Please help me like my lovely DD again, I feel terrible

(38 Posts)
ImOverHere Fri 03-Jul-09 09:28:10

I've got a DD aged 3.8 and 4mth old DS. DD has always been a struggle. Didn't sleep properly til 18mths, crawled at 5mths, (climbed the sofa at 10wks - I kid you not)wouldn't take a bottle or cup when I was desperate to stop bf, can whinge for england, and lately has developed a lovely attitude (wont listen, says no constantly, is very defiant). On the up side she is bright, funny, active and very pretty (obviously).

However, I am finding that each stage with her is so difficult, you get no room for mistakes with her, she can be awkward, lazy and downright defiant and TBH, lately I am finding it difficult to like her.

And this makes me feel terrible and awful and guilty and tearful. I do love her and wouldn't do anything bad to her but I need a sense of perspective here. SHe is only 3 and I need to chill out, but it's hard.

DS is no bother at all (am trying v hard not to compare, but it is difficult when he is such a good baby and she was a nightmare), although I am still up feeding about 3 times during the night.

Please help me get my head around this and help her and me to get on again. I need to be the adult, but sometimes all I want to do is stamp my feet and cry.

Lizzylou Fri 03-Jul-09 09:31:13

I am remembering now that DS2 is 3 that 3yrs old is actually harder than the terrible twos. He is so stubborn and yes, defiant and my lovely cuddly boy seems to have vanished.

Does your DD go to nursery/preschool/playgroup at all?

Of course you love her, but sometimes they seem to press every button going, don't they?

ImOverHere Fri 03-Jul-09 09:33:46

Yes, I kept up nursery when I started on maternity leave so she still goes 3 days a week (otherwise I'll lose the place). When she leaves with her dad in the morning I can feel a real sense of relief (which then makes me feel guilty).

Yes, I agree, the 3's are harder than the 2's. You can almost forgive the 2's because they don't understand so much, but as they get older they do and it becomes harder.

Lizzylou Fri 03-Jul-09 09:40:30

I so understand the relief when they go to nursery! blush

If it is any solace, DS1 was a terror during his 3's, settled down a bit during the 4's and now is usually a well behaved and lovely 5 year old. Truly, he has his moments but he seems to understand more that if he is good he gets praise and is more likely to get what he wants!

ImOverHere Fri 03-Jul-09 09:44:20

I have heard that the 3's are hard (am wondering when the easy stages arrive???).

We've just tried night training with her and she was doing really well, but seems to have decided that, because she doesn't get in trouble she might as well wet the bed. THis is the sort of thinking I have all the time from her. She always makes it so hard when we could have had an easy time of things.

I read a thread on here saying DS were harder work than DD's, but I can honestly say that my DD is equally as hard as anyone elses DS!

WinkyWinkola Fri 03-Jul-09 09:45:37

It's really hard when you have a difficult child. ImOverHere, you have my total sympathies.

DS (aged 4 and 2 months) has been really objectionable since he was 2. DH and I were in pits of despair with his constant rages, poor sleep patterns and generally difficult behaviour. We were walking on eggshells around him and I actually was afraid of him for a long time because of wanting to avoid his easily triggered fury.

I can categorically say I did not like DS during this period. He got lots of hugs, positive words, came into our bed at night whenever he wanted etc but I did not like him, I'd say for 80% of the time.

And whilst that is far from ideal, we're all human. If you have someone who is constantly difficult and challenging in your life, it's natural to have negative feelings about them.

The difference is whether you show those negative feelings. Obviously, if your DD is being annoying, you can think all the things in your head that you would like to say as a release for some of the pressure you're under. But don't say them. You can still show her that her behaviour is unacceptable by being firm and calm in your rejection of the behaviour.

Don't take what she says too seriously. Lots of 'no's' etc - she might not really mean what she says. I just ignored my DS's no's and other unhelpful spiel. I pretended he didn't have a clue what he was saying and that helped.

Erm, in fact, my mantra in difficult times was, "This too shall pass, this too shall pass," and "Don't be too hard on him - he has special needs," or I would pretend he was someone else's child in order to get some detachment from him.

Also, walk away from her if she is being problematic. If it's to do with getting dressed and stuff like that, put her in the car in her pyjamas and take her clothes and shoes with you so that when you get to where you need to go, you can put her in them. Or not. It doesn't matter.

The good news is that it gets better. I kept DS busy with activities that burned his energy like football, mini gym and swimming and lots of playdates. I know that my friends too found him difficult and I really thank them for putting up with him on these playdates!

