A brief respite from the Ultimate Super Velcro Baby

Because Baby E. is in the early intervention program, he’s eligible for respite care from the state. If you don’t know what that is, here’s an example from South Dakota:

“Respite care is temporary relief care designed for families of children or adults with special needs. Respite care can range from a few hours of care provided on a one-time basis to overnight or extended care sessions. Respite care can be utilized on a regular or irregular basis and can be provided by family members, friends, skilled care providers or professionals.”

There’s more, but what it really is for people with kids who have special needs. Baby E. isn’t so bad, I thought — he doesn’t have any medications at the moment, he’s smiley, he doesn’t have a feeding tube. He’ll be really easy for someone to babysit a couple hours a week, while I write or go to work or nap and while A. works on his research projects. So we met with an awesome local provider and we did a two-hour session on the weekend.

Baby E. cried for approximately half of it. He was fed, he was dry, he was played with, he was sung to, he was comforted. The respite carer is a calm and soothing person — and still had to hold him the entire time. The same thing happened when A.’s mom babysat for us.

This is why he’s so damn exhausting. He can’t be put down, not even for naps. He needs bouncing, rocking, patting, still. He’s a velcro baby with a capital VELCRO BABY. This is also why we’re worried about putting him in daycare. If he cried like this there, they’d probably kick him out. Yet I don’t see a way for him to become more resilient without adding additional caregivers to the mix.

Any tips, O Internet? It sounds awful, but I need more than two hours every weekend. Or am I overthinking and overreacting about this? Maybe in a couple of weeks he’ll warm up to the caregiver and won’t cry so much. That’s if she wants to come back. I would not blame her if she did not want to spend her weekend being cried at by the Ultimate Super Velcro Baby.


7 thoughts on “A brief respite from the Ultimate Super Velcro Baby

  1. No tips, just sympathy. Eloise is a velcro baby, too, and George and i haven’t been out since before she was born because the idea of leaving her with a babysitter and her not screaming/crying the whole time is absurd. It was a minor miracle at Thanksgiving when she let my mom hold her for Three Whole Minutes. I can’t even walk into the other room without her getting a little panicky. 12 months is supposed to the the peak of separation anxiety, so my course of action is to just wait it out and try not to go nuts in the meantime.

    And wanting more than two hours every weekend is TOTALLY NOT AWFUL. I am DESPERATE for more alone time/grown-up time, but since I have no idea how to finagle it, I’m just trying harder to enjoy the little scraps of time I do have.

    So yeah, I’m absolutely no help here. But, ya know, fist pump of velcro baby solidarity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You guys seem to do a great job of doing stuff with the baby, though! At least you’re able to leave the house. (Okay, leave the house and then return at a time specified by baby/baby needs, but still! Counting all the positives here.) I hope you all get through it soon.

      It’s funny how separation anxiety works both ways, too. While the caregiver was trying to soothe Baby E., I was downstairs, supposedly using the time to write but in reality sitting on my hands and chugging my tea and willing myself not to go upstairs.


  2. You’ve probably already explored these, but as a babysitter, older sister, and aunty these come to mind: (1) One of those baby swings with a crank or a motor so it never stops swinging (2) a ticking clock, the regular rhythm is like a heartbeat so very soothing (3) recording your actual heartbeat and putting the mp3 on an endless loop (4) putting the baby in a carseat or similar on top of the clothes dryer and turning it on (of course if you have a very vigorous dryer you have to be careful the chair doesn’t “walk” off the edge lol)

    So glad you have the state caregiver as an option so you can have some down time. If you don’t take care of you, you can’t take care of him, so it isn’t selfish at all, it’s a necessity!


    1. We did try out a swing at a friend’s house and this was his reaction: https://www.flickr.com/photos/flyby5july/18308335665/sizes/l

      I was all, OMG! He loves it! Must buy one now! (I think I used that exact phrasing to A., who was all, YESS DOOO IT). We got the swing, assembled it…and he fell asleep in it once. Every other time, he cried until he was purple. And rigid! A little purple baby board in the comfy swing. :D He also hates all restraints and seats, especially car seats, though he lasts longer in those than he used to. White noise and rhythmic sounds help for short periods of time, but the only thing guaranteed to calm him is if we pick up, carry and gently bounce/rock/jostle him. And now he’ll usually calm down if I sit and hold/snuggle him. It took us about 8 months (with a brief interlude for meds/spasms that threw all calming techniques out the window) to get to that point — he’s finally used to us and our smells and movements, and then we throw this new strange caregiver person into the mix. :) Hopefully he’ll start to recognize her soon.


    1. Swaddling is also kind of hit or miss. Now that he’s bigger, he can usually fight out of it, but if he can’t, he gets frustrated and cries! If we are holding him swaddled, it’s usually okay. But then, we’re still holding him. :D


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