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strong-willed toddler hitting new baby

(15 Posts)
Queazy Sun 13-Mar-16 12:56:32

Just that basically. Dd is 2.5 yrs and pretty strong-willed. She hits our new baby when I'm feeding him, she butts his head, pulls his fingers and tries to poke him in the eye. Clearly I stop her, but it ends in me having to literally drag her away. She does this even when she sees he's asleep and she has my 100% attention. I'm scared to take my eyes off him for a second.

Dd is generally going through the terrible twos but this is just simply exhausting. I'm dreading time alone with them, as she's so hard to control. I've tried being firm, I've lost my temper ( I'm ashamed to say), I've tried cuddling her and asking if she's sad or why she's feeling angry. I'm at my wits end now. Any tips at all anyone can share?


wetsnow Sun 13-Mar-16 13:07:34

Sounds tough. Can you get her her own baby doll she fan feed etc whilst you look after newborn?

I plan to do this when next one comes. My dd will be 2.7.

Queazy Sun 13-Mar-16 13:12:22

She's got a Baby Annabel doll but it just doesn't work sad Its all day!

Queazy Sun 13-Mar-16 13:14:02

p.s. I bought it with that intention though and think it works for many!

LaContessaDiPlump Sun 13-Mar-16 13:17:32

Oh God, no advice but much sympathy - my DS1 did the same with DS2. It's jealousy pure and simple, and it really made me dislike him for a while (sorry DS1). Thankfully it passed after a while.

Lilipot15 Sun 13-Mar-16 13:21:07

It sounds like it's very early days yet. I think the "novelty" will wear off. Make sure she's getting lots of positive attention so she's not clamouring for attention by poking the baby (which will of course get attention).
Have you got anyone that could come and take the baby out for a walk for you to give you one to one time, eg a grandparent / friendly neighbour?
I have a friend's daughter who comes for a little bit at the end of the day - the witching hours- when DH is late home. She usually watches the baby (who is 8 months) and lets me give my toddler more attention at a time when I would otherwise be trying to get baby to sleep etc.....
It will get better! I'd try to stick to your previous routine as much as you can too, eg get out to playgroups - you'll find others happy to hold the baby whilst you play with your toddler.

Queazy Sun 13-Mar-16 13:46:29

We're 12 weeks in and it's getting worse. I think I might look into a babysitter/home help. I considered an au pair, though I know people would think me mad as I'm on maternity leave! I always put her to bed and do story time and try my best to give her attention, but it's so hard as she makes it very hard to have a nice time!

MumUndone Sun 13-Mar-16 14:02:29

Do you use timeout / naughty corner? My DS went through a hitting stage and we started doing timeout when simply telling him not to hit didn't work. I would immediately put him in timeout evey time he hit, kicked etc., no chances. I think if your DS realises that acting like she is means that she loses your attention rather than gains it she'll soon stop.

Also agree that regular 1 on 1 time with your DS is important; could you take her on special trips on the weekend just the two of you? Even if it's just half an hour to the park?

Queazy Sun 13-Mar-16 14:29:56

I started the naughty step but she won't stay on it and finding it hard to enforce with the baby. I need to persevere though.

I did a special 1:1 trip yesterday and she had a huge meltdown. Again this morning, it wasn't just us, but baby was asleep in sling and we went for a walk...she sat on the floor and refused to walk. All normal stuff but just hard work on little sleep with a baby sad

Onsera3 Sun 13-Mar-16 14:55:11

Oh this is tough. DS was 2y10mo when DD came. It was a tough time. DD had a missed lip/tongue tie so was a struggle to feed for the first two months. Plus she had colic! There was no 'pop her on boob and read story to DS' or 'pop her in sling and do such and such with DS'. She wouldn't even go to her dad so poor DS really did miss out on a lot of my attention. I was sad and missed one to one with him as I am SAHM.

We came out the other side!

He was doing it for my reaction and out of jealousy.

I talked about being jealous and how that was OK 'You want me to hug you instead of holding the baby? You feel jealous? I'd love to hug you and as soon as I'm done feeding I want a big cuddle with you.'

I feel timeout would make her feel even more excluded.

I know it's so hard not to lose your temper with them. But they are doing it for the reaction and attention too. I would say 'I won't let you hurt her. I protect my children'. One day I added 'I won't let you hurt her - I'm Supermum and I protect my children' and superhero-mad DS said he wanted to be he'd protector too. And just like that he stopped hurting.

I wasn't able to put her down when I went to the toilet for worry he would hurt her. I too thought I would have to get help in. Now I can ask him to keep her happy while I pee. This turn around happened the space of a week.

