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Finding my 11 month old very tough going - help!!

(19 Posts)
LittleMissSnowShine Sun 21-Aug-11 08:32:32

DS is 11 months and he's becoming a real handful.

He wakes up every morning at 6am on the dot, no matter what time we put him to bed, even though he has a nice warm sleeping bag and blackout blinds in his room. We follow a very loose version of the Gina Ford contented toddler routine with him, 2 naps a day, no more than 2 hours sleep during the day etc.

But he's FULL ON all day - he's crawling, pulling himself up on everything and trying to walk but he gets really easily frustrated with his own limitations and loses his temper, screaming and shouting. No matter how I try and distract him with toys, games, songs etc he gets bored quickly and he absolutely will NOT sit still for more than 30 seconds. It's a nightmare taking him out anywhere, he won't sit in a highchair in a cafe for more than 10 minutes, even when he's eating or getting undivided attention. It's difficult to take him to friends houses because he wants to crawl around everywhere and pull everything off shelves, which is not only a bit of a pain for them but dangerous for him, since not everyone has a childproof house. He's also suddenly gone 'strange' around people he doesn't know, even people he sees in the park or the shops who aren't particularly looking at him, and he goes mental, screams (he has a very loud scream!) and won't stop until you have to stop and lift him out of the buggy.

He's big for his age (wears 18-23 month clothes) and he's strong, so changing his nappy is also a huge drama since he won't lie down and kicks and screams and crawls away getting sh*t and nappy cream everywhere!!

He's always been a real handful compared to other friends' babies, even as a newborn it was difficult to take him out anywhere since he was always hungry and very bad tempered if he didn't get both a feed and your undivided attention immediately.

He sleeps well at night and he's not a picky eater, so it's not like he's an absolute nightmare baby but at the minute I'm pretty much trapped at home with him all day on the days I'm not at work. He'll go out in his buggy for a walk a couple of times a day, and that's pretty much it. Our local mums and tots group begins again in a couple of weeks but I already know that if I take him I'll be spending the whole time on the floor with DS trying to stop him screaming the place down every time he gets frustrated.

I'm finding it hard to cope with him and I'm considering looking for a full-time job, even though I never intended to do that until he went to school, and our plans for another LO are kind of indefinitely shelved because both me and DH are finding DS so much hard work at the minute that we can't even picture having another one.

I feel so guilty about feeling like this about DS but I had a terrible pregnancy, labour from hell, health complications following this for months and now my baby seems to have become an unruly, temperamental toddler and I'm really struggling to figure out the best way to deal with him and to help him feel happy and secure...

Any advice/tips/suggestions very much appreciated

Iggly Sun 21-Aug-11 13:09:04

Ah well you DS sounds like a normal inquisitive baby to me...! I suspect he's more energetic than others but there are plenty like him (my DS being one).

Part of it is worrying what other people think and that somehow you're doing something wrong. To him though, the world is very exciting and there's lots to see.

With DS, I took him to the park a lot at that age and the occasional group plus the odd toddler class (ones with lots of space to run about). I also made the rooms at home safe so he could explore without fear of him causing damage (we have no bookshelves in our living room for example, and his toys etc are in low boxes/drawers so he can pull them out). Do you have a garden? Can you set up some water play for him (low plastic tub with bits in)? Then you invite friends over to your house instead - explain why and they should understand.

With nappy changes, I used to sing or give DS something to distract him (even the odd cartoon via YouTube on my phone) to keep him still. Obviously have everything to hand (out of his reach) and use wet flannels as quicker to clean up poo than wet wipes.

Also does he get frustrated all the time or at certain times? I'm thinking hunger can make DS grumpier so will always have loads of snacks to hand (good for distraction too).

DS wasnt that fussed by traditional toys until a bit older and only recently at 22 months does he concentrate for several minutes or more. When he was a similar age to yours, he liked to run amok - so got him a trolley to push plus made sure he could pull up on things at home.

It's intimidating having a baby that seems to be hard to control - and to some extent they are - they are very impulsive. Try and find ways to do things which suit him, so have playdates come over, use your garden etc etc. As he gets older it will get easier - I did DS easier now as can reason with him a little bit more.

And I can understand your guilt. Can you put him with a childminder or nursery even 1-2 days/mornings a week without having to go back to work? Your husband might be able to get childcare vouchers to help?

lollystix Sun 21-Aug-11 13:44:06

I hate to say it but he sounds like a normal, intelligent baby boy. They are not easy but 6am waking is, in our household, a positive result from an 11 month old. I have 3 little boys and they are full on. I just think it's hard first time round as the horror if the reality of your life now sinks in grin. I work 4 days. Took 13 months off with ds3 and now pregs with ds4 I intend to return to work much sooner as being a SAHM with very little ones is hard work. Stop worrying what others think - please - you don't sound like you're doing anything wrong. Ds1 sounded just like this - he's just 5 and still full on but he is very bright and I think his early sqwaking and generally twisting on was just pure frustration. Oddly I've found it easier with more kids than just one.

