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almost 2yrs old and i cant take much more

(21 Posts)
NorwegianMoon Mon 13-Dec-10 10:54:14


my daughter is 2 next month and i dont know what to do about her behaviour. ive never met a child so demanding with such a temper. the irony is we are so close, ive done all the right things ext bf, co sleeping complete bonding from day 1. but she is sch hard work, if im not holding her she screams hysterically (no tears). her scream is something else, its ear piercingly loud and it sounds like im beating her (im not).

She still has bm only sometimes for comfort, not actualy meals. But she wont eat food, whateveri give her she refuses. she follows me constantly, shes up until midnight every night, wont sleep in her own bed. no matter how many hours i spend settling her she gets up when i move away.

its making my life hell.

any ideas?

strawberryshortbread Mon 13-Dec-10 11:20:59

sorry to hear that, however sounds very typical behaviour of a 2 year old.

in terms of the eating, don't worry, my 2 year old doesn't eat much whereas my 4 year old is a fab eater... if she's hungry she will eat.

sleeping... it may be time to break the co-sleeping, sounds like she's become very reliant on you being there. this is not for everyone as you have to have nerves of steel, but we eventually resorted to just leaving him to cry in his cot(first few times, he cried to vomitting and even once a nosebleed!!!)and we eventailly got there... he didn't sleep with us, but we had to sleep next to his cot, holding his hand through the gap! as soon as we left, he's wake and start screaming again, this would happen a few times a night so we needed to take drastic action after trying all the baby whisperer techniques with no avail... sigh, so i do really sympathise.. but it will get better, you have to be strong as its going to be hard for her to learn to self settle, but YOU WILL GET THERE. i truly believe still being in the room doesn't help, she's older now and definately knows you are there..

anyway, this is what worked for us.

does your dd go to nursery? can you look into maybe getting her into one part time? it sounds like it would be good for her and you to be apart a little, but again the seperation part would be hard to begin with..

good luck hun

notanumber Mon 13-Dec-10 12:03:55

You need a break.

You have been hugely committed to being there for your DD, on-call day or night. This is great and you've clearly done a really good job.

But two years at that kind of intensity is going to test anyone to the edge. Children can be limitless in their demands, and this can be overwhelming and draining for the parent.

Is her dad around? Or her grandparents? Plan with them a couple of nights where they take over the care from bathtime onwards. Go out, if you like, or else watch a DVD (with headhones if necessary) have some wine, read a off duty.

She may well scream that she wants you and be a bit of a nightmare for her dad/grandparents, but it won't emotionally scar her (or them!) to not have Mummy at beck and call for one lousy evening. And it sounds like you really need that one lousy evening to keep you sane.

Chin up, NorwegianMoon, this too will pass...But in the meantime, give yourself some time off and let someone else do the front line stuff for a couple of shifts. It doesn't make you a bad parent, it makes you human and sensible.

NorwegianMoon Mon 13-Dec-10 13:42:30

thanks for your comments.

Grandparents wont take her at all-shes too demanding. Her dad, we are still together moans that she wants me and just hands her back. My 4yr old runs away crying saying mummy pick her up its hurting my ears.

I cant afford nursery-at all. I have tried just letting ehr cry but ss will be at my door, you have no idea of how loud her cry is. she would cry all night literally. she just screams and screams and screams, i pick her up and she instanctly smiles.

some times i just want to dump her with someone and run away. I dont need a day off, the amount of stress ive had a need a month off completly by myself

roundthehouses Mon 13-Dec-10 13:51:12

could you contact a few agencies and see if there are any night nannies or specialists on their books that could come in and help with an older child? I know a couple who got someone in to sleep train their child for them, I´m sorry i can´t remember how old he was, and she stayed a few nights and knocked the problem on the head.

Or you might need to warn neighbours etc well in advance and then just let your dh deal with her (preferably when he has time off work to deal with lack of sleep the next day) it does sound like you need to start being less available to her but please don´t think I underestimate how hard that is!!

hollynivy Mon 13-Dec-10 13:53:40

OK, can her Dad look after her one evening a week while you GO OUT for a couple of hours and do something pleasant for yourself... a swim, meet friends whatever would make you happy.

