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Help clingy 2yo ... advise please

(26 Posts)
welshbyrd Sun 24-Jul-11 10:22:52

Not an AIBU, have posted in parenting and not had any replies
Its been going for a few months, the last month or so, she has stepped it up a gear.

I regularly take her to my sisters, who has four DCs, they have a lovely park by their house, so we visit daily.

When we leave the house and get in car, she is so excited shouting my niece and nephews names, I get her out of the car seat and she is running to the door again excited, the minute the door is opened, she stops, starts whinging and insists on me picking her up, I try not to but then it becomes a major tantrum.Her screaming and pulling at my clothes
Then for the next hour she wont leave my lap, sometimes she does eventually get down and play a little, but comes back every 5-10 mins, for a cuddle, and 10 mins on my lap, then goes off again.Other days though, she will not move from my lap. Her arms are cwtched around me, and she is gently tapping my neck, smoothing me, and generally being very affectionate

Shops, home, everywhere is the same
We went to a fun fair last week, she spotted a mickey mouse bouncy castle[with roof] she ran straight for it,took her shoes off, we paid the man, she climbed up, the man opened the slit for her to get in, the minute he did that she run straight back to me, screaming
She got on the swings, all excited, until the man put the chain across her lap before the ride started. Again she screamed, and got off.

She is great with her siblings [ DD13yo,DS8yo] and great with my DH.If DD 13yo, takes her to the park, and Im in the house, she becomes clingy with her sibling, not moving anywhere without her hand, or being carried.

Not sure if its relevant she has a scruffy soft doll, with funny ears, which DD has carried around with her for 18months, she will not go anywhere without her, bedtime involves her playing with the dolls ears, for her to drop off to sleep

She woke in the night last, DH put her in the middle of the bed between us[not something we normally do, DH had been up since 5am for work, and I had had a long day, DS had been taken to a+e with a bang to his head]
Anyway, I have as little as 2 hours sleep, DD has been a nightmare, she has been cwtching me, stroking me head, kissing my head, putting her arm under my head etc, dropping of to sleep, every 30 mins or so she has woken up realized she has been moved across the bed a bit, giving me space, then spent the next 20 mins again hugging, smoothing me etc, saying "are you alright mum?"
I hope im not coming across like a horrid mum here, me and my dd are extremely close, and her hugs are lovely, just recently, ive almost felt smothered, and its clear she is losing her social skills
Any advice would be gratefully received

Loonytoonie Sun 24-Jul-11 10:36:40

and its clear she is losing her social skills
I think it's too soon to be coming to this conclusion OP.
My advice would be to go with it. She's probably made another developmental leap recently and is probably becoming more and more aware of her world around her. It can be a pretty frightening place for a wee one. Look at it this way - when she's 14 and ignoring you, you'll be yearning for these cuddles. For the moment, just give her the reassurance she clearly needs, and she'll come through it. I know you're knackered, but she needs you at the moment and this phase will pass. smile

Loonytoonie Sun 24-Jul-11 10:39:38

Meant to add, that it sounds like something has spooked her recently, and she just needs to be close to you. Give her the reassurance she needs OP and try not to leap to any conclusions (said gently).

TheSnickeringFox Sun 24-Jul-11 10:43:53

I second loonietoon, in fact I would go over the top with giving her all the reassurance she needs and more, including letting her sleep in your bed for a bit, that's great. But then (whisper it) I am a fan of Oliver James and the above is quite like his love bombing technique. The technique is slightly more intense and involves taking your child away for some time with parents, away from siblings and with your attention firmly focused on them. Then when you return you set aside 30 mins a day for intensive affection and interaction with them on their terms (ie they decide what you're going to do).

Not everyone's cup of tea by a long stretch [understatement of the year emoticon] but I just wanted to throw it out there!

iggagog Sun 24-Jul-11 10:45:04

Hello, obviously all dcs are different, but from my experience (I have almost-4-year-old) he has moved in and out of clingy phases so I suspect yours will too. I remember a holdiay when he was 2+3, when I couldn't walk into the kitchen without him crying/running after me. I felt so smothered. I don't really have any advice, other than to get some times when you get out on your own - and that this is probably something that will just pass, well it did for me.

