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Worried about failing my toddler

(23 Posts)
glowfrog Wed 22-Jul-15 22:55:30

I have a DD1 who is 3.5 and a DD2 who's 3.5 months.

I'm struggling to deal with DD1's behaviours at times - she is very wilful and energetic (bedtimes can be bedlam) and clearly struggling to adjust to her little sister at times. And I'm so tired that I find myself losing my temper, bring v impatient etc - and Of course I can see her copy my behaviour! So a bit of a vicious circle.

I just feel awful that I'm struggling with this, it feels like there's massive distance between the 2 of us and it makes me feel really sad.

I'm working on acknowledging her feelings as much as possible (I know it's hard with your sister, it's ok to be angry etc) and sometimes it helps - but I don't always manage it.

Anyone else gone through this and come out the other side?? Needing some reassurance here...

swift13 Wed 22-Jul-15 23:01:09

I only have the one, but I helped my friend get through it.

It will get easier smile

Your oldest will be finding everything difficult. She's gone from being the centre of your universe to being half of the centre.

Can you and your other half put aside a few hours at least once a week of where he looks after your youngest and you spend quality time with your eldest.

Can you involve her in helping with the baby? Make her feel special and important by doing little jobs like passing you nappies and things. Things to help her feel excluded instead of the outside

I have the most beautiful video of my son feeding his baby cousin.

I hope things get easier soon

glowfrog Wed 22-Jul-15 23:12:23

We are extremely lucky in that my husband was able to be home for most of the first 3 months after new baby but he is now working away from home during the week. I think she's missing him lots, too - but most of her difficult behaviour happened when he was around as well.

I try to spend time just with DD1 but DD2 is not making it easy! She wants to be held most of the time that she's awake and is refusing to get into a pattern with daytime naps. One day she will do one 20mn nap and another will sleep for 4 hours (at leat her night sleep is excellent).

She won't take the bottle so I'm not confident about expressing and leaving her with daddy while I go out with DD1.

Thanks for the reassurance. Poor DD1 is hardly out of the ordinary, really, and in many ways is fantastic (happy to fall asleep by herself, to be awake in her room in the am for ages etc). Why I feel the problem is very much with me and not her.

swift13 Thu 23-Jul-15 00:01:45

There certainly isn't a problem with you! You're dealing with a new baby and a difficult toddler, it is natural to feel a bit argggghhhh at times.

We all lose patience sometimes and aren't as understanding as we should be. That is part of being a parent smile

As a bit more time passes it will get much easier. If baby is wanting to be held a lot, would a sling/carrier be an option?

I found a carrier a lifesaver with my son. Once I got over the initial "oh he will surely fall out if I lean over" part, it was brilliant. Meant I could do all sorts AND I could feed him in it.

Perhaps a carrier or sling could be used so baby feels she is being held and you could then bake or something with your other daughter?

glowfrog Thu 23-Jul-15 06:52:13

I'm looking into slings, actually- I have an Ergo Baby that I love but it's not so good for doing things around the house. Looking to go to a Sling Library next week.

I'd put that on the back burner a bit (something always seems to come up!) so thanks for reminding me!

WatchWithMerlot Thu 23-Jul-15 08:59:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BotBotticelli Thu 23-Jul-15 09:05:57

That's a lovely post merlot...

I am 40 weeks pregnant with ds2 and expect to be dealing with all this stuff in the coming months. Your words are very reassuringX

Newquay Thu 23-Jul-15 09:12:26

Hey there - it does get better. Dc1 is 3.5 boy and dc2 is now 8.5 months. At your stage I was very sad at the gulf between me and dc1 - for same reasons as you. I second that getting out with dc2 in sling really helped as it was more like it just being me and dc1 again. Try something exciting like Forrest school playgroup? I was totally heart broken though - it's not you failing at all - it is just another phase. Now dc2 is a bit older and can 'play' with dc1 it's far far easier and we have rebuilt our relationship. It's so tough sweet. Get out of the house with dc2 in sling and you hopefully get a few hours of 'fun' and focus on that xxxx

glowfrog Thu 23-Jul-15 10:12:41

Yes, lovely post, Merlot. Thank you.

