or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › WWYD/just need to be sad
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

WWYD/just need to be sad

post #1 of 251
Thread Starter 
http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1145750

There is some background. My almost four year old has developed a fake limp. Which wouldn't be bad except that it makes her really SLOW. And the more we remind her or hold her hand and try to get her to move faster, the more she resists. She used to hold back a bit and kind of drag her feet, now she just throws herself on the ground and kind of goes limp. In the past few days, she's doing this ALL. THE. TIME. It's been going on for a couple of weeks and getting worse, but now it's really bad. She won't run when she plays, she won't won't walk right EVER for ANYTHING.

So today we planned to go to a movie. Ok, the morning didn't start well. We got half way to the vet (hard to get a Saturday appt and it's about 25 miles away) and she freaked out that she had to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW. There is nowhere to stop before the vet and it was fairly far to go so we turned around and stopped at my mom's which was closer than our house. Grab her up and carry her inside because she won't pick up her feet and walk (btw, she's 54 pounds and tall and I'll be spending some time with my chiropractor next week because of this), get her into the bathroom and oh hee hee, guess I didn't have to go. The only upside is that the vet agrees to work us in and my mom said I could leave my child with her.

Anyway, the movie. We get there, get our popcorn (movies, like everything else, are not close. It's 35 miles away and involved a LOT of driving on my part as we had to do the vet too), get seated with much fake limping but I am trying really hard to ignore it. Movie starts. FIVE times she claimed she had to go to the bathroom and then she didn't actually need to go. ALL FIVE TIMES she did that stupid fake limp dawdling crap and just kind of falls on the floor when I try to hurry her. I'm telling her the whole time - we are in the way. We are blocking people. We are missing the movie. The fourth time I said, if you can not stop this then we have to leave. We're ruining it for everyone. We're spending the whole time going to the batrhoom. She had plenty of notice.

The fifth time, when I practically had to DRAG her the whole way there and back on the floor because she wouldn't get up, I said ok. We're going. I carried her AGAIN (my back is killing me), managed to get my husband's attention, and met him outside. We tossed our snacks and left.

She finally figures out I'm serious and gets upset. We had other things planned - shopping for our TorT candy and an early dinner and a place we all like, but those things all involve WALKING and I'm not spending my WHOLE DAY dragging her around.

No, she does not have a real leg/foot/hip problem and no, she does not have any kind of issues making her feel like she has to go to the bathroom. I never fuss about the bathroom fake out because, ya know, you just can't. Sometimes she just gets on these little kicks and honestly? I know that she knows she can make us jump when she says she has to go.

She cried and screamed all the way home. It was a long drive.

I do think leaving was the right thing to do. I could not get up and down every five minutes for two hours. It was not fair to the people behind us, or the people in front as she kept putting her hands along the backs of their chairs and it was clearly ticking off the mom in that group. It's also unfair for me to have to physically draaaag her back and forth and up and down steps.

She was not hungry, bored, or tired. I really think this is something she's got and she knows there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

Generally, we get along great. I'm a SAHM. I'm pretty patient and other than these two things, we don't have a lot of problems. She has a fair amount of input in how her day goes, but not more than she can handle. It's mostly the two of us so it's just not a problem for her to give her input. We take her places as often as we can and she can walk just fine and has been for a long time.

I want to be a good mom. I want to be close to my daughter. My parents never played with us, never took us to movies or plays or zoos. That just wasn't their thing. I ENJOY doing those things with my daughter. I WANT to do them. But this walking thing is becoming just impossible to work around. She is too big for a stroller and too heavy to carry and there is nothing WRONG with her she just needs to STOP.

I have tried ignoring it. I've tried holding her hand and just stepping up the pace, thinking she'll have to move along - she just resists more. I have tried reminding her that she needs to move faster and why (because it would get suck to get stepped on? Or hit by a car? Because I'm not strong enough to drag her?).

I'm just so sad. We had a fun afternoon planned. In my childhood, this would have been a pretty special day. I like us doing things together. But there is nothing you can do when one of you falls down and refuses to walk. I've just had it. I feel so sad because I know she's dissappointed and this was supposed to be fun and now it just sucks. We had plans to do something with my family tonight and we won't be doing that either.

We live so far away from anything. We just wasted $50, not including gas, on this episode. I'm lonley. I have no friends locally. I have my family and now I won't even be getting out to see them. I won't be doing anything. But what else can I do? I can't carry her and she won't walk.

