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I feel ready to break;)

(50 Posts)
pinguthepenguin Wed 01-Oct-08 12:18:00

I'm most likely feeling worse due to sheer lack of sleep, so please excuse any melodramtics.

Basically, I feel at my wits end with my 16mo DD. I am a lone parent, and although xp sees her alot,( about 2 nights p/wk) contributes etc, I'm doing the bulk. The problem is that she seems to have changed alot in recent weeks. Nothing strange there you may think, but I feel as though she has changed completely. She was a very calm little child, intially difficult, but settled wonderfully into a 12hour a night routine and sweet natured. In recent weeks however, she is constantly crying, whinging, throwing things, slapping my face, and waking incessantly in the night. I write this post today, because last night, I had what was most probably the worst I've ever had. She woke at 2.20am and literally, never went back to sleep til I got up at 7am for work. I sit here at my desk, exhausted, in tears and dreading going home for round 2.
I work full time, and so far this month, I've had to leave work early twice because my childminder has maintained that she was unwell. Both times I arrived there, she seemed perfectly fine, just grumpy. That's another issue- I can tell that my childminder is not enjoying her. She gives me negative feedback most days now, saying that DD was exhausting, - which is unlike her as she seems to adore DD.

DD won't let me out of her sight. When I say that, I mean I cannot even move from one room to another, making basic tasks impossible. She clings to my trouser legs almost permanently. If you could see how I have to move around my kitchen making dinner, you would laugh. She is literally hanging off me and I have developed a 'walk' that allows me to move one leg at a time so I can do things. It's bizzare, she doesn't really want to be carried, just 'hang' off me. I suppose it sounds quite funny in essence, but I find it so hard. She started walking 2 weeks ago, and I relished the opportunity to be able to potter about freely while she marvelled in her new legs.(!) No such luck, I never have to look farther than my legs, and there she will be.
I cannot believe that for a child who sleeps as well as she does, she was able to happily stay awake last night for as long as she did. I keep wondering if it's teething pain, but she seems perfectly happy when I go to her and wants to play, so I've ruled it out as the main factor. I was sobbing in the bed with her, literally pleading for respite- to an infant. How stupid am I?

I was suppopsed to have someone stay over tonight for dinner, but I've cancelled because I cannot bear the possiblity that she will repeat what she did last night.

I think you've probably realised I'm just venting, or possibly mad. Are my expectations too high? Do you have any suggestions as to what I could do? I guess I want my little DD to be how she used to. To let me sleep, to enjoy her. Because quite frankly, and this is the worst part- I simply cannot cope with her as she is. Work is sheer relief for me. That's awful isn't it? sad

angrypixie Wed 01-Oct-08 13:04:07

No useful advice but sending you my sympathy. Sleep deprivation is torture and you must be at your wits end.

Someone will be along soon with something useful to add but I am thinking of you.

kolakube Wed 01-Oct-08 13:08:14

Have you had her medically checked out, just in case something else is troubling her? Could this be separation anxiety?

JammyOLantern Wed 01-Oct-08 13:08:27

Hugs pingu. It sounds like you're doing a grand job. But it is difficult isn't it. But it won't last forever. I'm sure that just as she's changed from a lovely happy calm child into this troublesome one, she will change again. Not much consolation at the moment though I'm sure, but hang in there.

My DD is coming up to 16 months, and we're having similar issues, though not as full on as it sounds you're getting. And I have DH to help me through. For the past few weeks she's spent a lot of time sitting on my lap sucking my finger, and has been generally clingy. Today she has seemed rather miserable all morning I think at least some of it is down to teething. We were on holiday last week and her sleeping was terrible. I was up for big chunks of most nights with her. (Normally she will sleep 11 or 12 hours at night.) I also had the case where she was perfectly happy while I was there, but just would not go to sleep. I had the get-out-card however of giving her to my DH after 4 hours. You don't have that option so i really take my hat off to you!

Sorry, no advice to offer, but wanted you to know it's not just your child, and to express my opinion (based on nothing but hope, this is my first) the it will pass.

