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16 months old DD's strange reactions to things...

(7 Posts)
eepie Fri 06-Nov-15 21:27:11

My DD is almost 16 months and she has always been a very high needs baby...needs a a lot of stimulation and seemed to be bored or restless or just unhappy with surroundings a lot. She would never lie in the pram as a newborn, or even sit still with us. If she was asleep on us standing up, if we were to dare sit down she would wake up. When she finally would fall asleep in the pram, she would only sleep 30 mins without fail, and if we were to stop moving the pram or go into a different environment eg. a shop where the noises would change she would wake up. We could never just lie in bed with her and entertain when we had woken up even as a newborn she'd have her feed, burp etc and then be entertained for about 5 mins before getting restless and fussy and crying until one of us walked around the house with her. Even when she was a few weeks old ! She was always very clingy with me and needed constant movement as a newborn, always wanted to be upright and sleep on her front. Even rocking or swaying wasn't enough to calm her, only the specific combination of straight jacket swaddle and bouncing on pilates ball whilst holding her and humming or singing would work. She has always been a 0-60 baby...

I've always noticed that often if a loud noise happens outside (even if it's real muffled background noise) like our neighbour starting his motorbike or an airplane going by overhead for example she will startle and run to me in sheer terror as if her life depends on it. The sort of noise I didn't even notice until I realised she was doing this and I connected it to the noise. She used to always get very upset at me changing her nappy in public toilets on the fold down table... she would stare up at the ceiling and shake and cry as if there was a terrifying life threatening monster on the ceiling....she was always fine during nappy changes anywhere else. Now she is a toddler she is still very demanding and particular and she has always had separation anxiety with me and has not grown out of it yet. If I leave the room she will get very anxious and run after me devastated, screaming and crying. So much so that I have become afraid to even leave the room and only do it if I really have to. Have tried explaining to her what I'm doing and asking if she wants to come with me and have tried just waiting until she's absorbed in something and leaving without a word but she notices ! She has also now started getting very upset and screaming her head off whenever I sit down on the loo, take my clothes off to get dressed, or put the washing up gloves on as it's like she associates this with not getting my attention & has a meltdown. I think it's because one time when she was maybe 1 I left her crying on the kitchen floor for 5 mins whilst I did the washing up because I really needed to do the washing up and I thought this is ridiculous that I can't even go in the kitchen and do what I need to do for a minute without out her screaming so I thought I have to stick to my guns. It's almost as if she remembers this and associates the gloves with this so when I put them on she freaked out the other day ! As soon as she even sees me lift up my shirt to get dressed or take down my trousers to sit on the loo she stands there crying and screaming at me the whole time...I'm walking on eggshells !

She's very sociable with adults especially and confident (doesn't like strangers picking her up but she loves interacting with them) and she's very intelligent, has great memory...My brother's girlfriend is called Chey and 3 months ago Chey blew some bubbles for her when we were visiting - this was one of the only times she has seen her and today we were going through the list of names of who is in our family and I said "Uncle Alex and Chey" and my DD said "Chey Bubbles" She remembered this 5 minute incident from 3 months ago...?! ....She had about 20 words by the time she was 1......she walks, climbs, eats with a spoon by herself...plays imaginary games with Playmobil people and tells them to 'Sit down' she likes arranging her teddies into an order in the cot and telling them to sit down. She babbles to herself and to us as if talking...She asks for books she wants by name and says 'Read it', she has started sentences like 'I've got it' 'I hold it' 'Thank you for nana' ... she can copy things I do like Twinkle Twinkle little star and she even copied a video of Pygmy women doing water drumming in the sea that she's watched since she was like 5 months old...she started doing the water drumming in the bath and singing the tune. So she is good at mimicking.. She can recognise herself in photos of her as a baby, she refers to herself in the 3rd person... she can play the harmonica ! haha. Ok now I'm just listing stupid stuff. But I don't know if this makes a difference.

Another thing she does a lot (not always - sometimes she is gentle) is if a child comes near her in a soft play room or playgroup or something she hits them, grabs them or rugby tackles them or pushes them away....?!?! She does understand she needs to be gentle but she just really does not like other children that she doesn't know being near her in general. She's fine with children she has socialised a bit with and she will try and hug or kiss them and wave hello, watch what they are doing etc.