Bear up. It does get better over time. Try to anticipate when she gets difficult and think of ways to circumnavigate those flash points. Or write them down on MN and we could come up with suggestions?

Sorry for ramble. I just feel your pain!

WinkyWinkola Fri 03-Jul-09 09:48:24

Also, how is she around her sister? Does she dote on her or is she jealous?

Could there be a connection between the arrival of her sister and her difficult behaviour?

Is she punishing you for sending her to nursery still whilst you are at home with the baby?

I don't think you should feel guilty at all for sending her to nursery. She'll benefit a lot from being with other children and in good caring hands. And your relationship with her will benefit too because you're not with her all the time, dealing with the problems that her age can bring.

babblington Fri 03-Jul-09 09:50:17

You've got a new(ish) baby who is lovely and easy - it's easy to compare and contrast. Wait until No.2 is a nightmare and then No.1 will seem lovely again! It all seems to be swings and roundabouts with two - it took me 18 months to really like both my children at the same time after the birth of dd2, but with 3 life is wonderful!

WinkyWinkola Fri 03-Jul-09 09:50:19

BTW, my DS doesn't have special needs as far as I know. It was just a way of my generating more patience for dealing with his behaviour.

Will stop now!

Lizzylou Fri 03-Jul-09 09:51:12

I agree with Winky, we are trying hard to ignore DS2's bad behaviour as we realised that our entire family was being ruled by him, a 3 year old!

He was awake at 12.30am this morning shouting his head off and demanding things, we checked on him, told him to go to sleep and then ignored his demands. He went back to sleep (after 30 minutes, matchsticks for my eyes please) but I'd previously have tried to appease him so that he'd sleep.

Ignoring the bad and praising the good is my mantra atm, mainly because I realised that
DS1 was giving in to DS2 as well and it wasn't fair on him, we were all on eggshells trying to avoid a meltdown.

edam Fri 03-Jul-09 09:53:13

I think you have to let all the difficult baby and toddler stuff go - don't let it colour your impression of her now or your reaction to her.

Lots of people find it hard when they have a gorgeous cute cuddly easy baby to deal with and a trying 3yo (I only have one but have heard this again and again from friends and relatives).

It is hard for her, being displaced by a new baby. And you may try not to let your feelings show but children are VERY perceptive and pick up on cues you don't even know you are giving.

Have you got any child development books, so you can reassure yourself this is normal 3yo behaviour?

The 'this too shall pass' mantra is VERY helpful I find when ds is going through a challenging stage!

ImOverHere Fri 03-Jul-09 10:02:29

Winky - Yes, we too find ourselves dreading what she is going to shout and moan about next and can feel afraid of it (more for the sense of - Oh GOD not again, rather than not dealing with it).

We used to be much more chilled in terms of not caring so much about things (like not putting her shoes on etc), but lately I just wish that for once she would.

Trying v hard to ignore the bad and praise the good (quite tuff when the good is few and far between).

She does love her brother and has always been very good with him - just me and her dad she's a bloody nightmare with.

I know she can be a lot of fun, I've just lost sight of that lately because its all such hard work.

moan moan moan eh... think I need to belt up a bit!

WinkyWinkola Fri 03-Jul-09 10:09:56

Well, you're under a lot of pressure.

It really colours and dominates your life. It doesn't help when people don't believe you either! My relatives were amazed when I told them how difficult my DS is/was. He's not too bad now although we do brace ourselves.

Being out and about a lot can dilute the situation too. Lots of walks, summer fairs, soft play - stuff to keep them busy, get them tired but also takes away the intensity of their anger that can be overwhelming when you're in four walls at home.

I very calmly put DS in his room when he's raging. I tell him he can come out when he's stopped shouting and screaming and ready to say sorry. It gives me time to calm down too. It's unbelievably stressful.

ImOverHere Fri 03-Jul-09 10:15:28

I expect she is feeling displaced with having a brother to contend with for attention.

yup, unbelievably stressful is a v good way of describing it!

PortAndLemon Fri 03-Jul-09 10:15:48

When you are in a position to be able to leave your DS with someone, can you get out for a day with just you and DD? Or get out for a morning or afternoon with just the two of you now? I felt quite like you did with DS a lot of the time after DD was born, and I think spending some time devoted to him (and we went to do stuff I knew he'd like, and I made an effort to approach the day like a four-year-old and not get too stressed about stuff) really helped us to reconnect.

