Worried I am getting it all wrong with my toddler (practical things) - anxiety post

(54 Posts)
BotBotticelli Thu 21-May-15 09:13:57

I hope someone can help reassure me that I am not getting everything totally wrong with my 2.5yo Ds?

I mean in terms of practical things.

I met up with my NCT group recently (who I seldom see cos i always end up coming home and feeling terrible as they're quite competitive mums - but that's a whole other thread!). And I came away from it thinking that me and DH are maybe doing loads of things "wrong"...we certainly seem to be doing things differently from the other NCT families.

I am worried that we are being a bit lazy/slapdash in our parenting and our DS is behind his peers in terms of we still treat him like quite a young baby.

Examples are:

- DS is still in a cotbed (with bars on sides) not a big boy bed. This was greeted with surprise as all their toddlers are in beds.
- we still brush DS's teeth in his bedroom at nighttime and in the lounge in the morning with toothpaste on a dry brush instead of him standing at the sink on a step and brushing his own teeth (apparently what all their kids do)
- me and DH both work long hours and commute into London. DS does 4 days per week at nursery so I always choose his outfit the night before and lay it out downstairs. Then, after breakfast in the morning I change his nappy and get him dressed on the changing mat on the living room floor in front of CBeebies (!) because it's easiest and causes less grief and screaming that way, and maximises our chances of getting out the house on time! I then brush his teeth whilst he sits on my lap and finishes off watching Dinopaws. We then jump in the car to nursery. This got a few raised eyebrows as apparently their kids are all choosing clothes out their wardrobes with them in the morning and getting dressed in their bedrooms like little mini-adults.
- their toddlers (mix of boys and girls) have opinions on what they do and don't wear. My son doesn't seem to give a shit and he never gets to choose anyway cos I lay the outfit out the night before.
- oh and I totally dress him...he helps push his legs in his trousers and can take a t-shirt off over his head if I get his arms out first, but he is nowhere near being able to dress himself.
- all of their kids are potty trained and we haven't even started with DS yet, although am thinking we might give it a try in the next few weeks.

There are loads of other tiny examples but this outlines the kind of things I am worried about...are we letting our son down by "babying" him and taking short cuts to make our lives easier? Should we, at 2.5yo, be making more of an effort to help him "grow up" and do things on his own? Or will he get there in his own time?

As a bit of background I am currently 31 weeks pregnant with ds2 and before I got pregnant was on Citalopram for anxiety and depression. I came off the ADs when i found out I was pregnant and have been coping pretty well without them I think - but these worries are sneaking back in and I cannot tell how much better of it is the sort of unhelpful thoughts that you have with anxiety/depression and how much of it is a legitimate concern that we are not parenting very well.

My son seems happy, gets lots of love, affection, stimulation and play from DH and I and is happy and settled at nursery so he seems fine. It's just there's no manual for being a mum and I am sure I am getting it all wrong :-(

Would appreciate the views of the women on MN...is the above list of parenting activities within the realms of normal with a 2.5yo boy??

Thank you.

Ohbollocksandballs Thu 21-May-15 09:17:26

My DS is only 16 months but I can't see anything wrong with what you're doing!

Re: the cotbed. As long as he's not trying to climb out I don't see the problem with that either. If he's happy that's all that matters.

Newquay Thu 21-May-15 09:19:40

Seriously seriously don't worry. You are doing an amazing job. I'm doing perhaps everything the same as you with my 3.5 DS. I've also got a DS of 7 months and had pnd (on meds) so I just feel like I'm coming out of the end. The fact is that there isn't a right or wrong way to parent - provided your son is happy and safe. He sounds brill. You have to do what works for you all and with being pregnant too you have to work out short cuts. I'm impressed by your routine! Forget about the NCT others. Hugs x

Christelle2207 Thu 21-May-15 09:20:21

Christ, in your situation I would be distancing myself from these people!
My son is a bit younger than yours (nearly 2) but it sounds to me like you're doing a great job.
What's the rush in getting our pfbs to grow up anyway! ?!

littlesupersparks Thu 21-May-15 09:23:00

Ignore them. What you are doing sounds perfectly reasonable!!! I was still dressing my 4yo when he started school. And you should be brushing their teeth until age 7 I think according to the guidelines xxxxx

defineme Thu 21-May-15 09:24:35

I was doing most of that with my dc and now they are teenagers and do it all themselves! Dentists advise bdushing their teeth for them long past 2 because they just don't do it well. Far healthier to not give a shit about clothes. Only problem with cot is danger if he climbs out and falls. You were planninb on potty training so that's fine. Preschool likes them to put their own coat and shoes on, so not a bad idea to start trying out getting them on himself, but leave it to weekends! My dd is a lazy sod in the mornings and i still helped her into uniform at 7, whereas ds did it all himselffor years befode that.
you are doing fine...don't go back to that group!