BeaWheesht Sun 21-Aug-11 13:49:49

I have a dd the same age and she's just the same - it is hard work and it is normal. Imo you don't have a particularly 'hard' baby its just a stage. Take him to groups etc - its how they learn. If I stayed in the house every day I'd go out of my mind, maybe he's bored too?

Its hard just now, I also have a ds and feel like he gets ignored too much sad but in the wider scheme of things its a very short time. Just make sure he learns to play alone eventually!

DirtyMartini Sun 21-Aug-11 13:55:08

Sounds a lot like DS was - it's wearing, but not that unusual! I always used to marvel at babies who'd put up with cafe stops beyond 8 months or so. 6 AM is later than lots of babies rise, too, so although I absolutely concur that it is exhausting, please try not to worry. One of these days it will get easier.

Potential plus side: You may get an easy baby next time if you have another, and if so it will seem like a breeze smile whereas those with easy first babies often struggle with the transition to parenting two.

DirtyMartini Sun 21-Aug-11 13:57:15

Oh and: try to think differently about places to take him out - open spaces? It is far harder if you don't go out much.

juneau Sun 21-Aug-11 14:06:55

I think a lot of boys are like this. My DS1 walked at 10 months and was very full-on from then until around 18 months, when he calmed down a bit. He was so destructive at times that we bought two sets of heavy-duty plastic play-pen walls and made a kind of stockade for him in the living room, because otherwise he was into everything to such a dangerous and irritating degree that it wasn't safe. He'd pull all the books off the shelves and rip the covers, get into my kitchen cupboards, etc. It was very wearing, but the stockade meant he could play safely and have a good bit of space to do so and the rest of the house was safe from his onslaught!

We had a lot of park dates as I didn't trust him at others' houses and he needed plenty of running around to let off steam. Going to stay at my mother's house was a nightmare because she refused to toddler-proof until after he broke a couple of her precious things. I did warn her ...

As for wanting to go back to work FT - only you can decide this. But if your sanity is at stake then there are far worse things you can do - particularly if he already goes to a play group and is happy there and well bonded with the carers.

LittleMissSnowShine Mon 22-Aug-11 17:11:27

Thanks everyone! Reading this has made me feel a lot better - I've only got one friend who has a baby (tho he's now 3 and a half) who was anything like my DS and I was just beginning to panic that I must be doing something wrong etc.

It doesn't help that we live in a pretty small house with a teeny, tiny postage stamp of grass instead of a garden but we're right beside a huge, big amazing park. DS used to love going to the park but he gets fed up in his buggy really quickly and because he's not really walking yet he can't walk round it himself so he gets very fed up. Hopefully he'll be up on his feet soon enough though and he can even walk down the street with me or round the playground and that will cheer him up. I've tried to make the house as toddler friendly as possible but things like our stairs are just so steep and they're too narrow to fit most stair gates - it's a pain!! Definitely buying a new build house next time round lol

But it's very reassuring to hear it's all normal and that it's ok to feel like it's bloody hard work sometimes - I'm just finding this month a lot tougher than the last few. And I think he's teething this week too on top of everything else so that's one grumpy baby confused

But this too shall pass! In the meantime, thanks for all your words of wisdom - glass of wine for everyone who has managed to bring up a very energetic toddler...you all deserve a medalwine

An0therName Mon 22-Aug-11 18:32:46

I do think this is a trying stage -it was with my DS2 particularly he wants to walk I think that will be a lot of the frustration
I think once he is walking you will see the difference - and so long as he has a walk round the park everyday it will really help - that come rain or shine - get wellies and one of those all in one suits
have you tried a push a long trolley for him to practice walking - one of those that have block in or there is a Vtech one - prob get both on ebay?
also swimming might be a good way of tiring him out - there might be classes which is a nice thing to do - although no reason why you couldn't take him one your own
also although 6 am is tiring - loads of toddlers wake up earlier!

TheSkiingGardener Mon 22-Aug-11 18:40:32

Walking will make it loads easier. He will be less frustrated and you cab take him out and run his energy off in the park. I've had to give up coffee shops with DS (14 months) but he will do proper lunch.

It is difficult but see it from his point of view and it is far more understandable.

Tigresswoods Mon 22-Aug-11 19:31:38

Yes it is a frustrating age when they want to go and explore and can't quite walk yet.

Ifyou have not already tried soft play I recommend it for wearing out little boys. Also if you can arrange one room in your house (or even the hallway) where it is baby proofed but full of interesting things (not toys, they are rubbish to an inquisitive mind!) then that's a good distraction. Maybe get some cushions to climb into/under.

