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my darling little angel has become a fiend! - has my baby turned into a toddler?

40 replies

bossykate · 02/09/2002 20:17

the answer is of course yes, and of course he is still my angel and not a fiend, but he is only 13m so i thought we might be safe from the following for another while!

*can be really whiny and clingy
*wants to be picked up, pick him up, he wants to be put down
*search and destroy missions around the house
*won't get in buggy
*won't get out of buggy
*has suddenly developed separation anxiety
*changing nappy becomes like a wrestling match
*has discovered the word "no" bigtime

is it toddlerdom or could he be unsettled by a recent holiday and move up a class at nursery? i'm sure he isn't ill.

of course, i love him to bits, and he has so many little achievements that i'm really proud of, walking so well, quite a few words, really affectionate, so lively and busy.

however, i would really appreciate some tips on the following:

*mess containment - is it possible?
*how to avoid saying "no" to him all the time
*any books people recommend?
*should i just ignore the tantrums?
*how can i maintain at least the facade of calm?
*what is the best way to deal with separation anxiety?

i know all this is perfectly normal, but would appreciate hearing about people's tips/experiences/comments.

thanks very much in advance

OP posts:
kkgirl · 04/09/2002 16:16


Sorry to hear that you've had such a hard time with your dd today. I know what its like, I am having similar problems with six year old twins, whingey daughter and oppositional son!!!!

I usually find that if I have a really horrible day then the next one is always better,that is probably not much comfort to you at the moment though.

Out of interest is she usually like this on a day to day basis or was this a one off?

Twink · 04/09/2002 18:44

Rhubarb you have all my sympathy; similar thing happened while on holiday with dd last week. Went to beach had constant whingeing about sand, wanting to be in the sea then straight out again, sandcastles wouldn't stay 'just right' etc etc. Agg ! We lasted less than an hour and left before I lost it completely. Then my heart melted at bed time when she said 'mummy you were very cross at the seaside today and I'm very sorry'

Bossykate, I found it easier to avoid 'unsafe' houses to save my sanity and like Bells have people round here instead - both grown-up friends and people with scarily well-behaved toddlers. Either that or I arrange to meet at a suitable 3rd party venue. But don't despair, dd is almost 3 and now sits happily in restaurants, instructs other children in the park if she thinks they are not behaving (while I sit like a beetroot...) and is generally great most of the time - except when she's vile !

Rhubarb · 04/09/2002 22:37

Thanks kkgirl and Twink! She is normally quite an angel but just recently she has become VERY trying, which I'm putting down to the terrible twos as she is 2 and 6 weeks. But I also think that because she is very articulate for her age and very well-behaved, I am expecting a certain type of behaviour from her, so I get very cross when she acts her age! At tea-time she told us she wouldn't eat her pizza and beans as the fork had broken them! Sounds sweet and funny (she thought it hilarious) but very annoying as she had hardly any lunch. She will eat if we feed her, after a while, but has also started eating with her fingers again. She also weed all over the floor today too and delightfully told daddy how naughty she had been. I do think she is deliberately testing us, I just wonder how much further she can push us before we put her up for adoption!

Chinchilla · 04/09/2002 22:53

Just watch her sleeping - that will put all thoughts of adoption out of your head - works for me!

Chinchilla · 04/09/2002 22:54

Obviously I meant watching my own ds works for me!

Rhubarb · 04/09/2002 22:56

Yeah you're right - just wish she could be as good awake as she is asleep.

bossykate · 06/09/2002 19:27

thanks very much, www, bells and twink. glad to know there are others out there who sometimes find that social outings with childless friends and babies/toddlers don't mix very well.

rhubarb - sympathy! good luck with your course and hope your dd finds nursery/creche as loving, caring and stimulating an environment as my ds has done at his.

OP posts:
dot1 · 27/11/2002 14:59

Bossykate - I know you started this thread a while back, but I was just about to start a similar one - HELP!!