Seeline Thu 21-May-15 09:26:56

Firstly - you do everything you are doing for a valid reason. Perhaps they have more time to faff about in the morning whilst DC rejects top after top to wear?!
I think when my DS was that age he was in a toddler bed but because I was preparing him for DD who arrived when he was 2.8 and I didn't want to buy another cot!
He would have been in the bathroom for teeth cleaning, but I would still do it for him. I cleaned both my DCs teeth until they were about 5/6 because they didn't do it properly. they had a go and then I always "checked" ie did them properly. They are now 13 and 10 and have no fillings.....
DS didn't give two hoots about what he wore. I wasn't so lucky with DD, but she was happy if I said "either the pink or yellow" and she could choose.
DS wasn't potty trained until 3.6, and not dry at night until 5. DD was entirely different and completely trained at 2.8 - her decision grin
All kids are different and have different characters and develop at different rates.
I think you will find things change when DS2 arrives. DS1 will seem huge and very grown up, and will probably want to start being more independent and not a 'baby' like his brother. You may find it useful to start thinking now about any changes you might want to make when DS2 comes along, and start introducing them now, so that DS1 doesn't think it is all his brother's fault smile
Basically though parent how you want to, and maybe not go along to the NCT things if you get so stressed. There will be other parents out there who share your views!

PontyGirl Thu 21-May-15 09:27:01

sounds like you're doing a great job OP.

I would carry on doing your own thing, every family is different and some mums can get (weirdly) competitive.

thanks thanks congratulations on your pregnancy

Seeline Thu 21-May-15 09:27:43

Firstly - you do everything you are doing for a valid reason. Perhaps they have more time to faff about in the morning whilst DC rejects top after top to wear?!
I think when my DS was that age he was in a toddler bed but because I was preparing him for DD who arrived when he was 2.8 and I didn't want to buy another cot!
He would have been in the bathroom for teeth cleaning, but I would still do it for him. I cleaned both my DCs teeth until they were about 5/6 because they didn't do it properly. they had a go and then I always "checked" ie did them properly. They are now 13 and 10 and have no fillings.....
DS didn't give two hoots about what he wore. I wasn't so lucky with DD, but she was happy if I said "either the pink or yellow" and she could choose.
DS wasn't potty trained until 3.6, and not dry at night until 5. DD was entirely different and completely trained at 2.8 - her decision grin
All kids are different and have different characters and develop at different rates.
I think you will find things change when DS2 arrives. DS1 will seem huge and very grown up, and will probably want to start being more independent and not a 'baby' like his brother. You may find it useful to start thinking now about any changes you might want to make when DS2 comes along, and start introducing them now, so that DS1 doesn't think it is all his brother's fault smile
Basically though parent how you want to, and maybe not go along to the NCT things if you get so stressed. There will be other parents out there who share your views!

resipsa Thu 21-May-15 09:35:23

OP - mine is 4 and has only just started dressing herself which is the norm amongst my friends. No way is she cleaning her teeth herself yet! She only got a big bed at 3 because she showed no inclination to try to get out of a cot before then. You sound like you're doing fine to me. He's your boy, you know him best and so you go at your pace. FWIW, think the others are BS each other too! They have years to do everything for themselves.

BotBotticelli Thu 21-May-15 09:35:46

Thank you all - he has never even tried to climb out the cot (despite being very tall and quite, er, mischievous, in lots of other ways!)...just don't think it's occurred to him.

Have ordered a bed and am half heartedly planning to get him in it before the new baby arrives anyway...but sort of can't be arsed with the faff of it (have SPD and can't abide the thought of having to go up and down the stairs all evening returning him to bed!). Although he did sleep fine in a single bed with a rail whilst on holiday at Butlins last month so he is capable of it (he was so knackered there he probably would have slept all night standing up though so not sure it's a valid test!)

RatOnnaStick Thu 21-May-15 09:36:05

DS is still in a cotbed (with bars on sides) not a big boy bed.
So is mine smile. I've just this week started to use a duvet instead of a grobag to get him used to sleeping under covers before we take the side off the cotbed. This was a mistake with my older boy who was completely thrown by having both the side off and his bag off at the same time so I'm staggering it.

we still brush DS's teeth in his bedroom at nighttime and in the lounge in the morning with toothpaste on a dry brush instead of him standing at the sink on a step and brushing his own teeth
Both my boys get the toothbrush given to them in the bathroom while I brush my own teeth. In theory they stand and have a go themselves but what actually happens is they run off cackling at each other and hide under my bed hmm. DS1 is sort of capable of brushing his own teeth but at 4.5 he's getting it done thoroughly by me afterwards as well. DS2 who is the same age as yours gets pinned down after chasing him round the bedroom and I do him then to a selection of nursery rhymes.

