Friday, March 2, 2012

We Are All Fine Here

“Hello?”
“Hello! How are you?”
“Doing well...so good to hear from you.”
“I hear the baby in the background.”
“Yes, that’s him.”
“Is he okay? Do you have to go?”
“No, not yet. He always sounds like that. I’ve got about ten minutes before----”

Fussiness blooms into a scream. The kind of scream babies only get when they are in pain.

“Is he alright?”

We are all fine here.

I need to call that company about the thing. Now where did I put that phone number? It’s upstairs. Climbing stairs. Why is the dryer running? Oh, that’s right. I have something drying in there. That reminds me, I really need to wash that last load. If I don’t do it right now I’ll forget. I’m thirsty. Where did I put my glass? Not up here. What did I come up here for anyway? I can’t remember anything. This is just terrible.

We are all fine here.

I’m standing in the check out line at Target. I’m thankful that Duckling is in a semi-sleep state so I can get in and out without causing the usual scene. As I place my purchases on the conveyor belt, a grandmotherly type comments on my cute baby and attempts to befriend him. For a reason known only to him, Duckling erupts in a horrifying episode, clearly terrified of this kind matron. The lady looks hurt. She has unknowingly approached a high needs baby who does not respond to strangers. “It’s okay, he’s just colicky,” I sigh.

We are all fine here.

My grandmother is wasting away. She has little interest in food and difficulty maintaining her skin and bones physique. There is talk of giving her a pill that will make her hungry, make her want to eat. I’m astounded that such a pill exists. It must be the least popular pill ever invented. I tell the Mister this and he laughs.

We are all fine here.

It’s midnight. The house is dark, quiet. The glow of my laptop screen is oddly comforting, like a nightlight into another world. I break sections off of an imported Swiss chocolate bar and savor the taste. Truth be told, there is not enough cocoa bean harvested to make up for this season of life. Click click click my fingers tap on the keys. There is no crying, no screaming, no phone ringing, no nonsense. An e-mail pops up from a friend. “How are you????”

I am finally fine here.


16 comments:

  1. Ohhhhhhhhh! You dear precious friend! Bless your heart, and the hearts and lives all around you! Sweet "Grandma"! I know how painful this must be for all of you to watch. Your blog says it all - or doesn't say it, but makes me feel it. I wish for you quiet, peaceful days to relax and enjoy life. I wish for Baby Duckling no more tummy aches. I wish for "Grandma" that she would enjoy eating again. I also wish for you fewer household issues, weekly deliveries of imported Swiss chocolate, nothing to do but marvel at the beauty in that beautiful baby (and his sweet little feet), and comfort in knowing we all love you and are thinking of you. Big hugs to you!

    PS: I absolutely LOVE this photo!

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    1. Aw, thank you BAT Mom. Although having what they now call a "high needs baby" (which I think is the new term they use to replace colic) is a big challenge, I hope this post imparts some humor and serenity about everything going on around my family right now. Also, I like the title because I think a lot of people can identify with it, as every one has been times in their life where multiple challenges were going on all at once.

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  2. oh I remember those days like they were just yesterday, Yes..I identify with your post...which is funny in a way as mine children are now almost 19, 16 and 12 and a 1/2, but I STILL feel the same way!

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  3. That reminds of the saying, "God only gives us what we can handle - but I wish he didn't trust me so much." While I know there are no easy fixes and no "good" answers, I hope it's some comfort that you've got understanding friends (with good listening ears - or um, reading eyes rather) and sometimes you don't need an answer, just a place to vent where people understand. I remember (and still do sometimes) saying, "I just want a few minutes to THINK." Even that seems like too much. We can't fix it, but we sure can help you through all this. So happy you're blogging. ♥

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  4. Oh, and one more thing - those little tootsies are just too precious - I'd probably have to frame that picture.

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  5. Oh, I am so glad that you all are "fine" in your neck of the woods! I'll keep you in my prayers during this special-needs time of your lives. I enjoyed this update & peek into your life. You always bring a smile to my heart. :)

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  6. I so feel for you. I stood in your shoes once upon a time. My third infant was my "high needs baby"--wait a minute, what am I talking about? My second infant was born with a birth defect requiring the constant presence of therapists in our life and she had open heart surgery at six months of age, but life with her was a walk in the park compared to #3. My third munchkin had colic and fussed for months in the way you describe. Bellowing her agony any time, any place and no amount of cuddling, rocking, rubbing her tummy would calm her--at times.

    I look back at those difficult days and realize my mantra of 'this too shall pass" worked. Discovering she could not tolerated corn in any form helped a lot and the tincture of time did the rest. At twenty she is still an intense person and very bright. She has so many talents--I wouldn't trade any of the extra cuddling time we had for anything--now. Somehow putting one foot in front of the other, even when I was so tired I thought I would collapse, has brought us both to the place we are now. And it is all good. Yes, you are fine and in time your days with duckling will be in the past.

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  7. sheanddeen, thank you ever so much for sharing your experiences and encouragement about having a difficult baby. It always helps to hear from people who have been there or are even there right now. It's interesting that you describe your daughter as bright and intense, because in the small amount of research done on high need and/or colic babies, those two words are almost always used to describe these babies as they grow into adulthood. One thing I am certain, that I too will not ever want to trade the extra cuddles for anything. Also, every time my duckling smiles, it's extra special as it compensates for the difficult days.

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  8. Hi Monica, It's fun to read your blog again! My oldest was 'high needs'. There are pictures of me where I look so pale and tired but my baby looks robust and ready for the world...and he's smiling!!!! He smiled for all pictures because we never took any when he cried. I won't tell you how long he cried for but it was more than just a couple of months and after a while I thought it was normal... Then one day, he stopped crying. POOF! A changed child! Never found out why, but the colic stopped and the crying stopped and that was that! We all survived but it took a lot of prayers and tears on my part. This child is my writer/editor/chef son. <3

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    1. Thank you for sharing this, Peggy! Your story is very similar to ones I have heard from other veteran parents who had high needs babies. Some cried for months, others for years. But when it was over, you knew it was over. It does take a lot of prayer and a good measure of grace some days. God's timing has been perfect as always, as I don't think I could have held up as well with such a demanding baby in my younger years. Praise God for his infinite wisdom! :)

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  9. Praying for you Monica. I know so many of us can empathize because we had similar situations with one of our children. Mine was my third boy. If it helps he is 14 now and a very pleasant happy young man. If God blesses you with more, they will all be different. At the time I thought I was barely existing through it, now though it is such a distand memory. We are here for you!

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    1. Thanks, Cindi. I covet your prayers. There are difficult moments in the day sandwiched between some of the sweetest I've ever known. It really makes your head spin.

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  10. Glad to hear from you. And yes, I treaded the same off-beat, uphill track with my baby. It's hard, but this, too, shall pass. But you seem to have a great grip on this.

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  11. I love this post because you're just so honest. You have a way of saying it like it is, and folks identify with you and even laugh. In a very sympathetic kind of a way, of course.

    It's a roller coaster. Period. Joy and pain, exhaustion and exhilaration all mixed up in one crazy casserole called 'life.'

    Thinking of you...

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