LoveMyGirls Wed 01-Oct-08 13:08:38

Has she been teething? Maybe she's in the habit of waking and getting attention? My mindee was like this a couple of weeks ago, his mum was also like you working ft and at her wits end, luckily he is much better now.
I think they do get clingy and try this at her age, best to keep lights off and keep lying her back down try not to talk or engage with her. Once you have given medicine if you think she is in pain (or ashtons fab stuff) then either ignore whimpering or lay her back down.

Bluebutterfly Wed 01-Oct-08 13:13:00

16 mths is when my ds started to exhibit some "toddler" behaviours. Tantrums etc. It sounds like she is also experiencing some separation anxiety. The fact that she is now also walking suggests that she is starting to understand herself as "separate" from you and is testing what that means and is also a bit scared by it. When she wakes in the night can you bring her into your bed and let her sleep with you or would you prefer not to do that? It might help her feel more secure.

Has she been going to the childminder for a long time, or is it a relatively new experience in her life to be away from you during the day?

Is she sleeping too much during the day? Is it posible that she is hungry at night?

Sorry for all the questions but there are several issues here. My guess is that your dd is very tired and that her exhaustion is having a negative impact on her mood for the remainder of the day. If you can find ANY way to get her to sleep it may help her (and you!) feel more rested and a little bit happier.

cheapandsmily Wed 01-Oct-08 13:13:16

It sounds quite normal to me - my DC all turned into terrors around this age. Teething is the most likely cause for the night propblems and the seemimg unwell. She is probably in pain and when my DD feels like that then all she wants is me. Also this happens to coincide with separation anxiety - thus the clinging to your leg business - another phase but seems like forever at the time. My DD used to follow me around everywhere and stand there and scream at me when i was putting the washing on the line it drove me nutty!
Don't feel guilty about the way you feel, it is hard and even harder to do it on your own.
The childminder is paid to look after her and should not complain about it!! If you're worried about the CM it might be worth looking for another but unless you think your DD is unhappy there it might be worth keeping the continuity for her.
Just try and get a good rest when your XP has her and give yourself a break - a long bath, go for a swim, eat a bar of chocolate and read a mag - just some you time guilt free. Sleep deprivation is a nightmare so give yourself some rest when you can and cut yourself some slack - it will get better - promise smile

Ohforfoxsake Wed 01-Oct-08 13:18:44

Pingu, I think you were on the ante-natal thread for a while? Why don't you come back for a bit of support when you need it? I think I remember you going into labour early one morning smile

It sounds like you are doing an amazing job, I think it is worth going to the GP for a once over, just to be sure, but it is possible that this is just a phase (it becomes a mantra "Its just a phase. Its just a phase".) I used to hate it when people used to say that, but the simple truth is that we might never get to the bottom of what has unsettled them, and they invariably come through it and out the other side.

Quite often it can be part of their development, and they come through it with a new skill, able to speak better, walking, its as though it all gets a bit much and then they catch up with themselves, if that makes any sense at all.

Which it probably doesn't. wink

LackaDAISYcal Wed 01-Oct-08 13:35:22

Hi pingu, another June 07 mum here smile

I was a single parent much like you with my DS six years ago and I remember this phase so well. I think it makes it even harder if there isn't anyone to hold your hand as you go through it, and late nights/sleep deprviation and working full time are just horrendous. You have my empathy.

My DD is starting to show some signs of separation anxiety which she hasn't up till now and it can get really exhausting, especially when my DH is away (as he is for four days of the week).

If it's teething, Nelson's Teetha (or Boots own brand) teething granules are great; they settle DD down really quickly, and I feel OK giving her those "on spec" rather than resorting to calpol. She is also going through an unsettled grumpy phase and it's really tiring.

If it's just separation, can you do something to distract her whilst you cook dinner? some new and interesting toys? or bob her in the highchair where she can see you with one of those suction based toys stuck on the tray?

As foxy says, it probably is just a phase, and "this too shall pass", but {{{{hugs}}}} to you while you go through it. Come and chat on the PN thread and you will see just how common it is smile

In the meantime, have a chat with your GP or HV if you are worried; a problem shared is a problem halved and all that.

and no, you aren't a bad mummy for feeling relieved to get to work for a break; just one who is struggling with the pressure of being a full time working single parent. Make sure you get some time for yourself, and a bit of pampering when your exP has her.

and just to reassure you, I wish I had somewhere like work to go to to get away from my horror at least once a day wink

Ohforfoxsake Wed 01-Oct-08 13:46:58

FWIW my LO is driving me nuts too

pinguthepenguin Wed 01-Oct-08 14:01:29

hi Daisy and foxysmile. Lovely to hear from you.
Does Trendaverter still use mn?

