Monday, March 28, 2011

Touchy Baby

Not long after we found out we were pregnant with Jude, Jack started crawling.  And a few months after that, he was off walking.  I was told having a mobile baby would change everything ... and it did!  I mean, he had always had a personality before that, but now that personality had legs!  We learned a lot about his Jack-ness in those early months of my pregnancy, which I wrote about here.  Thanks to Tracey Hogg's Secrets of the Baby Whisperer we were able to catch on to all the quirks of parenting a "spirited" baby, and it's helped prepare us for life with a "spirited" toddler. 


And so, after seeing Hogg's dead-on prophecies and personality analyses ring true first hand, I was anxious to test her theories out on our second born.  From the moment Jude arrived I've been watching and waiting, trying to catch a few glimpses of just who this sweet little boy is going to be.  But I'll tell ya, he's not an easy one to figure out.  At first I thought he was an Angel baby, or at the very least a Textbook baby.  He was the perfect infant, sleeping all day, waking every three hours (on the dot) at night, and swiftly going back to sleep on his own.  In fact, Jude has fallen asleep without any help from me since the day he was born.  We never had to employ cry-it-out, never got stuck with a nursing or rocking to sleep routine and never had an issue with moving him to a crib in his own room.  The child is just plain EASY.  Ergo - Angel Baby.


Now naps, as you know by now, are another story.  We dealt with the 45 minute intruder since an early age and only recently have been able to get past that.  Our current average is about 1 hour, 15 minutes.  But he doesn't seem to be over-tired during the day.  And with 12 hour stretches at night, I really can't complain.  The question is:  Are 45 minutes naps considered textbook since "the books" mention that they are common among young babies and are a result of 45-minute sleep cycles?  Or are they considered touchy since an extra-sensitive baby would have a harder time sleeping through a sleep transition?


But a few other of Hogg's baby personality descriptions have led me to believe Jude is ultimately a touchy baby (pg. 26-28):
  • was very sensitive and cried for his first few baths
  • would blink excessively and turn his head away when he was brought out into bright light
  • always wanted to suckle during breastfeeding but would go "on and off" almost like he forgot how to nurse
  • when there is a loud noise (i.e. Jack screaming) he flinches visibly and often starts to cry
  • cries easily if too many people hold him

Touchy babies also often wake up crying, or don't tolerate being left alone in their crib for long (pg. 139).  This is very Jude.  Although he seems to wake up happy more often than he used to, he's only happy for so long before he starts loudly insisting you come retrieve him.  When it comes to sleep you have to be careful no to miss a touchy baby's window, otherwise it's very hard for him to wind down.  Jude's usually pretty good about going to bed but occasionally we'll hit a snag and then Mama and Jude get a little quality time together until he reaches dreamland.  And honestly I don't mind, I rather like watching my baby fall asleep in my arms, as long as its not something I have to do several times a day.


According to Hogg, touchy babies are best calmed by recreating the womb (the swaddle worked great for Jude) and they love structure and predictability (well then Kiddo you were born in the right house!) (pg. 30-31).  Also, Jude seems to have grown out of a lot of these descriptions, but he's still a much more sensitive baby than my firstborn. 


For instance, when we were in Pennsylvania the other week, Nonnie came bounding into the room wearing a funny hat and yelling "hellos."  Jack thought this was the best thing ever.  Jude, on the other hand, started crying, and sobbing, and hyperventilating.  And wouldn't stop even after I held him and left the room.  And recently Jude's started having little meltdowns when he doesn't get his own way.  The other morning he woke up extra early.  I wasn't ready to start the day yet so I picked him up and brought him into bed with me.  He obviously did not want this and started screaming.  So I laid him on my chest, still screaming and thrashing.  (He does this thing where he flings his upper body back when he's trying to make a point.)  So I sat up in bed and held him, still not happy and making sure the entire neighborhood was aware of it.  I finally laid him back down on my chest, used my one hand to hold his head down and the other one to rub his back and he finally calmed down and fell asleep after a few more minutes of screaming.  Actually, Jude's thrashing has become a new trait.  He thrashes when he's getting his diaper changed, he thrashes when you try to give him a drink and he doesn't want it, he thrashes when you attempt to sit him down on the floor and he prefers to be held, he thrashes when I'm trying to snuggle with him before bed and he would rather just hit the mattress without all the nighttime ceremony.  He's Jude the Thrasher.

He's also known as "Booger Boy" ...

But "Booger Boy" does not like to have his nose wiped.

All that said, I don't think he's the ultimate touchy baby.  I just think he falls more into the touchy category than any other.  And although I hate to think about my babies growing up, I get a little excited about watching who they'll become and how their current temperament will impact their future as adults.  Hogg says that "the Touchy child can mature into a thoughtful, sensitive thinker, a child who weighs situations carefully and likes to ponder problems" (Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, p. 26).  But even more than dreaming about their futures as individuals, I'm excited to see how these two boys grow up together as brothers.  I can't help but think of what a great team they will make - one a spirited, boisorous leader, the other a sensitive, careful thinker.  Gosh, I love these boys!

This is where I envisioned a charming picture of my two boys loving up on one another, instead the best I get is this.  Typical 2.5 and almost 1 year old shot.  At least they're both looking at the camera!


Nicolette said...

Great post. I love the Baby Whisperer books. It's so interesting how their little personalities develop and evolve in such a short period of time. As a first time Mom, I found Hogg offered great practical guidance.

J9 said...

I love them too! She has such a soothing writing style, I felt so much better as a first time mom when I read her books!

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