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Nail clipping / tooth brushing

(5 Posts)
TheOnlyUpsyOne Thu 29-Nov-18 11:40:23

NC for this as I am embarrassed to be struggling so much. DS is 20 months old and huge. Half my height and almost 1/3 my weight. He will not have his nails clipped or filed. In the past, having failed at distraction, making a game of it, getting him used to the clipper / file, encouraging him to file his own nails, etc we have had to restrain him, and it has been hugely upsetting for everyone. Now he is so big, it's very hard and quite dangerous. He head butts and hits and kicks and claws at my eyes. It's the same with trying to brush his teeth. We invite him to brush our teeth, we've let him choose his own toothbrushes, we play him the Tombliboos toothbrushing thing on YouTube, we encourage him to play with the toothbrush - but we've only managed to brush his teeth about 3 times ever. He struggles so frantically and is so strong that I can't see how on earth we are meant to do it without risking his putting an eye out with the toothbrush.

His tantrums are loud and violent, lasting up to an hour, and he screams so loudly and so long I worry for his vocal cords. He also rarely sleeps more than 2 hours in a row due to night terrors. I'm so sleep deprived I can hardly tie my shoes and am at my wits' end. No family nearby to help.

GP says 'he'll grow out of it', and isn't concerned as DS is very verbal, sociable, etc. But I don't think this can be normal, or how on earth does anyone have more than one child? I see other dc his age at the playground and they are clean and groomed
and have tantrums that last maybe 20 mins tops and don't involve thrashing and hitting and kicking and clawing and screaming.

DS has been ill and off Nursery for 1.5 weeks and not sleeping at all and screaming all the time and I feel like someone has taken sandpaper to my brain.

I don't know what I'm hoping for - maybe advice about how to look after the basic physical hygiene needs of an enormous angry toddler? Reassurance that this will pass...? Confirmation that this sounds quite extreme? Any suggestions welcome!

OP’s posts: |
tinymeteor Thu 29-Nov-18 18:51:37

That does sound really hard, poor you. So much harder when you're both tired too. They're not unusual things for a toddler to kick off about, but his reactions are at the extreme end.

Might it be worth talking to the GP about sensory processing issues?

If that's ruled out, it's about finding a strategy for the short term and reminding yourself it won't be like this when he's 7, or 10, or 18! For cutting nails, it's become a phobia and you need a fresh start. Maybe comedy is your friend? Get DH to make a big show of not wanting his nails cut but letting you do it, then laughing because it tickles? For teeth, I used to distract DD with a favourite show on the iPad. It won't be solved overnight so keep patiently encouraging and be careful with his diet in the meantime. Good luck.

TheOnlyUpsyOne Thu 29-Nov-18 19:43:15

Thanks so much for your reply. I do hope that it won't be like this when he's older -
It sounds crazy but he can already do a lot of damage when he's in his rages and if he keeps growing at this rate he'll be able to physically overpower me in no time at all. Part of the problem, really, is his size and strength.

The odd thing about the nail clipping is that he loves the clippers - he is fascinated by the mechanism and he carries them around and plays at cutting his nails, but he just doesn't seem to like our holding his hand still when we do it. He loves the feel of the nail file & I imagine in the fullness of time he will just file them himself, but for now when we hold his hands (extremely gently I might add!) to do it for him, he goes nuts.

It could just be him asserting his toddler autonomy, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's a sensory processing issue as he has some odd sensitivities - he completely freaks out if his feet are covered, so no grow bags or footed pjs, and we have to bribe him with a trip to the park to get him to put his shoes on. He also does spend a lot of time upside down, or spinning in circles / shaking his head to make himself dizzy. But the GP said there wasn't anything you could really do about SPD anyway so we'd just have to muddle through. Ah well.

OP’s posts: |
Lara53 Thu 29-Nov-18 21:49:13

An occupational therapist can help treat for sensory processing disorder. Well worth getting a private assessment. Have a look at Hemispheres occupational therapy website for info - they are amazing and treated my boys .

TheOnlyUpsyOne Fri 30-Nov-18 08:52:01

Thank you Lara - that's so helpful. I will get in touch with them today.

OP’s posts: |

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