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Tell me about your wandering toddlers

(24 Posts)
NapOfTheDamned Fri 26-Oct-12 20:14:53

DS is 22 months and I am a bit despairing.
He has no brothers or sisters and we live abroad so no family. I am SAHM and DH works. Therefore linking in with local playgroup and toddler group scene is the only contact with adults/parents I get.

However, DS is not good at playing with other children. Fair enough, he is small and collaborative play with pals I understand is a later thing when they are nearer 3. However, when we go to playgroup, he escapes or goes to door trying to get out. If we go to the park, he runs off, far away, fast. He will toy with toys a bit but won't sit and concentrate on anything. Basically he just likes doing his own thing, in his own world and then checking in with me periodically.

So we go for walks and swims and up and down stairs and in lifts. At home he plays happily rushing about with his toy Hoover or banging in his toy kitchen or climbing his small indoor slide thing. He watches Peppa Pig. He loves stories and cuddling and hide and seek.

But I get fed up whenever I try to hag out with a group of other parents and see them chatting while their DC play in the park or the fountains or at soft play. Their DC stay near to their parents and stay vaguely in one place. I take my eyes off DS for a nano second and whoosh, he is gone.

I have reins but can't hold him in them whilst I chat. They are just for when we are walking about.

I am lonely and feel antisocial and think the other parents think I am stuck up because I never hang about and talk with them. I've stopped going to playgroup.

I do a coupe of music singing dancing toddler classes a week where they are all in a room. The other children walk in a circle or watch whats going on with interest. DS repeatedly escapes, runs round room, wanders about, goes to the door unless picked up and carted about by me, in which case he wriggles like a greased pilot and complains.

Help! Sorry this is so long.

NapOfTheDamned Fri 26-Oct-12 20:16:53

Hang, not hag
Couple not coupe
Piglet, not pilot.

Arrggh. Sorry.

BillysBeastlyBogeyman Fri 26-Oct-12 20:19:49

Find a playgroup where he can't get out anywhere, or come to any harm. Then you can watch him run off safe in the knowledge he will be okay while you gossip and eat biscuits watch him from a distance.

It's quite normal. I can go weeks with only the first 3 words spoken of any sentance before me or one of my friends has to disappear after a child.

dancinginthemoonlight Fri 26-Oct-12 20:23:29

Sounds like my 21 month old. I meet mums at the park and then go for lunch and coffee so know we have a chance to chat when the kids eat. What about arranging an evening for mums wine and cake at yours for proper chat time?

lljkk Fri 26-Oct-12 20:24:56

DS1 was a bolter. Friends would socialise at cafe table with their wee girls all chatty & attentive sitting nicely, while DS1 would be out the door & half way down the street. (Sigh)

TheCountessOlenska Fri 26-Oct-12 20:25:19

DD got much easier in this respect after her 2nd birthday. It's normal for 1 year olds to be in their own little world and run off when they feel like it!

Soft play should be safe enough to let him go without chasing after him?

lljkk Fri 26-Oct-12 20:25:29

My mother laughed & said I deserved DS1. I was a terrible escape artist as an under 3yo, too. blush

Wallace Fri 26-Oct-12 20:30:25

Sorry to laugh at you, but "wriggles like a greased pilot" grin

It is very normal, there should be a toddler group where he can't get out. Play parks that are fenced in with only one gate. Make sure you and the other parents stand chatting near the gate.

It DOES get better. My bolter is 6 now and the running away phase is just a distant memory smile

NapOfTheDamned Fri 26-Oct-12 20:30:43

There are regular drinks nights but DH works late most nights so haven't been going to them much either.

I wold love to do lunch but DS eats his at 11am and then naps. He won't nap anywhere other than his cot and he is a bugger for eating in public, the n,y way I can get him to stay still long enough to eat is to strap him in high chair with Peppa Pig and toys and amuse him all the way through whilst giving him bits of food one at a time which takes forever.

Maybe the only people I see at playgroup and the park are people who feel safe at such places because their DC don't run off or do mad dangerous things but play nicely? DS at soft play tried to throw himself off the top of the slide then got out the door into the road when someone else was leaving.

Sorry to be so negative. I am hoping this is just a phase and he will improve, but having to watch him all the time he is awake whilst never talking to anyone else is driving me a not mad. At least he sleeps now. He woke every 3 hours for the first 18 months so my social life and small talk skills and friends here are very limited: we moved when he was 3 months old.

It IS a phase, isn't it?

NapOfTheDamned Fri 26-Oct-12 20:32:04

Aargh typos trying to type fast whilst doing his supper....

NapOfTheDamned Fri 26-Oct-12 20:33:45

Thank you for reassurance. Was thinking I will never speak to adult again.

BillysBeastlyBogeyman Fri 26-Oct-12 20:34:16

Yes it is a phase.

Ask people round to you for drinks if dh out?

NapOfTheDamned Fri 26-Oct-12 20:40:19

That is a good idea about drinks round mine.
Except the little bugger is a very light sleeper and his bedroom is right by the front door and the sitting room/kitchen (ground floor flat).

We have never had anyone round in the evenings because of waking him and we just watch tv very quietly.

Maybe we could move house to somewhere with an upstairs child room...

