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Oh sodding Hell. I am a disastrous parent at the moment. Please help me with DS1 who is feeling displaced by new DS2

(14 Posts)
EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Thu 22-Oct-09 19:16:03

DS1 is 3 and DS2 is 4 weeks old.

It's all gone tits up this week. DS1 and DD have both been misbehaving (ignoring me, squabbling, being deliberately destructive etc), but more worryingly DS1 is showing signs of "angst". He's poo-ed himself yesterday and today, and wet himself numerous times (he's not had any accidents for weeks...maybe months), he's refusing to get himself dressed (he's the most stubborn little sod in the world, and we've had literally hours-long stand-offs over this), and he's being sooooo clingy (demanding cuddles whenever I'm feeding DS2, trying to put his hand down my top, climbing all over me, literally lying down under my feet when I'm trying to cook etc).

I'm being SHITE about it. I think I know what I need to do...I need to totally baby him, don't I? I need to get him dressed and ignore all the deliberate naughtiness and give him a million cuddles. BUT, I'm finding it so hard to indulge him with this...I keep asking him nicely to stop doing whatever disagreeable thing he might be doing, and then after the umpteenth time I SNAP and yell at him. sad

I feel so bad about shouting at him (especially when he's clambering on me for a cuddle sad), but I'm beginning to feel resentful towards him. I'm feeling drained of physical affection and desperate for personal space.

I need to get over it don't I?

I think I'm most worried that my snappiness (alternated with guilt-ridden over-compensating affection) has already psychologically scarred him. The poo-ing and wee-ing thing is particularly worrying me. Isn't this time of regression associated with emotional trauma?

My poor little boy...

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Thu 22-Oct-09 19:18:15

oops - this type of regression

colditz Thu 22-Oct-09 19:20:56

You need to baby him.baby baby baby.

Wrap himin a blanket and get a bottle/hold him to your breast and make an enormous fuss about what a beautiful gorgeous little baby he is. Do it as long as he will let you - I would guess he will get a bit bored.

I think accidents are common enough in 3 year olds for the slightest little worry to set them off, I don't think he's hugely traumatised.

Megglevache Thu 22-Oct-09 19:22:27

Oh dear you poor thing :-(

It will always feel crappy when you're knackered. Do you have any help at all so you can rest?

I pretty much ignored dd for the first 4 weeks so i could focus all my energy on ds.

Can you have things like \ feeding bag? A toy bag full of stuff that only comes out when you are with baby?

Can you do something silly like make a cardboard "him" dressed and ready with his clothes for the next day? Silly fun things that are aimed at him?

I know how you are feeling!

llaregguBOO Thu 22-Oct-09 19:23:56

I think that sort of regression is quite normal following the birth of a sibling. My nephew started crawling everywhere when his baby sister was born, despite being 3 and a perfectly good walker! My DS (then 2.5) stopped breastfeeding twice a day and ramped it up to almost newborn feeding when his brother was born.

What worked very well for us but may be too early for you is to arrange some 1 to 1 time with DS1 without any pesky siblings around. You also need to keep saying to yourself that it will pass and it will get better.

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Thu 22-Oct-09 20:04:07

Thanks guys.

I'm going to go to town on babying him tomorrow.

roseability Thu 22-Oct-09 20:07:45

Oh I was there a few months ago! My DS is three and my DD is now 4 months.

I think three is a difficult age to be introduced to a new sibling. Old enough to remember life without the crying, puking little thing that constantly needs attention but young enough to still need lots of attention and babying themselves.

I reached an all time low in my parenting when my DD was about 4 weeks. My son was too playing up big time and there was no playgroup so he was bored as well (summer holidays). One day it all got too much, I snapped and pulled his hair sad. I posted on here and people were amazingly supportive. It got me through.

Of course I apologised and hugged my son but I felt so shitty about myself, especially as he got so upset and actually sobbed 'mummy yanked my hair'.

A few months down the line and I can't believe how different things are. My hormones have settled down (and don't underestimate how much these affect you), I am less tired and I get time alone with my son. The other weekend my DH took DD for a walk while I took DS to see a theatre production. He has settled down and loves his little sister to bits.

What has helped hugely is playgroup. Does your son go to nursery/playgroup etc? My DS sees it as something for himself which his little sister doesn't do! My DD now goes down at night, so we let DS stay up later and lavish him with attention/cuddles. I hug my DS and tell him he is still my 'special big baby'.

This will all come but at the moment you are in the most intense phase. Don't be too hard on yourself. Apologise to your DS if you feel you have over stepped the mark and cuddle him whenever you can. If you find yourself getting really irritable with him could you put a favourite DVD on? I don't usually allow a lot of TV but I did let him watch a bit more in those early days. Get help when you can and organise easy meals. Could he go to a relatives house to play? Do you have friends you can descend on with a packet of biscuits?

It will pass, it really will. I am not the kind of mum who lashes out at her children like that and I have never done it since. My DS also regressed with toilet training and looked sad sometimes. I too was so worried. He is now very settled and for the first time said unprompted 'mummy I love you so much' smile.

