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DD 22 months just ruined our break away. Why is she like this just when we go away?

(82 Posts)
jogym Fri 22-Aug-08 14:13:23

The 4 of us decided to go for a break away for a few days before DD1 goes back to school. We decided to go away to a nice hotel with a pool etc. Bad mistake. My 22 month old turned into the demon from hell developed a blood curdling scream and drove us all potty. She is quite stubborn at the best of times but I've never seen her like this before (well with the exception of our holiday abroad in June). Is there some kind of destruct button they can press to ruin everybody else's holiday. Examples are: refusing to get undressed and dressed and pinning her arms to her sides so you can't get anything off, screaming when put in pram, embarrassing us when eating where we had to scoff our food down us and basically flee before we got any more looks, not staying in high chair, trying to throw the plate at us when finished her food,when lifting her out not staying at the table and roaming round the restaurant, up and down steps etc. starting to yell when a sausage fell on her knee or fork drops on the floor, pulling her shoes off and saying sore foot, sore leg, things that we have come across at home but while away x10. I just can't understand it and I don't know how to deal with it. My mum says I need to be more firm with her. I don't know what to do differently than what I'm actually doing. My husband even threatened to pack our bags and go home the first day as he couldn't stick it any longer. It was like a different child. Can anyone explain why and is this normal. She was starting to scare me!

gingerninja Fri 22-Aug-08 14:27:48

hmm sounds like quite normalish toddler behaviour. I think it's a bit unfair to say she ruined your holiday though, she's only tiny and doens't really have the concept of ruining your holiday.

Perhaps she's teething. Have her back molars come through? My 23 month old has turned into a massive whinge these days but despite the fact that it drives me to distraction I can hardly blame her.

When it comes to the dress / undress- you're the adult. You can be firm but gentle.

Screaming in pushchair, give her warnings she's going into it. If she's suddenly bundled into a pushchair from enjoying herself freely then of course she'll scream. So would I.

Strap her into the high chair and remove objects that are thrown with minimal fuss.

roaming around the tables? She's a child she won't sit still.

taking her shoes and socks off saying sore foot. So what?

Personally it sounds like you and your DH ruined your own holiday with your reactions (I don't mean that in a vicious way) but she is tiny. You need to use distraction and you need to have authority when it matters.

I really can't see why any of her behaviour would scare you. That seems odd.

Bluebutterfly Fri 22-Aug-08 14:28:21

Hmmm, not an expert, but a mother of a wilful 3 year old here.

I do wonder if, when we choose "nice" hotels to go to with our toddlers, our expectations of their behavior are artifically raised? Afterall 22 mths is very, very young really. I don't know if being firm with her would have solved anything btw.

Did you make user that you had brought books, toys, crayons, puzzles to keep her entertained? I find a holiday is often a good time to give ds a new colouring book or book, or even a new toy as a treat. Something out of the ordinary to focus attention. Your dd was out of her "comfort zone" and reacted to it.

Maybe in future you should choose a holiday with a bit more child focus - i have heard that kinder hotels are really great - so that she can get used to a break away in an environment that is more used to the ups and downs of child behaviour.

Sorry to not be more help, but they are not called the terrible twos for nothing grin

kitbit Fri 22-Aug-08 14:29:24

If she also did it on your previous holiday I would say she was probably anxious about being somewhere unfamiliar. If they are unsettled children can start acting totally out of character, or "playing up", or making their behaviour more exaggerated.
Not sure about being more firm I think this could be counterproductive. IME ds settles back into his usual cheery self more easily if I'm more attentive and pick battles carefully. Not saying to excuse bad behaviour of course, but avoid certain situations for the first few days eg posh restaurants rather than take yourselves there and have it turn into a nightmare. And go to lots of places where steam can be let off safely without worrying eg kids playpark, beach, somewhere where there are lots of other kids making noise!

Yep, it's normal now that you are home no doubt she will settle back into her usual self again, but you might have to pick the next couple of holidays carefully bearing in mind what happens, perhaps leave the nice tranquil hotel holiday until she's a bit older!

nippersnappers Fri 22-Aug-08 14:30:00

Could it be she just gets a little scared and upset when away from her usual routine and surroundings, and shows it by acting up like this?

Also if you were maybe a bit tense in anticiapation of her behaviour she may well have picked up on this too.

She's still very young, it's frustrating behaviour I know, especially when you know they can can be well behaved.

You just want to tell everyone staring at you how wonderful and well mannered they usually are, don't you.

nippersnappers Fri 22-Aug-08 14:30:47

x posts

Bluebutterfly Fri 22-Aug-08 14:33:24

Oh and I agree with ginger's points and would add that around 2 is a very good time to start ensuring that you always give your child a lot of forewarning about a) what is going to happen next, ie "we are going out to a nice restaurant tonight and we will have alot of fun"
b) what you expect from her/him: " when we go to the restaurant you can do colouring/play with toy x, but you need to try to behave quietly and do as mummy/daddy says"

It won't always work, but i find that if a child is not thrown into situations, but knows what is going to happen (and this even applies to trips to the supermarket) their behaviour is much easier to deal with. Children can not cope with uncertainty.

