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High Needs Toddler support thread

post #1 of 84
Thread Starter 

Please say I'm not the only one....I searched the forum and only found a thread from 2006.

 

I'm feeling so beaten down right now dealing with an extremely high needs toddler, trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that it will get better one day.

 

My dd is 20 months old, and the hard part is that she is the 3rd child, so I'm managing her extreme neediness, crying, nursing constantly while trying to get my older kids ready for school, make meals for the family, and attempt to spend quality time with the other kids.  Not to mention trying to do all this while exhausted physically and emotionally from her poor sleep (she also needs me to lay down with her and nurses throughout her 2 hr nap) and trying to enjoy where we are in life and my kids and be emotionally available for my husband and maintain some sort of emotional stability for myself (which is not happening and I feel like a wreck most of the time.)

 

She is also amazingly smart, the quickest of all my children, very verbal and physically gifted and surprises us every day with what she says and does and understands. 

 

We have started daycare a couple days a week just to give me some breathing room and the chance to spend time with my other kids, cook dinner, make phone calls, etc all of which is impossible with her around. 

 

I've found that with the struggles I've had with my older kids, what helps most is to know that I'm not alone, since it feels so isolating sometimes to feel like I'm the only one with a child like this.  I don't know that there are any solutions per se, except for doing what I need to do to strengthen myself emotionally, spiritually, and physically, to get through this time.  Although suggestions are still welcome, esp. if you have strategies for how to deal with a toddler like this if you have multiple kids.

post #2 of 84

I don't really have any advice, but I can definitely empathize.

 

I only have one older child, and he's been pretty good about not getting frustrated with his sister's neediness, but it has been challenging for the whole family.  On the bright side, now that she's 28 months, she's a lot more fun and engaging, though still gets very clingy.

 

I wish I had some words of wisdom, but I do have empathy!

post #3 of 84

I have a HM toddler too. She is almost 27 months. I really wish we could afford daycare just one or two days a week. I find myself day dreaming about the two hour two day a week pre-school I can sign her up for next fall. If I can get her two go that is since she is painfully shy, and barely spends time with my husband.

post #4 of 84

Where do I sign up?! LOL

 

I've only got one so far but OMG is she high needs! She was ridiculously HN baby....to the point where people stopped visiting b/c of all the crying! We have always been AP BTW

 

So now she's 22 m/o nursing EVERY 30 MINS and having tantrums like hourly. IT IS SO HARD!

post #5 of 84
Thread Starter 

sosurreal- I can really feel for you b/c my oldest son was like this, too (lucky me!!) and it is hard when it's your first and you wonder if it's something about your parenting causing it.  Hard to see other parents and babies having a blast at playgroups, mom and baby yoga, etc when my son would just cry.  And going on trips or having people over was just too hard b/c it set him off even worse.   He did eventually get better around 5 yrs old or so and now he is great, still high needs but it's not so physically taxing when they're older and can do more for themselves.

 

It is a big adjustment for me to nurse THIS much.  My oldest was super fussy but refused to nurse- he ended up being a paci addict, and my next one looooooved nursing but it was just an occasional fun thing for him, not an all-day every day desperate need like it is for DD.  It is quite physically demanding.  The good thing about it is that I still have a great metabolism and can eat like a horse, heading into my 40's!  LOL

 

midnightmommy- I really hope preschool happens and that it goes well and gives you a little break!

 

 

post #6 of 84

Have you considered putting her in a backpack and wearing her? It's not a fix but it might give you a bit of breathing room when you need to get things done.

 

I have a Deuter Kid Comfort for my son and it's great. Deuter's a very good backpacking company (they make the packs that people use when they're hiking through the mountains and the like) so the weight distribution on it is really spot on. I have back trouble thanks to a car wreck and my son's about 1/5 of my weight right now but I can pack him for hours at a time with no trouble whatsoever (well, except for occasional hair pulling). He gets to look over my shoulder and stay close to me and he seems to really enjoy it. Plus, as an added bonus, it lets me actually get stuff done! winky.gif

 

Kelty and Vaude (both also backpacking companies) make a few packs as well. Chicco also has one but since they do kid stuff rather than hiking stuff it's designed poorly and doesn't distribute the weight properly. I guess it's fine with a small child and a parent who doesn't have back, neck, or shoulder issues but I personally wouldn't use it.

post #7 of 84
You are not alone, I have a very high needs 2.5yo and while some things have gotten better, others have gotten worse, and even Early Intervention really isn't helping him much. He is my first, and I knew he was 'tough' but I didn't realize HOW tough until I saw friends have more kids and realize he is truly, um, unique. lol

I have my DH home all day since he was laid off last year and even with TWO of us here we can barely handle the kid. I can't imagine dealing with him alone again, never mind with 2 older kids.

