I want to scream!(21 Posts)
Ds1 is 2.2 and ds2 is 9 months old.
I am so stressed out trying to manage everything at the moment. It all escalated about a month ago and it's getting worse not better.
The most stressful times are when I'm cooking in the kitchen. They can't be trusted to wonder around anymore, yesterday ds1 started swinging on the highchair and collapsed it onto both of them. He did it again when ds2 was in it but luckily I caught it before it tipped. He's like a whirlwind, he has a (I know this is normal) 3 second attention span so any activities I try to set out whilst I cook are chucked around.
He runs off when we go out and sits and screams on the pavement if I use reigns.
He patrols his brother when they both play and snatches every toy off him, he tries to sit on him and ride him like a horse :|
I try and engage him in toys to play with and he will play for a short while but then it's back to patrolling his brother. He pushes him and shouts no at him a lot.
He doesn't listen to me and throws food everywhere, runs away from me and laughs in my face.
Ds2 starts screaming if he's in the highchair for more than 1 minute.
I can't get anything done. I try to involve ds1, he has no interest in helping me sort washing - who's is who's, matching socks etc, he wants to throw it all around and cover his brothers head in laundry.
It's a nightmare and I hate it.
Things I have tried:
Sending him to his room after one warning of throwing.
Immediately going to his room for hitting.
Not giving in to demands.
Plenty of one to one time
Plenty of cuddles and helping him feel his frustrations.
I'm so sick of the battles.
I hate feeling like I'm just waiting on the next tantrum and I'm on edge.
Please tell me this can get better and what can i do?!
I'm sorry you're going through a hard time....
Thought I'd better reply although I haven't much advice.
To me it seems like you are doing everything right.
Could you take them out for a walk to the park before you make tea?then they will hopefully be tired?
Keep up with sending your ds to his room or the naughty step.I find naughty step works well.
Could you get a playpen to put dc's in while you cook or do chores?
But just remember this behaviour won't last forever.
Thanks, I try to get out as much as possible but it's so daunting at the moment because of the tantrums and stand offs in the street. It's so hard managing 2 at once.
I'm really worried that this is just his personality and it will be like this forever.
Cooking is really hard with dc this age. Does your dc1 still nap? Maybe preparing meals during naptime (to be heated up later) is the way forward? Or at the weekends and evenings when your partner is there whichever one of you is cooking makes extra and it is put into the freezer in single portions for easy defrosting.
If you have any outdoor garden space at all try to go outside as much as possible (I know, it's hard with a baby that age when you can't easily put them down at this time of year). Toddlers are much easier outside. One other thing is, 2.2 is realllllly young IMO, just like a big baby. Don't expect too much of DC1 in terms of obedience and don't be too harsh with the consequences because he may not always remember/understand what he's done.
If all else fails give him a makeup bag full of old makeup. Silence and extreme mess should ensue for at least a few minutes
Hi Musical. Sorry to hear that you're having such an awful time. I hated being at home with mine when she was a toddler. It can be relentless.
It does sound like you are doing all the right things. What about Always' suggestion of a play pen?
When mine was 2 a friend suggested I put her in nursery for a day or so each week. I resisted it because I thought it would signal that I had failed and that the rejection she would feel would just escalate the difficult behaviour. In retrospect I wish I had. She would've got the extra stimulation that she needed, I would've got the respite I needed.
I know people often suggest getting out and about and for many people that works really well but the stresses for me of dealing with lots of difficult behaviour outside/in public stopped me from doing that.
Also, and I'm a big one for limited screen time, could you sit your DCs in front of the TV whilst you're cooking? I did find that by limiting screen time my DD was almosts glued to it when the TV was on which gave me valuable breathing space.
It is tough and I really feel for you.
Oh I see I just contradicted a pp with my advice there's no one size fits all really - I just find being overly militant about punishments with toddlers backfires horribly and makes me feel even more out of control and un-listened to...Distract distract distract has the best results for me.