Thanks for your replies everyone. To answer some questions. I returned to work when she was 7 months (teacher) so she has been with CM for nearly a year. I would have thought it wasn't seperation anxiety, based on that? What do you think? could it suddenly develop despite being used to be apart from me, 8-5pm, mon-fri?

Her father helps alot, and is willing, but on the other 5 nights a week, I find it gruelling to have noone to hand her to for even half an hour. To boot, I feel permanently guilty about working full time AND sending her to her fathers two nights a week. Do you think gping to his could be causing her anxiety? Sher hasn't known any other way.....

pinguthepenguin Wed 01-Oct-08 14:04:31

Also, she had her MMR injection yeaterday, wuold this have contributed to the night waking? She has been waking up loads recenlty, so I'm not sure.

LoveMyGirls Wed 01-Oct-08 14:17:29

The MMR can cause this, dd1 had it and didn't sleep a wink all night, dd2 had it and you wouldnt have known.

I'm a cm'er (my lo's ar both asleep at th mo) i would say no to sep anx, mindee i've got who recently was like this also started with me at 7mths. I really think it's teeth and age, she just needs to know you are there in the night but doesn't need interation imo. IME bringing her into bed/ carrying her/ singing to her/ putting her in pushchair and walking her round etc will jsut mak her more eager to wake in the night because she will learn its time to get up and play with mummy you will end up even more exhausted so just go in and lay her back down that way she knows you are there but isn't getting signals its time to get up and play. Imagine if someone came in switched the light on started singing/ getting you out of bed/ walking around cuddling you etc you would be wide awake in no time and unlikely to go back to sleep anytime soon.

I don't know your relationship with your ex, can he come over for an hour or two every other night so you can have some space to either visit friends or go swimming that way he gets more reg contact, she gets to keep to her routine you can have more reg breaks?

pinguthepenguin Wed 01-Oct-08 14:43:14

I guess he could come over, although to be honest, I'd be reluctant to, as he's happily settled into another relationship, has responsibilities there, and is quite annoying anyway.(!)
I think you're right about the sep anxety. I will persverre with the night waking. I 'm not keen on the brining her into my bed thinkg, as she is in the habit of playing/pulling my hair, so it's very difficult to sleep beside her anyway.

There are times when I wonder if my DD is even that attached to me, as the attention she gets from me is often born out of my attending to her incessant whinging.

The thing is, I hardly feel as though I've a right to complain, as I do get a break from her twice a week or at weekends. Lots of people, whether together or seperated, don't get that. So why do I find it so hard at times? sad

pinguthepenguin Wed 01-Oct-08 14:44:14

sorry about the typos

Ohforfoxsake Wed 01-Oct-08 14:55:32

Because Pingu, whatever the situation, LOs are hard work. They are ever changing, and as much as we can guess what the want/need we never truely know.

Sounds to me like you need to cut yourself some slack. You are doing all you can, but perhaps are worried that its not good enough and that you are causing this change in behaviour? Judging from what I know of children this age, they are perfectly capable of moving the goal posts and changing to entirely different children at whim wink and is often out of our control.

Ohforfoxsake Wed 01-Oct-08 15:01:54

One last thought before I dash out of the door, if she's feeling grotty due to teething or the jab, there might be a clue in her nappies (my LO had her MMR yesterday, and I've just had to change her - that's what made me think of it - most unpleasant).

Trendaverter is now Hellhathnofury.

pinguthepenguin Wed 01-Oct-08 15:11:40

You are right foxy, that guilt consumes me alot of the time. She goes to her dad's twice a week, and some holidays- I feel guilty. I've started seeing someone and devoting a little bit of my time to that- I feel guilty. I work full time- I feel guilty. Ultimately, you've hit the nail on the head. I'm worried that all of these things will impact upon her.
To be honest, I am an outwardly very 'honest' mother in the sense that I make no apologies for wanting a life outside of my child. Yet, inwardly, I battle feelings of guilt constantly. I hardly makes sense to myself at times....

