Advice please - toddler and newborn - longish post, sorry!

(11 Posts)
Youcanneverhavetoomanybooks Wed 26-Feb-14 11:48:42

Hi

We have a 3.2 yo dd1 and a week old dd2. We brought the baby home and dd1 has been amazing with her - loves to kiss and stroke and cuddle her and is enchanted with her. However, her own behaviour has seriously deteriorated and I would like some advice please.

My dh has taken 2 weeks paternity leave and, as I am bf on demand, he is basically doing what I was doing during the last few weeks of maternity leave - nursery run etc. Dd1 has nursery every morning and we are trying to keep things as normal as possible for her. But obviously, things have changed - I can't come running the second she wants me if I'm feeding and I'm also really tired from being up a lot in the night.

We are trying to give her lots of attention / telling her how much we love her etc, but she is becoming a bit of a control freak - not that way daddy / stand over here - no, not over there, over here / I want it like this / not now / leave me alone etc - and stalling furiously first thing in the morning when we need to get her out (milk / teeth / get dressed / eat breakfast) and before bed - last night we literally had to hold her down to get her into her pjs as she had stalled for half an hour and was totally overtired and obnoxious. (She calmed down soon after with a cuddle from me).

I am very strict with her generally (though very loving) - she knows if I say no, I mean it. Dh, slightly less strict - she can get away with more though she gets more upset if he counts time out than if I do as he doesn't do it so much.

I know why she's doing it all - I just wondered if anyone had any tips or suggestions to help us get through this bit. Thanks.

ChubbaBubba Wed 26-Feb-14 13:50:58

You have my sympathies, it's incredibly hard. I have a DS 3.1 and a DD 4 months so am just a few months down the line. My DS was exactly the same when his sister first arrived - completely accepting of her, lots of cuddles and strokes etc, but acting out big time with me and DH. The good news is that his behaviour has improved a lot over the past couple of months so it really is just a phase.

I found his behaviour was better when we went easier on him discipline-wise, as difficult as that might be when you are exhausted and at the end of your tether. And the stalling at bedtime is sooo annoying I know, but I would try to allow extra time for it in her routine so she thinks she's getting her own way IYSWIM. We also found it helpful to explain things to him - so at bedtime where everyone was going to be sleeping, where the baby would be at night, who would come to him if he called, who would be there in the morning. It was obvious that it all came from anxiety and explaining seemed to help that. If he started to tantrum i would just ignore him and walk off until he had calmed down. We also did lots of praising when he was good. He loves stickers so we would use those to bribe/praise as necessary.

As for the breastfeeding, I just had to get used to feeding in all sorts of positions, sitting next to DS on the floor or being able to stand up and walk around and feed so I could go to him if needed. Could you set her up with an activity - puzzles, colouring, duplo whatever - before you feed and sit and watch, make sure you talk to her while you feed about what she's doing. I think you also have to accept that at times baby is going to have to be left to cry for a few minutes. My DD is turning into the happiest most chilled out baby so i'm sure it didn't do her any harm.
It will get better in time. Best of luck.

spritesoright Thu 27-Feb-14 06:18:44

We are in the same position OP so my sympathies although I'm not sure I have any answers. DD1 is 2.5 and DD2 is 2 weeks old.
DD1 has been very affectionate towards DD2 but yes, acting up big time for us. Or at least making our lives more difficult. She's been potty trained for months but had 4 accidents today and is similarly fighting bedtime and shouting at me 'NO!" when I ask her to do things.
Someone suggested that she is sorting out her place in the family and wants to make sure she is still loved and paid attention to.
I am sympathetic but it's so hard to be understanding when you're exhausted.
Currently she is spending a lot of time with DH which seems to compensate somewhat for my distraction but he's back at work next week.

I hate the idea of leaving DD2 to cry just because her sister is being difficult.

At least you get a break in the mornings which is nice. Hopefully someone comes along with something more constructive.

