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At the end of my tether...

(23 Posts)
pookamoo Fri 07-Oct-11 18:51:55

DD1 is almost 3 and DD2 is almost 5 weeks. That probably just about sums it up!

DD1 has turned overnight from a lovely little girl to a nightmare toddler with full on tantrums, strops, general stubbornness and argumentativeness. While I try so hard to remember just to get down to her level and talk calmly, I feel I am failing. sad

She won't eat food, hardly even snacks, just tells me she doesn't like it and breaks down into hysterics. I refuse to make a big deal of it but am so worried she isn't getting enough throughout the day.

She will not do anything she is told - and I can see myself just giving in to her every time, because I am so tired from having a newborn as well. I am trying to go a bit easy on her as she's just got a new sister, but I know I need to be stronger...

To add to it, she has decided she no longer needs her afternoon nap. She is wrong, and the afternoons are pure hell as she drags her exhausted and grumpy little self around the house declaring that everything I do is wrong, and she doesn't "liiiiiiiike that, Mummy" (whine whine whine)

I know it's something many people go through, and hopefully it will last, but it is SO hard. DH has had a day off work today and has been great with her but even he has said he can't stand it!

Can anyone make any suggestions? Yesterday I ended up sitting in the middle of the [untidy and unhoovered] living room floor and sobbing while DD1 had an enormous strop over a piece of cotton wool!

I'm sure there is more.

Are we failing? sad

pookamoo Fri 07-Oct-11 19:31:18


ramblingmum Fri 07-Oct-11 20:33:18

I know it is hard. Mine are a bit bigger now but I was so upset when dd1 stopped having a nap. She was just three and dd2 was 6 months but waking 2/3 times a night. There was plenty of crying from all of us.
Will she sleep in the car or pushchair? even if she wont go to bed. Also just getting out helps.
I spent a lot of time at a local soft play center. Dd1 would go and play , dd2 would usally feed and fall a sleep and the very nice staff would bring me a cup of tea. Other peoples houses can also be good. Maby other children for dd1 to play with, and you feel under no presure to hover the carpet.
If we were at home I replaced her nap with lying on the sofa watching cbeebies.

Rogers1 Sat 08-Oct-11 14:41:57

Hi ramblingmum...congratulations on your new baby. Is it possible DD1 is feeling a bit unsettled with your new arrival? My sister had the same trouble after her DS was born. I hope you dont mind me suggesting this...just reminded me of my niece. No wonder you were sat's both an exciting & overwhelming time....but you know your little girl better than anyone & you will resolve this.

Rogers1 Sat 08-Oct-11 14:42:52

Sorry...not meant for ramblingmum! Got u mixed up!

Rogers1 Sat 08-Oct-11 14:43:27

Sorry..msg meant for pookamoo

pookamoo Sun 09-Oct-11 21:09:05

Thank you both.

I think it is almost certainly due to DD2's arrival. Yesterday DH had DD2 while DD1 and I popped to the supermarket for half an hour to choose a birthday present for her friend. It was like my normal daughter was back! So lovely to spend time with her "just us".

It is very frustrating that everything I do is always wrong (according to DD1!), I thought I had until she was a teenager for that!

Yes, will continue to get her out of the house as much as possible!

flicktheswitch Tue 11-Oct-11 12:45:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

happynappies Tue 11-Oct-11 14:36:33

Its a really difficult age. I had ds when dd#1 was just over two, and had dd#2 when ds was 18 months. Hitting toddler tantrums when you've got a newborn to contend with is not easy!! I keep reading books about these toddlers - highly sensitive? how to talk so they listen? playful parenting? you name it, I've looked into it. I think the fact that you feel so bad, question whether you're failing and end up crying once in a while suggests that you're a great Mum, wanting to do better, aware of your limitations and frustrated by the logistics of your situation. No doubt if you could spend more 1:1 time with your dd you could build on the positives but it is easier said than done!! It is still early days. Get out when you can, which again I know is easier said than done. Sometimes I'd find the whole episode of getting out of the house almost worse than any benefits I'd get from going out, and would end up defeated, sitting in tears wondering what was going wrong with my life! Still have days when nothing will go right for me, as toddlers aren't logical and can't be reasoned with! Am making it my goal to get ds to a few groups and activities, an am trying to roll with some of the bad behaviour, otherwise its a full-scale battlezone every day. Am SURE things will settle down and you'll get more good times than bad. Good luck!

pookamoo Thu 13-Oct-11 13:59:35

Thanks everyone for your replies. I am sitting here in tears today, having just come back from toddler group and now feeling like I am really failing. It's probably just a bad day.