If this was your kid, what would you do?
post #2 of 251
honestly, if this was my kid, i'd be inclined to take him to the dr just to make 100% sure that it's not anything.

I have thought that my kid (he's 4 years old) was faking about something and have been wrong before. but it as never anything as serious as what you're describing though. In those instances, he seemed to be so obviously faking. I think that, unless they are crying, it can sometimes be easy to mistake a 4 year old's symptoms as just pretend.

But when he was actually faking, he could easily be distracted out of it and would forget. He went through a jag where he is like, "but my legs are broken ma. I need a wheelchair." Sometimes he obsessed over it. but as soon as we'd get outside or to the playground or somewhere exciting that he'd want to run around to do, he'd totally forget about his "broken legs".

If it's something that nothing will distract her from, not even an outing to the movies or a trip to the park or something, I'd take that as a sign that it might be something legitimately going on. the limping in combination with the repeatedly having to pee and not peeing are very specific and related symptoms that some types of ailments have in common, and does not seem to be random fake symptoms that a 4yo would come up with herself. Not unless she's been reading some medical literature.

I know you said you know it's not real, but you didn't explain how you were sure. Is she easily distracted out of it? Has she been to the doctor for it? If not, and it's something persistant that she won't be distracted out of, how can you be so sure? What if it's something legitimately wrong and you just fuss at her and never get it checked out? Just questions I would consider if it was my child.

ETA:
Has she ever had a urinary tract infection? They cause constant urge to pee without producing much urine if. If it's progressed up to her kidneys, her back might hurt. You really should check it just to be sure. Other nerve ailments could also cause symptoms like that.

actually, the more I think about it the more it sounds uti'ish.
post #3 of 251
Oh mama- I couldn't read this and not respond! I'm so sorry and I really feel how frustrated and upset you are- I'm sure I'd feel exactly the same way! I read your first thread too- it sounds like you've been dealing with this for a while!

Does you dd have anything to say about why she likes to walk this way? Have you tried telling her that she's free to do it when she's walking by herself but that when she's walking with you it's not acceptable? Or trying a "silly walk" that you both do for X minutes, followed by walking normally for the important parts (like parking lots or crossing the street)?

Honestly, it sounds like a power/control thing that your dd is really enjoying manipulating. Failing to find a way to work together to change this behavior, I'd likely go with immediate, hopefully logical, consequences.

Good luck!
post #4 of 251
I sense how sad you are and I'm very sorry. It sounds like you're feeling very trapped and like you feel you don't have many options. I hope things improve.

My suggestion-- tell her she's got to go to the doctor since her limp is interfering with her life. Tell her it's not normal for her to have to go to the bathroom so often, and the doctor will need to investigate that as well.

I would really take her, too, not just make a threat. Perhaps there is a medical issue going on. Perhaps it's a different issue and the doctor would have some insight that, too.

Best of luck.
post #5 of 251
Does she ever say WHY she is walking that way?
post #6 of 251
Quote:
Honestly, it sounds like a power/control thing that your dd is really enjoying manipulating.
I've read both threads & I agree. She knows exactly what she's doing it. Is it irritating, yes. At home ignore it. If it means she pees her pants then she pees her pants & at 3.5 she can definitly help clean that mess up. If she eats cold food because it took her too long then so be it.

When you're out, give 1 clear reminder that if she falls down like that & cannot walk properly you are leaving. No if's, ands or buts about it. You will leave. She will act like she is today, upset that you went home but it will be reinforcing to her that the behaviour is not acceptable.

You need to be firm in your expectations, give 1 reminder & don't bring attention to it again for that event. She will not be happy about it, but she is old enough to understand that her actions have consequences.
post #7 of 251
Thread Starter 
The bathroom thing - she's never had a UTI or anything like that. Every now and then she'll have a day where she tells me she has to go about 40 bajillion times. Mostly it's on a day when I'm busy and not paying a ton of attention to her (not ignoring her, but doing my own thing with her along for the ride - like cleaning up or whatever, instead of being felxible enough to do whatever she wants on and off through the day, which is how most of our days are - she's used to my being pretty responsive when she's in the mood to have my attention) so it seems obvious that she's just trying to get my attention because "I have to potty" never fails. Today I think it was in response to my trying to hurry her along. For the whole ride home and since we've been home, she's never mentioned needing to go.

