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Disimproving sleep, behaviour, eating with two dds...feel like I'm in a car crash

(7 Posts)
ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Thu 11-Jul-13 07:24:56

Apologies in advance if this is a bit all over the place, I'm awake since 2am and am so tired I feel almost drunk.

Where do I start:

I have two (mostly) wonderful dds, dd1 is 3.3 and dd2 is 8 months. Dd1 has never been a particularly easy baby/child but things have just been getting worse and worse since dd2 arrived (though she absolutely adores her). Before dd2 arrived we had her sleep sorted (after a lot of effort), since then she has started waking, looking for milk, a story etc. Lately she is insisting that I come to her and will scream and cry if DH goes to her. I have been dealing with dd2 at night so am interrupted in my sleep twice as much now.

During the day her behaviour is worse and worse, tantrums, whining, tears over nothing, all to get what she wants. She is much more clingy with me than she used to be and if I'm around she'll only want me. She acts up when other kids are around (mine mine mine etc). She can be fine though, it tends to be late afternoon that I find her impossible.

Compounding all this her diet is very limited (cereal, pasta, fruit, bread only). Even at that she sometimes refuses things she was previously eating and has tears til she gets something she does want, or doesn't eat at all.

I could live with any one of the above but all three is pushing me to the edge, particularly when I'm so sleep deprived.

Dd2 is a fairly easy going baby but is a terrible, terrible sleeper. A good night is 3-4 wakings. Last night I gave up after about 3 wakings and brought her into my bed at 2am hoping she'd drop off. She sort of did but kept me awake by moving around, kicking blankets etc. Then dd1 woke up at 3am and cried loudly until I came to her (dh not acceptable to her). Back to sleep for her til 5am when she cried again for me, looking for a story which dh did, then crying again until I relented and brought her into the bed, which of course woke dd2 up. We've been downstairs watching Peppa for the last hour and a half. Dh went to the spare bed as he's going to work.

I really feel awful, like I'm failing them both. Dd1 can be so lovely but I feel things are just getting worse and worse and are out of my control. I can't survive on this little sleep.

We recently decided that I would stay home for a few years to mind the girls and I really hope it is the right decision.

Can anyone please offer me any hope, advice, thoughts, anything, please.

Salhal Thu 11-Jul-13 07:41:58

Just a quick reply as your post really sounds like problems we've had/have. I have DD 3.3 and DS 1. Sleep is a big issue here and my DD sounds a bit like your DD on the other issues. With sleep I think your DH has to deal with your DD at night. You have to tell her that is what is going to happen and stick with it otherwise if you keep getting up at night with both of them you will feel like you are losing your mind (i have been there). I think you will have some bad nights to start with but short term pain long term gain maybe?
My DD has become really fussy with food. She sees a dietician as she has a milk allergy and she said just to give her what you are having and she will eat if hungry and to not pander to it. Really hard to do but I have been trying to do it and I have noticed that although she might have a massive tantrum to start with if I stick to my guns she will eventually eat something. I offer yoghurts and fruit regardless. Good luck, two small kids and lack of sleep is really hard and so far I am findings the effing threes much harder than the terrible twos!

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Thu 11-Jul-13 10:05:06

Thanks Salhall, your post makes sense. On the food side ideally I would prefer not to take a hard line as I think most faddy eaters grow out of it but combined with the naughtiness I'm not sure that's the right approach, ie should I put my foot down over all issues where she's not doing what she's told.

We used the naughty step to some effect during the terrible twos but not sure it works now, she is much more stubborn.

Re the sleep I know you're right but her cries lead to the baby waking and ultimately no one gets any sleep which I've been trying to avoid...but maybe I need to bite the bullet.

anklebitersmum Thu 11-Jul-13 13:58:10

Sounds like DD1 is asserting her dominance as regards your attention.

Food wise I'd have her sit to the table with you and DC2 for meals (but especially dinner) and insist she sits until everyone's finished..even if she doesn't eat anything. It's not about the eating, it's about the sitting nicely while everyone else eats. She won't starve.