I think she is old enough to start to learn "good separation", and to understand that when she cant see you you still exist. She needs to learn that when you go away you come back. iykwim?

mrsgboring Mon 13-Dec-10 14:03:45

My DSs have both been similar to this, though not as bad as you have it. The separation anxiety thing stopped eventually without me having to do anything about it. The sleep, similarly, got better on its own but it was a long long slog with DS1 and I'm still in it a bit with DS2.

For me personally, there wasn't a lot I wanted to change, e.g. leaving to cry or weaning from the breast, so what helped was a combination of accepting the situation as it was (NOT saying this is what you have to do, but if you do decide to go down the "This too will pass" route, it helps to try to be accepting and not fight and bridle against it all the time which is stressful)

I also introduced small comforts in other ways, just to help me feel better about the slog of this bit of childrearing. For example, if I'm not having quality time with DS1 I always read a book while breastfeeding. I often make DS2 wait (now he's 18 months old) until I've made a cup of tea before I will feed. I have a light on in the hall while I settle DS2 to sleep so I can read. I go out to a local church cafe (volunteer run so cheap!) for lunch once a week - with DS2 but it's still a break.

Is there anything like that you could do, in just a small way, to give you back some control and "me time/space"? Do you get a lie in at the weekend? Can your DH or anyone help with the chores and DS so you can get on with dealing with your DD?

naturalbaby Mon 13-Dec-10 14:09:42

our hv's run a sleep clinic once a month with general advice for up to 5yr olds - maybe yours might have something similar? i also got one to come out and help me do sleep training with ds1 cause i told her i really was at my wits end and couldn't cope with sitting up for hours every night till he was alseep enough for me to leave.

i read a lot that kids behave completely differently with other parent/family members. as hard as it may be for your husband, she is his child too and it's not fair for you to have to deal with this all the time. my boy behaves very differently for me and my husband because we have very different roles looking after him - he knows exactly what he can get away with and when!

if you draw up a plan of what you want to change, one thing at a time with a timescale, then stick to it no matter what. it will be much harder to start with but after a week or two your dd will see that you really mean it. the protests and screaming may get worse when she realises she can't have her own way over you all the time.

notanumber Mon 13-Dec-10 14:15:17

"Her dad, we are still together moans that she wants me and just hands her back."

You need to tell him that this isn't an option.
It will be stressful and crappy for him - yes, I know she wants you, she always wants you, that's the bloody problem - but he'll just have to suck it up.

You are his partner and the mother of his children. You are at breaking point and need some much deserved respite. So, nightmarish as being on duty for a couple of nights will be for him, he is just going to have to do it.

Might be easiest to achieve this by actually going out rather than listening to the screams from downstairs. Added advantage of this being that DP has to step up and doesn't have the option of just passing her back to you.

ilovemountains Mon 13-Dec-10 14:16:10

How about you talk to your health visitor and your neighbours so that they are aware of the situation (in case you're worried about social services being called because of the screaming), then ask your grandparents to take your DS for a couple of days and nights.

Then you and DH together have a really intensive couple of days with your DD working on her behaviour/separation anxiety. This could include activities such as DD going to the park with DH while you go to a cafe for an hour, going swimming together but DH changing her etc. And then try and sort out the night time routine at the same time, crying if necessary. If she's not going to sleep until midnight she could well be permanently exhausted which isn't going to be helping matters.

Unfortunatley there is a chance that the longer this is left, the situation is only going to get worse and could impact on your DH and DS more. However it IS fully recoverable if you all pull together. Good luck!

notanumber Mon 13-Dec-10 14:39:44

Agree with ilovemountains - the solution needs to be one that whole family implements. It's not solely your responsibility to sort it out.

You need to say to DP, "This is intolerable. We can't go on like this. We never get any time alone and I'm exhausted and fed up. What do you suggest we do to make things better?"

Assuming he's not an ogre, he won't say "nothing, it's fine as it is" so will have to suggest some strategies.

JamieLeeCurtis Mon 13-Dec-10 18:07:53

I agree withnotanumber. He needs to get the message that you are at breaking point. I don't think this can get better without both of you. Really feel for you

wannabeglam Mon 13-Dec-10 18:32:28

I think she sounds like she has a very strong will and has you wrapped round her finger. You need to find a plan of action, want to do it, and stick to it. Every time you give in you feed her belief she's in charge.