Must indeed try harder to go out like you say, Newquay.

Now here's hoping DD1 will stop being too "affectionate" with her sister soon - it's a wonder her arms and legs are still attached!!

Newquay Thu 23-Jul-15 12:33:28

smile I looked back at my diary for those months and dc1's favourite thing was to give dc2 a 'kiss, cuddle and a 'stroke'......thankfully he doesn't do those anymore.

sharond101 Thu 23-Jul-15 13:20:17

I could have written your post! DS is 3 DD 10 weeks and has reflux. Cries a lot and wont be put down. DS and I were inseparable before she came along and is constantly wanting me to play with him and testing the boundaries. I've found my guilt unbearable at times especially when I've been impatient.

So far things that have helped are involving Ds in looking after did and lots of praise for this.

Getting out every day and making it funbfor ds.

Spending time with friends with children. Lessens my guilt and he has super fun.

Getting Gran to look after did for an hr or so to give me some special time with ds.

Getting ds a doll which is his baby and encouraging him to look after it as I am dd.

Agreeing for anyone who offers to do fun things with D's, aunties, neighbours etc then he has to promise to tell me all about it.

Asking him for lots of cuddles.

Playing games whilst breastfeeding dd.

Sadly dd hates the sling I bought:-(

glowfrog Thu 23-Jul-15 22:03:36

I will try the doll thing. She used to want to help with nappy changing but has stopped. I get quite stressed about the way she handles the baby - I don't want to keep her away all the time but she's rarely gentle so have to watch her like a hawk. I try to take my cues from baby, who 99% of the time doesn't seem to mind but...

I'll try and make time for DD1 this weekend when DH is back.

The boundary testing is really hard. Tonight I don't think she responded positively to one single thing I asked her. i had to constantly threaten to take something away.

I don't have a problem with saying no. It's not the idea that she might be upset that bothers me as such - just that I don't think I say no in the best, most effective way.

catellington Thu 23-Jul-15 22:14:29

I don't have any advice but I really identify with your post.

I have dd1 2.5 years and dd2 3.5 months.

In fact I was just saying to dh I worry that Dd1 is going to be permanently damaged by the last few months, she is such a tear away at times (bedtime tonight was especially bad) but only at home. the less time I have with her, the worse it gets.

She is such a lovely little girl sometimes, and I look back to before and barely recognise her behaviour now....hoping it gets better. I really miss spending time with her, like you my dd2 is ebf (as was dd1, in fact I had to wean her suddenly when dd2 was a few weeks old) so I don't get my arms free very much.

We never leave her with the baby we are real helicopters, but she is only 2.5, so i don't think she can be trusted, she doesn't really see much difference between a doll and a real baby.

Good luck!

glowfrog Thu 23-Jul-15 22:43:23

It's certainly helping to know I am not alone, catellington!

Good luck to you as well.

catellington Fri 24-Jul-15 21:28:51

Had a terrible evening. Dd1 didn't want me to give her a bath or read her story at bedtime.

This us all in the midst of me having to decide whether to fake a full time job starting in January. I have always worked full time but this is now making me question everything

sad

Hope things are going ok for you.

catellington Fri 24-Jul-15 21:29:30

take not fake a job!

glowfrog Sat 25-Jul-15 20:14:19

Oh no! What actually happened then when she said no to bath and story?

January is a long way away. Things have time to change for sure by then. What would the childcare be like - will you be able to do bedtime routine or...?

glowfrog Sat 25-Jul-15 20:17:47

We had a good day today. DH is home so he took her to the park in the morning - then I took DD1 to a party in the afternoon and afterwards I was able to spend lots of time playing with her and also to put her to bed without worrying about DD2 as DH could look after her.

