|Some days, Erinn doesn't like anything. |
Photo by Amy Straka Photography
When pregnant with my first child, I got all of the unsolicited advice of normal first-time mothers. I was told to "sleep now" while I still had the free time. I was told to go out to dinner, go to movies and do all sorts of other social things that I would no longer have time to do once I faced the social death sentence of becoming a parent.
One mother of three told me I would never need to buy an alarm clock again because I would own a human one. I got the overwhelming feeling that I was potentially in over my head. I braced for the worst.
And then it really wasn't so bad. Yes, I got less sleep. Yes, my daughter spit up on my shirt every time I changed it. Yes, every time I accidentally entered the wrong pin number at the gas pump I had to lug a cumbersome infant car seat in and stand in line to pay the cashier. But I still went out to dinner -- a lot. My daughter was a good napper and slept through the night by two months. My human alarm clock woke me in time to start the work I needed to do from home every morning.
She liked bouncey seats, play mats, swings and just laying on her back in her crib, checking out the ceiling. Some mornings I did not even know she was awake because she never cried. People eagerly offered to babysit and I eagerly accepted. She loved other people -- to the point that I once complained to a friend that I was not even sure she knew or cared that I was her mother. She was a "good baby," as they say. An ideal one, at that. She's still incredibly easy going and happy to entertain herself -- with the exception of a few typical four-year-old meltdowns and inundating me with questions around the clock.
So this pregnancy, I mentally prepared a little differently than I had for my first. I was fully prepared to face more difficulties than I had with my oldest. I knew that adding a fourth child to a recently combined family was much more difficult than bringing home one baby. I anticipated resistance or acting out from the older three kids. I was ready for just about anything -- except what I got.
A "high needs" baby.