As for the limp and slow walking thing, until about a week ago she could be distracted out if it. We went to the park twice that week and both times, magically, no limp. But this week I've had a lot of things I HAVE to get done and she's slowed me down on every single thing with that slow walk. Her natural inclination has always been to resist if you try to hurry her for anything, even something she wants to do.

I think the limp at this point is both habit and controling and she's just too stubborn and dug in about it to quit.

Nothing is hurting her and if I walk ahead or behind when my husband walks with her you can clearly see that she's just falling to her knees, not getting her feet tangled or tripping up.

When I ask her why she does it, she tells me "oh, ha ha, I think I'm just a little clumsy."
post #8 of 251
Oh, ok. if it's something that she's distracted out of and only does in very specific circumstances, I agree, it might be a power/control thing. I'm sorry, I don't know what to suggest in that situation.
post #9 of 251
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
I've read both threads & I agree. She knows exactly what she's doing it. Is it irritating, yes. At home ignore it. If it means she pees her pants then she pees her pants & at 3.5 she can definitly help clean that mess up. If she eats cold food because it took her too long then so be it.

When you're out, give 1 clear reminder that if she falls down like that & cannot walk properly you are leaving. No if's, ands or buts about it. You will leave. She will act like she is today, upset that you went home but it will be reinforcing to her that the behaviour is not acceptable.

You need to be firm in your expectations, give 1 reminder & don't bring attention to it again for that event. She will not be happy about it, but she is old enough to understand that her actions have consequences.
My first instinct is to agree with all of that. That it's just a habit she's gotten into and something she's too dug in to stop doing. I can clearly remember being three and four and my parents asking me to do something fairly reasonable, then getting all self concious about it and not even really understanding WHY I was refusing to do whatever it was. I can actually think of a few examples when I knew I was being stubborn over something dumb but it was like I just couldn't stop. I'm worried that if I keep making a thing about it, she'll never stop.

I just want her to stop. I want to do fun things. We have so many things planned over the next few weeks and I'm so sad about today. I don't want them all to turn out like this.
post #10 of 251
I had a friend once whose daughter at 4 was peeing her pants a lot. They took her to the doctor who said "Okay! You're all better now! You won't have to wet your pants anymore, can can go ahead and pee on the toilet!" and like that, she stopped peeing her pants. Something about the doctor saying that was all her little head needed to stop. Maybe something similar would help your daughter?
post #11 of 251
Yup, we'd go to the doctor, and if there is really no medical reason, I would follow through on two basic rules: walk correctly. do not attempt bathroom fake-outs. If she's really recently potty trained, then the fake-out might be understandable. Otherwise, she's doing it because she knows it gets under your skin. So don't let her. The very first key thing is to not get made or annoyed. Just bored with it.

I would plan but not do dozens and dozens of fun things--well, I thought we would go to the museum today. Will you walk properly and none of the fake limp nonsense or bathroom fake outs? You understand that if you limp, even once, I will pick you up and we will leave. Then do. The FIRST time she does it, not the fifth. Yes, it will suck, for the first 2-3 things you leave, but she won't keep doing it. I would deal with the bathroom fake out-ONCE-as well. Then I'd put a pull up on her during that first bathroom trip and tell her you're not coming back to the bathroom for x minutes (at least 30 IMO, but we all have strong bladders; not 5 minutes anyway).
post #12 of 251
Thread Starter 
That's a very good point...she knows there's nothing wrong, but maybe having someone else tell her she's fine in front of me may take away her excuse.

I admit I'm a little doctor-shy. When she was born, her hips were a little clicky. Her ped sent us to an ortho who totally took us for a ride. She was fine by six weeks according to the ped but the ortho just kept pushing more and more - up to a body cast and including surgery. Obviously I asked for a second opinion and the second ortho confirmed what we suspected - she was fine. Her hips were ok and someone was actually trying to set my baby up for a body cast and surgery! So now unless there is something really wrong (and knock wood, she's only had one cold and ear infection in her whole life), we do not go to the doctor. Although I promise if I thought there was a chance this was something real or she was hurting, I would take her like yesterday.