Final straw today: We were last to get out of the hall at toddlers due to my faffing about with the baby and the pram and DD1's shoes and fleece etc (at least she would wear a fleece!). She refused to walk on the grass with me and the pram, and ran off, into the road. I shouted "STOP, STOP" whacked the brake on the pram and left it, chasing after DD1. Fell over in the mud, DD1 still running and laughing! Grabbed her, yelled at her, bundled her under my arm and carried her to the car, she was still giggling and I was crying and seething, the baby was howling!

Got so upset I strapped her in and had to ring DH in tears!

I feel like such a failure today. sad

notnowbernard Thu 13-Oct-11 14:07:14

Cut yourself some slack smile

IME 3 is the hardest age and you've got a new baby, too... I reckon your DD1 is almost certainly kicking off because of the baby. I heard someone once (on here? Radio?) describe the arrival of a new sibling as being like an adult moving in their new lover and expecting their partner to just get along and deal with it etc etc

Re the nap thing I agree replace it with CBeebies or a favourite DVD. Stick a blanket over her and let her have a treat at the same time

And pick your battles, don't stress about the housework, and try and get out of the house at least once a day if only just to get her to run off some steam for a bit

It does get easier. And congratulations, btw! smile

hobnobsaremyfave Thu 13-Oct-11 14:07:56

pookamoo huge hugs. I had so many days like that , you are NOT a failure. It will pass and it will get easier I promise. Be kind to yourself, try and treat yourself in some small way every day. When your DH is around try and have a little me time even if it's just 20 minutes. Cut DD1 some slack for the time being , you are both stressed and tired. A few weeks of lax dicipline does not a teenage delinquent make you can start to claw things back bit by bit in a few weeks when you are feeling a bit stronger.

IdjustassoonkissaZombie Thu 13-Oct-11 14:16:12

My son is a similar age to your DD so I'm sending you a lot of sympathy. he does similar antics and doesn't have a baby to contend with, he is often on a leash wrist restraint attached to the pram.

My two children are 17 months apart and my eldest was very tricky when DS arrived. I admit I haven't read all the posts on here but if there is a way you can spend some special time with your DD everyday when the baby is sleeping, whether doing a craft, or reading a book or similar you may find it helps her behaviour. You're not a failure and things will get better. This too shall pass.

TOWISalford Thu 13-Oct-11 18:50:13

You're so not a failure, I've got a 4month DS and 3yr DD, its hard. I'm exhausted at the end of every day especially as the baby is a diehard velcro baby... literally as soon as I put him down he starts screaming.

Can I suggest perhaps a bit of bribery for your DD, when you anticipate a difficult situation when you're out and about, maybe have an emergency pack of chocolate buttons? Probably not a great longterm strategy but may save your sanity for now.

pookamoo Thu 13-Oct-11 19:45:36

You're all being lovely, it's making me cry again!

I know that DD1 does things to get my attention that she knows will require me to leave the baby and see to her. Hence running off earlier today. If it had been somewhere safe like the park, it wouldn't have been a problem, but obviously on the road it's a much bigger deal. She has one of those backpacks with a handle, but she can slip it off. I am considering reins with a cip at the back, I just can't stand the thought of something happening to her because she won't hold my hand or the pram.

She went out wearing just tights today (a la Lady ga Ga hmm only hers were toddler-type stripy ones!) because her leggings are in the wash and none of the other clothes she owns are apparently a suitable alternative! I took some jeans in my bag for her, but she went all through toddlers and home again in just tights! The other mums didn't bat an eyelid though!

<deep breath> "this too shall pass!" (where is my chocolate stash??!)

ThatllDoPig Thu 13-Oct-11 19:54:42

I've got a toddler and a baby too (and a 12 year old) and it is hard hard work. There are lovely bits of course, but the majority of it is a slog and frustrating, and I'm really struggling with never feeling on top of anything. You aren't alone. I think this is the hardest bit. Hang in there. I cope by having a really tight bedtime routine. The little ones are in bed at seven. Then I have a glass of wine and some time with the older one. She's in bed at nine. I have an hour to do everything else, then have to get to bed to cope with the next day. Just remember, get dressed and get out, every day. Staying in the house is the recipe for a bad day.
It will get easier. one day!

nimbs Thu 13-Oct-11 20:08:56

You are doing a fab job- it's a really hard stage -re: the running off I would definately recommend some reins - I have 2.11 twins and I would be lost without them -

I also definately also second the chill out afternoon to replace the nap - film/biscuit/blanket, and you might find that she'll fall asleep on the sofa anyway - DT1 dropped her afternoon nap in her cot about 6 months ago but will nod off in front of the tv occasionally of an afternoon. If you can sit with her - you get a rest too!!