Startailoforangeandgold Fri 26-Oct-12 20:43:04

DD1 was like this from the moment she learnt to crawl until she was a bit over 3.
Even at 14 she's still very happy in her own company doing her own thing.

I know what you mean about being lonely. For a year or so I never finished an adult conversation without following DD1. She fiddled with anything that wasn't a toy, you had to follow her.

Reins were a god send and fortunately she was very good about roads, but given half a chance she vanished.

Her sister was born when she was 3 and gradually I think she realised she did need to stay a bit nearer as I couldn't dash after her with the buggy.

But even years later it was far more a case of hoping she'd kept DD2 in sight than her parents.

DD2 doesn't vanish, likes to keep one eyeball on her carer.

NapOfTheDamned Fri 26-Oct-12 21:17:14

Thanks again for the replies....
So the general consensus is they get a bit better by age 3?
Or even 2?
Is it a concentration/socialization thing? So once they start to play with other children they are less likely to zoom off?
Or is it a temperamental thing, and toddlers who explore and are in their own world tend to be similar children?

It's very nice that he can amuse himself, especially as he is unlikely to have brothers or sisters, but I am a bit worried that he is so NOT into any group things at all. He doesn't go to nursery. Maybe he will get better when he does go, next September when he is nearly 3.

pettyprudence Fri 26-Oct-12 21:18:19

Parks, with one gate, are a godsend to us! Although I have to admit that complete strangers have caught him bolting and retrieved him for me! Like wise in buildings, when he was only a crawler! blush

My mum has made me, a couple of times (In relatively safe places) stand back and see how far he goes, rather than rushing to retrieve him. He does go a bit further than I like (ie within my sight would be preferable!) but he always comes back very soon. If I chase round after him, he goes further because he can still see me so feels safe, if that makes sense? If he can't see me he comes back sooner.

Do you have a garden? Or a living room big enough to hold one or two adults and their offspring? We hold play dates at home if DS is being particularly difficult. Me and friends take it in turn to host each week and have lunch.

Pyrrah Sat 27-Oct-12 00:52:03

I had the worst child ever for running off. We live in London and I was on first name terms with the Info desks at most of the big museums by the time she was 2.5, we don't have a garden and a very small flat so staying in (as my American friends suggested) till she was sured was not an option. Plus we don't have a car so public transport was always full of great opportunities to escape.

Reins didn't work (even had an extendable dog lead attached at one point) as she just lay down and screamed till they came off.

My life and sanity saver was a device called 'Mommy I'm Here' which is a tracking device - cost a fiver on eBay. You attach the plastic teddy to them and turn it on. Then when they run faster than you and you lose them you press your device and they beep like a rape alarm and you track the noise. I trained DD to stop when she heard the noise.

Since she turned 3 it has been so much better and I'm almost at the stage of considering her cured. Playing with other kids is double edged - she'll encourage them to run off with her especially if they are younger, or she is engrossed in playing too much to think about it.

NatashaBee Sat 27-Oct-12 01:34:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Startailoforangeandgold Sat 27-Oct-12 01:38:50

I think somewhere around 3.5 they learn to be scared. Scared in a proper logical adult way.

Most DCs are instinctively glued to Mummy, the ones that vanish aren't.

As they get older they realise that there are things in the big bad world that can hurt them and that staying with mum is wiser, but it's a learnt skill.

In the end that's no bad thing. While DD1 learnt that it was better not to get lost, she didn't panic the once she did. She just wandered up to security.

Even at 11, DD2 gets flushed if she thinks she's lost us or we are lost driving.
We have Sat nav and road atlas and DD1 has GPS on her phone, but DD2 still panics.confused

Pyrrah Sat 27-Oct-12 01:45:05

You get some very odd looks - and lots of people asking where they can buy one!

I also thought that it would make a potential abductor think twice if a kid went off like a car-alarm!

The bear attaches to shoes and belts and anywhere inventive you wish to choose. DD never did work out how to turn it off which amazed me as she's pretty fast usually.

They come in several colours and you can opt for one that you press when you lose them, or one that goes off automatically if they go more than 30 ft from you (I would have been buying batteries in bulk if I'd chosen that one!).

Anyway, I highly recommend them - I even looked at the really expensive GPS trackers at one point as it got so bad. I have serious spinal issues so I can't always carry her and she runs faster than me! I had 3 sets of reins in the pushchair just to stop her escaping from there!

NapOfTheDamned Sat 27-Oct-12 02:14:39

Brilliant, I have ordered one and my visitors from I can bring it over next month.

Meanwhile I take comfort from the fact that I did a swimming playdate today and if placed in centre of pool with armbands on it takes him ages to swim to the side and escape so I was able to chat for a whole 7 minutes while he bobbed and flailed about.

minicc Sat 27-Oct-12 06:17:15

That's the spirit Nap!!!grin

Brycie Sat 27-Oct-12 06:21:25

Yes, bolter here. I agree with the poster who said meet in places where he can run off but not escape. Reins for walking in the street. Long walk before a playdate in someone's house.

Brycie Sat 27-Oct-12 06:23:33

I speak as someone who lost a 3 y o bolter in a market in a foreign country for ten mins. Perhaps dont take my advice. blush

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