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High Needs Toddler support thread - Page 2

post #21 of 84

Tattooed Hand - I'm sorry you're having a rough time. Going to PM you in a sec if I can manage to sneak away from DS. I had rheumatoid arthritis-type symptoms that I'm certain now were caused by leaky gut/lectins and a paleo/hunter-gatherer diet has done wonders. Hang in there. 

post #22 of 84

I'm so happy this thread exists!!

 

DS (13 mo) was high-needs from day one, but I didn't catch on until he was about 6 or 7 months.  For one thing, I was already doing the AP thing - had I been trying to get him to sleep in a crib or put him on a schedule, I would have caught on sooner.  Also, I haven't spent much time around babies, so I didn't know what was "normal" and what wasn't.

 

The challenges have shifted throughout the different stages.  The worst was right before he started crawling because he was frustrated and in the middle of hardcore teething.  He was nursing non-stop day and night, I hadn't yet found out about high-needs babes, and I was deeply burned out - angry at the baby, resentful of my husband and his freedom, generally depressed.  Not good.

 

Our constant struggles: DS gets incredibly frustrated when faced with his own limitations.  We had very rough patches right before crawling and walking.  He needs human interaction.  Lots of humans.  If it's just me around (which is the case most of the time), he gets bored, fussy, clingy, wants to nurse every five minutes, needs me in his face playing with him directly.  He can't handle having me pay attention to anything else - I can't set him up to play and then go about tidying the room, or give him some pots and pans and go about cooking like I see other moms do.  He doesn't tolerate a carrier anymore, for any length of time.  If I'm not very proactive about getting breaks, I WILL burnout.  Right now he's being fairly tolerant of the car seat, but he has full-on purple-faced meltdowns, and when we're going through those phases I'm effectively housebound.  He wakes about every 1.5-2 hours at night, which is not a problem as it relates to sleep, but it does affect my perception of "me-time."  His sleep is so unpredictable that I can't get involved in any kind of activity without being worried he's going to wake up and need me at any moment (this goes for sex, reading a book, knitting, watching a movie, folding laundry, sewing, all the hobbies and interests that used to form my identity before "MOM" took over entirely...).  I can get bitterly jealous of moms who can put their baby down, then go out for a late movie or a party without worrying about being needed in the middle of the night.

 

How I've coped:  Since human interaction and constant input seem to be the things that make DS happy, we go to malls a lot.  It's even better than a park for him.  He is so happy to walk up and down the aisles, babbling and smiling at anyone who will give him a second glance.  Lowering expectations of myself - I had a talk with DH, and he now does the cleaning (I tidy as much as I can, but he does 100% of stuff like bathrooms, dusting, floor cleaning, etc).  He was actually thrilled to be able to help.  Like I said, I'm proactive about getting breaks - relaxation doesn't happens spontaneously, you have to plan it.  It's as simple as going to the grocery store while the baby stays home with DH.  30 minutes once a week is enough.  I have to remind myself that anything I'm trying to do can wait - but he can't.  I sometimes need to go down the list of remarkable qualities he has to remind myself why I am so lucky to be his mom.  I've found myself chanting "he's a baby, he's a baby, he's a baby" - he isn't punishing me, he's only expressing his needs, it isn't fair to be angry at him, I'm only frustrated with the situation, etc.  

 

Does anyone know if there are any high-needs toddler books out there?  I have the Fussy Baby Book, but I'm looking more for tips on appropriate discipline, since we're about to be truly in the realm of toddlerhood.  Right now I'm reading The Emotional Life of a Toddler and Parenting with Purpose.

post #23 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by yippiehippie View Post

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). 



Oh gosh, this is SO true for us!  DS is such a smily, happy, content kid when other people are around.  He's a big ham, loves interacting with people.  The comment I hear most often is, "Is he always so happy?"  Ha...no.  When it's just us, he needs to be playing with me (WITH me, not next to me or watching...WITH me), or he's on my hip.  No joke - if I have to walk away from him, even a couple of feet, I back away because he can't handle being walked away from.  If I back away and talk to him the whole time, he's cool, but if I turn my back it's immediate, heart-breaking, wounded crying.  

