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26m DS becoming a horror, feel completely powerless . What can we do?

(9 Posts)
bohemianbint Sun 12-Oct-08 19:06:42

DS1 is becoming a real nightmare. He's always been...erm...spirited would be one word for it, since the day he was born, but at the moment I'm really starting to struggle with him.

I had DS2 7 weeks ago, and admittedly I am spending a lot of time breastfeeding him, and he's in a sling for most of the time, but I've tried to make it so that DS1 doesn't feel left out. Thing is, when I'm feeding it leaves me a bit trapped (have tried in a sling but not quite got the hang yet.) Just this week, DS1 has torn up a library book,thrown things at his brother, repeatedly throws his food at mealtimes and puts feet on the table and is getting increasingly destructive. Just tonight he's sat on the floor and seriously booted his bedroom door to the point that it's nearly broken off its hinges.

I've tried distraction, bribery with sticker charts, ignoring the bad, praising the good,having a naughty step, but I'm getting to my wit's end - and I'm even more limited now that he's not the only one. I'm starting to really dislike being around him sometimes, which is an awful thing to admit, but I'm really struggling to the point I'm wondering if I've actually got PND. I lose my rag with him, then I hate myself, and I know I'm letting him down as a mother. I get no help or support from family, and whilst I know he needs to be outside running off energy every day we're sometimes struggling to all get ready and leave the house these days. Even if we do, and we go to the park, I'm constantly on edge, because it's always full of glass, shit and stray dogs - and he can, and does run away incredibly fast. The park is surrounded by busy roads, so even there he can't have the free reign he needs. We have no garden, and even soft play is off the agenda, because I can't chase him up the equipment with a baby strapped on.

I know I sound really woe is me, and I'm trying to take the odd moment and appreciate it, but life isn't any fun, I feel perpetually guilty - like I'm trapped. I can't go back to work so this is my life, but I'm just not very good at it.

What I really need to know, is how can I make life easier with DS1? How can we discipline him effectively when everything we're trying isn't working? I'm also choosing my battles, but there's things that he's doing that he really needs not to!

Othersideofthechannel Sun 12-Oct-08 19:22:02

Sounds tough at the moment but also sounds normal. He's 2 and he's got a new sibling and you are exhausted.

For using up his energy, is your house big enough to have a space where you have a load of cushions so he can launch himself about a bit to use up some energy? Or if you push the furniture about can you play musical bumps? Forward rolls on the double bed.

Othersideofthechannel Sun 12-Oct-08 19:24:57

Also you could try giving him a baby doll to care for while you are caring for your DS2.

cory Sun 12-Oct-08 19:39:54

Afraid you can't stop a 2yo from being a 2yo (gosh I do sound like a broken down record!), so it is going to be more of a case of making life easier for both of you.

Think a 2yo is too young for sticker chart, and is likely to be quite rebellious anyway with a new baby. You can't change him, not just now, so it's a case of working around him.

I'd concentrate on keeping the two safe (=never alone unsupervised), keeping valuables out of reach as far as possible and trying to find some help somewhere to make you less stressed and exhausted.

Does he go to toddler group? Do you have anything like an NCT group where he can play with others and you can have a quiet coffee and natter? Do you have any friends who might be happy to take the baby for a walk while you do something with the bigger one? Could your health visitor help with suggestions?

Dd was a bit older than this when ds was born (3.6), but essentially the same as you describe. Books got torn, things thrown at ds's head, all sounds very familiar.

I found a lot of bonding games paid off. We had one where we lay in the bed together and pretended it was a car, the baby was the driver (lying on his back waving his arms in the air) who drove dd and me to all these different village shops where she ordered eggs and sweets- fewer sweets and more eggs as time went on....

Also, I found I did leave ds to cry in his cot (with the door barred!) to attend to dd's needs first. He has come to no harm.

bohemianbint Sun 12-Oct-08 20:22:52

Otherside - thanks, good idea re cushions, and getting him a doll. Will look for one tomorrow.

Cory - thanks for the reply. We do usually try to go to a couple of toddler groups in the week, but last week we really struglled to get out much as DS2 was having some kind of mad growth spurt so spent a lot of time on the sofa with cbeebies on. sad Even at toddler group he escapes from the hall and have to watch he can't get out into the street, although at least there are people there who help me. DH on later shift tomorrow so he can help me get the kids ready and we might actually get there!

Just also been looking at a montessori website and they seem to do some really cool things with kids (teaching them how to pour things, from jugs to cups, learning about zips, buttons etc) so I might nick some ideas.

waitingtobloom Sun 12-Oct-08 20:34:17

Snap snap snap! DS 26 months, DD 5 weeks...torn library books, feet on table, thrown food...dont leave house...massive growth spurts...feel like terrible mother...complete whirlwind...runs away and thinks its funny (ran into road today - thankfully quiet road as I also ran after him without looking).

Things that help...

get those pillows and scream into them lol

repeat "this too will pass"

friends with toddlers - seems so much easier when there are more of them for some reason

as many groups as possible

I cheat and DS goes to nursery a few days a week as going back to work...can you manage one day a week at all

I also found getting DS to "help" with baby really helps - getting nappies, pushing buggy and so on - really laying it on thick with the big boy stuff and how helpful he is

I have a fab HV who suggested different groups, local support...

I will be back - DD screaming for food again sorry.

Where abouts do you live? Perhaps there are some mumsnetters close by?


bohemianbint Tue 14-Oct-08 16:50:58

Ok, yesterday was better, but today...

is it very normal to have to shut your toddler into their room so you and your baby don't get the crap kicked out of you while you're feeding? sad

Tyniclogs Wed 15-Oct-08 18:44:28

I have nothing helpful to say only that I have a 24 month old DS and so far he's the only one (I have been trying for another but that's a different thread!) I've just had the day from hell with him and I echo everything you've said but I don't have the excuse of having a new born to take care of, so I think you're being a tad harsh on yourself! I find it hard to cope with him some days and have been shouting like a banshee all week, I feel such a failure every evening. Today we had the run into the road incident, his current favourite is to turn his cup upside down EVERYTIME my back is turned (and sometimes in front with a look of 'whatever' on his face!) but scream if he goes back to a beaker. I have never dealt with anyone or anything so frustrating in all my days! So there you go, you're not the only one and you're dealing with much more than I. You're doing your best.

WowOoo Wed 15-Oct-08 19:22:19

My ds has been driving me up the wall recently and I was about to search for advice on discipline, rewards, behaviour etc. I hate being so tough and strict but it seems to have paid off as he is playing quietly and waiting for his bath to run now with his dad.
I know tomorrwo will be another round of battles.

Have no real advice but I know it's tricky and that it will pass.
Could you perhaps buy him a nice little treat when he's been well behaved. This seemed to work a bit with mine but I worried about spoiling him and then thinking 'hang on, why the heck am I rewarding acceptable behaviour? He should just do as he's told?!!"

Good luck and congratulations on your new baby!

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