Is there something wrong with her or is this just her personality? Is she just very sensitive and particular? The screaming when I try and do something myself is really getting my down I don't know how to react to it or what to do about it. In the last couple weeks she's got slightly better at doing stuff on her own whilst I'm in the kitchen making food for her but for months and months she would just hang off my legs screaming anytime I'd go into the kitchen even though it's attached to the living room and she can see me and even if previously she was engrossed in something, the sheer thought of me going and doing something that didn't involved her was devastating to her !

silverstreak Sat 07-Nov-15 07:04:20

Hi, that's a reeeally long post smile so tbh towards the end I skimmed a little but just thought I would pop on to say a lot of what you've written has applied to my daughter at one point or another from around 12m, and which i just took to be indicators that she is just a pretty smart but sensitive little girl! She has an amazing memory (remembering stuff from 4-6 months), could play the recorder (badly!!) at 11 months, and it was a running joke that if i stood or sat up and said "right!" In the manner of someone about to do something she would shoot over to me and grab my legs so's not to be left! grin The rest of your observations are also not unusual for a bright and sensitive child (believe me I've googled the heck out of this!) so really no need to worry. Her speech though sounds better than my DD at that age but that can only be a good thing!

She is now 2.7yrs and doing just great, btw... Enjoy your daughter, she sounds fab!

ShootTheMoon Sat 07-Nov-15 07:21:32

She sounds like my daughter in some ways too. She's nearly 4 now and it does get easier.

High needs babies can sometimes have reflux or silent reflux - certain ing needing to be held upright and moving resonates with this. Has this been considered?

The noises thing - again, common with high needs children. She may be over sensitive to noise. It will be worse if she isn't sleeping enough (and it sounds like she hasn't had good quality sleep from the start - my DD was terrible at sleeping too).

My DD has a long memory too and at 3 can remember things that happened over a year ago, even longer sometimes. I think they just pay attention and delight in interesting things. I'm not sure it's particularly unusual, it's just what they choose to focus on.

It sounds exhausting. My way of dealing with it was just to give as much love and attention as I possibly could, ride it out, and eventually they feel more secure and can entertain themselves for a while. Do whatever you can to keep yourself sane, distract her with talk when you are doing something she doesn't like, involve her as much as you can.

This too shall pass.

Queendedede Sat 07-Nov-15 08:30:25

My 18mo DS is exactly the same. I can't leave a room without him shouting 'Where has Mummy gone?' Hysterically! He is very advanced with language, which does make it slightly easier but I am also getting sick of having a toddler hanging onto my legs trying to rest his head in my knickers while I'm on the loo! He has always been like it but found it has got worse from about 17mo, the last 4 weeks have been hell day and night. I'm hoping he will chill out a bit soon! He did make me laugh last night when I was in the bath and pulled the plug - he said 'water all gone Mummy bath out now' I can't believe he can put do many words together already!

Moonandstarsandback Sat 07-Nov-15 09:39:26

Hi, so much of your post reminds me of my DS who is 5 now! He could never be put down. Wouldn't lie in his pram, Moses basket, cot on his back ever. If I tired putting him down once he was asleep he'd wake up straight away! We think in hindsight he had silent reflux. He was very sensitive to noise, hairdryer, Hoover, hand dryers in public loos, he used to literally scream. He's a bit better now but still doesn't like them and will cover his ears. At around 2 he started 'pushing' other chd and people told me it was common for toddlers to push or hit and it was a phase he'd grow out of. He didn't!When he went to nursery at 3 though, they picked up on it and felt it was a social communication issue and worked with him and things did improve a bit. However he still struggles at school with physical space issues. He has just been referred to be assessed at the child development centre as there's thoughts that he may be on the autistic spectrum. However, the things you describe are all very sensory related. So perhaps look up some strategies to try out linked to sensory processing disorder?

I do feel for you though. As it's utterly exhausting! There's no break! How does your Dd sleep at night? She is only 16 months though, and if I remember correctly, it is a very common time for clinginess and 'toddler like' behaviour. You may find things really change in the next few months. X

VioletBumble Sat 07-Nov-15 12:00:48

Just a thought, re the gloves and getting changed, could it be the change in your appearance (your face being obscured by clothes, your hands looking weird and yellow!) that's bothering her? What is she like if you wash up without gloves?

Witchend Mon 09-Nov-15 14:53:40

Babies have longer memories than we expect. It's only imo that they don't talk about them so we don't realise.

I remember dd1 aged about 20 months, we had a Christmas catalogue through the door with a Christmas tree on the front. She picked it up, and started talking about Christmas, where the tree was, the orange with a candle in, where the presents had been, how she'd done something small. She was totally correct, and we hadn't talked about Christmas, or had photos for her to see. She was 12 months at Christmas and couldn't say the word, but as soon as she saw the picture she said "Christmas tree".
But she was very good at talking, and I'd guess most 20 months wouldn't have had the language to tell you what they remembered-not that they wouldn't have remembered it.

Noises is very common. A lot of children cry at hand driers, hoovers etc.

Equally well the change in appearance-ds used to cry if he saw me with glasses (only used for driving) on.

Mostly sounds very normal for that age, I wouldn't worry at this stage.

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