Livvylongpants Thu 27-Feb-14 06:35:21

Another message to say it gets easier. DD was just turned 2 when DS arrived. Although she adored him she wasn't so keen in us.
DS is 5 months old and it has long since passed, its Luke shes forgotten he ever didn't exist. Just keep doing what you are doing, explaining bad behaviour is wrong but giving lots of cuddles and reassurance, if you can make a little time just for you and her (easier said then done as my DS doesn't sleep much)
I used to pop him in a sling and do some drawing or make cakes.

Yesterday she I formed me very matter of factly that she' loves the bobs (her name for him) and that he's her best friend :D

Our dd turned 3 as newborn came home. In hindsight the first 3 mths were v hard as the new normal set in. At 3 mths she asked if dd2 was going back!

At 4mths it got better. By 6 we had normal settled.

Grit your teeth smile and ride the wave! It gets better daily. Promise xxxx

Youcanneverhavetoomanybooks Thu 27-Feb-14 20:13:11

Thanks everyone. It does help to see that you've been through it too and that it does get better. Hmmm. Maybe we should get a sling then...?

Going to try to give her a little more leeway with the stuff that doesn't matter so much then - today, brought her home from an arts and crafts afternoon and warned her that when the song on the CD was finished, we were getting out of the car and coming inside. She wanted another song. We said no. She kicked off for 45 mins and while she was tantrumming, we carried her inside kicking and screaming and she ended up sitting on our doorstep (we live in a block of flats) crying and screaming for most of that (apologies to our neighbours!). But then she calmed down and has been brilliant for the rest of the evening - go figure!

Livvylongpants Thu 27-Feb-14 20:39:10

I've learnt not to 'sweat the small stuff' if she's not In danger or harming herself, others or property then she can go about her business.

And no negotiation! We used to try and negotiate 'come out of the car and well get some chocolate etc' now I ask her nicely, I count to 3 and then I will do it anyway I.e remove her from the car (kicking and screaming if needs be) she quickly learnt that she may as well do it the first time

spritesoright Fri 28-Feb-14 00:29:06

I'm a sucker for the negotiations but trying to clamp down as well. Tonight when I told her it was bedtime she started to tantrum as she wanted to play with her toys. I was tempted to say "okay, five minutes then" but didn't. Instead I picked her up and brought her upstairs and the tantrum ended really quickly.
What do you do if second DC is in the sling though as I can't carry a tantrumming toddler with baby in sling...

milkjetmum Fri 28-Feb-14 01:16:21

Hi, no advice but just posting to say I am in the same boat! my similar thread - seems we need to just ride it out...

Bubblegoose Fri 28-Feb-14 01:34:06

What's worked for us (and I appreciate it might not work for you as it does focus on the baby) is lots of talking 'to the baby' about how amazing her older sister is. This helps stop bad behaviour ("look how nicely Sarah is eating her dinner! One day you'll be a big girl too, aren't you lucky Sarah can show you how big girls eat.") and boosts their ego. ("Wow, look how fast Sarah can run, Baby! Isn't your sister amazing!"). This technique has really worked for us and DD is now always trying to show her baby sibling how to sit properly, put away toys etc.

It's hard. I hope thing settle down for you soon, OP.

Livvylongpants Fri 28-Feb-14 11:32:51

I only used sling to do walks and colouring etc. I tended to 'dump' DS in a bouncer when needed. Second children soon learn that sometimes they have to wait. My son is far more chilled then my daughter ever was and am convinced its because I didn't jump to his every noise.

You DD will figure out sooner or later that there is no negotiating. I ask nicely if not done then I will make her (I.e carrying out if car etc) I find by not negotiating with get mid tantrum the tantrum ends quicker.
They are old enough now to say 'you carry on, when you've calmed down come abd talk to me' when she does I give her a cuddle and tell her I love her but her behaviour is unacceptable and why

she's still a little madam though

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