We also did a few times the empty bath with some balls in, like a ball pond.

It is tough and I remember when my LO was that age, we'd go to friends' houses (even those who had babies) and he just got into everything!

Good luck!!!

pinkhousesarebest Mon 22-Aug-11 19:50:13

Have to echo what everyone else has said, he sounds like a boy. I had one just the same, and remember all too well not being able to bring him to friends houses or mother and toddler groups because of his rumbustious ways.

It makes me laugh now as he is still the same nine years on, and everyone remarks upon his incredible energy. But it was exhausting then.

sprinkles77 Mon 22-Aug-11 20:04:49

I feel your pain, though it is normal. Mine was much the same. He has got a lot better since he started walking at about 16 months. Until then I found that soft play and swimming were great activities, but realistically play dates at other people's houses were a night mare. Your local church will have a mother a baby group, and you can also try "rhyme time" (or something similar) at your local library which will probably be free.

tigress suggestion, of making a fully baby proofed area is a great one. I have done this with our sitting room and kitchen, and filled the drawers and shelves that he can reach with stuff he can play with. Boots sell catches that you can install so you can get the cupboards and drawers open but he can't. And stairgates in doorways so you can keep the door open safely. My sitting room looks like a bomb has hit it, but I know that DS is safe and entertained in there, and I can leave him while I do some other stuff. I think I spent about £80 - 100 baby proofing (3 stair gates and extensions, door and drawer locks), which felt a lot at the time, but has saved me lots in avoiding accidents and breakages.

Also, DS was very amenable to making a game out of tidying! I also taught him how to do the things he wanted to do as safely as feasible (getting up and down stairs / furniture, closing doors and drawers without catching his fingers).

The way I see it, I'd rather my child was interested and interesting than sat down watching TV or twiddling his thumbs while I lunched. Our sons are fun!

sprinkles77 Mon 22-Aug-11 20:07:35

Oh, and even though he can't walk, you can still make good use of the park. He can crawl round after a ball and help you push the buggy. DS got the hang of the slide and loved the swings well before he was walking. Yes, he will be filthy and you'll have to watch out for dog poo!

Journey Mon 22-Aug-11 20:20:38

I think your expectations of what a 11 month can and can't do are unrealistic. Of course he wants to crawl everywhere and touch loads of things. It's hard work but that's what 11 months do.

An0therName Tue 23-Aug-11 08:49:57

just a thought but what helped us was having a break - so on weekends - one day one of us would get up and the other would have a lie in -
I would get your DH to take him out/or you go out sometimes in the weekends as well so you have a bit of child free time
also when he naps don't spend the whole time doing jobs - have a sit down an a cup of tea etc
do either of you have activities in the evenings - execise class etc/seeing friend them - and do you have babysitters/grandparents would look after thim so you and DH can go out togehter - maybe even a night away as you say he is sleeping well
and agree with baby proofing - it makes so much difference - so all cupboard doors, move things up high etc etc

DirtyMartini Tue 23-Aug-11 08:52:17

"get wellies and one of those all in one suits"

YES, do take this advice because once he is walking he will still spend a lot of time on the ground and if you are stressing about him getting soaked in mud and miserably wet, you won't ever be able to stop hovering over him in a half-crouched posture and stressing. You need one of those suits for a toddler like this, they are fantastically freeing and allow you to meander and roam around outside regardless of weather, and just calmly chuckle and wave to him as he crawls through mud.

Money well spent. You can prob sell them on eBay once outgrown too.

BuckBuckMcFate Tue 23-Aug-11 09:07:17

I'm going through the same with DS3, 9 months, at the moment and feel your pain grin

We've put a stair gate on the living room door, not the bottom of the stairs due to difficulty of drilling into the hall wall. It's not ideal but definitely helps contain DS.

I also use the pram, with the brake on to blockade doorways and he does like clambering on that.

I've superglued parts of our fire together to stop him taking that apart grin

I try to take him out twice a day without the pram, even if it's just for 20 minutes. I carry him to the local park and then let him walk, holding my hand or crawl if it's not too wet. Though even if it's wet it's worth a change of clothes to have a calmer baby when we get home.

I've also accepted that the majority of housework has to be done during the evening when he's in bed. Pita but safer and less frustrating than trying to do it with him pulling himself up only legs all of the time.

Have you got a travel cot? DS3 loves his as he can pull himself up to standing, see through the mesh sides and no hard edges when he falls over.

DS is our 4th DC so really I should be used to this stage by now but he has reminded me just how full on they can be and how overwhelming it is day after day.

cottonreels Tue 23-Aug-11 20:50:38

Its a phase honestly. Once speech comes they get much less frustrated

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