I knew Chaddy was different the moment he was born. It was his scream — the blood-curdling wail that blared out of his mouth the moment he popped out. He didn’t cry; he was an alarm. The kind you hear at 3 am in the morning. And it woke my soul up.
I could hear him meters down the passageway when the maternity nurses rolled him towards my room. That’s how intense he was! But he was my gorgeous little guy. And I had already loved him for many days.
Fast forward 3 months later. Chaddy didn’t sleep and he didn’t eat. Strike that. He did sleep but only after 2 consistent hours of rocking back and forth while I paced around my living room in circles. When he finally nodded off, I’d place him ever-so-gently on his stomach in the crib. Basically, everything experts say not to do.
Yeah, I did it. So he and I could sleep. Barely.
My dear sister and brother-in-law gifted Chaddy with a swing when he turned 4 months and life was finally grand! He slept through the night but he had to constantly swing. The moment he stopped was the moment he woke. Oh goodness, I cherished his swing; my heart broke when he outgrew it.
He was always in the 10th percentile yet he ate and ate! Nothing ever stayed down though because he had horrible acid reflux. I never found the right combination of foods to help his food stay put even after eliminating many-a-food from my diet and his when he started solids.
Between the sleeping and the eating, a warning bell formed in mind: something is … different.
Certainly not wrong. But different.
Friends and family would ask us to visit and stay over. And I would feel nervous. Because he put up such a humongous fuss.
Trips became tough. Car rides turned into short jaunts to the store and back — nothing else! Anything and everything seemed to upset him. Especially noise. And no amount of consoling helped.
The hardest part was the feeling that no one understood. And it lasted for the first two years of his life.
I’m happy to report that life has gotten somewhat better for my amazing son! But not after some very trying times for him and experiences that really tested my resolve as a parent. Not with him, of course, but with others as I tried to understand just what was exactly different about my special little guy.
In Part II, we’ll go to daycare and learn about the teacher who I almost put in a headlock.