Friday, February 5, 2010

My High Needs Baby

I just realized that it has been a while since I mentioned Megan in a post. My wonderful Megan. The precious middle child who somehow got sandwiched between the oldest and the missing one. The baby girl who still likes to be my baby girl in the morning as she crawls into my bed for a hug (on the mornings that she isn't already there!), but then reminds me daily as she heads off to school that she is NOT a baby and she WILL grow up and be ten someday. Yes, my beautiful little girl, you will be 10 someday.

Unfortunately for Megan, she was born right after Erin, the easiest baby on the planet. Seriously. Erin was sleeping through the night at about 3-4 weeks. She was doing 10-12 hour stretches by about 10 weeks. She was speaking fairly clearly around 13 months and therefore, as a two year old, rarely had tantrums because she could tell us what she wanted (and, being the only child at that point, she usually got what she needed right away—no hassle, no wait!). I knew, deep, deep down in my heart that Erin was such a perfect child because of my parenting. Obviously. I would see parents with kids throwing tantrums and I would think, “Well, duh! They just aren't doing it right!” I considered writing a book about parenting. Yeah.

Reality was born on a Friday night and she was a fairly easy baby for about a month. She got sick when she was 5 weeks old and was in the hospital for a week...but she got over that very quickly. She nursed a lot and all the time, but she was still young, so I didn't really think about it. By the time she was about 2 months old, she had started to cry. A lot. By the time she was 8 months old, we were nearly delirious with exhaustion from the sleepless nights. I don't remember very much about her 1st birthday. I have her baby book, so I know she was there and I know she may have even smiled, but I can assure you, she didn't sleep that night. Or the night after that either.

Megan is the baby who taught me to stop trying to meet everybody else's expectations and parent with my heart. No, I was not going to leave her crying alone at night. I just couldn't do that to her. I realize I couldn't always calm her—mostly nobody could—but if she was going to be crying, she would be crying secure in someone's arms. If she was sleeping, she was sleeping on me or next to me. The cool thing we found about co-sleeping was that it sometimes actually involved sleeping which became the most sought after treasure of the year. Megan is the reason we own every baby carrier known to man--she was our clingy baby. She would ride in the wrap on my chest, sleep in the Ergo on my back, or be anchored to my hip in the sling. Attachment parenting, the extreme edition! It was a pretty amazing experience, parenting that little toddler!

Now look at her. Secure, happy, still not always sleeping through the night, but definitely better than her first two years of life! I remember I used to jokingly tell her she was trouble and she would flash this amazing little grin and agree with me. When Grammy told her she was cute Megan would reply, “I not cute. I trouble.” Oh, my sweet, sweet Megan. Always so sure of yourself!

Megan is in her second year of a three year Montessori program. Last year she had class with her sister (who was in her third year there). This was good for her—a chance to learn the ropes and still be secure that there was someone there who would watch out for her. This year, Erin isn't there and Megan is spending more time away from her older sister than she ever has in her life. This has allowed her to really come into her own...and what a phenomenal little girl. She is so imaginative, creative, fun, unique and just full of energy.

Thank you, Megan, for what you have brought into our lives. You are a joy to watch, every day.

I wrote this post because when I reached into my pouch of parenting cards today (just for fun, not to calm down or anything), I pulled out, “Like roses, children bloom at their own best time.” They do, don't they? Megan is blooming now, and her flower is going to sparkle like glitter glue! Mark my words.

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