struggling with toddler and baby - tips please

(16 Posts)

I'm really finding things hard with DS 2.1 and DD 5 months
and need tips to make things work/give DS positive attention and stop being so bloody cross all the time! The situation today is this (and it feels like flipping groundhog day) DD was awake around 6 chatting to himself, did a poo so DH changed him. Today he was happy to stay in his cot (which has been in his own room for about 5 days - he seems excited and happy about this) until we got up at 7 and all Hell broke loose. He's had 3 or 4 screaming tantrums, is whingy and doing things he knows will get him told off..particularly annoyingly is he's woken his sister up by shouting in her face 15 minutes into her nap and she's now totally overtired but won't go to sleep.

I know he just wants to play with me but DD cannot go to sleep on her own (even if she could I don't want to leave her in a room on her own to sleep until 6 months because of the increased risk of sids) and I can't get him to understand if he just let her go to sleep and stay asleep I'd be able to give him my 100% attention. it's not like I can read to him or anything because he just can't sit still or be quiet for a minute sad

I saw a HV last week who is arranging for home start to get in touch and hopefully have somebody in a couple of times a week to play with him or DD so the other can have my attention but there's an 8 week wait and I just don't know what to do in the meantime. i keep losing my patience and shouting at him and I've already slipped through the net for 2 months as I asked my GP for help with stress and he referred me for some counselling and to see the HV but they cancelled my appointment 4 times. I have no family support and don't want to ask my friends for support (I'm very pfb and dont want anyone to know im struggling) but I sometimes feel great and other times like today (when DS is climbing the walls and DD doing her nut wanting to sleep but not knowing how) where I just don't know what to do but know I can't carry on like thissad

I don't want to put him into childcare. I suppose what I really need is for DD to be able to fall asleep without me (and without screaming) by 6 months so I can just put her down for a nap and go and play with DS for half an hour

sorry that was rushed and no punctuation but feeling very stressed. should add im being treated for anxiety and routine looks like this

7 up for day (although increasingly up at 5.30 or 6) and play with daddy interrupted at 7.30 to get dressed
8 breakfast
10.30 snack
12 lunch
1 nap (anything from 45 mins where he wakes up screaming to the occasional 2 hours although usually 1)
3.30 snack
5.30 wind down
6 tidy
6.15 pjs
6.30 dinner followed by story
7.15 bed. He's almost always asleep by 7.30

DD needs 3 or 4 naps of anything from 30 mins to 1.15 and sleeps in the sling/pushchair or occasionally after being fed. if the former I have to keep moving or she wakes early and is grumpy. we do lots of groups and go out for a walk at least once a day.

sorry if ive forgotten anything, head is all over the place today angry

insancerre Sat 23-Mar-13 10:54:45

Ask your hv if they do the 15 hours free funding for 2 year olds in your area. It will do all of you good if he could go to a nursery for a few hours a day.
I knowyou have said you don't want to use childcare but maybe he just needs a bit more than you can give him at the moment.
Take all the help that you can- it's really not worth stretching yourself so thin- something will snap.
And it will get easier

They do but she doesn't think we'll qualify and said there are no places anyway. You're right though, something needs to change. I don't know what to do sad

fairylightsinthesnow Sat 23-Mar-13 13:44:51

Oh dear OP, there is a lot going on here and you have my sympathies. First of all, can I ask if there is a reason you are particularly worried about SIDS? If there are no extenuating circumstances, you really shouldn't worry too much at this point. Presumably you don't stay in the room with DD while she sleeps so letting her go to sleep by herself is no increased risk. Getting her to go to sleep without you may take a little practise but can be done and will help you to be more "present" for your DS. It sounds like the structure of your day is fairly normal and if you do groups and things your DS is getting a fair bit of stimulation. What do you do with him when DD is asleep? (There are 21m between my two and I usually let DS watch TV for at least 1/2 the time DD is asleep so I can have a little bit of peace and quiet and time to myself. ) Where I live there is a pre-school that starts at 2 years old. Its about £12 for a 3 hr session but has been great for both DS and me and DD as well. I can take her swimming and things while he is there, so even if its only a one or two sessions a week it can be worth it if you have the funds. Is there anyone, like family, nearby who might like a regular slot for having one of them each week? Do reach out for any help that is available but you HV sounds a bit negative and unconstructive - just telling you "no" and not suggesting alternatives isn't terribly helpful. Whereabouts are you?

sorry fairy I should have been more clear..DD only naps on me in the sling or in the pushchair if we're out. it often takes ages and if I try and put her down more often than not her eyes pop open and she screams and I have to start the whole process again. so poor DS is playing by himself whilst im trying to get her to sleep and often until she wakes up because if I bend down she wakes.. I totally understand why hes waking her up but its not helping matters because she's grumpy as well now. I've tried doing things like drawing or puzzles with him once shes asleep but he wants to crawl around the floor or get the trainset out and screams (waking her) if I say no or if something doesn't go quite right. today I eventually managed to put her down in the cot and against my better judgement left the room to play with him and get him a snack, he asked for more and when I turned to get it he had disappeared to the bedroom and woke her up, he did it again this afternoon so shes only had one nap longer than 15 minutes today. I'm lucky she's fairly easy going because if that'd been him as a baby he'd have been screaming all night through overtiredness.