My wonderful, beautiful just 1 next week ds has suddenly started turning into a monster! He's v. active - walking/climbs - full of beans, but has just discovered screaming (v. loudly) and shaking his head/waving his arms to say NO in no uncertain terms.

Nightmare! Have bought toddler taming but not read it yet - did you buy it? Hoping this is a phase, but I'd quite like my calm, happy baby back...!

bluebear · 28/11/2002 15:20

Dot1 /Bossykate - could have written your post myself about my ds!
He started the rampaging and tantrums shortly after his first birthday. He's now 16 months and we have developed some tactics to cope with his new 'limit-testing' personality.

Don't worry about the mess - but prepare for it by moving anything dangerous/you care about up or out of reach.
We have two toy boxes - one which has a limited number of toys to be rearranged over the carpet during the course of the day and the other which clips firmly shut. Toys are rotated between the two boxes so he doesn't get so bored of them and so we don't have ALL the toys to trip over all the time.

Save 'No' for the important things. I do 'No' for touching electrical sockets and for climbing/bouncing on chairs, he generally giggles at me. I also pick him up and place him in the other room and shut the door for 10 seconds - this is more to give me time to recover than to punish him. He laughs when I open the door again - back to his jolly old self.

Ignore the tantrums - eventually you get to know what's going to trigger one and may be able to distract before it happens but this is easier said than done (can't say I've found any good distractions myself) - personally as long as ds can't harm himself I let him get on with the tantrum and walk away (so cute when he gets up and walks after me just to lie at my feet and scream some more...aahh). (Warning - this is a good priniciple at home but I've had some very nasty comments when he tantrummed at playgroup and I stood by him without picking up/cuddling).

Give them lots of fun stuff most of the time - brilliant age for singing songs + doing the actions and for sending them to fetch things (Can you bring Mummy a book? Thank you - Can you bring Mummy another book?.. heee hee)

I used to have to chase a pooh bottomed ds around his room to tackle him for a nappy change - now I just expect to spend 15 mins for a change and I sit at the change mat whilst he wanders around for a while and i do NOT look at him, he finally wanders over, sits on the mat and puts his legs up!! (I was really shocked when he did this the first time but it really did work).

He went through a stage at about 13 months when he refused to get into his buggy and screamed the place down. I was 'uncaring' Mummy again and forced him into seat, clipped him in and wheeled him home, screaming all the way - every day he screamed for less and less, until about a fortnight later, he stopped screaming and got into the buggy happily. (Had to be to tough as he's too heavy for me to lift for long, and I had to get him home somehow)
Separation anxiety I give cuddles for - lots of them - if it's possible i.e. carrying him around at home, but when it comes to leaving him at nursery I leave him with a cheerful bye bye and walk out despite tears/screams.
(Gosh but it breaks your heart doesn't it!)

Well, that's how I try to stay sane, and he's definitely better the last month or so - or rather, I'm definitely better at dealing with him.
Good luck with your gorgeous independance-seeking clingy little people.

cocococo · 28/11/2002 22:20

Thanks Bluebear and everyone else posting on here, my darling baby has turned into a tantruming toddler overnight it seems. Am only on page 10 of Toddler Taming but I bet the advice on here is far better than that.

Just what is it about the buggy Bluebear? DS goes rigid and pointblank refuses to get in and I have to battle with him to get him in. Glad to hear it doesn't last (I hope!)

What a relief to know others are going through the same........

tomps · 28/11/2002 23:32

An addition to the "you're not alone" entries (and was I glad to read those !) ... dd of nearly 13 months has for some weeks now been asserting her independence - if things don't go her way, she will lie face down on the ground and bang her head ! If she's upset and I'm trying to comfort her in my arms, she headbutts me. She also pinches my nose, pulls my hair, and bites me on the face. To all of these things I say 'no' firmly and put her back down. usually resulting in another big strop - which I ignore, then give her a cuddle (if she wants) when she's finished. Re: the picking up / putting down again thing - ime she sometimes wants me to get down to her level to give her a cudlle / play whatever - I think sometimes we forget we tower over them and see everything from a different perspective. Re: Dr Green - I find his tone annoying, and he has a bit of a 'them & us' take on parenting, with toddlers as the enemy, which just doesn't work for me. Good luck anyway ...

