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I think I'm just really really bad at toddlers

(26 Posts)
stubbornstains Wed 31-Oct-12 08:40:37

The baby stage was an absolute breeze in comparison. But while the baby stage lasts a maximum of 18 months, I have calculated that toddlerhood lasts about 2- 2.5 years. But it feels like a century.

DS is 2.9, and has been getting up at about 5.30 for the last 3 days. I thought it might be a good idea to encourage him to go downstairs and play with his toys until 7.00, and it worked several times, but this morning he managed to break into the craft drawer and there is paint EVERYWHERE.

I'm too angry even to speak to him. It feels like the last straw. I'm striving desperately to keep everything together, and I feel like the early wakings and the chaos are going to drive me over the edge. I can't cope with the constant tension of always being on guard against what he's going to do next. I can't cope with the way that anything I try to do gets interrupted by demands for a poo or a wee. I can't cope with the bangs or the crashes or the screaming or his constant attempts to drag the cat around the room by her tail.

I have just started having a relationship with a wonderful caring man (who to be honest is a lot more patient with DS than I am), but I often consider breaking it off, just because I feel that I don't have the energy to pursue it after DS has sucked me dry.

I know that DS is no worse than most toddlers- I am always being told how wonderful and cute and lovely and well behaved he is- so it's just me really. I am a shite toddler mummy, and I don't know how much longer I can go on for.

Please tell me it's going to get better.

cutegorilla Wed 31-Oct-12 08:51:17

I don't think anyone finds toddlers easy tbh! I feel your pain with the 5.30am wakings. DS1 was an early waker and he could be up for the day at 4.30am sometimes. The worst thing being that he needed more sleep than that so he's was tired and grumpy as well as up stupidly early. It is hard and it must be even harder if you are doing it on your own. I think you do need to get up with him in the mornings though. He's too little to be left on his own. Unless you can keep him in his room and make sure it's safe for him.

If it's any ray of hope for the future, this morning DS1 (now age 5) got up at around 6.30, poked his head into my room and saw me still in bed, then took himself downstairs, got himself breakfast and put the tv on. He was perfectly happy looking after himself until I got down with his baby brother. DD, who also had a spell of early waking, albeit fairly short lived, is now 9 and is still in bed and will probably stay there quite happily until 10 or 11 am! The having to get up with them early thing seems interminable but it's not. You won't have to do it forever.

recall Wed 31-Oct-12 10:56:39

I know how you feel, I am a crap toddler Mum too. Mine are aged 5, 3 and 2. Its the noise, and the constant demands for drinkies, crackers, bananas, potty, wipe bum, change nappy, he hit me, she got my is constant, relentless misery. It is improving slowly now the youngest are attending pre school. I know that they are entirely dependant on me, and I do try and deliver in a Mary Poppins type fashion, but inside I am screaming, and often have to to sneak into the utility room for a swear, a slug of wine, and a toke on my electric fag.

recall Wed 31-Oct-12 11:01:13

I feel like I am acting out the role of a grown up all the time, setting examples, not being shouty, negotiating, providing balanced nutrition, fastening car seats, filling in fekkin forms, applying cream, talking to proper grown up Mums with nice hair in a middle class sort of voice.....aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh !! Its just not me sad

recall Wed 31-Oct-12 11:02:12

Just want to pick mi nose, fart and eat chocolate in peace !

StarsGhostTail Wed 31-Oct-12 11:12:04

It will get better, as Recall says, preschool helps a lot.

DD1 was exhausting, she ran off, fiddled, climbed and wouldn't entertain herself for 5 minutes.
By 3.5-4 she was a bit easier. You could sit in the park and watch her, walk down the street and know she wouldn't run off quite so far. She also chattered away and was lovely company.

Although even at 14 she fiddles with breakable stuff in shops!

stubbornstains Wed 31-Oct-12 14:44:52

Thank you for your replies...they are helping-from both the posters who've been through it, and the ones who are still going through it!

DS does go to a lovely pre- school 2 days a week, and a CM 1 day a week- but of course it's half term- aaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhh! Hence the thread, really. Playgroup is closed for half term too, and that's my weekly venting session with fellow victims parents of toddlers- I don't half miss it.

Perhaps I was a bit optimistic in letting him downstairs to play on his own. I will put a bolt on his bedroom door later, and put some of his favourite toys up there- that way, at least, he can be more contained when he wakes early.

stubbornstains Wed 31-Oct-12 14:49:08

....and of course, by 10.00am, he was all cuddly and big eyed and cute, and I managed to teach him "Happy Birthday", which he sang down the phone to my mum and made her cry..grin

I really couldn't help melting. Until I went in the living room and saw the huge red, blue and green indelible stains on the rug and sofa angry

colditz Wed 31-Oct-12 14:52:05

Please don't bolt him in his bedroom.

colditz Wed 31-Oct-12 14:53:25

He's very little and you need to keep paint where he can't reach them.

Ill be back to this later with some proper ideas but got to go out now.

naughtymummy Wed 31-Oct-12 15:02:14

Wow everyone's is different aren't they ? I loved the newborn stage, could take or leave older babies. But adored the toddler stage. Now they ate school age and I realy can't bear it....uniforms,laundry,discipline and no the "free time" 9-3 2 days a week I work 3days dosen't come close to compensating for 830am football practice on saturday, sleepovers and homework !

naughtymummy Wed 31-Oct-12 15:03:03

swap ??

stubbornstains Wed 31-Oct-12 15:06:02

Hmmm......(scratches chin, wonders what I'm getting myself into)...Possibly? How many do you have, naughtymummy? can I just pick one? grin

scarevola Wed 31-Oct-12 15:07:00

"Just want to pick my nose, fart and eat chocolate in peace !"

