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DD1 has always been a stubborn baby who cries/screams if she doesn't get her own way. She's very independent, wants to do everything the way DS does (no booster seat at dining table, big cup, big plate etc etc). We've tried everything to to try and stop her crying. Ignoring doesn't work, she will cry the word 'daddy/nanny' over and over and over until she gets some attention. Even parents walking to school have given me looks because she will not stop. This morning DD2 messed up a puzzle DD1 had half done, DD1 cried 'daddy' over and over, 'daddy come home'. She cries to get out and walk if I put her in the double buggy and she cries to sit down if I only use the single. She gets plenty of cuddles, I always make the effort to do one-to-one things with all 3, less so with DD2 as she gets me on her own whilst the others are at school.
DD1 is either high as a kite on happiness or she's crying, there's no middle ground and it's becoming stressful and it's spoiling the mornings/afternoons/bedtimes. She had a tiring day on monday and at bedtime it was like she was possessed. We'd brushed her teeth but she kept saying she wants nanny to brush them so kept taking the toothbrush back. I tried to take it off her but she just cried/screamed for nanny to brush them. She was kicking and screaming so I had to bring her back down whilst the other 2 went to sleep. It's now got to the point where I know she's going to cry every morning before school (for one reason or another), every afternoon between getting home from picking up DS and dinner being on the table and every bedtime (not wanting to go up). She goes to school mon/wed/fri mornings only and spends thursdays at her nans. She's fine when she's there and plays lovely with her younger cousin, another girl who's nearly 2.
When my oldest 3 were little I had this all the time with my middle one. I know it is just exhausting. It turned out my son had ADHD, (which was diagnosed through referral by pre-school). Getting a diagnosis didn't stop it but did make me feel less of a failure as a mother. If you are concerned it might be worth speaking to your HV or GP about it.
I found planning my day the night before and trying to prepare ways I could head off differrent problems, helped. If you have some strategies in your head ready, to try, it takes away some of the stress.
Unfortunately some children are just high maintanence and sometimes there is nothing to be done except wait for them to grow out of it. Think of ways to help you switch off to it and remain calm. I used to do cooking with the tumble dryer on, to dampen down the noise of my son screaming at me. Sometimes just keeping him too busy to have time to think helped keep him calm.