Loonytoonie Sun 24-Jul-11 10:47:50

Oh definitely iggagog, good point. When she is sleeping OP, try to totally get some 'me' time - it'll help you through this phase.

Meita Sun 24-Jul-11 11:04:41

Sounds knackering, in a sort of lovely way ... I agree the phase will probably pass, and you will find yourself missing those cuddles soon enough.

Yet, if you find it not sustainable the way it is currently, there might be some ways to help this phase along. I'm by no means an expert, just have been reading 'Playful Parenting' recently so this is straight from that book:

- Perhaps she is working through issues of closeness and distance, of independence, or is there something happening in your family - why does she ask if you are all right? Are you ill? Is there something she might be picking up subconsciously? If you feel you can identify an issue/problem she is working through, you could help her work through it by introducing the theme into a game. Say, play dolls with her, one doll is the mummy and the other doll is the baby, pretend the mummy doll is ill and needs to go to see the doctor. Or, pretend the baby doll has just grown big enough to do something exciting that she wasn't able to do before, and the doll family is going on an outing to do that. Or, just make it up as you go along, taking your clues from her. (Giggling is good - follow the giggles!)

- Sometimes, the more a child clings on to a parent, the more the parent tries to push them away (in a well meaning way). The child then clings all the more. Turn this around - set a time aside when you will just hold your DD - not let go of her. This can be in form of a game - 'I'm going to hold you as long as I can, I'll never let go of you, let's see how long I can hold on to you'; or in form of 'holding time' when you just gently but firmly hold her for a set piece of time despite her squirming and begging to get away. The idea is that the child realises that you want to hug/hold them, you want their closeness, it is not something they have to ask you to give. Being reassured of this, they can venture out and explore more easily.

HTH - if you want to try these kind of things, it would probably be best to read the book firsthand rather than taking ideas second-hand from an inexperienced person like me (DS is only 11months) but still, hth in some way.

Meita Sun 24-Jul-11 11:08:34

oh lots of x-posting, sorry. Totally agree with 'love-bombing' and such - it seems (from the distance of MN) that your DD is feeling a bit insecure about closeness, so do reassure her by giving her lots of it.

welshbyrd Sun 24-Jul-11 11:40:57

No Im not ill, she asks "are you alright mum?" because its something I say to her when she is in the car, if she is quiet.

Though, when DS bumped his head last night, she was clingy to the extreme, while I was seeing to him.

I really do spend a lot of cuddle/love time with her[ at least 2-3 hours a day, on top of her sitting on my lap when we are out] When we are sat down talking/watching TV, me and her are always cuddled up together,[infact to the degree I feel my other 2DCs miss out].
On a daily bases, its normally just me and her, DH works, and the other DCs are normally in school, however, its summer holidays, maybe she is struggling to cope with other 2 being home IYSWIM.We are very close.

She refused her dad dressing her this morning, she wanted me to do it,though while I was putting one sock on her, she asked her dad to do the other. She followed me up the stairs while I got changed.
We have just been to the corner shop for a newspaper, as we were approaching the door, a customer was leaving, she turned towards me and wanted picking up as soon as she seen the other person

Nothing dramatic, spooky has happened to her, Im with her 24/7 so would know. Maybe a bad dream a few weeks ago?

She has a great relationship with her dad, while he is very loving towards her, their time together is a lot of play.