 

He also wants to be down and running around wherever we are...which makes grocery shopping nearly impossible.  He doesn't tolerate a carrier, and if I put him in the cart I have about ten minutes before he's crying to be held, and then he immediately twists to get down.  Not even the coolest toy will distract him from wanting to get down.

post #24 of 84

Hey again.  I have to cook all my own food since travels to Asia 10 years ago.  I am still sensitive to pre-made stuff but most of the pain, bloating, etc. is gone since I got healed of gluten intolerance.  (Thankyou, Jesus.)  It takes a lot of time and effort.  Our son never slept more than 10-11 hours in 24 since he was 8 months old, even when he napped.  When he was 8 months old he decided he didn't like sleep, and did everything possible to avoid it from then until about 2 and a half.  Now that he's almost three he still fights, but not as hard.  At 8 months he had 2 top and bottom front teeth.  My nipples were cracked and he was biting me when he woke up every hour to nurse.  It hurt so bad, and I tried to quit but he would cry for hours if I gave him the bottle (even with pumped milk).  The guy upstairs moved out.  I realize now that it wasn't because he needed to nurse every hour but because he was in the habit, and eventually I trained him to go back to sleep by just rolling over so he couldn't smell the milk as much.  Then he only nursed every 2 hours.  Over another 8 months I weaned him.  After 6 months he was only nursing in the morning and at night, and maybe when I got home from work.  I tried to work but I wasn't getting enough sleep.  It was like he could just sense when I needed him to sleep and those were the nights he would be awake for hours in the middle of the night.  

 

He's also super sensitive to any sort of disruption in his sleep schedule.  Jamie's on shift work, which is really tough.  If we go on vacation I have learned how to get him back to his schedule, but I am also ready for it to take up to 3 weeks.  

 

 

post #25 of 84

Mama, just wanted to offer support... my DD1 was (and still is - age 9) a very high needs child, and until I had the second, I didn't realize she was just that way. I thought it was me for a long time, couldn't understand why everyone else was having an easier time of it. I wish you luck and rest and I'm glad you've found some mamas who can relate and hopefully help!

post #26 of 84

Just wanted to check back in. I'm totally sick and tired of being sick and tired. There's nothing I can do to make this child happy. There's nothing I can do to make him stop hurting us. There's nothing I can do to make him safe in our home. I'm a single mom again and no, I can't get daycare to give me a bit of a rest from him. I'm so totally screwed and wish I never had this child. gloomy.gif

post #27 of 84
@terrilein

Talk to a fostering agency, someone out there would love him and not regret adopting him.


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post #28 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrilein View Post

Just wanted to check back in. I'm totally sick and tired of being sick and tired. There's nothing I can do to make this child happy. There's nothing I can do to make him stop hurting us. There's nothing I can do to make him safe in our home. I'm a single mom again and no, I can't get daycare to give me a bit of a rest from him. I'm so totally screwed and wish I never had this child. gloomy.gif

Terrilein, I'm really really concerned about you & your son. Something needs to change, and FAST. What do you think would help you feel OK with things? Are there respite services or foster care available in your area? How about counseling? I see you are in Germany, do you have something like Early Intervention there? How about friends/family/neighbor who can take him so you can get a break? A school kid who can play with him for a bit while you take a nap in another room? Is adoption a route you want to explore?

You sound so miserable but I don't think it is normal to feel the way you do about your child. I have a very very high-needs 3-year-old myself (though he's greatly improved over the past year!) and I can't say I have ever felt that I wished I never had him. Even at his worst, I wanted him in my life. Even when I wanted to run away or crawl into bed and never get out, some part of me was glad DS was a part of my life. I'm really worried that you are depressed or something, or just stressed way beyond your breaking point. Have you checked in Finding Your Tribe to see if anyone can help with local resources? Do you have real life support locally?