To finish and to repeat somewhat, I underestimated how much my DS needed to get out of the house and be with children his own age. It wasn't just sibling issues but boredom. And of course I didn't have as much time to sit and play with him. Could this be an issue also? The suggestions about babying him are a good idea and I maybe didn't do that enough.

Sorry to ramble but your post struck a chord and I really feel for you

roseability Thu 22-Oct-09 20:11:11

I also remember looking at my DS and thinking 'poor little boy'!

He is happy as larry now and gets away with so much more now that he is the big brother!

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Thu 22-Oct-09 20:17:38

Thanks so much for your post roseability

I think boredom is a big factor this week. It's half term, and one way or another we've barely been out, and it seems like all our friends are away or ill. And with me stuck on the sofa with DS2, it has been dullsville chez spawn.

Roll on next tuesday!

MaggieEsLaMejorBruja Thu 22-Oct-09 20:20:10

I felt like I lost my little girl when dc2 was born. I was always asking her not to fall on me while I was feeding or to leave the baby alone, or to hurry up,,, i felt like I was just firing instructions at her non-stop.

It was a tough time..... my dc1 was 3 and a half when dc2 born. I think it's a hard age gap to begin with.

MyCatsAScarierBastardThanYours Thu 22-Oct-09 20:28:27

I had this with my DD who was 3.4 when DS was born 8 mths ago. She was wetting herself all the time, despite being dry, wanted to be fed and would do ANYTHING for attention, including being very very naughty. I came on here in a state about it all and the very good advice I got was:

1. WHen baby sleeping spend time with older sibling, playing, cuddling, drawing whatever they want, even if it is just watching TV with them on your lap. The tidying up can wait.

2. WHen you are feeding baby, play with other DC with your free arm, tickling, cuddling etc, or read a book

3. Don't imagine that your 3 yr old has suddenly grown up, they haven't. 3 is very young and they need there mum a lot still.

4. Of course they are going to revert to baby behaviour. They see all the attention that baby gets for it and think it might be a good way of getting attention back with you.

5. This will pass!

It took me a while (those first 8wks with a newborn are a bitch), but it did get better and I can say now, a few months on that things are fine (of course DS not yet started crawling and pinching DD's stuff, which will set off a whole new warfare!).

Good luck and lots of congratulations on your new baby and growing family.

roseability Thu 22-Oct-09 20:33:02

The dreaded half term! I think three year olds are a nightmare when there isn't something planned for them, let alone a new baby as well! It can be hell on earth!

We all have 'bad parenting' moments, wouldn't be human if we didn't. But your post sounds like one of a lovely mum who is just tried and fed up. Your DS will be fine if the worst he endures is a mum who shouts occassionally because she has a newborn. I worked with a health visitor once in a rough area, and saw things that would make us look like Mary Poppins with a halo. They are the children to be worried about.

But tis easy for me to say this now I am out of the 'fog' of newborn and jealous sibling (not completely mind you, my DD is only 4 months!).

Ah the refusing to get dressed. My Ds is also a stubborn little bugger and had a long phase of this. He just grew out of it, despite my many methods to get him over it. What did work for a while was timing him and offering a treat if he did within a set time. I don't normally like using bribes and rewards (have been brainwashed by the Alfie Kohn cult!) but in desperate moments whatever works I suppose. You will get through it.

roseability Thu 22-Oct-09 20:35:44

MyCat - I am dreading my DD being on the move and destructing my DS beautifully constructed train tracks and lines of dinky cars!

frightstick Thu 22-Oct-09 20:42:25

It will get better and please don't give yourself a hard time about it. There's a part of me that thinks nature makes your firstborn behave like a horror bag so that you bond with the baby (otherwise you would never love a screaming, pooing newborn alongside your angelic funny toddler).

DS2 is now 8 months and they adore eachother. DS1 is the only one who really makes him roar with laughter and he keeps him entertained while I get on with other things. This is a marked difference between me sobbing on the sofa feeding a 4 week old baby whilst my toddler hurled duplo at me hmm.

We also moved to a new area and changed nursery when DS2 was 8 weeks so how DS1 is still standing I have no idea (although it was a long hard slog).

There was one incident that still haunts me. I was feeding DS2 and DS1 tried to leap from the sofa onto the chair I was sitting on. I instinctively put my arm up to protect the baby and DS1 was knocked backwards and hit his ear on the coffee table. His ear went purple he hit it so hard and it makes me sick to think what would have happened if it had been the side of his head instead shock.

So try and make sure you are feeding the baby somewhere where DS can't reach you, or that you are all cuddled up on the bed/sofa together.

My only real advice is try to make sure he gets some one on one attention from you at least once a day. Either when the baby is asleep or ask someone to take the baby out for a walk. It's all too easy to palm the older one off on relatives so you can concentrate on the baby but you have to try it the other way round. I took DS1 swimming and it made such a difference to the two of us, just half an hour completely concentrating on each other and having fun.

I think 4 weeks is the worst - still no real routine for baby, cluster feeding, sleep deprivation at it's absolute peak, alongside visitor numbers dropping off and the slow realisation that the baby is here to stay.

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