But it won't be like this forever, definitely not.
Poor you, it sounds so tough.
A playpen/travel cot sounds good idea. Or a stair gate across kitchen door - if DS1 is being naughty you can separate them into different rooms.
Do you have a double pushchair? Before you go out, tell DS1 that he has to walk nicely, no running away. If he doesn't he has to wear reigns and if he doesn't want them he has to go into pushchair. Then follow through.
I would also suggest a baby pen, you can get lovely ones that fold away to nothing now. Very useful when you need to cook.
Also praise every single good behaviour your eldest has, really go to town on it.
What does he do when he goes to his room? He's a bit young for that imo. Have you tried a time out corner or step instead? 1 minute out for every year of their age. It's a good way of getting them to cool it.
Get a double buggy and strap him in, with those Houdini straps if needs be, when you go out and he's not waking nicely. Ignore the crying and the looks from everyone else - at least he's safe and you're not trapped in the house.
Get a play pen for when you're cooking.
Use the TV or something to distract and occupy when you're busy (never mind that who go on about limiting screen time; that can come later on when you're in a better frame of mind).
If you can afford it and feel it might help, send one/both to some form of childcare for one or two afternoons a week - this will give you time to clear your head and to get some vhousework done.
Continue to be clear, firm and consistent with consequences for bad behaviour - they don't have to be big punishments, something like taking a toy away or moving him to another room will do; you have to explain it simply and clearly and follow through with it every single time for it to have any effect though.
Keep giving both dc love, cuddles and affection even when you really don't want to - I found that really hard to do when both of mine were that age and I sometimes wonder if they didn't feel loved enough
If you have a secure and safe garden, get them outside, even if it's cold. Let them run off some energy where it doesn't matter so much if they make a mess. Hopefully this will get them tired enough to sit still as you're cooking.
Assuming you have a dh/dp, either hand the dc to him whilst you prepare some meals for the week (I have a slow cooker and make up batches of curry/chilli/bolognese/stew/whatever that can be portioned off and frozen ready for use during the week) or get him to do so on an evening or weekend. You need to work together to do the household chores so that when you're at home you have more time with the dc and less time trying and failing to wash up/Hoover up/do laundry etc.
It does get easier.
I second the play pen, and selection of stair / door gates to separate, and a strong double buggy. Get the reins on before you leave the house, so that they become a normal part of getting ready to go out, and then explain calmly to DS1 that he can either walk on reins or go in the buggy. Carry this through every time, i.e. put him in the buggy if he won't let you hold the reins.
Put reins on DS2 every time you go out, so that by the time he needs them they will be a normal part of his outfit.
Once you can go out with less pain, go out as much as possible to let DS1 run off energy. Mine are older (2 and 4), we still go out at least twice a day.
You've probably tried this, but just in case, I give HUGE quantities of praise when the DC are gentle with each other. Completely OTT at first, but it did the trick <jinx>.
I agree with playpen, sounds mean like a child prison but it's invaluable, you can put whichever child you want in it. I would but my baby in there in her bouncy chair so she could see me, often with baby gym, or a mobile to engage her, then sing while I cooked/ cleaned kitchen. It just prevented her older sister carrying her around dangerously/ feeding her biscuits/ taking her toys away from her. When elder DD got cranky I would swap them around, have the baby on one hip/ in highchair playing with plastic stacking cups, while elder DD made a den or played in the playpen. I only used it for about 9 months (so maybe but second hand) so they do grow out of this phase!
I'll be in your situation in 3 months time...hard to imagine how things are going to get even more difficult but I'm sure they will! I have a little helper fun pod (got second hand for £50). Dc1 loves it - like a mini cage for the kitchen so the kid is at couter top level. my sis still uses hers with her 4 and 2 year old loads. Might help in the kitchen?
