Diapers need to be changed, bottles need to be washed and filled, ready for the next round of hunger. Books need to be read. Snuggles usually go with these readings, and giggles will likely erupt. A preschooler is tucked into an empty arm, and a toddler is wandering aimlessly with a bottle attached to her pink rosebuds lips. Her diaper droops behind her as she toddles past, her bare arms and chest display her lack of caring over clothes. Baby screeches from the perch in the high chair and reading time is interrupted. Everyone shifts to move out-of-the-way for me to rescue the lonely and unhappy child. Then everyone piles in again and all is right in the world, as we all crane our heads and bodies (somehow God gives us elasto-arms to reach around the brood AND hold the book) to see the pages of the book I am reading before bedtime. Inevitably a little pushing and shoving interrupt the story-telling a few more times before our story is over.
Everyone races to find something else to do and not put their cute little pj’s on their cute little selves. So, mommy and daddy chase kids to the rooms to put sleeves onto writhing limbs and legs into elusive leg holes.
**sigh of relief**
Bedtime is done… but is it really? From the recesses of one crib there arises a sounds so loud, so shrill that ears start to bleed and the hearts of the parents start to bleed as well. After night after night of continuous crying… what is it? Is our little one feeling lonely and abandoned for the night? Are they hungry? You try to think of some reason you can think of to comfort him and make the noise stop…Are they sick? What could it be? Dread fills our hearts as we hear him ramp up to begin the nightly 2 hour ritual we’ve come to hate. Two hours of intense crying. We’ve tried everything, so we attempt to let him settle himself. It is humanly impossible to just sit there and let him scream without picking him up, but this night, we do.
These were the early days when our Third Child, Ninja, came along.He was the cutest little blue-eyed blonde we’d ever seen. Even early, his eyes sparkled with a sunny personality. He struggled so, with his health, in the beginning and the fussy nights were a part of it.We held him many evenings, but there were times no comfort could be given and none would to be received. It was almost like he needed to unwind for the day’s activities and settle himself.
We didn’t realize, until later, that he was dealing with a severe case of Sensory Processing Disorder, like our firstborn, but not exactly the same. It affected how he reacted to things throughout his babyhood. When things were good, they were really, really good. When things were bad they were really, really bad.
He developed right on target with most everything except in the area of hearing. His severe gastric reflux irritated the chronic fluid in his ears and so he was not hearing well and not developing speech. We had tubes put in twice and then he could HEAR! Previously, I had taught him some sign language, not knowing if the hearing loss was permanent. It was fun to delve into a little of that language, as I have relatives who are deaf and it gave me a real appreciation for what they deal with and how their language is incredible!
So baby number three (or was it four?) came home. As a foster child, his case looked very much like it would lead to adoption. Then it didn’t, then it did, then it didn’t. It was confusing. All along we hoped this sensitive little man would become our son. And he did!
We learned much more about sensory processing in a whole different way with him. His temperament was so different from J-man’s. They they reacted to overstimulation in completely different ways. It was my mom that pointed out that they were both very sensitive but Ninja was explosive, whereas J-man shut down in a storm of tears.
This meant we had to figure out what the dickens was going on when everyone was escalating. Whew! Those early years were intense. They were intense in so many ways.
We were feeling blessed that God had brought another little one to live in our family. He came suddenly one morning, 16 hours after birth and was the easiest transition ever. We didn’t have time to get worked up as we had only 3 hours to prepare for his arrival (or pick up as it was). He felt like family right away.
God is good!