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DD2: meltdowns, meglomania and mummy guilt... I'm crying at work, which WILL NOT DO. Please help...

(31 Posts)
designerbaby Fri 30-Nov-12 10:38:22

I've just had it this morning.

It's been a whole week of tantrums power struggles and out and ought fights over EVERYTHING with DD2 (2yrs 8 months). It's such a shame, as we had a lovely day together (without DD1 who was at school on Monday) but from Monday night onwards, and tbh, generally over the past few months, her behaviour has just been really unmanageable.

She fights over having her nappy changed in the morning. Fights me about getting dressed, (physically fights me – I have the scars to prove it) what she will and will not wear, won't come downstairs for breakfast, won't put her shoes on. Won't eat. Throws food/toys/clothes. Won't have her hair brushed. Won't out her coat on. Won't get in the buggy. Once put in thrashes around so that I'm worried she'll injure herself. In the evening, she won't get undressed, won't get in the bath, won't allow me to wash her, put her nappy on, out her jammies on, won't sit still for a story, won't have a cuddle...

I just feel like I'm permanently at war, and it's exhausting and upsetting. I alway try to give her (limited) choices for things "DD2, which tights/dress/jumper would you like, this one or this one" kind of stuff, because I guess this is about control, but it doesn't work.

Time out works pretty well to calm her down, (it's the only thing which does, really) but I feel like she's spending too much time in time out and it's depressing. I want to be with her, for us to be together.

Background info:

I am working 4 (short) days a week running my own business. DD1 is in school (Rec), DD2 is in nursery tuesday-friday, and we have Monday just the two of us, when we do fun stuff together.

I think she misses her sister, as they used to spend a lot of time together at nursery.

She's also moved down from toddlers to the preschool room at nursery.

DH has been away this week with work. TBH it doesn't affect their routine much, he usually takes them to school nursery but otherwise doesn't really see them Monday - Friday.

My mum has been down this week to help out while DH is away. She used to look after DD1 when I first went back to work and we were waiting for a nursery place. As a result they have a very close bond. DD1 dominates her attention and DD2 struggles to get a look in. Mum tries, but because DD2 resorts to bad behaviour to gain attention, it doesn't really work...

I'm working quite hard at the moment, but very much scheduled around the children. I work from early until school finishes, pick up DD1, give her supper, do her homework with her, pick up DD2, bring them both home, have a snack and a drink with them, do bath, story bedtime, make supper for me and DH and then start work again in the evening. So although I'm working hard, I hope it doesn't impact them too much. I am tired though, which probably affects my ability to cope with DD2.

I feel guiltu that DD2 is in nursery 4 days a week and DD1 wasn't at this age as I was on mat leave. I feel guilty because I don't know how to handle her behaviour. I try really really hard to keep cool calm and collected, and usually manage to, but it's exhausting, and I feel like it's a constant, unrelenting fight, and every now and then I get really cross, because she just pushes and pushes and pushes.

I feel guilty that when I'm with her I'm constantly having to discipline her, when all I want to do is enjoy being with her and have fun with her. I try to ensure I praise good behaviour (even the smallest thing) but it's so outweighed by dealing with the bad bahviour.

I feel like we're in a vicious cycle. I feel like DD2 is struggling, but I don't know why. I feel really really miserable about it all.

Any insights/experiences/advice please? I'm at the end of my rope, tbh.

I just love her to bits. She was delightful all day on Monday, so I know my lovely little girl is still in there...



TigerFeet Wed 05-Dec-12 19:13:37

I have no real advice but I wanted to empathise, we're in a similar position here with our dd2 aged 3.2. She's strong willed, loud, can be really awful to her big sister (who's 8yo) and screeches like a banshee at the word "No". Oddly enough when we're out she's generally good and at nursery is a model child... it's just for me. Good because at least I know she CAN behave but frustrating because all the tiredness and frustration comes in my direction and leaves me tired and frustrated too.

