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Surely my 1yr-old should be copying / learning from my 3yr-old, not vice versa?

(8 Posts)
HuffwardlyRudge Thu 02-Jul-09 12:46:14

My 3yr-old is playing a fairly constant game of 'being a baby' in which she copies her little brother.

Things that are fine for a 1yr-old are not so great for a 3yr-old.

We go to an aquarium and he staggers up to the glass to bang on the glass and point at the fish (cute) so she does the same so people will say she's cute too.

He throws his supper on the floor and I don't react, so she does it to see if she's allowed to do it too (she's not).

I realise she is jealous and it makes me sad because I am obviously not getting it right.

As soon as any stranger makes any comment about how cute ds is, dd immediately starts 'talking like a baby' (sort of ga ga goo goo stuff) in the hope of being told she is cute too. The silly thing is that when she gets attention in her own right she still becomes all babyish. She equates cuteness and all things positive with being a baby.

She hated ds when he arrived and I think we overdid the "isn't the baby lovely" stuff.

I do have higher expectations of her than her brother because she is THREE, not one. She doesn't understand this, and while I don't want to make the situation worse by making her feel hard done by I can't just let her behave like a baby all time. It is inappropriate for her to be grunting at people instead of saying hello, or plunging her hands into her yogurt and wiping it all over the table and her head.

I talk about important big girl things. I point out the fun things we do because she's a big girl, not a baby. I spend time with her one-on-one. She gets lots of positive attention.

I think she loves her little brother, but I sometimes think she makes a big deal of liking him just to please me.

I am getting something wrong, but I can't seem to step back and see what. I feel sad that she is insecure. I am also bloody fed up with my beautiful, bright, funny little girl pretending to be a stupid baby all the time.

HuffwardlyRudge Thu 02-Jul-09 18:16:57


13lucky Thu 02-Jul-09 21:09:43

Well, I'm not going to be much help I'm afraid but just wanting to let you know that my daughter is exactly the same! She'll be 3 next week and her brother is nearly 9 months. She constantly copies him, crawling round after him, making baby noises, putting everything in her mouth, smearing her food everywhere...and so it goes on. She is constantly attention seeking by doing things to be told off about, eg shutting doors in baby's face, pushing him over, taking toys away from him etc. I put her on the naughty step or send her to her bedroom but, to be honest, it's not having a great effect at the moment. I also try to praise all the good behaviour but that's not working either! Sorry not to be of help, but wanted you to know, you're not alone!

HuffwardlyRudge Fri 03-Jul-09 08:16:42

It's wearing isn't it lucky?

On the one hand it just is very annoying to constantly have to clear up after a 3-year-old who is deliberately behaving like a baby for attention.

On the other hand I feel terrible because I want her to feel appreciated for being the wonderful 3-yr-old that she is, and I don't seem able to communicate to her that I love her for being her and think she is wonderful as she is.

flamingobingo Fri 03-Jul-09 08:19:21

Well treat her like a baby then (in a nice way). She's obviously insecure that she's growing up, and doesn't want to be the grown up one. Let her be a baby. Cuddle her up lots and tell her she's your baby. I bet if you treat her like that (nicely!), she'll soon start being a 3yo again.

Growing up is about 2 steps forward, 1 step back the whole time, and young children/toddlers need to step back sometimes in order to cope with the huge emotional demands of moving forwards. And the best way to deal with it is to embrace it as just a normal part of their development.

HuffwardlyRudge Fri 03-Jul-09 10:35:20

That's a good point fb.

I think we do lots of cuddling and stories and allowing her to be little, but you're right to point out that she maybe doesn't feel confident about being a big girl all the time. We also 'join in the game' sometimes and she loves that (so we carry her like a baby, or blow raspberries on her tummy etc)

How about when she is being naughty under the guise of being a baby?

flamingobingo Fri 03-Jul-09 10:59:41

Well we don't do punishments so I'd just say, as I would to a baby, 'we don't hit/pinch/throw/whatever now, do we. We need to teach the baby not to do that too'

HuffwardlyRudge Fri 03-Jul-09 11:02:20

No, we don't do punishments either. I just feel as though we're not getting anywhere. In fact she's getting worse. I suppose it will pass, but you know some phases are particularly wearing?

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