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Constant whining and tiredness - almost-3 yr old

(9 Posts)
Zimbah Wed 12-Oct-11 10:17:47

My nearly-3 DD1 is driving me absolutely round the bend with her constant whining and tears over nothing. I spend all day saying "I can't understand you when you whine" or barking "Whining!" at her. I don't respond with an answer to her question (or whatever) until she asks in a normal voice. It's not that she's whining to get something she's not allowed, she'll just say something normal like "I want some breakfast" in a whiny way. She very often seems tired, she wakes up for the day still tired and sometimes crying. She dropped her nap months ago, on the rare occasions when she does have a nap e.g. in the car, her behaviour is much better in the afternoon but then she stays up very late messing around in her room and the next day she's just as tired.

I just don't know what to do, as I said it's driving me round the bend, I am knackered anyway and irritable from 4 month old DD2 waking frequently at night, and finding it very difficult not to just shout at DD1. I know she's probably acting like this in response to DD2, I do my best to give her as much attention as I can but obviously she does have to spend a fair amount of time sharing me. Aaargh!

Firawla Wed 12-Oct-11 12:46:33

would you be able to earlier bedtime? or set some time in the day as 'quiet time' for her as she doesnt have her nap, eg watch a dvd or something on cbeebies? atleast to give her a chance to rest a bit and may help with the tiredness.

Tgger Wed 12-Oct-11 15:44:00

Awwww, feel for both of you. Does she do pre-school some mornings to give you both a break? She does sound overtired. I would try to get her into an earlier bedtime routine- I put both my kids to bed at 6.30 the other night (nearly 3 and nearly 5) and that was definitely best for everyone!!

Other than that try to be nice. Sorry if that sounds patronising- I have been where you are, ie sleep deprived with grotty toddler to boot and I know how easy it is to lose sight of that they are only 2 and need you maybe more than the baby needs you sometimes. I would try to get some help with grandparents/close friends either to take her or the baby so either she can have 1 on 1 with other close adults or 1 on 1 with you.

Can you go out in the car at 2 o'clock more if she's tired- will she sleep then? My nearly 3 year old will only do this when she's absolutely knackered. Her behaviour is also much better when not tired and luckily although she quit her nap yonks ago at home she will nap at "school" (she goes 3 times a week to a day nursery) on a Friday which is normally enough to set her back to less grumpy again!

Thirstysomething Wed 12-Oct-11 18:23:04

is she getting enough iron from red meat / leafy green veg? I had same thing and dd2 turned out to be slightly anaemic. She also wasn't getting enough exercise because I am pregnant and being v lazy with bad legs this time.
Combination of exercise and more iron seems to be helping a bit... but I sympathise, it is soooo boring having this tired and whingy child all the time, when I know it isn't her real character.

Zimbah Wed 12-Oct-11 19:08:14

Thanks for the suggestions and support. I decided tonight to give earlier bedtimes a go again, it hasn't worked in the past as she just wakes up earlier but I'll commit to doing 15 minutes earlier for a week and see what happens.

Quiet time - While I was pregnant I had a lovely vision of DD having 'quiet time' in her room listening to story tapes/looking at books while I had a rest. Ha ha! She spent the time getting everything out of her wardrobe and shouting. I'm loathe to commit to the tv for quiet time as she'll then expect it every day and she already watches an hour or more every morning which seems a lot at her age. Having said that, there comes a point where any 'damage' done to her by watching tv will be less than any damage done by me being a horrible grumpy mum so it might be worth a go.

Nursery - she goes to nursery two days a week and usually naps there, which makes the afternoons better but I've had to ask them now to wake her after 20mins as otherwise she won't go to sleep at bedtime.

1:1 time with me - absolutely, I really need to make an effort to arrange this. She has plenty of 1:1 time with grandparents at least once a week and lovely times with DH at the weekend. I think what's lacking is time with me, I do try when DD2 is napping but she mostly only naps for 30 minutes so it's tricky. I've been thinking about how I can sort out grandparents looking after DD2 for a couple of hours while I focus on DD1. It sounds awful but I don't want to do it because it's so much easier looking after my lovely snuggly baby than a defiant toddler! But it's what DD1 needs.

Iron - I don't think so as she's a fairly good meat-eater, but I'll keep an eye on her intake.

Sorry for my essay in response. But you've given me a lot to think about and it really helps to know that others have struggled with the same thing and survived!

Tgger Wed 12-Oct-11 21:02:02

Glad it's of help- yes you are definitely not alone. Think I was "monster Mum" (well at times grin) to my 2 year old son during the first 7-8 months of DDs life when she was a complete boob monster and not a good sleeper (unlike DS who despite being a boob monster also slept brillaintly- I was spoilt!).

Please be assured though that when they give up the nap but don't really have the stamina to get through the afternoon/early evening without is a hard time anyway- cue tears/tantrums/whinging.

Re all the tears etc, I would try to give comfort initially- offer hugs/cuddles etc, but then if the tears are becoming habitual then just ignore them. It's a bit noisy but actually it works (!). Don't shout if you can help it (I did when sleep deprived, it's so much easier not to when not!), but leave your DD to calm down herself and then give lots of praise and say "well done, you've calmed down etc"- offer distractions eg- shall we read a story, shall we play with x,y or z, but if these are refused (as my DD does when she is cross and tearful) then detach and say, oh well, you'll have to find something else to do then and walk away if necessary! Of course you are probably doing all this and it's still very tiring when these tearful episodes come, but at least it means there is only one person emotionally het up! Oh, and if you can't give full attention to her because you are changing/feeding etc then offer for her to come and sit with you/chat/join in- this shows to her that she is included.

Good luck!

cottonreels Wed 12-Oct-11 22:33:00

Could you retry the cds and stories in her room, perhaps with headphones so she cant move away from the bed and cd player? Make a big thing of it being a treat and if she doesnt do it nicely youll take her out of her room and she misses her treat. Really big it up in a now youre a big girl sort of a way iyswim.

prioneyes Wed 12-Oct-11 22:38:11

What's her quality of sleep like? Does she snore, toss and turn, sweat or sleep-talk? Has she had any tonsil problems, lingering colds etc?

Minadex is a good iron and vitamin supplement which I used at this age.

pozzled Wed 12-Oct-11 22:43:00

My DD1 is 3.2 and can often be quite whiny (and I also have a 4 month old so know exactly what you mean about sleep deprivation and balancing their needs). One thing that sometimes works for us is that I get her to physically 'take the whine out of her voice'- she puts her hand to her mouth and mimes crumpling something up and throwing it away. I know it sounds really corny but it distracts her and can actually be quite fun- sometimes she asks me to open the door so she can throw it out. It's a bit more positive than having to repeat yourself.

I also agree with the suggestions above about 1:1 time and quiet time.

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