Put it this way. There are many people, (including mothers) who would argue that my child spends an unhealty amount of time away from me ( factoring in my job, and the time she is with her father), So would therefore claim that my DD probably feels insecure because of it.

clouded Wed 01-Oct-08 15:56:19

Always pleased to hear how you're getting on (or notgrin) pingu.. Sorry it's hard at the moment. Lack of sleep is terrible, terrible.
I was wondering if learning to walk is a bit scarey for DD. If she can walk, what might that lead to, might she have to walk away? Far fetched?? It's just that the clinging to your leg makes me think that she's rather unnerved by this walking lark.
Also, from your posts she has seemed to be such an easy baby that I think it's rather cheering to hear she's asserting herself iykwim. Being too compliant is more worrying than a spot of grumpiness, I believe.
I think you are doing so well. As ohforfoxsake says, they are changing all the time. Hope you get some sleep soon!

catweazle Wed 01-Oct-08 19:31:51

My DD is 18 mo. Like yours she changed from a happy easy baby just as she started walking. It's almost as if once they walk they turn into a different child. I have a DH but she only wants me. I find myself sat on the loo with her on my lap... Like you I work FT but I would still like a bit of peace in the evening to wash my hair/ play on the internet etc.

alloutofcrazy Wed 01-Oct-08 22:47:22

I agree this could be teething/mmr but I have also found my dd going through phases over the years, very similar to what you have described from calm to unexplainable behaviour and have been at the end of my tether at times dealing with lack of sleep and nightmare behaviour.

I now put these 'episodes' down to growth spurts (if there is no other good reason) and although they have lasted for weeks they do come to an end.Like you I've thought of all the ways I'm going wrong,which must be affecting her behaviour but now I know to be patient and she'll return to normal.(hopefully)grin

rachelp73 Thu 02-Oct-08 00:42:55

Pingu, I think there's one thing all mums-to-be need to be warned about. And that is, once you become a mum, you start feeling guilty about EVERYTHING you do as a parent, and the guilt doesn't ever stop, no matter how much other people reassure you that you are doing a great job! I could tell you that
a SAHM feels guilty that she is not contributing to the household finances, and that feeling frazzled stuck at home bored all day makes her feel guilty, she also feels guilty worrying that she is maybe not providing the stimulation that, say, a nursery might provide. OR I could tell you that a fulltime working mum feels guilty that she doesn' spend enough time with her LO, and that when she does she is too tired to interact as well as she feels she should with her LO.

Whatever type of mum we are, OUR BRAIN WILL ALWAYS FIND SOMETHING TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT. Hence it's no use you worrying that she isn't spending enough time with you cos she's at her dad's or whatever, cos if she didn't see her dad much for whatever reason, y you would only be feeling guilty that she DIDN'T have much contact with her dad.
As for your main reason for posting, the image of you shuffling around the kitchen with your child clinging to your trouser leg kind of made me smile. That was ME with my DS2 at that age. Yes, I can laugh at the memory now, but dear god, at the time it was HELLISH. I do have a DH who is very good when at home but he works away quite a bit or works late, and so not here at the difficult whingey times. Your phrase "incessant whingeing" also rang bells with me too. And ooh that age, 16 months, somehow I managed to get through that *shudders at memory*, and now DS2 is 2.5 and whilst still demanding and er, "spirited", shall we say, I am now WAY past the trouser clinging phase. He still gets bloody grumpy and whingey, the difference is now he actually says "Mum, I'm grumpy!" grin Quite often his moods are more apparent when it's appraoching meal or snack times so I think he's quite sensitive to low blood sugar - could that be the case wtih your LO?