I always choose his outfit the night before and lay it out downstairs...
DS1 chooses his own clothes (more or less) now. DS2 gets what I choose. He doesn't much care what he's given. The only things he likes to control are coat and shoe choice.

I totally dress him...
DS2 can pull trousers (and nappy) up and down and he can take off a top but thats the extent of it. I start him off and let him have a good go before finishing. It is worth letting him try as potty training involves the ability to pull bottoms up and down.

All of their kids are potty trained...
I'm going to give it a go in the summer when DS2 can run around nappyless without too much issue. They are ready when they are ready. All you can do is encourage sitting on the potty, let him see you use the loo etc. They have to be interested in it or it will fail straight away.
DS1 didn't crack it til 3.4. I tried at 2.10 and 3 and 3.2 and they all were a waste of time because he wasn't ready in himself.

Your son sounds absolutely within the normal range to me. It is the right time to start encouraging self-care and independence as and when he shows interest. Let it happen naturally and it will all be fine. Also Nursery will be helpul for potty training when the time is right.

RatOnnaStick Thu 21-May-15 09:36:47

DS is still in a cotbed (with bars on sides) not a big boy bed.
So is mine smile. I've just this week started to use a duvet instead of a grobag to get him used to sleeping under covers before we take the side off the cotbed. This was a mistake with my older boy who was completely thrown by having both the side off and his bag off at the same time so I'm staggering it.

we still brush DS's teeth in his bedroom at nighttime and in the lounge in the morning with toothpaste on a dry brush instead of him standing at the sink on a step and brushing his own teeth
Both my boys get the toothbrush given to them in the bathroom while I brush my own teeth. In theory they stand and have a go themselves but what actually happens is they run off cackling at each other and hide under my bed hmm. DS1 is sort of capable of brushing his own teeth but at 4.5 he's getting it done thoroughly by me afterwards as well. DS2 who is the same age as yours gets pinned down after chasing him round the bedroom and I do him then to a selection of nursery rhymes.

I always choose his outfit the night before and lay it out downstairs...
DS1 chooses his own clothes (more or less) now. DS2 gets what I choose. He doesn't much care what he's given. The only things he likes to control are coat and shoe choice.

I totally dress him...
DS2 can pull trousers (and nappy) up and down and he can take off a top but thats the extent of it. I start him off and let him have a good go before finishing. It is worth letting him try as potty training involves the ability to pull bottoms up and down.

All of their kids are potty trained...
I'm going to give it a go in the summer when DS2 can run around nappyless without too much issue. They are ready when they are ready. All you can do is encourage sitting on the potty, let him see you use the loo etc. They have to be interested in it or it will fail straight away.
DS1 didn't crack it til 3.4. I tried at 2.10 and 3 and 3.2 and they all were a waste of time because he wasn't ready in himself.

Your son sounds absolutely within the normal range to me. It is the right time to start encouraging self-care and independence as and when he shows interest. Let it happen naturally and it will all be fine. Also Nursery will be helpul for potty training when the time is right.

missmodular2 Thu 21-May-15 09:45:29

I have the benefit of hindsight smile as my kids are older - I can assure you that in less than 5 years from now you will wonder why you even spent energy worrying about these things.

Both of my kids didn't potty train until they were nearly three. And I still have to occasionally dress my six year old in the morning. And my eldest had to have a filling because I left her to brush her own teeth from a young age and didn't realise she wasn't doing it properlyconfused. So please don't try and rush things, you will make yourself and your little one anxious and unhappy in the process. You sound like you are doing absolutely fine.

BoysiesBack Thu 21-May-15 10:11:11

Jeez, your friends seem hard work.

You're doing great, honestly.

Re the bed, if he's not climbing out then he's fine, I had to put my boys into beds at 20 months, 34 months and 30 months respectively, so they're all different.

You're absolutely right to still be brushing your DS's teeth, they wouldn't do anywhere near a decent enough job themselves at that age.

The dressing stuff doesn't matter one bit, even my 10 year old has only just started to take an interest in what he wears. And as to how and where you dress him, well, wherever, whenever and however suits you is always best.

Don't be hard on yourself, OP, we're all just muddling through this parenting stuff keeping our fingers crossed that we're doing a half decent job, sounds like you have a wonderful, happy and settled son and that's what matters.