She always has to be first - to finish her meal, to go downstairs in the morning, to get into the car... UNLESS I ask her to do something in which case she just grins at me and refuses point blank. Arrrghhhhhhhh. She screeches if she can't watch telly all the time. She screeches if anyone else wants to watch something other than DOra the fucking Explorer. She screeches because she doesn't want to go to bed without umpteen stories. I'm doing my best to be firm and consistent but it's so hard because she's so goddam stubborn. I pick my battles, give her choices etc etc and I'm sure with patience we'll get there but she's grinding me down at the minute sad

mewkins Wed 05-Dec-12 20:34:20

No useful advice here but just wanted to add that your dd sounds very familiar! Dd is 2.5 and some days everything is a struggle. Brought this up with HV at 2yr check (backlog!) last week and was reassured that all is perfectly normal anf just to be consistent and patient and always follow through on any sanctions to make sure they know you mean business.

Dd's triggers are tiredness (outgrowing nap is a killer!) and illness and she is much worse when dh and I are both getting her dressed etc. We try to keep things low key now and without build up eg I will start getting her dressed with little warning and while she is preoccupied with something else. Hang on in there - I'm sure she will outgrow this stage soon!!

cazbo16 Sun 09-Dec-12 19:38:04

Hi I've just had my fifth, who is 8wks today. The others are 15, 11, 9 and 5. I've experienced every behaviour from them all when they were toddlers and been a SAHM since 11yr old was 6mths. Your DD certainly sounds like she's testing the limits at the moment, which is natural for her age, along with tiredness. Not a good combo. All I can offer is don't stress the small stuff. If you can let her have her own way, go for it. My eldest once refused to get dressed to go to the childminders around your DD's age. We went out the door as she was, PJ's only, no shoes, no coat. And it was raining! By the time we got there she realised the importance of getting dressed and the child minder just gave me a knowing smile. Things will get easier, believe me. I wouldn't have had 5 otherwise! Stay strong take deep breaths and if that doesn't help there's wine! lol x

mixedmamameansbusiness Sun 09-Dec-12 21:31:36

I wanted to offer my sympathy. I have DS2 who is like this and is 4. I will read the thread with interest.

Fishandjam Sun 09-Dec-12 21:49:05

Just wanted to add my sympathy! DS is going to be 3 in 2 weeks and some days, everything is a battle. He's an incredibly independent, stubborn little chap and if he doesn't want to do something, not much short of brute force will make him. I usually resort to bribery or threats (either a promise of an extra story or DVD episode of Thomas/Shaun The Sheep etc, or the threat that there won't be any for the next 24 hours!) But sometimes it's just easier to bend with the wind and let him go to nursery wearing his dressing gown over the top of his clothes (to give an example). But it's knackering and stressful and can also feel v lonely (like I'm the only parent whose kid behaves like this).

SweetPea99 Sun 09-Dec-12 22:56:48

Your daughter sounds exactly like my little girl, who is now 3.5yrs. She was an angelic baby until she started to walk and then the battles began - exactly as you describe, I couldn't get her to do ANYTHING!

I felt so worried all the time because she was constantly angry and miserable. And I was a SAHM so don't think that cutting down on your work time will solve all the problems!

When she hit 3 everything improved massively - she is still prone to impossible tantrums now, especially if she is very tired or feeling unwell, but on the whole she is a different person. I think it is largely down to the development of her speech.

Looking back, the only thing I would try to do differently is foster her independence more. I probably wasn't very good at finding ways for her to control the situation - or think she was controlling it. And the whole choices thing (red jumper or blue jumper?) never worked for us; she would just refuse to put on either. I now find 'nice way or nasty way' to be quite effective e.g. with hair washing. She can choose to do it nicely, or I will go ahead and do it quickly and efficiently, but not particularly nicely!

Actually, potty training was a positive step for her because she was more independent, and for me it brought in a method of massive praise which seems to work well for her. Dr Caroline Fertleman's (sp?) book was very good for potty training, but it was still hard work!

Hang in there, she will improve, I'm sure!

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