I apologize if you are just venting and I'm overreacting to what you've said, it just concerns me greatly. We all need to vent sometimes but if you truly feel the way you've said you do, you owe it to your son to find a way into a better situation for both of you, whatever that means for you.
post #29 of 84

Terrilien, I can totally relate to wishing that you had never had a child. My DD goes through excruciatingly difficult phases, and while I love and adore her, sometimes at the end of the day, I wish I had never had a child. I collapse on the couch (in the 45 minutes before she wakes up again) and cry. She has many problems and challenges and I don't think other moms understand that while it may not be normal for them, loving your child and wishing you had never had them because you are beleaguered on all sides with no help and no respite can coexist. IT is human. And I think people's suggestions are it is not are rather dogmatic about the way a mom is suppose to feel.

 

Maybe they are worried it might lead to hurting your child or neglect. Do you think this is the case? I had to get my husband to take time off from work because I was worried about this when my DD was younger and I hadn't had a REM cycle in 5 weeks. But we had the luxury of a savings. Being alone is so much harder. Where in Germany are you?

 

Is there some way you can have a little relief in the short term so that you can get some rest so that you can think and work out a longer term solution? Do you think there is something medical going on with your LO given the suddeness of this?

 

I am so sorry you are having such a hard time. Hugs to you and I hope things get better.

 

 

post #30 of 84

I can relate too.  I do love Josiah but some weeks I am so tired and my husband seems to do so little I feel like finding someone to adopt him.  But once I get some sanity time this feeling usually subsides, at least for a while.  There seems to be a desperate need for change in your situation, and the hardest thing to do is reach up and do something.  But you need to remember you are powerful and there is hope, even if it means adopting out your child so you can have a life worth living.   

post #31 of 84

Terrilien - I have felt the same way about my child.  It sounds like you just really need a break from him so you can reset your mind and break the monotony of caring for a high needs child.  That is the only thing that saved me, 2 hours a week all to myself, was enough to let me interrupt that broken record feeling of exhaustive giving.  Please try to hang in there, I do believe it will get better for all of us, and in the end we will discover that our children are bright, interesting, creative individuals.  I have gained a lot of peace reading Dr. Sears write about his high needs daughter, when I feel like I am losing my mind:

 

http://askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/parent-parent-20-survival-tips-parents-high-need-children

post #32 of 84

glad to see i am not alone. and i too had found this hn support group a while back but it was not current. yay!!! validation.

my son is high needs from hour one. he literally turns red when he screams. when he was 2 weeks i had to call the doctor because he'd be so passionate and turn as bright as a tomato when he wanted something...no kidding.

he is 12 months and as cute as a button. he is bright,walking and when he smiles he lights up the whole room. in fact, when he is happy we are all happyLOL. 

he wakes up 10 times a night. he breastfeeds all the time. he is hard to satisfy. he wants me in his space and sight at all moments.

when he is fussy fussy i put him in the ergo and we walk. okay,we walk everyday and i burn those extra calories. good thing we live in a forest. yes, we live in a forest next to a river and 5 streams.

in the morning , i put him in his high chair and he feeds himself. he loves to do this. i will chop a little strawberry, peach,apricot. give him oatmeal and/or polenta and shredded cheese and sometimes an egg. in the meantime, i can actually make a cup of coffee and drink it and check email. wow!

he has had night terrors since 9 months. infrequent. lately it has been several times a week. talk about exhausting.we have always been on a strict bedtime routine but now we have incorporated chamomile(1ounce). he gets so worked up. and we try not to overly tire him after his first nap.sometimes hard to do because he is an active boy and love stacking building,walking and banging.

anyway,we'd love to have another child and i am considering night weaning him but feeling like this is not his time to do so.

anyway, hope you all having a good day and thanks for letting me be apart of the group!

post #33 of 84

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by luckiest View Post

Right now he's being fairly tolerant of the car seat, but he has full-on purple-faced meltdowns, and when we're going through those phases I'm effectively housebound.  

