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2.6yo suddenly extremely clingy - 35 weeks pregnant - is this related!?

(9 Posts)
BotBotticelli Mon 15-Jun-15 19:57:13

Please can someone help me? I am 35 weeks pregnant and ds1 (age 2.6yo) has suddenly become insanely clingy.

He usually settles really well at bedtime and made the transition into a Big Boy Bed a couple of months ago with no worries at all.

But now he screams and cries hysterically when I try to leave the room when he is in bed. We have a nice calm bedtime routine which we have had for 2 years - stories, teeth, drink and a big cuddle and into bed. I stroke his face tell him how much I love him and then used to just be able to walk out the room and he chatted or fell straight asleep.

Now: total meltdown. And the only person who can settle him (and then be allowed to leave the room) is DH. If it's me, we have full on hysterics every time I try to leave the room.

It's the same when I drop him off at nursery in the morning. Heart wrenching screaming and reaching out for me from the arms of his key worker (he is always fine within 5-10 mins as I call up to check and cannot hear him crying in the background. And he IS very happy there and has a lovely day which he tells me all about).

I am feeling very hormonal and upset about all this - can't see how DH will ever be able to go out in the evening as I am now clearly incapable of settling him for bed and my presence seems to make everything worse :-( :-(

Could this be related to the baby coming soon? We have read lots of stories about the baby brother in my tummy and talk about it with him lots. He deffo understands what's happening as friends have had babies recently. But could there be some deep anxiety making him behave like this? He is also talking in baby talk a lot at the moment (even though his language is very good) and wants to role play being a baby with me, sitting in my lap sideways like a baby. Wants me to pretend to give him a bottle etc.

What should I do?? Especially at bedtimes - I have SPD and cannot sit on his bedroom floor beside his bed whilst he falls asleep (and really don't wanna be falling into new sleep issues with him just before a newborn arrives....DS has always slept well from about 6 months onwards and this is a big shock).

Please can someone reassure me this will sort itself out? Wwyd about bedtimes? Just let DH handle it? I miss my happy little boy :-( :-(

ppeatfruit Tue 16-Jun-15 14:47:57

IIWM I'd give in and allow him to do what he wants. Sounds like a late attachment stage (they normally get this at 8 or 9 months.

If you push him away he'll get worse. I'd say yes he's taken it on board that he's going to loose his mummy to the new baby. They can't really understand at age 2. Bless him give him lots of extra cuddles and kisses and continue to reassure him that you'll be able to do the same when the baby's born.

Maybe choose a special book with him that he alone can give as a present and read to the baby when he's born (or even before) grin

Warandpeace Tue 16-Jun-15 15:21:03

I could have written this myself! So many of your details are identical to mine. Same age of DS, same week of pregnancy! Exact same bedtime issues.

(The only thing that I we don't have is DS wanting to act like the baby with sideways cuddles and bottles and things, everything else is identical!)

My DH works shifts so unfortunately I have had to do bedtime a few times a week by myself as I had no other option. Foolishly I tried CC at first as I thought he was just being strong willed and I didn't want to regress with the amazing bedtime routine we've always had with him. I thought if I didn't give into him for a few nights he'd get the message and we'd go back to how it was. That didn't work at all and all that happened was that DS and I both ended up hysterical and sobbing (hormones/guilt!!) I know CC is frowned upon sometimes but it worked very well for us when DS was around 9 months old and he's been perfect at bedtime ever since.

Instead this is what we did, (I hope it works for you too) I sat with him at bedtime. I have SPD too, so it was awkward but I just got as comfortable as possible and persevered. And we chatted. I gave him a little torch to have in bed with him and we'd look at the patterns on his wallpaper and see if we could point out letters and objects and things. I'd make sure he was really really calm and once I could see he was tired I'd say I'm just going to go downstairs to put the books away/go to the toilet/make a cup of tea/whatever excuse I could think of, and I'd leave him with his torch.

At first I'd have to sit with him for 20 mins or so, gradually it got better, I just gave it as long as it needed. Last night it was 5 minutes and then he told me I'm not going to cry tonight, just go to sleep so I went downstairs without the need for any made up excuses! (it's taken 2 weeks to get to this stage!)

He was usually always asleep within 10 minutes of me leaving him and I was happy that he was still soothing himself to sleep i.e without someone in the room with him.

I never really went back up to him. On the couple of occasions he shouted down to me 'are you coming back up?!!' I'd shout back 'in a second, you keep looking for ... with your torch' Unless he started crying and getting upset and then I'd go back up and start with the calm chatting and torch picture hunting again.