I had a travel cot with basinet for them downstairs during the day when they were tiny and I plonked them in there once fed/changed etc so I could spend some time with my elder daughter who was 2 1/2 when they were born. I also had lots and lots of magic painting/sticker/story books close by when I was feeding them to occupy her - they only came out when feeding so were always a novelty.

Also second the wine & chocolate once the little buggers darlings are in bed!

dodo29 Thu 13-Oct-11 20:19:40

I had a gap of 2 years 2 months between my two DDs and we moved house when DD2 was about three months - DD1 spent about 8 weeks around that time being absolutely hideous. It was awful at the time and she directed a lot of the behaviour towards DD2. I couldn't leave them alone for five minutes, and even when I was there, I wasn't quick enough to stop the biting/hitting/scratching, etc. all the time. What it was though, was a phase - there were a lot of things changing in her life, and newborn babies aren't the most interesting playmates! She came through it and turned into the lovely little girl I had before again (mostly!) - so there is hope.

What worked for us for the bad behaviour was sitting her on my lap for a count of 30 - calmed me down enough to react sensibly, meant she got some of the attention she was craving, but equally, was enough of an annoyance to her that she got the message about what we found unacceptable.

Zimbah Thu 13-Oct-11 20:24:16

You are not alone. I've got an almost-3 yr old and a 4.5 month baby and it's hard! It has been getting gradually easier, although I've got a thread in Behaviour & Development asking for help with DD1's whining here you might find some of the suggestions useful too.

I find frequent intake of small amounts of chocolate, sneakily when DD1 isn't looking, helps a bit with geting through the day. Oh and on the bizarre clothes choices, DD1 wore a winter coat all morning two weeks ago. You know, the two weeks ago when it was really really hot and everyone was wearing shorts and t-shirts. Some things aren't worth arguing about. She did combine it with a pair of sunglasses though grin.

Zimbah Thu 13-Oct-11 20:33:09

One more thing to add - something that I've found recently that helps me is to break down the day into short chunks of time in my head e.g. from getting up to having breakfast; breakfast to going out; time at park; trip home from park; you get the idea. Then I decide, ok I'm going to keep it together/not shout/be a nice mummy during the first chunk. When I get to the next chunk of time, regardless of whether I've been successful (!) I make that deal with myself again. It helps stop me waking up and thinking how the hell am I going to get through a whole day, which sometimes seems like an impossible task stretching out ahead of me. If I imagine I've only got to get through an hour at a time it feels a lot better.

Lovethesea Thu 13-Oct-11 21:53:41

It's so exhausting isn't it? I've a 2.11 DD and 16 month old DS.

DD has just decided to drop her nap too and I am missing it. I've started a 'quiet time' after lunch instead - DS goes to nap in his cot, DD sits on the sofa with cbeebies/DVD, a blanket and sometimes a snack, I run away and mumsnet, check the news, emails, anything to mentally switch off.

Today she looked utterly exhausted so I drove a long, slow way home after lunch with the grandparents ... they both fell asleep in the car so I sat on the driveway reading a book while they snored in the back.

Take it a day at a time, get whatever help you can with housework, lower your standards for a while with the house, stash chocolate to keep you going. When it gets really bad I put them into the double pram and we walk to the local shop. Fresh air helps. But mostly they are contained and I get a wee break while they look about.

Whatever it takes right now, look after yourself, don't think everyone else is breezing through - it will improve.

ItJustIsntEasy Tue 18-Oct-11 15:21:39

You are certainly not alone - I have similar situations and similar feelings. DD is 2.6 and DS 7m. I feel like the worst mother sometimes as I just snap and rail at, well both of them, but particularly DD. She won't eat proper food, demands junk snacks all the time, won't nap, won't go to bed, screams in the bath, runs away, argues, won't go in the pram, makes a mess purposefully, whinge whinge whinge etc etc. And I give into it all because DS is still waking every 2 hours all night every night. Plus I am bored and a bit depressed I think. But I kick myself for being weak in my parenting and I often feel lazy and lacking.
However I also think this must be quite common really and most mothers are not earth mothers or angels.
I have no family/friends that can help so I absolutely do let the housework slide (sort of do anyway ;-)) and do try try try to remember and express how much I love her, as soon as I am thinking it, to gain some balance for us both. But it is hard, very hard...

pookamoo Tue 18-Oct-11 20:07:37

Speaking to other mums, I think it's pretty much standard for this age and situation. I agree about being a bit depressed. Your relationship with your PFB changes so much doesn't it, when the next one comes along. It does make me sad sometimes. Also, I'm reluctant to have visitors over to the house because of the way DD is and the way I am with her! sad

Today she bit me on the finger at toddlers!

At bed time, I was singing "twinkle twinkle" wrong and apparently I kept missing bits out! hmm

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