I know it probably does sound like something might be wrong, but having watched the progression and her response to our trying to get her to stop, it is a control thing.
post #13 of 251
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I would plan but not do dozens and dozens of fun things--well, I thought we would go to the museum today. Will you walk properly and none of the fake limp nonsense or bathroom fake outs? You understand that if you limp, even once, I will pick you up and we will leave. Then do. The FIRST time she does it, not the fifth. Yes, it will suck, for the first 2-3 things you leave, but she won't keep doing it. I would deal with the bathroom fake out-ONCE-as well. Then I'd put a pull up on her during that first bathroom trip and tell her you're not coming back to the bathroom for x minutes (at least 30 IMO, but we all have strong bladders; not 5 minutes anyway).
I get what you're saying but I think I need to kind of explain our situation. We live about half an hour in any direction from...well, anything. Going to the movies or zoo or even a park is a BIG DEAL for her. Those things are all far away and involve a lot of time and resources to get us packed up, in the car, to the destination, etc. I feel it's wrong to set her up like that and also, what a waste of my time and resources. I can not drive half an hour (MINIMUM, but really more like just over an hour for most things, and in only one direction) for her to take two steps and fall down so I can pack her back in the car and drive home. It may make logical sense, but it is not practical at all for us.

I can also promise you that if I tell her she can't go back to the bathroom for x minutes, she's going to FREAK OUT. She has no concept of time, she's not even four, and it's like challenging her to pee on herself right then and there. I don't want to force a battle of wills with a three year old. It's not fair to either of us. We've had a handfull of days like this in the past three months or so and I promise, that would just be making trouble. I get that it makes logical sense, but I just don't see it doing anything but making the situation worse.

I don't mean to shoot down advice, I appreciate any and all input and a lot of the above was certainly my very first gut reaction when this stuff started happening but it's just gotten worse so I'm really hesitant to be the one who takes it to the next level.

But really really really, EVERYONE, thank you for the input! The advice I'm getting from my family is mostly just "well, you're going to have to spank her" or "my kids would never have the nerve!" Yeah, THANKS. HELPFUL. TOTALLY. But then I guess not a lot of people have experience with a three year old and a fake limp.

I just hate this. We have such a good relationship apart from this. She's so funny and fun. And then there's this.
post #14 of 251
I think if you are at the point where she has been walking like this progressively more and more, and it is getting worse and worse, and has now been constant for a week, it is very unlikely to be something you can get rid of without professional help. Even if this is something she started just for fun, it sounds like she's been doing it for so long and so consistently that it is by now probably the most comfortable way (emotionally or physically or both) for her to walk.

I do think that it is entirely possible that she has a genuine physical problem that makes it difficult (but not impossible) for her to walk normally, and that the few times she's been "distracted" out of it are actually times she's been motivated to push past whatever is normally stopping her from walking correctly. I have joint problems that sometimes cause an abnormal gait, but I am nonetheless capable of walking normally if I want to (which I always do in public, despite the extra pain it may cause).

It doesn't sound like you have seen a doctor yet. I would do so. At the very least it sends the message that you take her and her needs seriously and you are going to do what you can to help her. Perhaps the doctor will rule out medical problems but nonetheless recommend therapy, and you might find it to be very helpful.

ETA: I just read your clarification above, and I have to say...you are talking about a child who has previously had an ortho recommend intervention for a hip problem, which advice you did not take??? I get that you got a second opinion, and the second ortho said she was fine...but what if the first ortho was right? If my child had a prior diagnosis of hip problems (even if they were just potential problems) and subsequently developed an abnormal gait, I would be back at the ortho's immediately. Take her to the second ortho, if it will make you feel better, but do take her.
post #15 of 251
Thread Starter 
She never says it hurts or is uncomfortable and she's walked just fine since she was just under a year old. She's been watched very closely because she did have clicky hips and she's seen ped ortho specialists on and off up until this year. She's had x rays and ultrasounds on her hips and legs. Unless this is something that just developed like, three weeks ago out of the blue, there's nothing wrong with her.

I don't know if you read my other post - it was long so I can summarize:
there has been a progression from funny little fun walk to slow fake limp. The more I encourage her to walk faster and walk correctly, the more she hangs back and drags her feet.

I really really really don't think there's anything wrong with her. I really really really think it's a control issue. If I thought there was even slightly a chance that she had an actual medial issue, we would have seen a doctor already.

