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Can someone please advise me about my 2 year old?! I can't see where I am going wrong.

(20 Posts)
MrsTowMater Wed 12-Mar-14 22:01:08

Hi everyone.

I seem to have lost sight of the logical way of doing things at the moment! I can't seem to see the woods through the trees if that makes sense so I am needing a bit of guidance and perhaps tips on managing my expectations.

We have 2 DS's, DS1 is 6, DS2 is 2.4. Both are lovely, happy, chatty, sweet children when they are on their own! Together I can't seem to make it work. It all seems to get a bit too much sad . I dread DS1 coming home from school at 3 because it is just so full on until DH comes home. I feel horrible feeling this way because I adore DS1 and we get on very well but I seem to be toxic around the two of them at the moment.

DS2 is very demanding in certain ways (very similar to how DS1 was at this age so I am assuming it's normal!) but he wants EVERYTHING DS1 has or is playing with. I can't seem to distract him or get any time to do homework with DS1 because DS2 is grabbing at things, trying to take pencils or books etc away. I do tell him no an encourage him to go and play, even try and sit and play with him but he's just far too determined. In his defence, he's not trying to be mean or snatch things from DS1, he is just genuinely very interested in everything DS1 does and wants to be part of EVERYTHING.

I miss the afternoons I could bake with DS1, this is now a thing of the past because DS2 is trying to get everything all the time. Again, he's just wanting to do things for himself but it is so frustrating for all of us, especially DS1. I try and do these activities with both of them but I can't seem to make it work. They get silly or DS1 gets stroppy because DS2 is using something 'wrong' or taking 'his' spoon or whatever.

I seem to have lost sight of how to actually deal with this. DS1 gets cross with DS2 and I then seem to snap at both of them. I just want to enjoy the time we have but it seems one long slog until DH comes home at 6. I genuinely just don't seem to be able to get anything done with either of them. I am constantly telling DS2 to leave his brother alone, stop bothering him, climbing on him, taking his toys etc. On the rare occasions I get DS2 happily playing with me or with his cars, I then snap at DS1 when he even makes a noise because it distracts DS2 from what he was doing and again attracts unwanted attention from his brother again. I seem to have to micro manage everything because when I leave them to it, it just becomes a mass of 'NO that's mine, no leave it alone.' 'No MINE!!!' etc etc.

I have lost it this evening. I just can't seem to deal with the simplest of things! What the hell am I doing wrong?? More importantly, how can I fix it? I want them to have a good relationship but I do appreciate that DS2 is still too young really to understand these elaborate games and rules DS1 has. I just want them to enjoy each other and me to not feel like a frazzled, rubbish mum. Help please. Does any of this sound remotely normal?

brettgirl2 Thu 13-Mar-14 16:58:49

Why don't you tell ds1 to play with his little brother? Mine are 5 next month and 2.1. dd1 is perfectly capable of pitching the play so dd2 can join in and she's younger than him. Yes there's lots dd2 can't do but it's not just about the older one is it? I praise her lots when she plays with little sister (and little sister loves getting attention from her)

I find dd2 easier when dd1 is here but having dd1 on her own is a dream!

MrsTowMater Thu 13-Mar-14 17:22:43

Thank you for the reply. I don't think that would help. The thing is DS2 is not capable of playing with DS1 yet. It just becomes a tug of war and a battle over the same toy. Not sure if I have explained it right but DS2 just takes every single item out of DS1's hand. DS1 is also extremely territorial and bossy which coupled with the toddler's mind set is a recipe for disaster here. I WISH they could play together. Do you have any tips on how I can encourage DS2 to play with his brother and how to encourage DS1 to pitching the play towards DS2??? I just seem to be messing at all up at the moment sad They are amazing children on their own. I seem to be a perfectly capable mother to them individually but together, I am crap sad .

Kleinzeit Thu 13-Mar-14 17:42:41

Well my DS is an only child so take this with a huge pinch of salt but I remember going to some parenting workshops and seeing a couple of video clips on getting brothers and sisters to play together co-operatively. It worked round the idea that they need to be shown how and especially encouraged to take turns – they needed to be told “OlderOne is going to weigh the flour on the scale and then YoungerOne will pour it into the mixing bowl” (where OlderOne does the harder bit) They showed it working with other toys and games too, first one is going to set up the toy garage and then the other is going to put the cars in etc. Another slightly whacky one is to act as a commentator just saying what each child is doing in a cheerful enthusiastic kind of way (only for a few minutes at a time, you’d go bonkers if you did it all the time!)

The video clips impressed me because my sibs and I never really got shown this and we fought a lot!

brettgirl2 Thu 13-Mar-14 17:49:05

The things that they do together are:
- dressing up clothes
- baby big blocks lego
- dancing
- playing with babies
- 'cooking'
- Stories with toys

I guess maybe dd1 is particularly good with her little sister (and sometimes I feel better with her than I am!)

Its just that your post reads like you are constantly pulling the little one off when the 6 year old is the one who is old enough to know he should share stuff?

MrsTowMater Fri 14-Mar-14 14:02:53

Yes I can see what you mean. The 6 year old is able and willing to share but the 2 year old seems to not know how to play with the same toy at the same time as anyone else. I know he's just being a 2 year old and like I say, on his own he is the easiest, sunniest little boy. It's just like constant tension when the 2 of them together which can't be good for them. Every single thing DS1 has in his hand, everything he does or wants to do, DS2 wants to be part of, and by part of I mean take it off him and have it himself. I'm not sure I am explaining it well! Basically, it's neither of their faults, it's just me who seems out of my depth with no clue how to entertain the two of them being at SUCH different ages and abilities.

