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parents of high-needs (grumpy) children/toddlers. How did you EVER have another child?!

(44 Posts)
beesonmummyshead Mon 27-Jul-09 09:41:22

hello. Dd is almost 2 and has always been an incredibly high-needs child. needs to be stimulated 24 hours a day. even when watching tv she needs to be sat on ym lap taliing to me about it. She can play alone, for maybe 20 minutes, but needs me to be involved most of the time.

I work part-time but our days together involve an awful lot of going out, either to play centres/attractions, people's houses, or long walks, mainly because it is easier for me to manage her when i am out - i don't seem to feel the pressure when we are out, mainly because the main purpose of me being out is to entertain her!

anyway, i have absolutely no desire to have another child as dd is such unbelievable hard work. if i even dream of going near another child she screams "NO!, MY MUMMY" and tries to hit them/prise them off me.

Now i know she is young, but please reassure me that she will become easier as she gets older and might one day relish the thought of a brother/sister?

for the record we weren't planning on having another for a couple of years anyway, but I waned to hear your stories please?

Hulla Mon 27-Jul-09 09:43:10

<<watches with interest while trying to entertain high need dd>>

stuckinthecorner Mon 27-Jul-09 10:13:04

probably wont help....but I waited 8 years before I was ready for my second!! (stuck also watches with interest to see if there was an easier / more time efficient way of managing!!!)

ssd Mon 27-Jul-09 10:19:37

I don't get these threads

ALL toddlers can be grumpy and high needs, does anyone out there think they're not?

MojoLost Mon 27-Jul-09 10:22:24

Hi. My eldest was always EXTREMELY demanding. He has special needs which seriously affected his play skills and concentration, he had no ability to entraintain himself (lack of motor skills, imagination, even interest in TV).

We had the second one when he turned 2, very difficult for the first year, but now that they are 4 and 2 it is great, they have started to play together and entertain each other, so I think it is actually better to have a sibling around with a demanding child.

angel1976 Mon 27-Jul-09 10:35:16

ssd - Yes, all toddlers can be grumpy and high needs at times but I think what OP is talking about is toddlers that don't seem to have an 'off' button and are climbing the walls at home if mummy or daddy dare stay at home for any reason! My DS was like that from day one of his birth, he cried a lot when he was awake (it wasn't colic as he literally cried through the day but would sleep at night, the only reason DH and I are both not insane!). He was never happy to stay at home and play contentedly (still isn't and he is 17 months old, he actually goes and fetches his shoes if we are not out of the house by 9.30am! hmm). Does not sit still for a minute. If there is any period of silence, he is usually doing something destructive! He is definitely happiest when we are out and about and running around and doing stuff. And the happy, contented babies who are 'easy' aren't a myth, I know friends who have those...

Answer to OP - I am now preggers with number 2. I found everything a lot easier when I went back to work and DS started going to an excellent nursery from 11 months old. He has really come along leaps and bounds developmentally since then and DH and I both had a conversation yesterday about how much easier he is now as he becomes more communicative etc. Being in nursery helps in the sense that because he is being stimulated and learning stuff at the nursery, DH and I then don't feel the pressure to 'teach' him things or 'develop' him etc so we do fun stuff when the three of us are together - swimming, go to soft play, park etc. We want our two to be close in age so DC2 is planned and we accept our lives will be hell for the first few months and then DS1 can proceed to torture play with DS2. I do think that as the primary caregiver, it helped me immensely when I went back to work and had my own headspace. Entertaining my DS at home all day long by myself would be challenging to say the least, I'm glad we are lucky enough to find a good nursery and that DS enjoys the constant stimulation that offers. So we intend to keep him there when DS2 is born (though for less days) for all of our good! That's just my opinion.

beesonmummyshead Mon 27-Jul-09 20:18:04

thank you angel, that is exactly the kind of toddler i have.

today we left the house at 9am and walked into town, helped me choose my shopping then went to my friends house who was a saint and had all craft stuff out. we stayed there til almost nap time, then walked (whinged) home and she slept for an hour. After, that is 20 minutes of wind down whinging and talking to me.

when she woke we went out for a loooong walk, then she came home, and (thank god) watched an hour of tv whilst i cooked tea, then after tea we went into the garden til daddy came home.

I am EXHAUSTED! how on earth can you even contemplate having another baby angel is beyond me!! good on you! and congratulations

Loopymumsy Mon 27-Jul-09 20:25:11

Message withdrawn

angel1976 Mon 27-Jul-09 20:46:49

bees - Our thinking is 'if we are EVER going to have two, we need to do it now! Or we will never!!!!!!' Seriously... We thought if we don't do it now, we never will cos we will be too scared to just thinking about it. And we accept that it will be pure hell for the first 6-12 months (hopefully if DS is going to nursery at least part-time, we might emerge from this with our sanity still intact!). Then fingers crossed that it will just get easier... On my one day off with DS, our schedule goes something like this...