It is terribly, terribly, hard, I know, but it really will pass eventually. With my DS2, he had bad separation anxiety at that age. He wasn't too bad if I was physically out of the house away from him, but if I was in the room with him he had to be physically connected to me in some way. Even now, he still likes LOTS of bodily contact with me, and still twirls my hair in his fingers while he cuddles me (I suppose when he gets a girlfriend at age 16 or whatever he might actually stop the hair-twiddling. grin

He also seemed to suffer terribly when his molars were coming through. They seemed to take weeks for each one to come through. I second the teething powders advice. And I used to give a lot of Medised at night time. wink

You've got a demanding job as a teacher, you are doing a really difficult job of being both mum and dad at times to a LO who is at a really difficult age. Sleep deprivation is a total bitch and will make everything seem worse. Cut yourself some slack - you are REALLY doing a great job with everything. Hang on in there, some children are just hard cos it's in their nature to be. Just try and think forward to the future when you and she will be each other's best friend. For now, you are totally entitled to feel fed up with everything and feel glad to be in work. I am a SAHM during the week, but when DS2 was 15 months old, I went back to work just on Sundays - notice his age (it's no coincidence!)

Best of luck!

Ohforfoxsake Thu 02-Oct-08 12:17:28

Ah, tis true. You become a mother and you never knew you could a) feel so guilty and b) worry so much.

I'm a SAHM, and started out on motherhood as a single parent. I think whatever our situation they still have the same phases. Its not us, its them grin

Perhaps you do need to give her a bit more reassurance, cuddles, closeness. She might need something now (and you can only guess and try) but chances are in a week she'll need something different or will happily toddle off leaving your leg free again. smile

Oh something that just occurred to me - how is she sleeping in the day? Is she getting good quality naps? Ironically my children sleep worse when they are tired. They get very unsettled, fight sleep and turn into nightmares generally. But if LO has had a good nap in the day, it is easier to get her off to sleep that night. She still has 2 hours after lunch.

pinguthepenguin Thu 02-Oct-08 16:09:58

Rachelp, clouded, foxy, - thanks so much for taking the time to post.

Guilt eh? Wish I coud bag the stuff, and sell a good dose of it my exp ( miaoooww!smile)

Foxy- the sleeping thing is hard to comment on as she has been so awful this last few weeks. Normally, she has a couple of naps with the childminder, morning and afternoon, totalling around 3 hours. She sleeps around 10-11 hours at night, so was practically the ideal child. She hasn't been sleeping at all well for the childminder recently and this of course, spills over to night time, where she is irritable and restless. Why do you think this is?

Incidentally, I've just spoken to the childminder. Reason being, DD slept through last night, so I fully expected her to give me a good report on her. No such luck- she claimes that DD has been a 'nightmare', screaming all morning, refusing to sleep,grumpy etc. It doesn't help to hear that about your child does it? I seem to get negative feedback abou DD every single day recently and It's making me feel like shit. As dd is usually so good, childminder is really having to work for her money recently, and she doesn't mind letting me know about it.

Theres something my DD has been doing with her dummy for the last couple of months, but is much, much worse with it recently, and whilst I can identify with it- DD seems to be doing with childminder so much more. When she is in the car seat, cot or pushchair, she pulls her dummy out of her mouth and throws it away, leaving you to pick it up 15-20 times if you let her. The obvious thing would be not to engage her in the game, but she proceeds to omit the most ear piercing, horrendous screaming, if the dummy is not put back in her mouth. I have burst into tears several times when DD does this, and I really feel for childminder, but I don't know what to suggest. She keeps asking me why DD does this, when she clearly wants the dummy (she is very attached to it) but I don't know the answer. When I feel DD begin to play this game, I fill with dread, because she will do it for 2 hours or more, until she is eventually exhausts herself and I am sobbing with frustration, often in the middle of the night.

I haven't gone to work to day because I am so ill with tiredness. sad

Ohforfoxsake Thu 02-Oct-08 20:30:11

I hope you feel a little better now.

I think your CM sounds a bit of a grump. She should be able to handle this behaviour - it is nothing out of the ordinary.

As far as DD's throwing her dummy away, she's having fun playing a game. Its a shit game, but none the less, its her game and perhaps a bit of a power thing - maybe they do this to push buttons, who knows. But its just a game which ALL babies love.

Just don't do it. Pick it up and say 'no more'. If she howls and you give it back after a short while and she does it again, then don't give it back.

Thing is with babies, when you want to change their behaviour and stop what they are doing, its tough. But it is usually over in a couple of days if you stick at it.

They have all stepped it up a gear. I reckon your CMs had an easy time of it, and like you say, is earning her money now!

come back it might seem a bit chummy and chatty, but really, jump in just to rant if you like. There are many of us in the same boat smile

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