Thank you for all the replies. I am going to have a chat with DS1 when he gets in from school about sharing and work some activities out that we can all do together. Thank you.

HippoPottyMouth Fri 14-Mar-14 14:18:10

If your youngest wants to grab everything that your oldest has, while doing homework for example, can you get your youngest his own 'homework set' then he can be writing in a book like his big brother? And if he then carries on trying to grab DS1's then he needs to be told no and taken away from the situation (i'm sure this is what you're already doing, it will sink in eventually! (hopefully.. mine are 3 and 5))

Also agree a chat with DS1 is in order, explain to him that you realise it must be really annoying sometimes but that DS2 just wants to be like him because he is such a cool big brother, so can he please let him have stuff sometimes or play games that DS1 wants to play.

TheGreatHunt Fri 14-Mar-14 17:34:22

Yes I was going to suggest giving the two year old the same "homework".

Also you can teach your little one about sharing and asking etc. They need a lot of reminding though....

Jemster Fri 14-Mar-14 19:12:50

Just wanted to say I am having exactly the same problems with my two, same age gap. It's really hard going as 2yo doesn't understand sharing or that some things that 6yo can do are not suitable for a 2yo. I'm finding it very hard indeed and have got to a point where I feel like leaving them to it when they squabble! I don't want to give in to toddler all the time although that would be the easiest thing, I don't think that would be fair on ds.
Sorry I have no advice, just wanted you to know I understand how tough it is. Hopefully it will get easier!

MrsTowMater Fri 14-Mar-14 20:54:54

Thank you HippoPottyMouth, I have tried with the giving DS2 his own 'homework' but he insists on having the actual pencil DS1 is using not just any pencil and wants the paper DS1 is writing on, gah! I need to persevere with it though because it is the only way I think. I can't just keep herding him out of the room or trying to separate them all the time. I do appreciate the replies. Given me things to work on.

Jemster, thank you so much for letting me know I'm not alone! It's so hard when you just want them both to be happy! Sometimes I leave them to it and within seconds it becomes an all out crying, squealing, tug of war, or DS1 being snappy and bossy with poor DS2. I feel sorry for them both because I can see how frustrating it must be to be in either of their situations!

crazy88 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:32:02

It's a crappy time of day however many kids you have. I do sympathise. Are they like this all the time or is this specifically an after school thing? Nowadays I try to plan something for that after school time, whether it's stopping at the park on the way home, a craft activity they can both do or visit to the library or something. There's a good blog called with some good ideas.

Also make sure you are getting that individual time with ds1 at the weekend or when your dh is around, even just an hour a week makes such a difference. smile

crazy88 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:34:34

Oh and board games. Me and ds1 sometimes play connect 4, guess who etc and ds3 is on my "team", helping me put the counters in or flip the people etc. smile

Kif Fri 14-Mar-14 21:38:27

Give it up and take them to the park!

Steer into the skid, and eventually you'll start to feel some traction.

Kif Fri 14-Mar-14 21:41:26

My similar age gap sibs love dressing up. So DS (6) will find wacky hats and comedy shoes etc and DD(2) will wear them & enjoy the attention.

They all curl up together for CBeebies and do a great job commentating to help DD follow what's happening.

DS will take charge of DD in the playground.

Homework is a total bust though! I only do it on w'ends when DH can take DD away.

BertieBotts Fri 14-Mar-14 21:46:09

I think you need to engineer things they can do together, and then go and distract DS2 while DS1 has his own time to do what he wants. Homework sounds like it needs to be a 2 man job if at all possible, unless DS2 can be engrossed in some activity - TV?? If you set it as a routine then hopefully DS2 will come to understand that there are times that DS1 is not to be disturbed. <wishful thinking>

BertieBotts Fri 14-Mar-14 21:48:22

And remember this stage will pass smile DS2 will get to an age where he can play with rather than just wanting to be DS1, and the age gap won't seem so wide when they are 4 and 8, or 8 and 12.

ihaveadirtydog Fri 14-Mar-14 21:56:11

Mine are the same at 5 & 2 and I agree that the time between getting in from school run and dh getting in from work is particularly soul destroying especially as I'm usually trying to pull together some semblance of dinner at the same time.
A few things they do together:
Dancing to music
Poking raw spaghetti through the colander (random but occupying!)
Musical instruments (my poor ears)

That's about it. You have my sympathies!

HippoPottyMouth Fri 14-Mar-14 22:17:18

Love the spaghetti through colander idea grin
Maybe DS1 gets cooked spaghetti, DS2 gets raw smile

SkiSchoolRun Fri 14-Mar-14 23:46:46

Same here. Two DDs. 5.2 & 2 1/2. Reading books are the worst. I feel bad for dd1 as she gets so little time now she's at school. Dreading dd2 dropping her nap.

Nellie2477 Sat 15-Mar-14 13:33:56

I have the same issue so please don't think you are alone or doing anything wrong. I think it is the normal behaviour of a two year old with a sibling. I know my eldest was challenging at 2 also but it was different when you could just focus on him and how to distract him. Getting through this age is an art I think and I for one have not mastered it. I really wish they would play nicely but as they don't I have tried to dissect the issue and work on the bits I can. I have been focussing on my reactions to the tension and trying not to lose it. That in itself brings down the tension all round because they feed off your mood. I have been trying to tackle the explosions of my eldest by being collaborative with him. I feel like the bit I haven't been able to tackle is the 2 yr old as I haven't worked that bit out yet but everything together leads to a better experience all round even if you haven't fixed it all! I used to think we should get them doing everything together to kind of force that bond - the biggest thing I have learned in the last couple of months is that they need and crave one on one attention so I try to carve that out for them where possible. Be strong - you are doing great!

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