Author Liwen Y. Ho

It’s the End of the World as We Know It (AKA. Life with a High Need Baby)

Hubby and his siamese twin 🙂

If I do write a book someday, I think it will be about what it’s like to have a high need child.  What is a high need child?  Well, when E was about a month or two old, I was exhausted and frustrated to no end about why he wanted to be held ALL THE TIME. One night, I was so desperate and worn out emotionally that I randomly googled “can’t put baby down” and found the answer to all my parenting questions!  Dr. Sears’ website and his list of the “12 Features of a High Need Baby” saved my life…or more specifically, my sanity.

To make a long story short, we had a baby who was intense, draining, needed to be fed frequently, demanding, awakened frequently, and was super sensitive.  I felt like I was in baby boot camp H-E-L-L.  It was hard enough being a first time mom, but trying to meet E’s needs was next to impossible.  It was not at all how I imagined having a baby would be like!  I had it all planned in my head when I was pregnant that we would have him in our room sleeping in his crib till he was 3 months old, then move him into his own room.  I would go back to work part-time when he turned 6 months old and my mom would babysit him.  Little did I know that he would only sleep well with us holding him (day and night!) and started developing stranger anxiety at 2-3 months and would only want me to hold him.

And what made it more frustrating for me was seeing others’ reactions to E (okay, mainly my mom, haha) and how we were spoiling him by holding him all the time, etc.  And it was not fun hearing about how our friends’ babies were sleeping through the night at 3 months (however if yours did, I’m happy for you)!  🙂  It was only after our second child was born that I felt like we had proof that we didn’t make E the way he is (because C is the complete opposite of him)!

Once I realized we had a high-need child on our hands, I was both relieved and frustrated…and a bit angry.  I was upset that I couldn’t control E’s sleeping or eating schedule and I wouldn’t be able to go back to work as I had planned.  The only saving grace I had was that hubby absolutely adored E (and still does!) and was there to help me day and night.  And he helps me continue to see to this day that having a super sensitive child is a blessing, and that E will grow up soon enough and he won’t be sleeping in our bed one day (uh, yes we have a family bed).  😛

What I am most grateful for about E is how he has helped me focus more on people.  As a task-oriented person, it’s easy for me to get caught up doing things and forget to pay attention to people’s needs.  E has taught me that relationships come first and to-do-lists second.

It really makes both hubby and me happy when we see E treating others the same way he likes to be treated – with love, patience, generosity and sensitivity.  The other day he helped a friend’s 3 year old daughter go down a slide when she was afraid of going by herself; he held her on his lap, wrapped his arms around her waist and slid down with her.  When we saw a huge, stainless steel BBQ grill at Costco, he asked if we could buy it for Uncle S (who, believe me, would drool at the sight of it) cause he knows Uncle S loves to BBQ.  And E just melts hubby’s heart (they are 2 of a kind) when he says things like, “I want you forever and ever.  I don’t ever want to lose you.”  🙂

Oh, why did I name this post, “it’s the end of the world as we know it?”  Cause that’s my theme song for E when he has meltdowns, or cows, as I like to call them.  😛  He is starting to grow out of them (thank God!) and is growing up to be a more confident little boy.  And when things get hairy as they sometimes still do, I like to remind myself that at the end of that song by REM, it goes, “and I feel fine”.  😀

Here’s “It’s the End of the World” by REM. (FYI – I honestly don’t know/can’t understand the lyrics to this song besides the chorus!)

Have you ever met a high need baby?

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