WideWebWitch Fri 22-Aug-08 14:38:51

It's normal 22 month old behaviour, there's no way she was trying to deliberately ruin your holiday! Was she unsettled at being somewhere new maybe?

My views on the behaviour you're describing

refusing to get undressed and dressed and pinning her arms to her sides so you can't get anything off, NORMAL FOR THAT AGE. I'd let her stay in her pyjamas if it wasn't important or say airily, "that's fine, come downstairs in your pyjamas then" and follow through.

screaming when put in pram NORMAL, COULD YOU HAVE LET HER WALK?

embarrassing us when eating where we had to scoff our food down us and basically flee before we got any more looks DID YOU HAVE TOYS FOR HER TO PLAY WITH? SHE WAS PROB V BORED! GOING OUT TO DINNER IS NEVER GREAT WITH THIS AGE CHILD IME

not staying in high chair, NORMAL,

trying to throw the plate at us when finished her food, I'D HAVE JUST REMOVED IT

not staying at the table and roaming round the restaurant, up and down steps etc. NORMAL 22 MO WANT TO EXPLORE AND DON'T LIKE STAYING IN ONE PLACE, SHE WAS PROB BORED

starting to yell when a sausage fell on her knee or fork drops on the floor, MY 4Y0 STILL DOES THIS

pulling her shoes off and saying sore foot, sore leg, things that we have come across at home but while away x10. EITHER SHE DID HAVE A SORE FOOT OR SHE WANTED YOUR ATTENTION!

My mum says I need to be more firm with her.
NO, SHE'S NORMAL. YOU JUST NEED TO FIND STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH IT IMO.

Fwiw, we didn't have successful eating out with dd until she was about 3 so I tihnk you're expectiong a bit much of her given her age.

stealthsquiggle Fri 22-Aug-08 14:39:54

I tend to try and be less strict with my DC on holiday than at home

For example - at home, no toys at the table, DD (22mths) has to sit in her chair to eat, reasonable expectation of manners. On holiday - toys/books at the table OK except when there is actually food in front of them (DS usually has drawing stuff), and if it is the only way she will stay quiet then DD can sit on my lap to eat. The flip side is that they are absolutely expected to be quiet and stay at/near the table - and I will take them outside instantly if they don't.

WideWebWitch Fri 22-Aug-08 14:40:11

Just realised I repeated a lot of what gingerninja said, totally agree with her post.

I think your expectations (and your dh's) are a bit high tbh.

LIZS Fri 22-Aug-08 14:49:23

Agree with much of what has been said. With kids you are setting yourself up for stress and disapointment if you expect too much. She is almost 2 an Maybe, like us , you were spoilt by having a more cooperative first born , or maybe were more reluctant to do such things so avoided it. Her behaviour sounds perfectly normal but would have been less difficult to handle had you been in an environment in which you and she could have felt comfortable and accommodated so that it really would not have mattered. A hotel with a kids' tea time perhasp , or choice to use a creche while the adults eat. Had you been at home would you be saying she had ruined your day by behaving like that ? I suspect not , been annoying eprhasp. In which case why have differing expectations when away .

mabel1973 Fri 22-Aug-08 14:50:00

echo WWW...you expecting far too much of her.

My 23 month old DS behaves like this at home. But he is 22 months old...that's what he's supposed to do. That's why we don't go on holidays to nice hotels! We stick to camping or rent a cottage.
FWIW we went out for a meal on wed for my mums birthday just to a local pub, which did have a play area. we took a few toys, but within 10 minutes DS2 was off crawling all over the seats, jumping up and down on them and generally being a pain...but i didn't expect anything else!

lulumama Fri 22-Aug-08 14:53:21

agree with everyone else !! saying she 'ruined' your break makes it sound like you feel she did it deliberately, when in fact, she has only exhibited normal toddler behaviour

your expectations sound too high if you expect a two year old in unfamiliar and exciting surroundings to be biddable and obedient

ignore the bad and praise the good !

have holidayed with mine as babies and toddlers and you have to go into it with the knowledge it won;t be a relaxing break and go everywhere with a bag of toys and snacks etc

bit OTT of your DH to want to pack up and go home, he sounds a bit toddlerish too!

Romy7 Fri 22-Aug-08 14:54:14

you took a 2 year old to nice hotel?

nice hotels bore small children. they put them out of their routine, expect them to eat stuff they don't like. everyone sits around for hours at a dinner table or with a nice drink, and then wants to sit quietly by a pool. small children want to run, scream and eat when they fancy. self cater until they are large children and understand.

holidays imho are the worst time of year and the most stressful family experience, for anyone with small children.

mabel1973 Fri 22-Aug-08 15:00:36

Oh just another point, DS1 behaved in exactly the same way as DS2 at that age. He is now nearly 4 and is a pleasure to take out to eat. It is something you are going to have to either put up with or avoid until they are old enough to enjoy it.

summer01 Fri 22-Aug-08 15:05:00

What very unsympathetic responses to jogyms post. One of the reasons I never tend to post about problems/issues I have with my children, the judgemental responses from some mumsnetters.

