Monday, November 5, 2012

Have you heard of this baby?

A difficult baby.  Or a high needs baby.  What about a spirited baby?  All pretty much names for the baby that requires a lot of work.  Not necessarily colic.  Because colic has a very specific definition. Tomorrow we will talk about colic and some of the baby soothing techniques to try with colicky babies or really any fussy baby.

I had one of these babies.  The baby that stopped crying when you bounced her.  Then started to cry again and would stop again when you bounced her harder.  And then for the first time, the pediatric nurse suddenly understood how someone could shake a baby.  Because, when does bouncing become shaking?  This is not exactly a question most people want to ask their medical provider.

So, let me tell you.  Until you have had this kind of baby you might not get it. If you have one, be encouraged.  First, babies do not die from crying.  They do die from parents being overwhelmed by the feelings and frustrations of having a baby that cries all the time.  If you have done everything: ie fed her, changed her, burped her, and she is not sick, then put her down in a safe place.  Go somewhere where you can’t hear her and get your calm and quiet back.  It is absolutely safe for a baby over two weeks old to cry for 10 minutes, and older babies can cry longer.  (See my disclaimer and talk to your medical provider about how long to let your baby cry)  You will be a better parent, and she may be asleep when you get back.

There are a lot of different explanations for why some babies are spirited.  I am going to boil it down to a word.  Personality.  Just imagine if you were a smart competitive person and you could not get your body to do ANYTHING!  And you couldn’t tell anyone what you wanted!  Not all babies are this type A, but some are.

You see, I have studied all about babies and children.  There is always more to learn, but I know about my children as individuals and then I know about other children as a group. The variations of normal, what I have seen work before for other children.  But you are the parent, the mother or father.  And when a new baby comes into your family you have a lot of people come into your life giving you advice.  And that is what it is.  You should listen to wise people whom you respect and those who have experience. But however they say it they are giving you advice.

One of your biggest jobs as a mother is to become the expert on your child.  So, others can tell you what worked for their child and their family and you and your husband can decide whether that is worth a try for your child and your family.  This is true for babies, and toddlers, and up as they grow.  Know your child. 
So, for my high needs spirited baby.  I am just sure that she was bored and frustrated.  I thought she was bored then, and now that she is twelve and I know her even better I am still sure she was bored.  Her brain goes a thousand miles an hour, and until she could occupy her mind she filled that with occupying her body. 

  Once she could move on her own she was a much happier baby.  Still hard for mom.  I had to move 100 miles an hour to try to keep up with her.  Now she can read fast enough to occupy herself and she has become quite the young lady.  And she helps me with my running after the little boy soon to be boys.
So, what if you are in the middle of this now?  How do you make it until they are older?
First, check your attitude.  God created us each as individuals.  And He made us moms of these particular babies for a reason.  I believe that they are both a gift to us and a way God makes us grow.  And He gives moms and dads what it takes to parent the children He has given.

Second, God has gifted your child with certain characteristics on purpose.  They can be great positives for His glory.  Whatever it is that you are tempted to call a negative about your child, try to flip that coin over and call it by the name God gave it.  Thus the name spirited instead of difficult.  Full of energy instead of hyperactive.  Determined instead of stubborn.  You get the idea.  Determination can be of great use in God's kingdom when we see it as He does and train the child to use it for His glory.

Third, these energetic bored babies have what it takes to be really good at something.  Often a sport.  Think Michael Phelps.  You can have that kind of energy with or without ADHD.  Try to find a sport or physical activity that they enjoy and can use that energy.  Actually, that is good advice for all children.  Helping them to find the way to be active that they enjoy is a skill that they will use for life to stay healthy.  But, for the really energetic ones I think it is the sport that saves mom’s sanity.  For us it was gymnastics.  When she watched tv she was either jumping on the couch or doing a head stand.  Upside down was her preferred position starting at about 4 months old.   And for years, everyone knew if she missed gymnastics by her behavior. 

Hang in there and check here for more about colic and calming fussy babies.


  1. Thanks for linking up with medical mondays. Your post today sounded a lot like a book I just started reading by Carol Tuttle, The Child Whisperer. She suggests that all people have certain energies that manifest themselves in specific ways. She even uses Michael Phelps as an example! Great post and I look forward to reading the follow up.

    1. Thanks for visiting. I will have to add Carol's book to my to read list.

  2. Oh, I have definitely heard of this baby! He is my second baby... and his demeanor is totally different from what I expected. My first was cool as a cucumber, entertained himself from day one, and he still prefers to watch and study before jumping into something. My second has always been so frustrated that he couldn't move faster or be more coordinated with a toy. I have had to totally rearrange my expectations, and I've had to pray a lot... Comparing the 2 boys has been a weak point for me, and it is completely unfair to them. Once I could fathom the concept that he wasn't out to destroy my sanity, and that he only wanted to move and experience his world first hand, I have had so much fun with him. He is crawling FAST and quickly getting ready to walk (at 9 months...), and he is such a happy baby now that he is mobile.

  3. I had mine first, and have always said it was good because I didn't know any different. I bet it was harder being your second. And I agree, it is so hard to not compare them.