Along side this we had a reward chart and for every night he went to bed without crying he got a sticker, with 3 stickers equalling some kind of treat (chocolate or lollipop etc.)

I have no idea if it is related to the baby coming or if it is just a normal phase. I think around this age they also have increased imagination and the ability to be scared of stuff. My DS would say he was scared of monsters or wolves and things like that too. So I think it was a genuine need for comforting at bedtime.

Sorry for the essay! I just really relate to what you're going through at the moment!! In my experience, it will get better!

ppeatfruit Tue 16-Jun-15 16:06:27

WarandPeace That sounds a nice idea. But I don't believe that there are fake needs and genuine needs esp' in a dc under 7 or so. they need reassurance and comfort for whatever reason. The fact that they're going to be usurped in the family is a major reason!!! How would you feel if your partner, bought home another partner?

CityDweller Tue 16-Jun-15 16:14:09

No advice on how to deal with it really, but DD (2.2) has become more clingy with me since my bump has become more obvious (I'm 24 wks pregnant). She wants me much more than before and comments on my presence and my emotional state in a way she never does with DH (she says a lot 'Mummy's happy' or 'Mummy's here'). She'll also say, at least once a day, 'Mummy has a baby in her tummy'. So, I am putting it down to being unsettled by the prospect of having a sibling. <shudders with dread about how it's actually going to be when baby does arrive>

Re. bedtimes, DD has been getting 'shouty' at bedtime for a few months now. She used to just let me walk out and then she'd sing to herself until she fell asleep. Now she'll wail as soon as I leave the room and concoct a variety of bs reasons why I should return (to do with re-arranging her bedding or soft toys, usually). Unless she's absolutely hysterical, I don't go back in and she'll usually stop shouting in 5-10 mins and then settle to sleep eventually.

BotBotticelli Tue 16-Jun-15 16:22:31

Thank you so much WarandPeace that's an incredibly reassuring post. I think I will try what you suggest - I also thought that a day or two of CC would sort it out (we tried it from 6mo and it has always worked really well for us) but you're right: this feels different.

I think my DS is also getting a bit scared of things - he seems to be happier with the bedroom door open and the hallway light on now. And he is always asking me whether dinosaurs live in the earth any more (!!) and I am constantly having to reassure him that dinosaurs are not real, just on the TV and in books etc etc.

We don't have a torch but I will d my best to sit with him on the floor until he is really calm tonight even if it takes 20 mins or so and will strike his face/cuddle/chat.

I think the fact he is much worse with me than DH means it probably is a baby-coming thing. He can sense that his whole world is about to change but he doesn't know quite why/how.

Interestingly my friend just had a baby and wen she was around 35 weeks pregnant her little girl (age 3) started wetting the bed despite having been dry at night for a year.

Apparently it just started one night and then stopped again once the baby was around 3 weeks old. Which sounds like it was just her little body reacting to the anxiety she was feeling.

My DS isn't going to have this symptom cos he is not potty trained yet (see my other threads!) but maybe this screaming at bedtime is his equivalent outlet for his stress??

Poor little guy. I feel terribly hormonal and guilty about it all!

BotBotticelli Tue 16-Jun-15 16:23:26

**STROKE his face, not strike, obviously!! Sorry fat fingers on iPhone :-/

Warandpeace Tue 16-Jun-15 17:05:46

ppeatfruit if my partner brought home a new partner I'd kick his ass, I'm not too sure what you're getting at there confused . I did say it was foolish of me to try CC and I quickly realised this and changed my tactic to one of reassurance. We don't all always have the right answer instantly and we make parental mistakes especially when tired, hormonal and at wits end blush

BotBotticelli I wouldn't try striking his face, would probably be almost as frowned upon as CC grin Good luck with bedtime tonight! I put it down to just being a phase due to a combination of becoming aware of being scared of things (we had to assure DS that monsters were not allowed in the house and the big bad wolf was not about to blow our house down) and the uneasiness of changes around the new baby. I'm sure it'll pass for your DS too. It does seem more common than I realised.

ppeatfruit Tue 16-Jun-15 18:10:45

I'm saying how it must seem to a 2 year old who's been everything to his parents suddenly having to 'share' them with the new baby, and at 2 they don't have the intellectual capacity to really understand that they are still loved.

It's easier with a 1yr gap (not on the parents though grin) I don't remember ever being without my dsis. so I wasn't jealous.

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