7am - Wake up
7-8am - Destroy the living room
8-8.30am - Breakfast
8.30-9.30am - We both get ready with minimum damage
9.30-11.30am - Play group (THANK GOD!!!!!)
11.30am-1pm - Usually lunch at a local cafe in the woods so that after eating, DS can run around the grounds for a bit
1-3.30pm - Nap (for me too! wink)
3.30-5pm - Go to friend's house where she has two kids (wendy house, trampoline, swing and sandpit in their garden!) and the three of them play
5pm - Dinner
5.45pm - Bath
6.30pm - Head home
7pm - Bed

And it usually ends up with me collapsed in a heap on the couch!

Ceebee74 Mon 27-Jul-09 20:59:52

I have exactly the same kind of toddler so I completely sympathise. I initially returned to work 3 days a week (when DS1 was 6 months old) but by the time DS1 turned 18 months old I was seriously starting to dread having 2 days at home every week with him as it was such hard work (plus we needed the money) that I increased my days to 4 days a week blush Ds1 loves nursery so it kind of suited everyone.

Anyway, as for having another child, me and DH had always planned to have 2 so we were always going to have a second child - and I won't deny that it didn't cross our mind that a second child would be able to keep DS1 entertained once the younger one was old enough to play properly.

Ds2 is now 8 months old and Ds1 has just turned 3 so we are not at that stage yet - and yes, it was very very hard but it is gradually getting easier - although today, I had DS2 screeching for some unknown reason and DS1 shouting 'muumy come and play trains with me' and then having a tantrum when I said I had to stay with DS2 to sort him out hmm We are still waiting for the 'magical' time when DS2 can start playing with DS1 and save me the boredom need to play trains all day grin

Ssd I know that not all toddlers are like this - none of my friends have toddlers that are so demanding and my mum had 3 children and DS1 is her 4th GC and she has never come across a child like DS1.

Hormonesnomore Mon 27-Jul-09 21:02:35

Oh, this rings lots of bells with me - my DD1 was just like this (from birth, it felt like!) As a toddler, as soon as she woke in the morning, she'd stand up in her cot & say 'Right!' My heart would sink... She was a very poor eater & needed constant stimulation & attention.

However, on the positive side, she is very intelligent & once she started nursery, she calmed down a lot. She started going mornings only, but used to cry so much when I picked her up, they accepted her on a full day basis after a few months.

When she was 6, my DS was born & he has a very different nature. He was a sleepy, easy baby (what a relief) & his younger sister, born 16 months later was very similar in temperament. For a long time, I felt I wasn't a very good mum to DD1 as I felt she was very challenging but I now realise every child (person) has a different temperament from birth & there are 'difficult' & 'easy' children.

My DD1 is now an energetic, imaginative & very loving mum to her own 2 children - she's warm, out-going, friendly and caring. She works on a voluntary basis at the moment (always likes to be busy!) as a breast feeding counsellor & teaching assistant & has enrolled on a post-graduate teaching course.

She wasn't the easiest baby or toddler, but I'm full of admiration for the woman she has become.

As you've found bees, nursery does help and once your little girl goes to school, she will be occupied & stimulated for a large part of the day. I'm sure you will then begin to enjoy her much more & maybe think about adding to your family.

charliesweb Mon 27-Jul-09 21:09:51

Ds2 is a demanding toddler (2.1). He is no.3 and I always joke we're lucky he wasn't the first because he would have been an only child! Don't let other people make you think you're exaggerating or just unable to cope. My 3 are so different from each other and I was totally unprepared for how demanding Ds2 would be. He is non stop and spent most of his babyhood crying. I honestlt believe he hated being a baby! However, it is a relief to have the older 2 (6yrs and 4yrs) because they will on occasion entertain him (especially on the computer). It would have beena nightmare if I had only had me and him all day. Hormonesnomore your post is so ovely and it confirms what I believe in my heart Ds2 may be very determined and full on now but it will become his strength as he grows up.

charliesweb Mon 27-Jul-09 21:11:38

Hormonesnomore your post was lovely not ovely!!!!

MrsTittleMouse Mon 27-Jul-09 21:20:30

We had another because I was convinced that the pregnancy couldn't be as bad and that the new baby couldn't possibly sleep as little and need so much of me as DD1. DD2 was almost exactly the same! shock I felt like suing everyone who had told me that all pregnancies/children are different. grin The good news is that DD2 is entertained by watching me playing with DD1 to a certain extent. We have a smallish age gap (2 years) so I am hoping that they will play together and entertain each other soon <crosses fingers so hard that it hurts>.

I wouldn't have even considered having another without a supportive DH and help from family. My parents don't live near but were fantastic and would visit for a couple of days every week to give me a break from DD1 when I was pregnant and exhausted. And then visited again when DH went back to work after his paternity leave and I had a screaming newborn and a demanding toddler. I seriously think that I might have made myself ill if I had been doing it on my own. I know that there are women who do it because they have to, and I am full of admiration, but I think that I would have been a prime candidate for PND.

