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Is DD2 (17 months) difficult, or am I incompetent?

(6 Posts)
Tortoiseontheeggshell Wed 08-May-13 02:57:45

Okay, I know it's a horrible age and it's hard work. I do. But I need to know if what I'm describing is on the hard end of the spectrum, or not?

DD1 was an intense child in that she needed (and still needs, at 4.5) a lot of attention and interaction. But she was also very happy, very social, very flexible with plans. Not physically adventurous, loved being read to for hours, generally a really rewarding child to be around. I am an excellent parent, I thought, I should have lots of these here children things!

And then DD2, bless her stubborn little heart, came along.

She has all those typical toddler behaviours, wanting to do dangerous things and getting cross when she's stopped. Fine. She's also incredibly, incredibly clingy around me, so all she wants is to be carried/climb on me, she whines and cries whenever I try and walk into another room, or just stand up. I often cook dinner with her lying on the floor screaming, because it's that or we go hungry.

She is so protective of her personal space that if DD1 comes near her when she's playing with a toy, she'll glare at her older sister and shriek. If DD1 is playing with a toy, she'll try and snatch it, and then shriek. She hates being at home for long, so she'll gather up shoes and hats and point at the door, and have a tantrum if I say no we're not going out yet (she can always play on our front deck unsupervised, but this isn't good enough). But she also hates the car; she'll submit to being put in the seat, but within five minutes will always be whining to get out, and the whining escalates quickly. Even if I take her somewhere she can run around and enjoy, it's not good enough; at the playground, she'll inevitably try and go on the big kid stuff and then get angry because she can't manage it on her own (or furious if I have to lift her off the high slide). And of course she also gets into a lot of accidents, and cries like she's dying even if she's just slipped onto her perfectly well padded bottom.

Each of these things is just toddlerness, I know. And of course there's the posting of useful stuff, the ruining of things, the distribution of mess all over the house, the spilling, the food throwing, the stubbornness, I feel like those are all par for the course. But the combination of the above things means that she's basically NEVER content or happy or anything. I mean, she is, for a minute or two at a time. She has fun. She laughs. Etc. But I am always on edge, waiting for the next whine, the next cry. I find myself giving in on the little things (standing up in the bath, asking for treats) just because I am so done with the negative energy. Which probably makes me a terrible parent, and is definitely setting myself up for more battles later.

But what I want to know is, am I actually dealing with a harder-than-usual toddler? Is this level of constant dissatisfaction normal? Because it's really factoring into our conversations about a third. We'd both like a third, but DD2 pushes us to our limits in a way that DD1 never did (and it's really not a matter of now having two, the logistics of that are fine, it's just having DD2!), so if we think it's DD2, we're more likely to say yes to a third, whereas if it's us, we won't. If that makes any sense.

notnow2 Wed 08-May-13 03:05:52

Well I have a 19 month old who is the same as you describe and it is tough. She is dc3 -and I have had 2 other toddlers exactly the same so fortunately hadn't experienced the other side and know "this too shall pass".

Not much help but just wanted to say that in my experience it typical toddler behaviour especially for dc2 or more as they see older siblings doing things that they want to do.

Notsoyummymummy1 Wed 08-May-13 03:42:25

Sounds like you have what is known as a "high needs" toddler - I don't normally like these labels on children but sometimes it can help to know you have a particular "type" of child to know it's not your fault at all it's just the way she is and how to deal with it. There are lots of helpful articles online such as this one www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/parent-parent-20-survival-tips-parents-high-need-children that may help you xx

HPsauceonbaconbuttiesmmm Wed 08-May-13 11:05:24

Sorry but it sounds normal to me, think you were v lucky with your dd1.

meandtheboys Wed 08-May-13 12:20:24

Sounds very normal to me. Our DS1 was exactly the same, even down to the whinging and crying in the car seat. I think he was at the tougher end of the spectrum though as DS2 is not quite so wired and determined. He's 16 months old and still does all the climbing, clinging to me, whinging if I walk away from him, cries when he can't have a toy DS1 is playing with.

I think it is harder for second children as they see their older siblings playing with all these interesting looking toys that they can't just take of them and it's annoying for them.

DS2 is slightly less moany in the car seat but he gets annoyed when the car or pushchair stops moving. I'm constantly having to keep him on the move the same as I did with DS1.

I sympathise with you cooking tea with her crying. I often end up with DS2 clinging to my leg and whinging. It's a bit of nightmare. With DS1 I could cook for me and DH after he was in bed but now DS1 is hungry for tea and I can't let him go hungry and not cook. It's very hard until DH gets home and can scoop up a sobbing DS2 off me and entertain him a bit while I plate up dinner.

I do feel for you when you say you are on edge waiting for the next whinge. I AM TOTALLY with you on this one. Both of mine have driven me loopy at this age. With DS1 he gradually chilled out and eased up as his language improved. He wasn't/ isn't a difficult older child but oh my lord his first 2.5 years make me shudder. DS2 is a lot like him too but slightly less determined but just as whingy.

I have to pick my battles too. I did the same with DS1 and he hasn't turned into a demon child I promise. He's 5 now and actually very reasonable and lovely. The toddler food throwing, spilling, standing up in the bath is all so draining but normal. It's the whinging and clinging and the endless walking on egg shells with him never happy which is adding to it in our house and means pretty much I am wishing time away. I find him a lot worse when there are people here too. He is extra clingy and whingy for attention as soon as I have a friend or family member over. I end up just on edge the whole time and wanting people to leave blush

We should start a support group!

meandtheboys Wed 08-May-13 12:22:56

Oh and DH had the snip earlier this year. We'd always had our heart set on 3 children too but after 2 years of hell with DS1 (the grumpiest baby and toddler in the world) and another 16 months of being on egg shells with DS2, i just could not do this again sad. I feel it's unfair on DS1 to put him through it and have me snapping and feeling torn between them.

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