As I mentioned, we’d already had a son with all of what we’d considered to be the “usual” high-energy”, “creative”, “do it myself”, squeal in a restaurant, and won’t go to bed stuff and felt like he was turning out wonderfully. So, naturally, we thought we were prepared to start over when our baby daughter arrived on the scene, ten years later, with the help of an excited big brother!
This was a good-natured, sweet little baby that loved to play and cuddle! I can’t say exactly when we started noticing “differences”, but it was definitely within her first year. (Please forgive my overlapping previous posts from time to time) We started noticing that some of the regular daily routines were taking on more importance to our little daughter. She seemed to REALLY like/need them to take place in the exact sequence, and when they didn’t, for instance if the phone rang or you just forgot to have something laid out in the exact spot you were supposed to lay it in, she would begin the red-faced, “my arm is stuck in the car door” (as if), kind of scream. It was the “I’m REALLY in pain, here!” cry. She’d be throwing herself the direction of where the sequence started. The first few times it happened, we looked all over her to find what was hurting her before we finally put together that something broke the sequence.
I’ll never forget the first time we figured it out. We were relieved and horrified all at the same time when she was instantly pacified by our starting over right at the beginning. It was pretty much up to us to figure out which “irritants” in her day, were building into more than regular “fussy baby” things. Turns out these rituals escalated till they took over meal time, bath time (and on into bedtime), car seat (in and out), comforting after getting hurt, reading a book, and so on. To say we shouldn’t have all jumped through her hoops is just (excuse me for being blunt here…) ignorant. “Until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes”…you know what I mean… You are, after all, playing a complete guessing game. You’re trying to teach basic manors to a baby (not some diabolical, master manipulator-oh wait,…a baby:D ), while at the same time keeping peace in the household and being fair to your other child. You’re trying to discern which things are just “spoiled baby” things and which things are these “mystery ritual” things. It also seemed fair to attempt to balance some quality of life for the family as a whole in there somewhere. She had to learn to respect all of our rights as well. She was just SO young and had all the basics of life to learn in addition to negotiating around these “worries” popping up everywhere.
Don’t get me wrong, we had plenty of sweet times. We had/have a very loving family. We just tried to be cautious and really didn’t have a clue what we were dealing with at this point.