My High Needs Toddler

If you’ve been reading my blog you may have wondered why I am so sarcastic and have a weirdly comforting and honest sense of humor.

And to tell you the truth I didn’t really learn this about myself until I started blogging. I’ve always been sarcastic but not THIS sarcastic. I’ve always been honest but not open; I was very shy and quiet growing up, VERY!!

So why have I changed so much?

Read the headline again.

Yea I’m pretty sure that’s why.

My oldest who is now 2.5yrs old has been a challenge since the day she was born. Literally, she didn’t sleep that first night and she was born in the evening. She then followed the same pattern, for months! It was awful. And now, even at 2.5, she still doesn’t sleep well and is usually up by 6am climbing all over me in bed asking me to do life. 😑

I don’t do life at 6am. Not happily anyways.

I can’t tell you how many times I was up in the middle of the night crying, googling, and losing my mind over what was wrong. Was it me? Was it her? Was it breastfeeding? Was I missing something? Do all babies act like this? Should I take her to the dr? What would I even say? Could I stop crying long enough to have a conversation about this?

Why can’t I figure this out?!?!

I’ve spent a lot of time on the internet since my daughter was born. Dr. Sear’s has gotten a lot of late-night visits from me and continues to do so. My daughter met every single criteria for a “high needs baby”. And yes we could argue that all babies are high needs because they need us for everything. But there is something different with some babies. And my firstborn, Avalynn, is that something different.

In fact, I was scared to have another baby. I was so afraid that I would have another high needs baby and that terrified me. I wasn’t sure I could go through that again, and this time with a high-needs toddler pulling every little piece of life out of me every single day.

There are many days, like today, that I feel completely defeated and find myself searching for answers.

So I compiled a great list of qualities of the high-needs toddler from essortment.com and the fussy baby site that I want to share with you. And these do piggyback off the high needs baby qualities on Dr. Sear’s website, just the toddler version.

    1. Supersensitive • very aware of changes in their environment, especially sudden ones.
    2. Intense • often very energetic in everything that they do; they cry louder, laugh louder, and play harder and longer than other children.
    3. Demand constant attention • want and need attention, and they will NOT be ignored, by anyone.
    4. Need physical contact very often • especially as babies.
    5. Constantly active • often in motion, flitting from one thing to another, hardly ever sitting down and focusing on one thing for a period of time.
    6. Draining on your energy • as parents must always stay one step ahead of their child.
    7. Uncuddly • some do not like to feel “bound” by cuddling or being tucked in; these are the kids who don’t like to be swaddled, don’t like to be cuddled tightly, and certainly can’t stand the car seat (cue screaming).
    8. Unpredictableconstantly surprise you with new things that seem to be designed to drive you mad; what comforted them yesterday may not work today or tomorrow… or ever.
    9. Constantly feeding, especially nursing • don’t generally fit into the 2 1/2 to 3 hour feeding routine into which most babies fall; most want to be latched on seemingly forever.
    10. Frequently waking at night • often difficult to get to sleep in the first place, and then they will usually wake frequently during the night. Don’t expect them to start sleeping through the night by the average of 3 months, and probably not even by 6 months. While you can work with them to some extent, it may be 2 or 3 years before they totally sleep through the night.

My toddler honestly meets every single one of these points. She does everything with purpose, intensity and stubbornness; you can sense it in her walk alone. I also can’t tell you how many people have told me how strong and active she is. I mean she can literally climb the 6ft rock wall at the playground… at 2.5yrs old… completely by herself. That’s insane.

And no, not all babies like swaddled so don’t tell the parent of a high needs baby to swaddle – they HATE it! And the car seat – it was just easier to not go anywhere. But she is constantly touching me, to the point of telling her to stop because it is way too much sometimes.

All this being said, Avalynn is crazy smart, assertive and amazing and it’s really difficult to stay one step ahead of her. Her preschool teacher told me a couple months ago that she is ready for the 3-4yr old drop off class – at 2.5! If only she wasn’t too stubborn to sit on the potty…

So now I just have to figure out how to harness this special little girl’s spark without smashing it into smithereens and ruining her for the rest of her life.

Little dramatic, I know 🙂

Onto —-> ~Kristin

P.S. Do you have a high-needs baby or toddler/child? Any advice for this stressed and touched out mama?? Drop it below!

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6 Comments

  • Christia Colquitt

    Hang in there mama!! I had a super high needs toddler (my second out of five) and it was a tough first five years. We even saw therapist and psychologists for help. Now he turns 9 this Sunday and is so well-mannered, sweet, and humble. I spent a lot of time with him over his high need years so he knew I would always be there for him. Now he is secure and confident. Do not lose sight of your end goal!! You have got this!!

    • thiswif4

      Wow thank you so much for sharing your experience! Honestly makes me feel better 🙂

  • Kristin

    Interesting! I had no idea about high needs babies, but I do know adults who are highly sensitive.

    • thiswif4

      Hmmm I wonder how they were as babies?

  • Lauren

    This is exactly how are Lily is. It’s very very challenging and gets frustrating and overwhelming but in it all you want to give them all the love in the world. I am right here with you! It’s funny, reading your post I literally thought, “okay that’s us, that’s us, that’s us, that’s us”

    • thiswif4

      Yes it is very challenging! You sound like you will always have your hands full with that beautiful little girl too ❤️

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