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Do I simply have a challenging toddler or is there more to it?

(6 Posts)
Mrpip Thu 14-Nov-13 17:20:56

Hello, I've been lurking, occasionally posting for many years now.
Would appreciate any comments / advice / experience you have to offer.
My dd has been with us since birth. She was born with drugs in her system. It was also clear from her birth mothers blood test that fairly high levels of alcohol could be tracked along with drugs throughout the pregnancy.
I should add birth mum is my sister, hence the reason we've had our dd/dn since birth.
When she was a newborn it was obvious to me that she was having some sort of "come down" from the drugs etc. I did my own research along with the hospitals advice and treated her as a possibly addicted baby. She spent months in a sling attached to me. I hoped the screaming was colic but deep down as a mother of 4 children already I knew it was a little different.
Fast forward and she's now 20 months. She is a beautiful, charming and developmentally reaching all her milestones. The "but" is she's so tricky. Very, very active, grumpy, distructive, antisocial with adults and children ( not including her siblings). She reacts with tears and shouts in any situation that's not of her making. It's almost impossible to distract her so I can achieve the most mundane jobs. Now I know that these are all normal toddler reactions. She is my 5th after all and to a extent I have experienced all of these things I've listed. The difference is .... It's constant with dd. it's very possible she is just strong willed and that's fine, more than fine, with me but because I'm not her bio mum and know her history I wonder, am I normalising what may be a clue to supporting her more effectively?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

RudolphLovesoftplay Thu 14-Nov-13 18:57:26

It's so hard isn't it??!? I think as adoptive parents we sometimes have a tendency to "overthink" behaviours, however we are kinda forced into a position where we have to do it. I always treat any adverse behaviour as though it's adoption related and respond accordingly with attachment style discipline. I don't know whether this is right, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I'm afraid I have no experience of addicted babies and likely behaviours as they grow older, but someone will be along who can help a bit more.

Mrpip Thu 14-Nov-13 20:33:46

I totally agree Rudolph, it's exactly like that.
I've avoided overthinking whilst trying to be realistic about dd start in life. In the most part this approach is and has worked. I've had a very tricky toddler who's now a slightly less tricky teen. The difference is I knew there were no obvious contributing factors. In the case of dd we know there are.

sunshine80 Thu 14-Nov-13 20:51:09

hi Mr Pip
have you ever looked into Foetal Alcohol syndrome? both my dear daughters have FAS but it display differently in them both. The behaviour you describe with your little one sounds quite similar to how one of my girls was at that age. Just a thought but hope for your sake its not and she is just going through a tricky stage, best of luck

Mrpip Thu 14-Nov-13 21:29:36

Sunshine80, thank you , I was so concerned with the positive drug result and led so much by the pediatrics team that it's only been recently that I have researched fas. Dd dose not fit the classic description but I'm aware that there are shades of grey. Was there anything that helped your dd?

sunshine80 Fri 15-Nov-13 21:05:38

yes both of our girls had both drugs and alcohol exposure and we were told that once weaned off the drugs that these didn't cause any adverse affects but the alcohol did the irreversible brain damage FAS.
we have to have very rigid routines, avoid too much stimulation and sensory overload - even a trip to the supermarket with the sounds, lights, people, displays etc can be too much for them to cope with. We do everything at quiet times, never going to places that are too busy or overcrowded. We home school our eldest as the busy classroom environment was too much for her to manage.
Massage and relaxation techniques can help to a point, both my girls are extremely hyperactive, don't sleep for more than a couple of hours without waking and being wide awake, they are always on the go and cant stop,
both are very clever when they are able to concentrate but after too much stimulation eg the phone ringing, postman delivering letters, the dustbin lorry with its lights and sounds, the litter picker coming down the road with his bright jacket on etc etc they are unable to concentrate and go wappy.
our youngest who is 3 becomes very aggressive when she isn't coping and my eldest goes into repetitive behaviour too. its more about us changing our whole lives and creating a therapeutic environment (and getting good at dodging the punches and kicks) than ever being able to change their behaviour. All that said though our girls are totally adorable and loving but it dosen't take much for them to struggle to deal with normal everyday situations.
best wishes to you

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