Quote:
I just read your clarification above, and I have to say...you are talking about a child who has previously had an ortho recommend intervention for a hip problem, which advice you did not take??? I get that you got a second opinion, and the second ortho said she was fine...but what if the first ortho was right?
I have been sitting here trying to figure out how best to address this with you but I am just not going to. It's a huge long saga and you'll just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, she's just gotten up from a nap (and I'm going to be up all night) and she's just run down the hall with no problems. She's walking around fine. She's forgotten about it. We'll see how long it lasts.
post #16 of 251
Quote:
You understand that if you limp, even once, I will pick you up and we will leave. Then do. The FIRST time she does it, not the fifth. Yes, it will suck, for the first 2-3 things you leave, but she won't keep doing it.
This. I understand what you're saying about it being inconvenient, etc, but sometimes that's what parenting is. I have two kids, and on occasion, we've gotten somewhere, and then had to leave 10 minutes later b/c one of the two couldn't handle it. Talk about inconvenient, and unfair. But that's life, you know?

A couple times of doing that and you'd be done. Instead this is dragging out weeks. She is learning that she's in charge, and I think that's a little scary for a kid.

I would probably also make an appt with a health care provider, as a PP said.

-e
post #17 of 251
Yeah, if she's not yet four, or relatively recently potty trained, x minutes might not work. Probably also not good to just put her in pull ups for movies, etc. because of her age, concern about potty regression?

At a minimum, know that the potty thing shouldn't last much longer, as she starts going on her own; you could probably start that at home "okay, just go, you can do it without help."

I know what you're saying about going somewhere, I have 2 kids and travel only by subway/bus. It takes us over an hour to get to the zoo, for example, so packing up would be a big strain for us too.

I have a double stroller, and if it's something that I felt it was unfair to drag DS or me away from and DD was out of control (she doesn't do this anymore, but a year or 18 months ago, she did), it was "one strike, in the stroller you go and in you stay." She was totally too big to need a stroller, but... We also didn't go on outings very far away for a few weeks so we could pack it in quickly.

Also though, there has to be some reason she's doing it. Is it better if you spend more time/attention with her just before? Was she afraid of the movie? Talking to her calmly about this stuff making you sad, making it hard for you to "do your job as mom," making it hard for you to spend time together, might also help. Not like a guilt trip, just like "Hey, we do-blah blah blah-together and you really enjoy that; I would like to do blah-blah-blah together and be able to really enjoy it."
post #18 of 251
Did she fake limp at your moms?

It might be worth it to drop her off at your mother for a little bit to see if she is fake limping there.....

If she isn't - then you are bang on and it is a power thing.

TBH honest I see little wrong with putting her in a pull-up and stroller when you go out. I have put 5o pund children in strollers before - they are heavy to push but it is much easier than being carried!

There are 2 ways out of a power struggle - either you push on through and be extremely consistant and hard a$$ (in a good way, of course) or you give her what she wants and wait for her to move out of it on her own accord (which will happen).

Hugs, mama! Hang in there.....

Kathy
post #19 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
She never says it hurts or is uncomfortable and she's walked just fine since she was just under a year old. She's been watched very closely because she did have clicky hips and she's seen ped ortho specialists on and off up until this year. She's had x rays and ultrasounds on her hips and legs. Unless this is something that just developed like, three weeks ago out of the blue, there's nothing wrong with her.

I don't know if you read my other post - it was long so I can summarize:
there has been a progression from funny little fun walk to slow fake limp. The more I encourage her to walk faster and walk correctly, the more she hangs back and drags her feet.

I really really really don't think there's anything wrong with her. I really really really think it's a control issue. If I thought there was even slightly a chance that she had an actual medial issue, we would have seen a doctor already.
Yes, I read it. I would expect to see a progressive limp as a result of a real medical problem. I would expect it less in a faking situation. But let me be perfectly clear: A child who refuses for a week to walk without throwing herself to the ground every few steps, injuring herself in the process, is, IMO, a child who needs professional help, of one kind or another. Even if she is faking. Which, honestly, I think is far from clear.
post #20 of 251
This sounds like a real mess of a situation, and I would seek professional help if I were dealing with it. From what you're saying, it sounds like a battle of wills, and I personally would want to be sure that there wasn't an underlying physical or emotional issue aggravating or causing it. I'd want strategies from a professional (a therapist? child psychologist?) and someone to help me and my child get through this and move on.

I'm really sorry you're dealing with this.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Childhood Years
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › WWYD/just need to be sad