Feeling despondent about my 2yo(13 Posts)
DD has just turned 2, and I am not enjoying this stage at all. Obviously I love her, but I'm just finding this period so emotionally exhausting.
Her language is not great. She says words but only two at a time and not understanding her really hits my anxiety buttons. So she will say something hurts but what it is will be incomprehensible. She'll be crying and saying "hurts hurts" but I have no idea what it is and it sends me in an anxious spin that she is unwell or injured and I can't do anything.
She doesn't respond to praise or rewards or any attempt to initiate her interest in something. So getting her to do things, even get dressed, putting on a nappy, getting in the bath, brushing her teeth are all Herculean tasks where I end up having to semi force her with lots of tears. I see friends' 2 year olds and they all have these little routines which seem to run smoothly.
When she is interested in something I try to get involved too but I obviously do it wrong because she gets disheartened and bored quickly if I try to get involved with the game.
If we read a book together she will rip the page. If I tell her off for doing it, she'll cry.
She does not want to be potty trained. Every time I have attempted it she refuses to poo and gets constipated and ill , meaning we have to take a trip to the doctor and get lactulose.
If she wakes in the night (which is about 5 times a week) she will not go back to sleep. I see on the camera that she keeps trying to climb out of her cot and I have to go in and Stop her from falling out. Then she is up and screaming if I try to put her back in bed. I'll be up all night trying to settle her and then she'll fall asleep at 7am when I need to be up.
Can you think of anything I can do?
Hmm, no golden bullet but some thoughts. Number one, try not to compare with others - what works for one child will not work for another and you'll drive yourself mad comparing. Plus if you're anxious about what your child "should" be doing, the child can easily pick that up and get more stressed - whereas if you can stay a bit calmer and trust that things will work out, they sometimes will. I may be reading in more than is there but my sense is that you feel that some things should be happening by now (potty training, putting more words together, sleeping through) and that this is putting you under unhelpful pressure.
I'd definitely forget about potty training until she spontaneously shows an interest and is able to tell you that she wants to go.
Could you get her to point at the hurting area? Baby signing has a sign for pain that you do over the affected area which might help. Indeed introducing a few key signs might help with the communication frustration generally.
I think it's totally normal that praise/rewards don't have an impact at that age. And telling off doesn't make a difference until a child has the impulse control to stop doing the thing that you don't want them to do - and toddlers have virtually no impulse control. So even if she has some idea that you don't tear books, she may be too intensely focussed on the urge to explore that interesting book to realise that she's likely to tear it. I'd stick to board books for a bit to avoid the problem of tearing while taking about treating books carefully.
Transitions can be very stressful at that age - sometimes giving warning "in 2 minutes we'll go up to bed" or choices "do you want your duck or your cups in the bath" can help. Also, you might try to make a game or a race of things like getting the nappy on, or enlist her cooperation (can you lift your legs up now so I can put the nappy on). Something like www.ahaparenting.com/ages-stages/toddlers/routine_schedule_toddler may help too (thoroughly recommend that website, lots of great advice).
Night waking, she may need more comfort and contact from you - can you cuddle her back to sleep rather than putting her back in bed? Once she's comfortable with that you could then gradually pull back on the level of attention you're giving.
Hope something there is helpful to you both!
thank you for replying.
I suppose it's a general attitude change I need to have.
Is it still ok that my 2 yo is behaving like this? I worry that she is behind.
It s fine that s she s like this two year olds are only trying to work out and make sense of the world.
Frustration withbcommunication can be common, reading stories and Jaime picture cards can help or baby signing. Use them when she s calm so when she s distressed she can communicate, though at two she might not be able to localise pain very well either! In general the world is a frustrating place at 2! Speak to your health visitor if you re truly worried about her development of speech and language abilities.
I would lose the cot at 2 and try a bed. It sounds counterintuitive but might just work with her sleeping frustrations. 2yo are exhausting so my sympathies.
Prob a bit early for potty training in my experience so cut yourself some slack on that front. My DS was well over 3 before he showed interest.