My dc1 also rides dc2 like a horse....I've learned that as long as dc2 isn't crying then being a bit rough and tumble is ok...though zero tolerance for hitting etc. I have a reward chart with stickers if dc1 does something kind to dc2 or shares nicely they can have a sticker, though don't use it as bribery, just an occasional well done thing.
Only other suggestion is a bit weird but saw it on a parenting programme...They sat the child down who was being naughty at a random time and just explained in a quite grown up way that they shouldn't snatch things off or hit the other child because it upset them. Could try that? Nor sure I explained it well sorry! But may help?
Good luck, I heard by the time the little one is 2 things get easier......
Unfortunately we don't have a garden, we live in a flat and space is pretty small. No room for a playpen in here and awkwardly the kitchen is at the opposite end to the front room so no chace I could keep one in there alone whilst I get on with things.
I do probably expect too much from him.
Sending him to his room seems to be the only detterant for 'bad' behaviour. I don't think he would understand reward charts at the moment?
I shouldprobably do distraction more though.
He does go to nursery 1 afternoon a week and will increase when I go back to work part time. To be honest I can't wait.
We used to live in a lovely flat, but the tiny kitchen was far from the lounge. This made cooking and child supervision impossible, and at the time we only had the one DC.
Could you put the play pen in the lounge? If the younger child went in they would be a sitting duck, but would the other way round work?
Could you or your DP pre-cook food the day before or in the morning when you are both in (sorry I can't tell if there is a DP), put it into microwaveable containers, so that all that you needed to do was shove the box into the microwave and run back to the lounge? I did this when we lived in the flat.
Tantrums outside are stressful, but normal. Do you have a double buggy? Tickling can help to get an ironing-board toddler into a buggy, and then you can push quickly...
If you have anyone to help, could you go out with just DS1 at the weekend, so that you can concentrate on helping him to learn good outside behaviour? It's much easier with just the one to manage, it might help to give you confidence too.
I feel your pain OP. I have two under two- an almost 5 month old and a nearly 22 month old and tbh I don't even Attempt to cook when I'm with them both alone. I freeze portions of meals we eat and then reheat them later.
Ds1 is also very naughty- tries to hit the baby/me, sometimes even bites me and doesn't listen in the slightest if you try to punish him. He's also a complete whirlwind and has so much emergy and needs "running" constantly!
I also feel the same about going out- sometimes I can barely face it- but the alternative of staying in is not feasible as ds1 starts to get even worse when he's bored.
Also nursery is invaluable.! Ds1 goes to nursery twice a week and I think I I'd crack up without it!
Fingers crossed it gets easier at some point....!!!!
Our age gap is similar and I must admit we went though a period of freezer to oven meals so I wasn't trying to balance 5 pans plus 2 toddlers at once..plus we went out a lot -straight into the car then straight out at say, the zoo so less wrangling 2 tots up the high st at once. It's so hard and I wish I'd got the big one into nursery sooner. But the great thing about this age is that you hang on for a few weeks then things change so much. Good luck!
My two are long past this stage (teenagers now, getting close to leaving home!), but similarly close in age and I just wanted to say that when you get through this stage it is lovely having similarly aged children. You have lots of advantages to come One early plus is that before long they will be a similar size and you shouldn't need to patrol them nearly as much.
I have to admit I went back to work when dd was 3 months old and ds 19mths. It was just too much for me. ds was wild and dd clingy. Exhausting! I'm not sure that anything much helps except them both growing up a bit.
At that age I only did quick meals, precooked as much as poss and unashamedly put him in front of the telly for 15 mins whilst I was in the kitchen. It does get better fairly quickly, at 3 they can quite happily entertain themselves for a while, but at 2.2 they seemed glued to me and up to no good for 95% of the time, and it was hard work.
Otherwise going out to work, playgroups, online shopping and an occasional treat of a cleaner saved my sanity.
I also find slow cooker is brilliant. Chuck something in in the morning and then all I need to do is dish it up!
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