LeonieSoSleepy Mon 27-Jul-09 21:28:39

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LeonieSoSleepy Mon 27-Jul-09 21:33:51

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beesonmummyshead Mon 27-Jul-09 21:50:08

thank you all, it is nice to know i'm not alone, and according to my mum, i was exactly the same type of child/toddler and I have now got my comeuppance grin (without boasting, I have always sailed through education and now have a good, well paid career). I have a sister 4.5 years younger than me, and we are very good friends, so I was considering having my second child with the same sort of age gap.

Those of you who told me your dc2 was worse than your dc1. shock I might never bd again!!

blueshoes Mon 27-Jul-09 23:02:51

I fully agree with angel's and others' description of a high needs child. ssd, both my children were high needs from babies and in fact got easier when they were toddlers, but were still far more demanding than the garden variety child at any age.

bees, I thought lightning would not strike twice, but it did. There is a 3 year age gap between dd and ds, mainly because I was getting on in age. Around the 2 year mark, I felt psychologically able to consider having another - it coincided with dd getting relatively more manageable compared to her baby years once she started sleeping through.

Nursery helped (for her and to give me a break to get back to work!). I think you should consider this, if you can afford it.

The best thing for her, however, was ds. Once ds got to around 18 months, they started playing together like you never believe it. And they leave me alone - finally, except when I have to mediate in disputes. They are thick as thieves. My dd found an outlet for her mothering instincts and my ds found a constant playmate.

Your dd WILL get easier when she gets older, cross my heart.

blueshoes Mon 27-Jul-09 23:06:02

Hormones, it is lovely to read your story.

Your dd1 sounds really sweet - just like my dd, who at 5 years' old only ever wants to be a mother when she grows up.

As for your more laidback children, do you find that their personalities as babies followed them into adulthood and if so, in what way did it show in later life? I am just curious, being a laid back baby myself (according to my mother).

hmc Mon 27-Jul-09 23:19:05

Hmmm - I think we tend to make our firstborns 'high needs and demanding' - I know I certainly did by fussing over her when she demanded my attention. You have more time when you just have one child, and the danger is that you devote that time exclusively to the child in a sort of new mum overly conscientious / keen to get it right kind of way!

Thing is with child number 2 arriving when first born was just 21 months, there were times that I just had to leave second child to it (crying in his cot whilst I finished her bed time story / bath etc)...and hey presto, child number 2 became really good at settling himself to sleep, is great at keeping himself occupied and is really rather self sufficient.

Dd has now improved markedly with age (she has just turned 7)

blueshoes Mon 27-Jul-09 23:28:39

hmc, there may be some of that at work, but I disagree that it was purely a self-inflicted thing with my dd, first born. I did not want or expect ds, my second, to be the same, but he was high needs, though in a different way. And now they are slightly older, I can see it is a function of their specific temperaments why they were the way they were/are as babies/toddlers.

I don't think many people would describe their lives with their babies as 'walking on eggshells', but that phrase was what it was like living with dd and then ds.

It is only on mn that I found kindred souls who went through what I had to. Majority of babies/toddlers, in my real life experience, are a walk in the park in comparison.

But however they come out, they all get better with age. Amen.

hmc Mon 27-Jul-09 23:39:46

Well yes, blueshoes - I take your point entirely. Some children will be 'high needs' irrespective of how they have been parented.

I do think some of them are 'made' that way however..and only feel able to say that because I will personally own up to that particular mistake with my first child. I pointed it out in the hope of reassuring the OP that her second child may well turn out differently since she will be forced to divide her time between two, and this might stop it becoming an issue for child no 2...didn't mean to appear critical or unsupportive

LeonieSoSleepy Tue 28-Jul-09 08:42:58

Message withdrawn

hmc Tue 28-Jul-09 09:49:16

I didn't suggest that you did Leonie, only that it is something that some of us have unintentionally contributed to. Why take it personally?

Hormonesnomore Tue 28-Jul-09 20:04:55

blueshoes - my subsequent children are still laid back & very relaxing to be around - real type 'B' personalities!

hmc - I can see your point - I was only 21 (and really immature) when DD1 was born - I was a child with a child. I was much more relaxed the second & third time around & my inexperience & anxiety obviously made any issues worse. DD1 was such a poor eater - I've never known a baby who didn't like milk (from birth!). She still has a small appetite & will never have a weight problem though. Nursery & school helped with the eating issues when she joined in with the other children & at least I knew then she was getting enough to eat.

bees - I can't recommend nursery enough, if it's possible for you, as children like ours enjoy company so much - 'I'm lonely' was a constant refrain from my daughter. Once she had her brother & sister she loved helping with them, but with hindsight, I'm glad we left the gap we did between her & her siblings - I don't know how I would have coped otherwise.

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