the HV hasn't been unhelpful, she's made some suggestions for some help but there's a long wait, she talked about the 2 year funding but didn't want to get my hopes up I think. It would be a last resort for me to send him somewhere at the moment, I gave up work to look after him and I would personally feel like I'd failed if I give up at the first sign of trouble (I'm not suggesting that's what other people do, I just have to know I've given something my best shot and at the moment I just feel like I'm missing something rather than I've come to the end iykwim)

when we go out there's no problem because we go for walks and DD naps while we have a chat and a bit of an adventure but we had nothing to do today and the weather was rubbish and I didn't feel up to getting everybody ready and down a flight of stairs to get soaked (its maybe the first time in about 2 weeks we've not been out so was a particularly bad day) - I think I need to rely more on DH when he's here to give me one-on-one time with both and perhaps a little time to myself to recoop. at least then I might have more patience. I also want to work on getting DD to sleep on her own and without moving but it took a long time with DS so I'm not all that hopeful. gosh I'm a moaning minnie today, I just wonder how other SAHMs manage...especially that woman on 16 kids and countinggrin

Iggly Sun 24-Mar-13 07:22:31

I had a dd and ds like yours. When dd needed a nap and we were home, I used the tv. Or we got out. Even in rubbish weather, I'd engineer a walk to the library where hopefully dd would be asleep by then and I could spend time with ds.

As they got older I used tv less - I used to beat myself up about it but decided the stress was worse than a bit of peppa pig!!!

As dd got older she got easier to nap (as in quicker).

As for putting your dd down and she wakes - have you made sure Shea winded? Sounds silly but 99% of the time that would be why dd didnt settle.

SaltyandSweet Sun 24-Mar-13 08:37:42

Hi OP, so sorry for what you're going through, I've been there I know it can feel like you're caught between a rock and a hard place. DS2 was born when DS1 was 2.4 and he showed similar attention seeking behaviour. I followed the best advice I received and did my best to maintain DS1's life as he knew it - the introduction of a new baby was enough turbulence. This meant that DS2 had to tolerate normal noises (which he did very well by 5 months) and DS1 was allowed to play with all his usual toys (using his indoor voice only) in the family room while I tended to both of them. I would let DS2 lie on a mat near me and DS1 and they both seemed to appreciate that. I think the key to finding a way that works for you is to remember that your eldest is behaving this way out of sheer frustration that his life is so different. I'm not sure why you're saying no to his requests to crawl on the floor etc? I think the waking of his sister is showing his frustration (i.e. I will NOT be quiet for you!). He is still very young to have to change everything, IYSWIM.

I think if you let him play much like he used to before the arrival of his sister while she is awake, then the sleep issues will smooth themselves over.

iggly no I haven't winded her as its usually quite a while since shes had a feed (she likes to eat on waking rather than before a sleep) but you could be right, I will try that. It's definitely better on the days we go out, I usually make an effort to get out at least once a day but yesterday we were all in a bad mood and I couldn't be botheredsad

Do you go to playgroups?

salty and sweet I'm not saying he can't crawl on the floor I'm saying I can't join him while DD is getting to sleep or actually sleeping because she's in the sling and we both get uncomfortable if I bend down and it wakes her up. I know absolutely he's frustrated and on the good days I completely understand and I'm sympathetic, but on bad days I'm expecting much more from him than is fair (I think because he's so verbal) and I get so cross with him. It's me that needs to change I know that but it's hard to know where to start. I have put my name down for parenting classes locally so hopefully that will help.

Thanks all for your suggestions, I knew it would be hard but the reality is different to what I imagined (or maybe I couldn't visualise it) and toddlers are so different to babies..it's getting used to the change for all of us I think. I'm just aware that if I don't make changes now things could get out of hand and I don't want my children to feel ignored or to be told off all the time

girls yes we do at least 2 a week but with the holidays coming up I'm dreading them all being cancelled. The only thing is DD is interested in what's going in at them now so won't sleep there and then gets overtired and cranky but she normally sleeps on the journey home while DS and I have a walk. I'm trying to plan an outing for every day in the holidays even if its just to the shop for milk! can't wait for the better weather wink

SaltyandSweet Sun 24-Mar-13 12:10:00

OP, try not to be too hard on yourself. It is very hard having two little ones with very different needs. You'll find the right balance for your family, don't worry flowers

I know how you feel about the holidays! Playgroups definitely save my sanity.
It's hard getting out but well worth it once you do.
Have a look on your local council website for kids activities.

Our sure start centre is open for a week of the holidays.

Agree about the weather too things are just so much easier in the sun aren't they..!

I find the most difficult days of the holidays are the ones where I decide to stay in and get stuff done as it never happens!

thank yousmile I'm aware I set high standards for myself, I just want them both to be happy but I need to look after myself too. will check out the councils website and get some stuff on the calendar wink

tazmo Sun 24-Mar-13 21:13:33

What. I did was have safe places for dd3. Travel cot downstairs, leap frog activity centre, bouncy seat - so if other children were being tantrumy - I could get to them! You also need if you can, try to get your son out to tire him out.do you have a double buggy or can. You put baby in sling and ds in one of these first little tikes bikes and keep him occupied? If money is a prob, try buying them on eBay, gumtree or from local ads. It's not easy. I found the jump from one to two worse than from two to three - but he does need tiring out and. Some attention. A soft play area which is good for younger children also good as there is often a gate to keep kids in! Good luck.

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