PatTheHammer Fri 03-Jul-09 10:16:18

<<sorry for hijack>> Hi Imoverhere! Have you noticed there is a Gloucester meet-up on thursday at Longhope? Bring your DD and meet an equally challenging 3yr old DD (ahem, mine!). Also have a 6mth old DS who is a joy (feel guilty just saying that!). Know how you feel x 100 smile

ImOverHere Fri 03-Jul-09 10:21:40

Hello Pat, No I hadn't noticed that. Where abouts in Longhope - the Dick Whittington farm park/play barn? She loves it there. What time, I shall come along (I'll look for the thread later - of out to my granparents with dc's now, to break up the day a tad).

Port and Lemon - Yes I shall take her out on her own, that's a good idea. MIght remind me why I have liked her (and do still love her - honestly) I have taken her shopping, but like you say, its not really a 3yr old activity!

PatTheHammer Fri 03-Jul-09 10:22:52

Yes dick whittington farm park, not sure of time blush. Have a look on thread, hope you can make it!

ImOverHere Fri 03-Jul-09 10:26:24

I think for my sanity I shal make it. Thursday she is usually in nursery, but sometimes you need to get out and meet other people!

ImOverHere Fri 03-Jul-09 15:03:47

OK, so far having not too bad a day. Tried to be muchn more patient today with her and in turn she has been a great deal nicer to me and everyone else.

We are going out on our own later for her swimming lesson, so hoping that will be OK.

I'm just very tired today and have been feeling pre-menstural (poss pnd but really hoping not as DS much easier baby) of late.

Thank you for your comments and advice so far. It's good to know that others feel the same too sometimes.

PatTheHammer Fri 03-Jul-09 17:58:32

Glad you had a better day, getting out on your own is ideal so hope this helps. I try and make a special point of playing one-to-one game/reading etc with DD when DS has afternoon nap (2.15 till 3.45 without fail at the moment smile.

Think the meet-up is in the afternoon. I am going to get there for lunchtime and give mine a packed lunch there. Should be writing this on that thread really but couldn't find it!

ImOverHere - i totally feel your pain. DS is the same age as your DD and I have a 10wk old DD who is an angel! she is infinitely easier than he is!

right now we are trying a chart system. very basic. it's a rocket ship. if he's good during the day the rocket goes up. if not, it goes down. when it gets to the top star (there are 10) he gets a treat. it's only the 2nd day of it but there is a definite difference!

ImOverHere Fri 03-Jul-09 18:38:03

Patthehammer (from Handy Manny??) I shall be there, have been on the thread.

Trying to spend time with her, but when DS falls asleep for his nap, all I want to do is do the same. I will make a greater effort because it does pay dividents.

purplemonkey - do you think it's something to do with the first born? Most of my friends difficult little ones were their first ones. Have tried the star chart but I like the rocket ship, I think my DD might fall for something like that.

Took her swimming, which was fine til she refused to get out of the shower, at which point she had a tantrum (got home to discover from DH that he never lets her in the shower when he takes her because of that very reason!), but we're doing fine.

DH putting her to bed tonight so I shall chill with a glass of wine and spend ages on mumsnet read engaging books on childcare.

PatTheHammer Fri 03-Jul-09 19:34:47

Yes, from Handy Manny grin. Has been DD's obsession for the past year!!!! I'll join you in a virtual glass of wine (just one though as will need to bf later!) as have just lost out on the house we wanted sad.

Quite impressed your DD will go in the shower, mine won't even entertain it!

fifitot Fri 03-Jul-09 21:12:11

I too have a very challenging 3 year old DD who is driving me insane. Everything is a battle. Wakes up at the crack of dawn and wont' go back to bed, then won't put clothes on etc. At bed time won't get in bath then gets in and won't get out, screams when doesn't get her own way. Bites me when I stand up to her. Put her in her room for 'time out' and she wees on the floor!!!!

Am really struggling and starting to lose my temper with her. Have never hit her but have really shouted and of course I know that doesn't help and feel terrible afterwards.

Thing is she doesn't really have tantrums in the classic sense, so that I could just ignore and walk away until they are over. She just challenges everything and refuses to do stuff. Things like get in her car seat etc. It totally slows everything up. Haven't got time to argue with her and find negotiation a waste of time.

Naughty step doesn't really work either so have given that up. I don't really believe in it to be honest.

Just need some techniques to just get through the day. I can't ignore her behaviour when it's about getting dressed to go out or getting in the car - haven't got time! So what do I do? Get into a physical battle to put her in the car seat? That has happened and she screamed and scratched me!

I have tried sticker charts but don't know what the reward should be. She demands choclate! What do others do?

Feel exhausted by this. Love her dearly but sruggling.

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