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Help! 4yo DS driving me to despair...

(4 Posts)
sleepwhenidie Fri 25-Sep-09 09:33:15

I have a 4yo DS and 15m DD, another baby due in Jan. We found out at 20wk scan that baby is very small, had amnio and blood tests but so far no congenital/infection reasons for it, so it seems a straightforward case of IUGR which at this stage means regular scans and hoping for the best as there is nothing else that can be done for a baby this small and young. Obviously this is causing me and DH a lot of anxiety but I am trying to carry on as normal because of other DC's, whilst also trying to ensure I am eating and sleeping well for the sake of the baby. Hard sometimes as DH works long hours and travels for work - this week he is away for 6 days.

All this has coincided with DS having 2yo style tantrums at the slightest thing - any "no" that doesn't suit him, me telling him to take turns with toys etc leads to shouting, stamping, crying (OTT "waaa!" - no real tears until he has worked himself into a proper state) He is doing this at nursery as well as at home. Now he is also waking around 3am at night and shouting for me to watch him sleep - this is not unusual in itself, he has never been a good sleeper and likes someone to be with him, but usually he would go back to sleep in 5 mins and I could go back to bed, now he stays awake. Last night he was awake from 2.45 until 4.45 and I ended up in tears. How do I deal with this? I have considered letting him cry but he will wake DD and then the problem would be doubled! Of course the knock on effect of the loss of sleep is more tantrums from him and less patience from me....

I don't know whether this is normal when boys hit 4, the tantrums certainly seemed to start before we knew about problems with baby (and I am sure I have seen threads in that vein about 4yo's) or he is maybe picking up on my stress about the baby (we haven't actually told him there is going to be another baby yet, we had held off because months of pregnancy are such a long time to wait for them and now of course the outcome may be a lot more difficult to explain) but he's a bright, sensitive boy who will surely have absorbed some of the conversations/vibes going on around him.

Any advice gratefully received, I have tried offering rewards for sleeping quietly all night - today I have told him he is not having any TV or ice lollies (hell for him) because he wouldn't go to sleep last night but I don't know if this is cruel because there may be something behind the sleep thing? The last time he did this nighttime stuff was just after DD arrived. I feel maybe I am not giving him enough attention, guilty when I end up shouting at him, worry about not giving DD enough either and then think how on earth will I cope with a 3rd one, and then remember I may not get my 3rd one and feel even worse sad...

Luxmum Fri 25-Sep-09 15:13:14

I had this when DS1 was 3ish. i ended up sleeping in his room (usually before him, from sheer exhaustion). Um, actually, he's great now, one night I just said no, I was tired and the baby in my tummy was making me tired, and I was going to my own bed. He was ok with this, and from that mo onwards, I just said no. He tried again on other nights, but once I had seen the light.. Sorry, all I can say is that this is a phase. Has he a nightlight, do you read stories to him before bed? Sorry, nothing but sympathies, but it WILL change, maybe introduce a routine and stick with it, ie 3 stories, then lights out, or, if he wakes up, in the night, he gets sent back to bed asap, or you will sit with him, but only for as long as (finite, child measurable thing, ie, 3 songs being sung to him. ) Good luck..

sleepwhenidie Fri 25-Sep-09 20:36:54

thanks Luxmum, he has actually been an angel this afternoon and at bedtime after stories I told him I wouldn't sit and watch him go to sleep (a bad habit we have fallen into because it makes life easier) because he had to learn to get to sleep on his own so he could do it if he wakes in the middle of the night. He protested a bit but I promised to check on him in a few minutes and he did settle down, I went in once to tuck him in and he was asleep 5 mins later...don't want to feel too pleased as he must be exhausted after last night's shenannigans but fingers crossed for an undisturbed night tonight wink.

Romanarama Fri 25-Sep-09 20:43:43

Oh dear, poor you. My 4yo ds2 is basically like this. It's very wearing. He's much better with lots of attention. At least I'm not pg. Good luck with the baby. Buy this book for lots of helpful advice.

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