I do not know if its possible to be OTT with a child, I feel silly typing it. But we never let her scream as a baby, even to the extremes we would lie on her bed with her for up to 2 hours for her to go to sleep, so she would not scream.[ she has barely slept right through since birth] If she wants something we gave it to her blush. We knew she was our last child, and we have done everything to keep her happy, sometimes, even if we know it had not been a good idea, and long-term of no benefit for her. I had a cot death valentines day 2000, my dear dear son was 5 months old.
With little time with my son, I think I have over compensated with DD
I do not know if any of this is relevant, and perhaps its me and DH who could be the problem.
Jeez hmm I have stumped myself here sad

Selks Sun 24-Jul-11 11:57:55

I'm sure that the way you've parented your daughter has been great, and she sounds like a normal two year old really...they can go through a really clingy phase as part of their development - as someone said above, she may be learning more about the big wide world and it all seems a bit overwhelming for her at the moment. She will grow out of it.
What I'd suggest in the meantime is allowing her to access all the cuddles and 'lap time' etc that she needs, but don't overly focus on it, be nonchalant, and give her praise and lots of attention when she is venturing out e.g "oh look at you on that bouncy castle bouncing away!" etc. And watch that you're not 'feeding' her anxiety by overly focussing on it or responding to it with your anxiety (not that I'm meaning you are overly anxious). I think she is fine, it will pass, and the key to now is how it is handled by you, really. The main thing is to remain chilled about the whole thing.

exoticfruits Sun 24-Jul-11 12:04:00

She is just a baby. I wouldn't make a big deal and draw attention to it. Just treat it as normal. She will become more sociable in her own time.

Nomdujour Sun 24-Jul-11 12:21:01

Oh welshbyrd sad I'm so sorry.

Fwiw I never let my ds cry either. I'm sure it is just a phase. I think you are doing the right thing by being responsive and reassuring her.

TheHappyCamper Sun 24-Jul-11 12:30:26

Hello welshbyrd.

Your dd sounds quite similar to my dd at the moment (She's 2.3yrs). She has recently become very clingy, particularly for me rather than DH. We're just going with it as we think it's probably a phase.

She wants lots of cuddles and reassurance. If something spooks her she immediately needs cuddles - saying "Scared - Mummy safe" etc. I took her to soft play this morning and she literally wouldn't do anything without me! I am bruised and exhausted lol! grin She was scared of the monsters, the man hoovering, the kids screaming on the death slide - you name it! Interestingly she's not like this for DH.

We think she has possibly started having bad dreams - she talked about a spider one day on waking that clearly was not there, but other than that there's nothing concrete we can think of. Is this about the right age for bad dreams/imaginaion to become more vivid?

What I think I'm trying to say is it seems fairly normal and a bit of a phase. I reckon just give as many cuddles as she needs and pretty soon she'll be onto the next phase.

Not sure if this will help you really, but at least you know there's someone else getting cuddled and stroked all day long smile

welshbyrd Mon 25-Jul-11 09:34:11

Thanks you for all the replies. Really appreciate it.

TheHappyCamper - I really appreciated your reply, my DD is also 2.3yo. I have been researching online/friends etc about this, and child stranger anxiety, most of what I have come across, have been for much younger children. Your reply has put me at ease, our DDs are the same age, and behaving similarly.
I can imagine your DD is loving all the extra cuddles, I know my DD is smile, as another posters said "when she's 14 and ignoring you, you'll be yearning for these cuddles"
I feel more at ease now, knowing my parenting is not OTT, and that this is perfectly normal.

Loonytoonie Mon 25-Jul-11 09:44:11

Just a quick something to add - I remember DD2 at this age noticing shadows and being OTT clingy (literally climbing up my leg at one point in the middle of Tesco, I remember the 'looks' I got from other shoppers). I'm certain she started dreaming too at the same stage. But she came through it and now she's a feisty 5 yr old wanting to have chances to do things on her own.

I'm glad you feel more at ease now and it doesn't sound AT ALL that your parenting is OTT; you sound like a lovely Mum giving lots and lots of much-needed cuddles (albeit exhausting for you). For some bizarre reason, in this part of the world, we are encouraged to rear children that are independent from us and this is often started at a ridiculously young age. I go with the opinion that my children will be independent from me when they are ready to start driving grin and am enjoying my cuddles and clinging whilst they last.

Loonytoonie Mon 25-Jul-11 09:49:16

Sorry - I debated whether to add this or not, but I will. I wanted to say that I'm very sorry for losing your little boy - what you and your DH have gone through is unimaginable. You two certainly aren't the 'problem' as you said - I just think you're acutely aware of how fragile life can be, and are treasuring it. Don't worry about spoiling your little one with cuddles. And perhaps give yourself one, while you're at it.