Oh, he was a very intense nurser like yours, and just recently I've severely limited his nursing (a couple hours in the morning and once before bed is all he's 'allowed' now) -- much better not nursing him constantly but he wasn't really physically (let alone emotionally!) ready for this until well after he turned 2. redface.gif
post #8 of 84

I don't know if my ds still counts as high needs, but he has been absolutely out of control since right before our one week getaway and now that we're back. He simply will not sleep. And screeches so horribly that I've got a constant headache. No wait, I got that from the lack of sleep. I wish I lived in a house with a garden so I could just send him out to scream off his frustrations, but he don't. We live in a fourth floor appartment with no elevator so no spontaneous trips to the playground. And routines? We're just not managing anything except meals. Or rather my meals. He's back to nursing most of the time and just throws most of his food either at me or on the floor. I now need a vacation from my vacation. But nope, I'm solo-parenting again this weekend. I'm toast.

post #9 of 84

If this helps anyone we have a very long and specific wind down before bed that has helped us tremendously! (It is very time  consuming though)

 

We have dinner at 5pm on the dot (or she's hysterical) then we do tubby time right after. We shut all the lights out and light an aromatherapy candle ("Sleep" from the natural section @ Bath & Body works)

 

Then we "play" by candle light a while, get a big stack of books and read them all by candle light, then we do some shadow puppets, followed by unlimited nursing. She is now asleep by 9pm every night (which used to be an hours long battle daily and usually a bedtime of 11pm) and up at 7am. She is only taking a cat nap at 12/12:30 now as well but it has been working for her.

post #10 of 84

My DS (16mo) fits all but 1 or 2 of Sear's definition of "high needs", so, yeah, I hear ya. I'm pregnant (what was i thinking?!), trying to buy a house, and completely drained. It is so hard!! He's actually a lot less clingy and needy when we're out, so most people really don't "buy" it, which is frustrating. When we're out, though, he wants to run away, get into and climb on everything (so curious and active!). He nurses all the time, including all night, woke at 4:30 the last 2 mornings and is up, won't go back down. (his normal wake up time is 5, so not much different). His latest obsession is food, he wants to eat constantly!

It's nice to know we're not alone and have some support! I am so tired and keep praying that this baby won't be the same (how sad is that?! I feel guilty writing it:() 

post #11 of 84

I also have a "high-need" toddler. If you haven't heard of it, there's a book called "Raising Your Spirited Child" that supposedly is helpful. I haven't gotten that far into it though -- with a spirited toddler and a baby, who has time to read? 

post #12 of 84

I have RYSC, good advice, but I feel AP parents all.. already do it all...mostly

 

Just found out today I am pregnant! IDK how since DD has been nursing every 30 mins lately...but hey!

post #13 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

I have RYSC, good advice, but I feel AP parents all.. already do it all...mostly

 

Just found out today I am pregnant! IDK how since DD has been nursing every 30 mins lately...but hey!


Congratulations!!!!!!!!!! joy.gif
post #14 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

I have RYSC, good advice, but I feel AP parents all.. already do it all...mostly

 

Just found out today I am pregnant! IDK how since DD has been nursing every 30 mins lately...but hey!



Congratulations!

post #15 of 84

winky.gif Thanks mamas!

 

I am excited but scared. A part of me feels DD is so young and I feel guilty, but I also know she will gain a sibling! It's hard b/c she is so HN with the nursing, I feel like once my milk starts depleting we are going to have a really hard time. Here's hoping she adjusts well and we have an amazing tandem nursing relationship!

post #16 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

winky.gif Thanks mamas!

 

I am excited but scared. A part of me feels DD is so young and I feel guilty, but I also know she will gain a sibling! It's hard b/c she is so HN with the nursing, I feel like once my milk starts depleting we are going to have a really hard time. Here's hoping she adjusts well and we have an amazing tandem nursing relationship!



One day at a time!  I don't have any BTDT advice, but I think you and DD will figure it out together.  :) 

post #17 of 84

Wow.  Mine is almost 3 and I have been thinking all this time that it was going to get better...I can really relate to the part about him being better when we're out so even my husband's family doesn't get it.  When I was asking for help, my husband was told that we needed to just "grow up and deal with it."  In addition to his high-needs behaviours, I had an undiagnosed thyroid problem for the first 8 months.  I slept all the time, and he woke me up every hour during the night to breastfeed, from about 4 months to 16 months.  He only needs about as much sleep as I do, sometimes way less.  I'm always exhausted. 

post #18 of 84

I find it helpful to split up my quiet time into sections rather than trying to get a whole hour at once.  So I read the Bible at breakfast, worship throughout the day - I can include HNT sometimes.  After he's asleep or when Hubby has him, then I get my "prayer closet" alone time.  Journalling and writing out my goals and yearnings helps too.

post #19 of 84

My DD (3rd child) is high-needs also. My DP could not understand how I could not get anything done while he was at work, from her needing to be held and nursed so much. Sometimes she will watch Dora for a little bit or play with her brother, but most of the time she still wants to be held and nursed. Also she throws tantrums and refuses to use the potty and then pees in her pants. She is better about pooping in the potty, but yesterday she pooped in her pants, again. She is the most difficult of all my children. 

post #20 of 84

Hello moms, my DD is also high needs and has been from birth. She has also had leaky gut from birth so both she and I have been on a restricted diet the whole time, and I have to cook everything we eat. I thought things would get better once she got older, but they have actually gotten harder. She still wakes up 3-6 times a night (in 9 or 10 hours). Has never slept more than 11-12 hours a night, not since she was 5 months old. The main problem now is that she refuses to be in a carrier. At least when she was smaller, I could put her in a carrier and walk her around and she'd be happy. Now she wants to be held, but not in a carrier. I can hardly get the cooking done. And, now I'm the bread winner. And no, she still doesn't want DH at night. So I'm really tired. I've been really depressed since her 2nd birthday because everyone told me that if we did the restricted diet, twice daily probiotic, and a whole bunch of other measures, she's be better, but she's not. I'm just really tired and sometimes can't help but regret my decision to have a child.

 

I love her but am at a loss of how not to feel like DH and I are slaves to an implacable child and that things are ever going to get better. So far we have lost our entire savings, our health, most of our friends, and my DH's job.

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