She was working through her "trauma", though - playing with toy dinosaurs, she had one get very angry with the other and walking away. Basically a recurring feature of our bedtimes!! sad

catellington Mon 27-Jul-15 19:00:48

She did it again tonight. Won't do anything for me at all. Refuses to go to toilet or potty with me, refuses me doing bath or bedtime, won't kiss me goodnight, wants to do all the above with dh or even baby though!

It's literally the most depressing thing. Then when I'm sat there looking after another baby I'm just feeling there is nothing to look forward to but hope this will be a brief phase that I'll erase from my memory...

Glad you had a good weekend, ours was good - it's during the week when dd1 is at childminders during the day that our problems start.

We also get the playing out scenario still! Dolly gets a lot of mummy milk!!
From January both girls will be together at cm, which in the long run should be great as they will be two of the three preschoolers during the day, so I'm hoping things will get better then,.. I guess it's just now I wonder if I did something wrong by working full time with dd1 or if this would have happened a way when she turned two / baby arrived.

catellington Mon 27-Jul-15 19:06:06

How do you leave your dd2 without bottle? I also can't leave dd2 with a bottle so basically no one else ever has her for more than an hour (sure they could, as she us a chilled baby, but dh and DM don't seem to want to).

I'm going to start getting her onto a cup next week but it could take a while until she gets the hang of it by which time I'll have gone mad,!

I find this phase utterly relentless! Aaaagh!

catellington Mon 27-Jul-15 19:08:18

On the bedtime routine, dh works 5 minutes away (our business) although there may be a job in London potentially, but he will try to negotiate days working from home. Otherwise bedtime will probably consist of us all crying simultaneously!

glowfrog Mon 27-Jul-15 23:49:27

Hmm. I don't think this can something to do with your job or she would have started acting out earlier? New baby seems more likely. From talking to other parents, it seems the older child either blames you or the baby - seems in your case, she's blaming you!

I can't leave DD2 with a bottle - 1) she's only 4 months old and can't hold one and 2) she's so far refused to take a bottle anyway!

From a practical perspective, it's obviously a pain if she resists you doing the bedtime routine. But otherwise I think the only thing you can do is indeed remind yourself it's only a phase and, paradoxically, try not to take it personally. Like you, my biggest worry is that she may be "traumatised" but frankly, I think she's more likely to be traumatised by the way I'm handling things than the new baby per se.

So I have decided that I need to let things go. For instance:

1) Accept she is going to be a handful at bedtimes. She'd started being a handful before baby arrived so maybe that's the way she is for now. In many other ways she is a great sleeper - and is able to be left actually awake to drift off to sleep and also in the morning she is happy to play by herself for ages before I go and get her.

2) this includes trying to relax about how late it gets as I try to put her to bed. This is harder not just because of concerns over potential lack of sleep but also because selfishly I'd like to have some time to myself in the evenings before bed! But I may have to accept that won't happen again for a while

3) In the meantime, I'm going to try and start the routine earlier, in the hope that will still leave me with an hour or so to myself in the evenings - even if the routine ends up actually taking longer.

4) I'm also going to try and view it as just another opportunity to spend time with her. I will try and sort some games or activities in a special box, so that even if I'm feeding DD2, I can do something with DD1.

Basically - ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE. It is going to be very hard as I'm very tired and my patience is gone. But she deserves a better mother than I'm being at the moment.

In terms of your DD1's rejection again - the only thing you can ever do as a parent is try and make your children feel loved. So as long as you keep doing that, I'm sure she will come around. It is a phase. It's just that like other phases - or when they throw a trantrum - it feels like FOREVER until it's over.

Hang in there.

glowfrog Tue 28-Jul-15 20:54:26

Another good evening in that I managed to stay calm even as she was running wild and screaming (she was very very tired). This feels like a major achievement! Let's see if I can keep it up.

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