Temper and attention wise I'd ignore, ignore, ignore on the demand front, time out in her room where necessary (1 min per year which starts when she's sat) and respond positively to any good stuff. Tell her what you're doing today and when she's getting 'her turn' for your time so she's less inclined to 'fight' for it iyswim

She is more than old enough to 'get' sitting in time out and that it has to be quietly..or at least still if quiet is too big an ask to start with wink

Bedtime and sleeping is a 'must win' ground in our house..it just leads to massive issues elsewhere. Tired and grumpy child is at least three times the aggro that had a good night's sleep child is so I'd probably tackle this as the priority. In bed, staying in bed. Mean it. Shes' up? Back to bed. If you doing it means less screaming and more results then so be it but if you are hanging out and need hubby to do it then stick to him resolving it that night-don't let her demand you and usurp the pair of you by default.

Most of all don't forget that you've got years and years of practice at stubborn on her..if she gets it even a little bit off you then it stands to reason you'll be better at it than her grin

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Thu 11-Jul-13 22:22:15

Thanks for your post, anklebiersmum. You've helped restore my resolve that I can get back control of the situation.

Bedtime is definitely the priority for the moment. Dd1 woke a short time ago and dh handled all of it, calmed her down and she was happy to go back to sleep eventually. Middle of the night wake ups are the real test though.

Behaviour-wise she was ok-ish today, bit of whinging but nothing that warranted time out. I've considered reward charts and have tried to talk her through the basic concept but I really don't think she gets it, especially the extended delayed gratification bit (working towards a treat at the end of the week). It has to be something today or tomorrow for her to grasp it. Also her attention span isn't great and going through 7 or 8 items for her to do right during the day (basic stuff, brush teeth, eat lunch, speak nicely, tidy up, stay in bed etc) is far too much for her to stay with me to the end. Is this within the range of normal for a 3 year old? The supernanny website seems to suggest she should be able for this but I don't think she's there yet.

anklebitersmum Fri 12-Jul-13 10:24:13

So pleased that you had a halfway reasonable night of it. brew

I supervise teeth until they're in school and then I do a nightly tooth check.

I have to admit I am not a big fan of reward charts..simply because I feel it instills the ethos that there should be a reward for stuff that, in my opinion, they should be doing anyway but I'm mean

We do 'find 10 items that are in the wrong place and put them where they should be' which is a great tidy up game (the biters race) and is easy to reward with a small treat if you so choose. With DS1 I used to race him with DD1 once she was on the scene.

Why not try having a set play time with her where you sit and play a simple card game..ones that are easy to pick up and quick to finish to start with to help with concentration (apparently you develop a concentration span over time) and then work on to longer games as she gets better? That way you can reward good behaviour with a 'quick game of go fish or snap' perhaps? Baby can be on your team wink

Immediate praise and ignoring the little things has always worked when mine were playing up. Big stuff, tantrums and the like are still not tolerated and even now result in bedroom time.

Trust me you have not seen a 'good' tantrum until you've seen my DS2 in full flow. There was a point around 3 at which he was a positive embarrassment to go shopping with ..the minute you got in the supermarket he'd start. Screaming, wailing, dropping to the floor, leaning away from you and screaming 'you're hurting me, WHAAAA' was a fairly typical shop (with 2/3 other children so you can imagine the looks). I used to get out my naughty spot and, surrounded by the other biters and as shoppers looked on, on it he would go. Until he behaved and walked nicely. One particularly memorable trip took me half an hour to do one aisle shock And let's not even talk about the 'I'm NOT getting dressed cos I don't want to go' episode.
Honestly, you have to have no shame as a Mum grin

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Fri 12-Jul-13 22:50:09

That's a great idea about the card game, will definitely try that, thanks.

Last night went well for dd1, no wakings after that one. Dd2 is another story the child does not sleep!

Thanks for taking the time to post, really appreciate it.

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