QueefOfTheDamned Thu 21-May-15 10:56:55

You're doing great! Don't worry. You've found what works for you. Pay no heed to what everyone else says they're doing...and take it all with a pinch of salt anyway wink We still do many of the things you do and DD will be 3 in a few weeks.

Bolshybookworm Thu 21-May-15 11:20:53

You sound like you're doing a great job! Have confidence in your parenting choices and try not to compare yourself to others (easier said than done, I know). Parenting is not a competition, there is not a "best" way to do it- if your child is happy and healthy then you're doing well smile

My NCT group were similarly competitive and I just can't be arsed with them any more. When your new baby arrives and you're off on mat leave, get yourself to a few baby and toddler group and make some new friends!

lexyloub Thu 21-May-15 11:23:57

Your doing great and I wouldn't be surprised if half of them Mums at your nct group aren't lying or exaggerating their dc "achievements " & probably stressing about it as you are

Letmeeatcakecakecake Thu 21-May-15 11:27:42

Ugh im glad I don't have your friends!

I dressed and had to feed my son until he was about 4.5 years old!

In order to brush his teeth I used to have to sit on him restrain him and use one hand to hold his hands and brush his teeth whilst he screamed protested, until he was around 3.5

He was potty trained before he was two but my mum did it whilst I was at work.

He had no say in his outfits until recently (nearly 6) as quite frankly, I don't have the time or the patience to fuck about when were rushing out!

My son also slept in a cot bed until he was 3.5 (he only just learned to climb out at that age!!!!)

Don't worry... I suspect they're telling slight porkies :-)

BotBotticelli Thu 21-May-15 16:26:37

I feel so much better for having started this thread!! Thank you so much - I love mumsnet sometimes!

BornToFolk Thu 21-May-15 17:01:13

My son seems happy, gets lots of love, affection, stimulation and play from DH and I and is happy and settled at nursery so he seems fine.

This is the important bit. The rest of it really does not matter. I can't remember when DS was out of a cotbed but it was definitely after 2.5! He didn't potty train until around his third birthday.

If you want to, and you think your DS is ready you can encourage him to start dressing himself and start potty training but he's still young for both. Nursery will help you out, too.

I also think you need to ditch your "friends" if they are not making you feel happy.

This could be me writing about my just turned 3 year old. Frankly, if I didn't dress, feed and brush his teeth for him in a morning we would never get to work! He 'helps' on days off but I'm too knackered to try to push him to do it himself at the moment, we'll get there gradually. Don't worry - ds has just started nursery and there's a huge range of abilities at his age. He's perhaps a bit behind on the physical stuff but very forward verbally and sociably. Some of the other kids are very capable but really shy and quiet - they'll mostly end up equal in a couple of years smile

babyboomersrock Thu 21-May-15 17:24:04

Also, OP, if you can manage to keep him in the cot bed after the new baby arrives, I'd say you should. I've seen previously good sleepers be quite unsettled by moving to a bed - and that's the last thing you want when you have a tiny baby as well.

My children grew up in the 70s and 80s when toddlers weren't expected to make clothing choices - and it made life a lot simpler. I had 4 dc, and the thought of negotiating every item of clothing each day makes me shudder. They don't need that responsibility and you don't need the potential conflict.

Ours were potty trained earlier, but that's just the way it was back then. I'm sure you won't have any issue about it when you're both ready to tackle it.

Three of mine needed help to get dressed right up to school age (5), and all of them had to submit to teeth-brushing.

I find it hard to imagine any of the 2.5 year olds I know choosing their clothes and dressing themselves...and you know what? Nobody cares when children do things for themselves. Only insecure parents make a big deal out of that sort of thing.

Enjoy your boy, and the new baby.

BertieBotts Thu 21-May-15 17:35:11

You sound absolutely fine, NCT folk sound bonkers and pushy!

Cot bed/cot - totally your choice. Do whatever is easiest! He won't fit in it at five, so you'll have taken it off by then. Don't worry.

I did brush teeth in bathroom, but I don't think it matters at all that you do it. His teeth are probably much cleaner than their childrens' teeth.

I've just read your third bullet point three times and I don't understand what anybody is objecting to here. Sounds normal. I wish my two year old had been so cooperative!

DS had opinions on clothes by about 2/3 but lots of kids don't. It's just personality.

Rare for a 2.5 year old to be able to dress themselves.

Normal age for potty training seems to be somewhere around 3 in my experience. Wait until he seems interested/receptive. And you don't want to do it just before having a new baby anyway, because they regress.

BertieBotts Thu 21-May-15 17:36:01

Why on earth do you think you are getting anything wrong?! Just enjoy your boy, who sounds utterly LOVELY! Ditch the NCT lot if they are such snobs.

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