No advice, just wanted to say that toddlers are a heck of a lot nicer in retrospect than they are when you're actually cohabiting with them. You'll only remember the good bits, and memories last longer than the actual toddler years themselves.

naughtymummy Wed 31-Oct-12 15:11:38

I'm sure that's true.Fond memories of feeding the ducks and in bed (them not me) by 7....

naughtymummy Wed 31-Oct-12 15:16:43

Having said that have just borrowed next doors' 4yo to make chocolate chip cookies as my 2 dont want to know

GupX Wed 31-Oct-12 15:57:54

I sympathise. We have 3 year old twin boys

<<eyeing wine in fridge and considering buying an electric fag even though I don't smoke>>

Stevie77 Wed 31-Oct-12 16:29:52

OP, whilst I sympathise having a 3 YO myself I don't think it's reasonable to expect him to entertain himself for that long with no supervision. Not to mention that something dangerous could've happened...

Iggly Wed 31-Oct-12 19:01:26

He's far far too young to play alone. That way lies madness and you can't blame him for getting paint out etc. toddlers are impulsive.

Early wakings - could he be cold? Is he potty trained? He could be waking and needing a wee but not quite know why he's woken. Lifting ds at 10pm for a wee seemed to help.

Have you tried cuddling ds in bed when he wakes early to see if you can get another hour? Works for us.

I think you need to lower your expectations a bit and remember how young he is. When he gets to 3, you'll realise how much they do change.

ShushBaby Wed 31-Oct-12 20:51:28

I think 2.9 is a tricky stage (I have one myself). They can drive a person to tears... But at the same time they say/do the most glorious, hilarious things which they won't do when they're older. Am trying to focus on that.

Ps get a Gro Clock. Magic.

trixie123 Wed 31-Oct-12 22:47:53

I really sympathise with the early wakings - DS was 5am this morning (he's 3.3). Its not just that you and they are tired, its the fact you have to try and fill another two hours when you could and should have both been asleep. However, he really can't be expected to play safely on his own at this stage or be locked in his bedroom- that would terrify him surely? I am no softy liberal parent by any means but you really can't do that. A stairgate maybe, so he can see out and call for you? How about bringing toys into your room so he can play on the floor or bed while you drowse / read / have tea etc? We have a gro-clock but DS doesn't really pay attention to it, though I do know many people swear by them. How about shifting his bedtime a little later, making sure he is full, warm, has a potty next to the bed etc? A lot of the frustration around dealing with toddlers is due to US being tired. We are staying with GP at the moment and even after just ONE day of having a lie in (after forcibly hugging DS in bed for 90 mins!) DP and I feel so much more able to deal with the tantrums and irrationality and spilt food etc (we have 2 toddlers so if its not one its the other). Do you have a support network that might allow you a break on a regular basis?

QTPie Thu 01-Nov-12 00:35:24


They do go through stages: you get a step ahead of them, then they pull a fast one and.... grin

Letting him downstairs by himself does sound mad "dangerous". I remember when I was that sort of age: he probably thought that he was being creative or clever rather than naughty. Doesn't make the end result much better, but I doubt that his motives were bad.

DS is 2 years 9 months too: love him to bits, but he is hard work.

I just have to make the most of it: I know that my time with him is relatively short (as a previous poster says, school and their social lives will take over). I have many years of peace and quiet and sanity ahead of me (ie when he goes to university/whatever), but I won't get these (sometimes "patience testing") years again and I won't be that woman who he adores more than anyone else for much longer either... sad

good luck smile

gourd Thu 01-Nov-12 09:58:35

I feel your pain OP. I'd really like, just once every so often, to be able to go to the toilet without either having the screaming ab-dabs outside the door whilst partner tries to prise child away from bathroom door, or alternatively, having to read Thomas Tank Engine books aloud, with child alternately holding onto my knees and then waving flash cards in my face demanding answers to questions, then bringing in heaps of other books to be read out, whilst I am on the toilet... Recent week-long problem with constripation (first ever time, in my life) meant I really, really wanted to use the toilet on my own this morning, just to be able to relax sufficiently, but we had a 30-minute toddler melt-down as a reult!!!

Think you just have to keep telling yourself this stage too will pass and that you are the adult, whilst child is only 2 etc etc.. it's still bloody hard work though.

stubbornstains Fri 02-Nov-12 13:54:37

Oh yes, he was being very very creative; he was trying to do butterfly prints as I showed him several weeks ago...using the sofa as a work surface. The pale, green, dry clean only sofa (sob). The paint lived in the craft drawer, which was supposed to be tied closed with string, but I must have left it untied the night before.

WE have a gro clock. He manages to pull it off its shelf by its lead and turn the sun on whenever he wants- the tamper proof function doesn't work apparently. I made a lovely sticker chart , promising him a lovely gold star every time he stays in his room till the "sun" comes out. Which leads to him banging on my door at 6.00am, yelling "Want gold star! Want gold star!" (sobs again).

Having said that, he didn't get up this morning till 6.15. Which seems like a lie in now. And I am feeling much more fondly disposed towards him today. Probably because he's off with the childminder till 5....grin

FariesDoExist Fri 02-Nov-12 14:23:28

Every day is different, there are bad days and bloody awful days :-)

You need to move the paint/crafts to a cupboard or shelf out of reach (and sight preferably!).

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