SilverUK · 29/11/2002 15:46

There is lots of light at the end of the tunnel! My dd is now 2 1/4 and went from being an angel baby, through ALL that at between 13 and 16 months, coinciding with a move up a class at nursery, even the veteran nursery staff were amazed! My bible has been the calm contented baby book, (Gina Ford) and I eagerly awaited the sequel, from contented B to confident child. Rather bossy tone, but I skeptically tried much of it and it worked for us like a dream. I expect this stage will pass by itself, but the problem in our case seemed to be increased physical tiredness due to starting to walk, and an earlier bedtime for a few weeks cut the tantrums right down fast. The other reason seemed to be frustration, she could understand but not express herself. As soon as they can tell you what they want better, it helps. Get down to their level and try hard to understand whenever they try to tell you about things, between tantrums anyway, even if you're in a hurry, so they get the message that you WILL listen to them attentively if they try to talk to you (maybe this is a good idea for any age). Converse, talk, repeat what you think they said, sing and read a lot to speed up their vocabulary development, so they can express what they want ASAP. "That's not nice" or "I don't like that" are alternatives to no that give a reason, I found she was more likely to stop and think about. But even that has to be rare, less than once a day I'd say, so save it for the big issues like safety or aggression. Keep diversions up your sleeve: bubbles. Snack time. The old look-there's an airplane/bird/tractor! trick. Let's call granny. Magnetic drawing boards are good and no mess. Finally you have to become an actress. Take a deep breath, and IGNORE bad behaviour, by doing something that doesn't include them like some chore. Save your energy for responding to GOOD behaviour. Seeing me getting mad at bad behaviour was a very entertaining perverse reward for my girl. My angel soon returned and so far we have missed out on the terrible twos-but Baby Sister is about to arrive, wish me luck with both! PS I also failed on the mess problem.

beejay · 29/11/2002 16:15

Reading this thread brought back so many memories of my dd between 1 and 2- I think it is the most difficult age, but found that once she got to around 2 and a quarter life suddenly became a lot simpler and (she became) more rational. I know it's a long way off but there is light at the end of the tunnel...

bossykate · 29/11/2002 20:11

just an update as a couple of months have passed. we have now implemented (or were already doing) many of things recommended on this thread. for example, limiting the nos to the "important" things only, ignoring the "bad" behanviour and lavishly praising the "good", limiting the opportunities for conflict by moving things or installing safety locks, using positive rather than negative language (e.g. please keep your food on the table rather than don't throw your food on the floor), repetition of requests, distraction, encouraging him to tidy up himself (he's doing very well at that for now as a matter of fact - so proud!)...

mealtimes are still a sticking point - i do insist he sits still in his chair to eat, and won't let him wander around with food, my sanity couldn't stand it any other way. this does not go down well! but i do try and make meals as speedy as possible. oh and never force a food he doesn't want - only leads to a battle of wills and anyway, why shouldn't he have dislikes? adults are allowed to.

things have really improved over the last couple of months, but despite the measures we have adopted, i think the real reason for this is that we have at last adapted to his developmental leap and are now much more ready to accept that this behaviour is a perfectly normal manifestation of his "spirited" toddler personality!

have not yet got round to buying toddler taming or any of the other books recommended here. will do so when doing my amazon christmas shopping (i.e. the majority of it, lol!)

thanks again for all the advice here.

OP posts:
dot1 · 02/12/2002 10:43

thanks everyone! My ds also goes completely rigid when put in his trolley - and screams when we put him in a supermarket trolley - taking him to Ikea the other day was quite an experience....

Mealtimes are still a battle - I'm afraid we've given up a bit on strapping him into his chair, and mealtimes are sometimes had when he's wandering around. One breakthrough - I discovered that putting food on a fork and then giving the fork to him to use himself worked really well - poor little thing wants to feed himself and horrible Mummy wasn't letting him.....

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