 

My son is humongous, so we finally just had to turn him around early - this, and nursing in the car (not particularly safe for me, of course!) have helped immensely - also, giving him a teething cracker to chew on in the car is very comforting to him (when, you know, he's crying and throwing toys I give him, haha).  

 

He wakes about every 1.5-2 hours at night, which is not a problem as it relates to sleep, but it does affect my perception of "me-time."  His sleep is so unpredictable that I can't get involved in any kind of activity without being worried he's going to wake up and need me at any moment (this goes for sex, reading a book, knitting, watching a movie, folding laundry, sewing, all the hobbies and interests that used to form my identity before "MOM" took over entirely...).  I can get bitterly jealous of moms who can put their baby down, then go out for a late movie or a party without worrying about being needed in the middle of the night.

 

I am just starting to get to a point where I can tell he is in a decent sleep cycle, so I can get up to have 30 min. with DH or step away from his nap to go pee!!! (at 12 months) thumb.gif Since he needs me to be right there during naps, I try to use that time as my "me time" to read, craft, etc. (it took alot for me to accept that I could not use this time for chores or phone calls - and sometimes, I am still a lil resentful that DH will never understand what it is like to have no autonomy, to be constantly tethered to another human being...but, then again, there IS a positive bonding component to that...and I know it won't last forever!)

 

Does anyone know if there are any high-needs toddler books out there?  I have the Fussy Baby Book, but I'm looking more for tips on appropriate discipline, since we're about to be truly in the realm of toddlerhood.  Right now I'm reading The Emotional Life of a Toddler and Parenting with Purpose.

 

I have just about finished reading Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka (www.parentchildhelp.com) - highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend!!! thumbsup.gif  It is extremely validating (like Dr. Sears was in baby stage) and gives TONS of practical advice, as well as how to reframe your child's traits positively (for their sake and yours!).  I'm also reading The Discipline Book by Dr. Sears, which gives some good toddler advice in general, with a small section on HN kids.

 

I completely agree with PP that said that other people don't "get it" because their kids are so smiley and outgoing in public - we just had DS's first birthday party, and he was a total social butterfly!  Playing with everyone, making rounds (he's walking now) babbling and just beaming.  It really was wonderful and adorable, but I do get alot of weird looks and "ok...if you SAY so" things from family and friends (like I would make it up!).  He is extremely happy, and he can be extremely, well, not.  He's just a passionate kid! (that is my mantra, haha)

 

Again, that book really helped me find ways of working WITH his personality, instead of fighting it.  That said, I have resigned myself to the fact that I am simply not going to be taking a night off to go party any time soon...but, my time WILL come...and I certainly won't feel like I wasted a second of his younger years that I should have spent with him. winky.gif

post #34 of 84

@Terrilein - please let us know how you are doing - and feel free to let fly here!  Much better to get it out amongst adults who understand, than by doing anything that will endanger your child (emotionally or physically).  I can't imagine doing it all on my own with other children, and you are much stronger than you give yourself credit for.  This child's needs are stretching your limits, but please don't let it break you.  Please do whatever you need to to find someone who can give you some help, a regular break, or explore other options if need be.  Fighting against your child's needs is the quickest way to wear both of you down...again, like others on here, I really recommend the Dr. Sears books (and this whole site: http://askdrsears.com/topics/parenting/fussy-baby/high-need-baby) and Raising Your Spirited Child.  The latter really helps you understand how they are wired, and gives lots of practical advice on how you can work with them (instead of fighting them every step).