Honestly? I think you've got it in your head she's behind and it's stressing you out.
Potty training at just 2? Why give yourself the stress. My DD 2.4 is starting to talk about it but there is really no rush.
The language is so variable. You'll probably find when she gets going you won't stop her. But it does add to the frustration for her, hence the (totally normal btw) behaviour.
As for the night waking, will she come into bed with you? I was never one for middle of the night fights so DD just gets brought in with us if she wakes and will generally go to sleep fine
Her behaviour sounds perfectly typical for a 2 yo IME; it's not called the Terrible Twos for nothing!
Best tip I ever received on MN was "leave potty training til they're 3": DS trained in a weekend with next to no accidents.
Re: night waking, have you tried dropping or shortening her daytime nap? Failing that what about co-sleeping? I know it's a rod for your own back etc but IME a bit of a rubbish sleep next to a restless toddler is still much better than no sleep at all.
Cross-posted with Lorna!
Once you are getting a bit more sleep yourself you'll feel saner and more relaxed about the whole thing. I know myself when I am sleep deprived I get very anxious and often totally lose perspective.
2yo can be so difficult! It's not you, it's the stage she's at, honestly. They get SO frustrated when they're trying to tell us things and we can't understand them, and then they just get crosser and more incoherent
They do grow out of it, I promise!
Try and get some outdoor time each day (even if it's just because whinging and wailing are quieter outdoors!), try and offer two choices so she feels she has a say, but you're actually in charge - so maybe red socks or blue socks today? Teeth before nappy it after nappy? Etc.
It's just a phase, and it is haaaaard w work, but she will get through it
and start something else equally wearing.
This sounds totally exhausting and completely normal. Echoing others to say wait to potty train. It's relatively early and if you wait until she's ready the whole thing will happen more easily and quickly. Try not to worry - in a few months you'll be in a different place with lots of these things
Echo every thing said here op. All great ideas.
My DD will be 2 in a few weeks and things I find helpful are;
Giving choices. If she refuses a choice I tell her I'll make one and then follow through. Acknowledge her feelings if she gets upset about it and explain why I'm making a choice for her. Even if your DD isn't talking much yet she will understand almost everything you say.
When it comes to play I try not to be too actively involved unless she asked me to be, because I find myself unintentionally taking over/ leading/directing the play and then she gets bored and wonders off. So instead I'll sit and observe and make the occasional comment about what she's doing, but otherwise try to be fairly hands off...am hoping this will foster good independent play as she gets older.
Nighttime waking has been an issue for us too. A combination of development, molars and winter bugs I think, and she really struggles to go back to sleep once we go in. So we have started giving her a bit more time to settle herself back off to sleep before interfering...although she isn't climbing out of the cot so perhaps a bed is right for you, although 2 feels young to me to move to a big bed.
We have same challenges with teeth brushing, dressing, getting her to sit in her own chair for tea etc. Being clear and consistent with the 'rules', explaining anything new to her repeatedly not then wavering at all (give an inch she takes a mlie) has all helped massively. For example she doesn't get her dinner until she's got a bib on. A few tears the first time I insisted (after spending all afternoon telling her this would be the case) and she choose a bib. All was great until her dad gave her a piece of toast this morning before she had a bib on and then we had bib refusal again!
No plans to start potty training here yet. Could you just give this up for now? Might improve your anxiety about things if you have less to 'do'.
Drop the potty training - it's just adding stress to an already stressful situation! She doesn't need to be potty trained yet.
I'd seriously consider a bed if she's trying to climb out of her cot.
As pp said be clear and consistent with rules and try not to lose it when she pushes boundaries. This is hard! We do exactly the same as Silver wrt rules, I've chosen some things that are non negotiable- teeth brushing, dinner time on chair and with bib etc and always have a sanction ready- so no dinner until living room is tidy, bib is on and bum is on chair. You set the rules then repeat 'no X until Y' until they get the message. I also give small choices, red cup or blue cup etc.
Two year olds can be very tough!
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