As for DH, he's abdicating his responsibility. Sounds like the pair of them have you wrapped round their fingers. Develop your plan of action together, and carry it out together.

With your DD, this is a battle of wills. You are the parents, you are in charge. Chant it to yourself if you have to smile

MumNWLondon Mon 13-Dec-10 19:07:23

BTW I don't agree that anyone would call SS about a toddler screaming, in our previous house our neighbours sleep-training their toddler, yes it was v loud (and at 5am-6am before we had kids) and every morning, for around a month... but I never once thought of calling SS. I just thought, poor parents having to sleep train.

When they moved out the next neighbours got a big dog. They went out for hours on end and let it bark. Then I did call the council.

She is very clever and is using the screaming as a weapon to get exactly what she wants as she knows none of you can stand listening to her. Only when the value of her screaming is diminished (because she realises that infact none of you care whether she screams or not) will her behaviour change.

girliefriend Mon 13-Dec-10 19:18:00

The going to bed at middnight thing has to change, I think you both would feel 100% better if she went to bed at a normal toddler bedtime 7pmish. Then you get time to yourself to unwind and chill. I would have needed to be sectioned if I couldn't put my dd (who was also an extremely demanding strongwilled 2yr old!!!) to bed at 7pm and then collapse in a heap in front of eastenders!!! I think consistency is the key, plan a routine starting with tea, bath, cuddles and a story. Sit with her until she is sleepy and then gradually withdraw. If she screams she screams but in my experience once kids realise you mean it they shut up pretty quickly, if she sees weakness then then you will be in for a long night! It won't be easy but well worth it in the long run, good luck.

snowedinthesticks Mon 13-Dec-10 19:47:57

When she screams she is having a tantrum. There is nothing wrong with her. If she lay down and drumed her heels would you always give her what she demanded?
At 2, even if she doesn't say much she will be able to understand words as well as actions.
All the advice is good, you need to let her know that whatever she wants she will only get by asking nicely and that once she starts a tantrum there will be no question of you giving in.
It will be hard at first but if you stick it out It will pay off.

GroovyGretel Mon 13-Dec-10 19:51:47

I would only add that my easily over stimulated children can't have a bath at bedtime otherwise they get a second wind and are up for aaaages.

Is she exactly 2 years? I noticed that mine went through a period of being revolting grin at roughly 9 month periods, ie 9, 18, 27, 36 months. Hmm, that may not make you feel much better. Still I know that when I figured out that it was in one of those periods I tended to relax and realise that it would soon pass.

tostaky Wed 15-Dec-10 09:25:01

about letting a child cry/scream and SS: my HV told me not to worry about leaving DS2 to cry at night and that if social services came to my door then she would tell them that she told me it is ok to let him cry....

i was a bit surprised to be told this but, what i wantto say is if you are worried aout SS, do go to your HV sleep clinic, air your fears and let your DD cry it out at night... at 2 she can sleep on her own...

Unwind Wed 15-Dec-10 09:57:48

Speak to your HV. I was in the same position as you (almost exactly the same) a week ago.

HV discussed it with me in detail, and advised me to do rapid return. It has been brutal. I am more emotionally and physically drained than I thought possible. But last night my DD slept all night in her own room, only waking once, and going back to sleep almost straight away, when she was put back in her bed.

The first night I had to put her back almost 100 times each time she woke, four times in total. It gradually improved, until the night before last, it was about 30 times, three times in total. And last night she gave up. My HV had told me that, in her experience, it takes 5 nights. I am really hoping that is it. The screeching must have been a nightmare for my neighbours.

The transformation in my DD is extraordinary, she is so much calmer and happier, having slept in her own bed, the days are much easier. Best of luck.

Unwind Wed 15-Dec-10 10:07:37

I should say that getting her to stay in bed at all involved a bedtime routine followed by a long session of rapid return, until last night, when she just stayed in bed.

We made sure she got lots of exercise in the daytime, offered her favourite foods for her meals (not that she always ate them), and also talked and talked about bed, how wonderful hers is, how we love sleep etc.

ilovemountains Thu 16-Dec-10 14:12:39

I just wanted to say an enormous WELL DONE to Unwind. Hopefully you'll have a lovely relaxing Christmas together now.

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