Having a high needs baby means that there will be lots of nights with everyone crying, usually because of over-exhaustion on everyone's part. Having a high needs baby means that breastfeeding is more like an Olympic sport. Sometimes that sport is gymnastics, sometimes hockey. Having a high needs baby means that the pitiful cries of other children are easily tuned out, with the shrill demands of your own offspring echoing in your head. Having a high needs baby means that, most days, no one but Mom will do and woe to everyone if Mom has to work. Having a high needs baby means that, most days, more will be asked of you than you think you can handle. It means that you can never satisfy baby's needs fast enough to suit her, and you will hear about it. Having a high needs baby means that you don't get lovely long naps in a crib, or even time to yourself to pee. Having a high needs baby means that you will live in perpetual fear of someone (or something) startling the baby awake. It means that you will learn to do everything one-handed, because you have to hold the baby in the other arm, and it will not be uncommon to have your child in your arms for 23 out of 24 hours. They will protest that other hour. Having a high needs baby means that, once they do something once, they expect to do it again and get frustrated easily. You will hear about this frustration.
Having a high needs baby can make you feel like you are no longer yourself.
Having a high needs baby means that you are everything to them, and you will cherish those cuddles, even when they seem never-ending. Having a high needs baby means that everyone comments on how bright-eyed and alert your baby is, as she drinks in the world around her. Having a high needs baby means that she will always demand what is due to her; she's nobody's pushover, this girl. Having a high needs baby means that she is intelligent, quick, and learns to do things earlier than other children. It means having a child who is so excited about life that she doesn't want to miss another minute of it by sleeping. Having a high needs baby means that her smiles, which come easily, are just as big as her cries, and twice as memorable. Having a high needs baby keeps you on your toes, and life will never be dull. Having a high needs baby makes you fully understand what you are capable of, what reserves of strength are available to you, and when you need to get some help. Having a high needs baby breaks you down and builds you up better.
Having a high needs baby isn't easy. Some days I just feel like I'm going batty. I've had weekends where, from the time I got home from work on Friday until I left for work Monday morning, she hasn't been out of my arms for more than about 5 hours total, including nights. Try getting anything done that way, I dare you. I suspect that I have stress fractures in both of my wrists from holding her. (I haven't confirmed with the doctor because it would be a very expensive appointment to hear what I know already: wear a brace and rest your wrists.) And my first statement was particularly true: there have been plenty of nights that end with both of us in tears as we wail at each other. (I seem to be the only one who feels guilty afterwards for my display of temper.) But, being Mom to a high needs baby is also really rewarding, and I wanted to remind myself of that since this has been a particularly rough week. I mentioned before that she fit 8 out of 12 things on the Dr. Sears list I linked to above, but now that she's 3 months old she's fitting ALL of those categories. That's my baby, classic overachiever. But, her desire to get the most out of life also led her to learn to roll over last weekend, a bit shy of 3 months. She really does smile a lot, and though she doesn't quite laugh yet, I know that when she does it will be with the abandon of true joy. Her smiles and almost-giggles make up for the hours of frustration.