CurrySpice Mon 25-Jul-11 09:57:58

First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your loss OP sad I can totally understand why you have been very close to your DD

And fwiw you don't sound like a horrible mommy. In fact, quite the opposite smile

If it's any consolation, I think this is just a phase only it's hard to believe that when you're in the middle of it. My DD2 had this phase when she was about 18 months and while the kisses and cuddles are lovely, it is exhausting and very wearing after a while

I'm not sure starting co-sleeping is a good idea unless you want t make it a habit but all you can really do is go along with it and wait for it to pass

welshbyrd Mon 25-Jul-11 10:27:54

CurrySpice - the co-sleeping arrangement was a one off thing, after the sleep I had that night, I will not be making a habit of it. Last night DD slept in her bed, she slept all night

Yesterday DH made some cakes with her - while I had a sneaky half hour on wii zumba fitness [its exhausting blush ]. She popped in to me a few times,on the whole though, she stayed with him, and enjoyed making a mess hmm

Todays plans are swimming, I do not know how she is going to react coming out of changing room, and seeing so many people. [im dreading it]. I must be mad, but im still going to give it a go.

welshbyrd Mon 25-Jul-11 10:31:17

And I glad you did decide to add your second reply Loonytoonie, I think you have hit the nail on the head with
" I just think you're acutely aware of how fragile life can be, and are treasuring it"
This says exactly how I feel, I just could not word it right blush

CurrySpice Mon 25-Jul-11 10:58:35

I guess all you can do with the swimming is be super cheery and go for it

Glad you got a better night's sleep - a lot easier to deal with stuff when you've slept!

Loonytoonie Mon 25-Jul-11 11:42:56

Have a good day OP. Tale the pressure off everyone by just going with her needs today. Even if that means you sitting in the warmer kiddies area and getting very wrinkly in the water wink

Loonytoonie Mon 25-Jul-11 11:43:07

Take, not tale.

welshbyrd Wed 27-Jul-11 17:16:51

Sorry, I have not updated weather has been so good, we have been taking advantage of it
Took her to the pool. I let her look through the window over looking the pools, {it was extremely busy, which worried me more}.
Asked DD did she want to go in, she shook her head, so we just watched through the window for maybe 3 minutes, she then grabbed my hand and said"come on mummy"and headed towards the changing rooms.
Got her changed [and myself] and she headed straight for the pool, we spend over an hour in there, I threw a duck around the baby pool and she chased and brought it back. Spent about 20 minutes of her jumping off the sides into my arms.
She loved it, she did not get shy, or cry if someone looked/got near her. It was fantastic
Yesterday took DCs to the beach, she played happily with a little boy for ages.
Last night, took her to a green near my sisters, had the whole streets children out playing bowls, and she was fantastic, there was maybe 18 children there[ a lot of whom she had not met before]
She is up the park with DD13yo, I have been popping my head out the window to check for screaming [blus] so far all is quiet
Planning to take her swimming again tomorrow
Hoping next week to go to the soft play center, we have not been for a few weeks, last time we went she just sat on my lap, even when I encouraged her to play with me in the ball area, as other children where there, she would not do it. Before this, she would have had her shoes off, and ready to go, whilst I was queuing to pay
Have had 2 tantrums in 2 days too. which really is if nothing else a miracle, we would have a crying match at least 8 times a day, with toys being thrown
Oh, the battle of getting into her car seat, seems to have improved. I ask her [have to about 10 times mind] to sit in her seat please, and eventually she does it. I thank her,and she sits there smiling, almost pleased with herself
Im feeling rested, and positive at the moment

iggagog Wed 27-Jul-11 22:58:19

You seem to be having a better time, well done! Hope you keep enjoying your trips - be preparted for backward slides now and then - and realise you are clearly doing a good job!

CurrySpice Wed 27-Jul-11 23:09:12

Oh that update has pleased me no end grin

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