I used advice from Janet Lansbury who promotes RIE philosophies in parenting. She has blog, Facebook, books, podcast.

LaContessaDiPlump Sun 13-Mar-16 15:07:10

I feel your pain Queazy, I really do. Reading between the lines (and probably filling in from my own experience) I imagine that you love both your babies but are finding it bloody hard work to like your older DD right now. I just want to say that it's ok to feel like that, and that it passes. Don't get upset at yourself for having such feelings - it makes the whole situation worse.

As a personal digression (feel free to skip this): DS1 has, to me, always been the contrary one. If you plan a wonderful day that he will, in principle, love, he'll throw a strop at the beginning of it and be a right bastard all through the day. I'll be there with my smile fixed on, trilling 'We're going to have a LOVELY time, darling!' while all the time in my head I'm screaming 'Why do you fucking do this EVERY TIME, I'm hardly going to the fucking park for my own amusement AM I?! It's all for you, you ungrateful OIK!' DS2 will be pootling in the background and being agreeable because he's easy that way, bless him, but DS1 can be fucking hard work and seems to delight in thwarting my plans and making me sigh and go "Oh, fuck it. I don't care any more. Sit in the corner and stare at a screen and eat fucking Pom Bears all day, I could not give one shit." He will then crawl all over me and whine to do the thing that he refused to do in the bloody first place hmm

So, yes. Ahem. He is now 4.8 and light-years better than he used to be, we get along quite well most of the time (see above for thankfully now-rare episodes angry), I love him, he loves me, and he and his brother are so close it's untrue. So from my limited frame of reference, it all works out. It's just hard work getting there thanks

In practical terms, we put a Moses basket inside a travel cot so I could put DS2 down to sleep without DS1 assaulting him. Worth a try, maybe? You could attach a blanket to the top of it with cable ties or clothes pegs so DD1 can't drop toys on her sister.

Queazy Sun 13-Mar-16 15:07:20

Thank you so much - I can't tell you how much I appreciate your advice. My ds has reflux and colic and is generally very unsettled, so I can't put him down either. If I put him down, I can't read stories or do anything over the screaming. I know dd is putting up with a lot, and the poor thing is still so tiny. It's bloody exhausting though. Me and my dh are constantly snapping at each other through tiredness, so she's got awful role models in that respect right now. She's like a wound up little ball of rage and I have an awful feeling we're only making it worse. Thanks all for your insights and also for the links xx

Onsera3 Sun 13-Mar-16 19:31:01

Oh yes I was secretly googling 'Does colic cause divorce'! DH and I were at each other because the crying is so stressful. I thought DD would get easier once I got her mouth fixed but then I realised colic was sticking around. It did ease off from 3mo but she still had a fussy tummy and it wasn't til 4mo I realised she suffered if I ate dairy.

You know it will be better some months in the future but when everyday is a struggle it seems an eternity away.

DS seemed to have got stuck in a persona of 'big bad brother' and once we got a new role and title for him of 'superhero protector brother' it flicked a switch with his behaviour.

Im still openly accepting of any negative emotions about the situation eg 'You're upset because we were having a nice story and I had to stop to pick your sister up. That's OK to feel cross. I will be back to read it soon.'

So now he comes up to me and says things like 'I feel jealous and I want you to hug me' instead of climbing on us etc

Just try and think 'why is she acting like this?' and verbalise this speculation out loud. Just having her feelings understood and knowing they're OK goes a long way.

MamaDuckling Tue 29-Mar-16 16:58:48

Oh god, no suggestions I'm afraid but popping in to say that I'm in exactly the same boat with 13wk old and 2.5yr old. It's hell. I dread days alone. Seriously dread them. I dislike being a mum at the moment.

You're not alone. It'll pass.... And breathe, and repeat.

I'm in the process of hiring in some help. We live abroad though where maids/nannies are very common and I'd not hesitate to do it back home either if finances allowed.

Geordiegirl79 Wed 30-Mar-16 15:38:20

Am sympathising here! DD was 3 when DS was born and she turned into a MONSTER overnight! I really dreaded having them both on my own, as you have described. DD didn't do anything to hurt DS but made life bloody difficult and unpleasant for a good few months! Same as MamaDuckling, I began to hate parenthood! Of course we understood the root of it, her whole world having been turned upside down, and we tried our best to give her special 1:1 time, positive attention etc etc but at the end of the day, we just had to her through it and come out of the other side.

Now (2.5 years later) they are (generally) little buddies and having more than one is definitely paying off! I do remember at the time, looking at DP and saying, "What the hell have we done??"

Sorry no good advice but just to reassure you that it does pass and if you can get some extra help in, do so!

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