Sounds to me that jogyms wanted a little bit of sympathy and understanding. Jogyms, I do feel for you. Its hard going away on holiday with young children. I tool my 2 year old to Spain last year and it was certainly challenging! It can be frustrating when they scream all the time especially when you're eating dinner. My way of dealing with it is to just ignore all the judgemental looks you can get from other non sympathetic people in restaurants. Hope it doesnt put you off going on holiday in future!

Neeerly3 Fri 22-Aug-08 15:06:01

our first foreign holiday with our dt's was when they were a similar age to your DD, and the only way we managed to have a good time was to completely lower our expectations of the boys.

They are in a new place, it's hot, they will be tired from busy days and new things to take in.

We didn't take them out to eat in the evening til a few days into the holiday so that they were more settled (we stayed in a Villa, so stopping in was not an issue). We would let them nap later in the day - keep them busy all morning and way past lunch time then let them drop where they fell. When they woke we got ready to go out for the evening. Sometimes we even fed them before we went out, so we weren't worrying about feeding them while we were eating - we would order them a small starter or chips between them and wouldn't stress if they didn't eat it. Books/Toys/crayons and also asking to be seated where there is more room for them to roam is a must - then after dinner, pop them in buggy - short walk round the block and they would drop off, could return to restuarent or onto bar, pop them in the corner and enjoy the rest of the evening.

At 22 months (and even now actually, they 3.8) I wouldn't do a hotel holiday, only apartment/villa - so that I wasn't limited to one room if they were not in the mood to socialise. Last year one of my DT's wasn't well for first few days of holiday, and he wanted to sleep a lot - if we'd been in a hotel it would have been spoilt, but being in the villa meant we could stay in, we had the pool, DT1 could sleep and DT2 could still enjoy himself.

Romy7 Fri 22-Aug-08 15:13:50

i think that was the only point - the problem was unrealistic expectations of a holiday, rather than a two year old's behavioural issues, wasn't it?
or should we have said, gosh, yes, i hate it when a two year old spoils my time at the spa, too?
i think maybe the op could have picked a slightly less condemnatory thread title, if she wanted sympathy, lol.

WideWebWitch Fri 22-Aug-08 15:14:23

er summmero1, we've all suggested things and given our view, this is a discussion forum, so people will post what they think which is fair enough.

gingerninja Fri 22-Aug-08 15:14:47

summer01 it's not about judging. The op asked for advice. She got it.

I, and it would seem others, said that we felt she was expecting too much from a child that's not even two. NO one mentioned that it was easy. Of course it's not easy, that's why we look for advice. If we just wanted people to say there there you poor love we wouldn't seek out opinions.

WideWebWitch Fri 22-Aug-08 15:14:53

Agree romy re thread title etc

chipmonkey Fri 22-Aug-08 15:15:19

Normal, normal, mormal.
What did you expect? as for embarrassing you, surely anyone there who was a parent would have known this is how they carry on, if I were another guest there, I'd have felt sympathetic rather than judgemental.

summer01 Fri 22-Aug-08 15:17:29

Yes it is a discussion forum, theres a difference between discussing and judging though.

jogym Fri 22-Aug-08 15:17:56

In answer to some of your thoughts:

Thought about the teething bit. Had a look but nothing seems to be coming up at the back but gave Neurofen anyways.

As regards the dressing and undressing bit was when we were all getting ready to go out for dinner. She sees everyone else get ready and is the last to get dressed. Maybe I should do her first?? DD is v strong for a toddler trust me! She can struggle for a good five mins and it is v hard to get her top off and on. How can you be gentle when they are struggling with you so much.

She is put in pushchair after walking for at least half an hour I can see she's getting tired and keeps stopping or falling over and is told beforehand.

She will not be strapped into a highchair. She will pull at the straps and start crying, screaming. Do I sit and listen to that!

She doesn't take her shoes and socks off AT ALL any other time. It was just while we were out for a walk.

She was not bored at the restaurant. She had a bowl of crayons and pictures to colour in. She would not let her sister colour hers and screamed when some were taken out of the tub then screamed when some dropped on the floor. Roaming round the restaurant, depends what restaurant you're in. She was putting herself at risk as she was in the way when the waitresses came in and out with food. The plate was not left on her tray after she had finished. She had hardly touched a thing and decided she didn't want it in front of her any more.

I have a near 9 year old also. She just wasn't as stubburn or determined as DD2 so it's a bit new having a different personality.

I also thought this website was for advice and not criticism. I have read other posts and it seems to be that some ladies! are quite judgemental and like to get their point across!! (gingerninja!). Will maybe get my advice elsewhere.

And yes you can safely say that there will not be a repeat of this until well 2 years time!

WideWebWitch Fri 22-Aug-08 15:19:34

but OP is talking about a 22mo 'ruining' a holiday and a lot of us are pointing out that a 22mo wouldn't have that intention and therefore the OP might want to re think her expectations. We're not judging the 22mo behaviour, we're saying it's normal.

The dh does sound childish too frankly.

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