes think a formula would make it easier.
She is hard work. I am hard work. Life is hard work. That's ok.


Joy said...

Great post! My Rose was such an interesting mixture of high needs and easy goingness. ie she was easy going so long as I did exactly what she wanted. lol!
Lucky they sleep sometimes!
Take care and keep being kind to yourself.
My theory:
Perfect mothering is something that only happens in small moments of wonderment in among all the effort!

karisma said...

Very interesting! When my older kids were babies I had never even heard of the term attachment parenting. I carried them in slings because my instinct told me too, I put them down as well and they were fine. We co-slept and did all these wonderful things and nobody judged us coz we did not tell anyone, we just did it. (Well, except for my grandma who kept saying I was making a rod for my own back!) Don't judge yourself, just love and be the best mama you can be. One of my five children was bottle fed, slept in her own bed from six weeks, all night and preferred not to sit in the sling. Broke my heart and I went through life worrying over it, she says now, geez mum, I like my own space, get over it already. Your little girl certainly looks like a content and happy little girl. hugs xoxox