So I did what I always do: got online and did some research. Not long after that, I talked to her doctor and gave up dairy, which helped her mood immensely, but she was still a fairly demanding baby.
I talked to other moms, and the question that kept popping into my head was "am I the only one?".
The only one that doubts my ability to parent because she is always fussy?
The only one that has periods of time where I have to put my kid in her crib and walk away because I'm just... done?
The only one that became a parent and then completely understood how people can shake babies until they die?
The only one that wakes up every day wondering "what kind of day will today be?" because my kid's moods are so unpredictable?
The only one that is proud of herself when she manages to shower and unload the dishwasher in a day?
The only one who has a kid that fights sleep like it's the ultimate enemy? Whose kid doesn't fall into any nice, neat category with step-by-step solutions?
Well, it turns out I'm not. It just seems that every mom in my circle of friends had babies that slept through the night early, loved their bouncy seat or swing, or would just hang out on their tummy time mat. That never described Jade. We had to work up to 10 minutes in the bouncy seat because she screamed bloody murder every time I put her down. She pretty much slept on my chest for 3 months because most of the time that was the only way we got any rest.
So of course I doubted my abilities to parent, when I was surrounded by kids that were so different than mine. Of course I thought that I did something wrong.
So I bought a book called "The Fussy Baby Book" by Dr Sears. I read a few pages... and freaked out. I remember reading one section saying that "high-needs babies" get easier when they get mobile around 8-9 months and I remember thinking "I can't do this that long". So I put the book on the shelf and left it there until this past Monday. And I really wish I would have read it sooner.
Reading the letters written in by moms felt like reading my own diary. Moms with the same concerns I have... that I did something wrong, and that it will never get better. Moms talking about all the advice they receive from others just making them feel worse because nothing works.
Now, I'm not posting this to make people feel sorry for me. I know that Jade is not as demanding as many other babies. I just also know that she's more demanding than some, and that she's very persistent about having her needs met. When she was 2 days old, the lactation consultant said "man, she's stubborn" and that still describes her.
Rather, I'm posting this on the off chance that some other mom reads this and realizes that they're not alone.
I don't want anyone to think that I don't love my kid. I love her more than life itself. Seriously. She's the best thing that ever happened to me (other than Chuck of course.. he had to come first haha) and I wouldn't trade her for anything. But parenting hasn't been this rosy experience and that tends to be all anyone talks about so I wanted to share MY experience just in case someone else feels the same way :)
Things get better daily... I am loving watching her personality develop as she truly turns into an amazing person. I am learning to celebrate her good and stop focusing on the negative. I am learning to take each day as it comes and not to worry about what tomorrow holds. I am learning to rely on God's wisdom and His grace and ignore advice from other moms. I am learning to treat her challenges as blessings... I am learning patience with myself and with her. And I've never really had patience with myself. I have learned that perfectionism has no place in parenthood.
I am trying to branch out in my circle of friends so that I can surround myself with supportive people that understand a little bit better. This parenthood thing has caused me to totally change who I am... and I think I'm changing for the better. Jade is forcing me to become the person that I've been trying to be for a long time... more outgoing, more sure of myself, more patient. Hmm... I think God knew what he was doing when he gave me this one :)