 

Your child isn't out to get you...he's just made this way, and he needs your help.  And you need help so that you can have the energy to help him.  Please let us know how things are going, mama. hug.gif

post #35 of 84

I knew as a new mom, there would be times I would need help so someone could take the baby and I could shower...I didn't know that this would still be an issue (in fact, an even bigger issue!!!) at one-year-old.  bigeyes.gif

 

There was a time when my precious HN DS could be pacified with toys, singing, and frequent mama check-ins from behind the shower curtain (eta: ok, not really - but he wouldn't go into deep purple face, destructo, screaming without breathing mode) - now I shower with the curtain wide open, don't have time to shave, and just try to not splash water everywhere while I simultaneously wash and retrieve the toys he throws into the tub (from his belted-in spot in his toddler rocker, facing the shower).  I love him - he is the most precious, sweet child (who just disarmed our alarm system in the background - and now is climbing up the stairs...) but...really??!?!!  No shower??!  I would just bring him in with me, but he is a daredevil (frequently jumping in and out of the tub headfirst), we have an old metal tub, and he also likes to crawl right up under my feet. orngtongue.gif

 

That said, he is adorable and smoochable and climbing the stairs again...

post #36 of 84

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by luckiest View Post



 When it's just us, he needs to be playing with me (WITH me, not next to me or watching...WITH me), or he's on my hip.  No joke - if I have to walk away from him, even a couple of feet, I back away because he can't handle being walked away from.  If I back away and talk to him the whole time, he's cool, but if I turn my back it's immediate, heart-breaking, wounded crying.  

 

He also wants to be down and running around wherever we are...which makes grocery shopping nearly impossible.  He doesn't tolerate a carrier, and if I put him in the cart I have about ten minutes before he's crying to be held, and then he immediately twists to get down.  Not even the coolest toy will distract him from wanting to get down.

 

Yes!! What I find most exhausting is that my son demands constant engagement. I can count the number of times he's played on his own---and usually his dad and I rush in to make sure he hasn't passed out because it's so rare. We have TONS of toys (I run a home daycare) but my son has to have one of us down on the floor engaging with him in order to play. He also demands to be part of whatever activity I'm doing--which is a great sign in many ways but also really tiring. I can't just wash dishes or cook a meal, I have to also make sure he has something hands-on to do by my side, and dialogue the entire time, or else he has a major meltdown. It's exhausting. 

 

What I've found with my little one is that his extremes are really.....extreme. He can be incredibly cheerful, funny, joyful, and sweet one minute and then a total monster the next. All of his emotions are super strong. It's like he experiences the world more intensely than others. I'm a pretty mellow person, so it totally rocks my boat to deal with such dramatic and intense shifts in mood and energy. 

post #37 of 84

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gitanamama View Post

I can't just wash dishes or cook a meal, I have to also make sure he has something hands-on to do by my side, and dialogue the entire time, or else he has a major meltdown. It's exhausting. 

 

What I've found with my little one is that his extremes are really.....extreme. He can be incredibly cheerful, funny, joyful, and sweet one minute and then a total monster the next. All of his emotions are super strong. It's like he experiences the world more intensely than others. I'm a pretty mellow person, so it totally rocks my boat to deal with such dramatic and intense shifts in mood and energy. 

yeahthat.gif  Although, to be honest, I was exactly like this as a kid and adult - he is actually the thing that has forced me to learn to let go, roll with it, and smile or laugh whenever possible.  He has made me calmer and more mellow (it was mellow or bust! om.gif some days are still bust...)

 

post #38 of 84

Reviving this thread because I have a whole new set of challenges now!

 

DS is almost 19 months and VERY good at asserting his will - which is great, but he wants things that literally are not possible and we have EPIC meltdowns when they cannot happen.  My heart just breaks because he can't understand yet why he can't have what he wants and he seems so wounded by it.  We're unconditional parenting people, so I really follow his lead and do my best to say yes to everything that is reasonably possible and make our environment suitable to that.  If he wants to watch a video because I left the iPad on the couch - fine.  He wants to go outside while I'm doing dishes - I stop doing the dishes and we go outside.  I really do try to make his life as stress-free as possible, but the conflicts seem to be coming in rapid fire all of a sudden.  

 

There was a change at some point, overnight, and he's suddenly requesting things that I KNOW he knows he can't have or do.  It's like he roams the house picking out only dangerous and off-limit things.  I tell myself that he's just exhibiting an "outward" phase of experimenting with independence and an "inward" phase will come soon enough, but JEEZ.  It's rough.

 

Right now we can't even run errands because I can't handle him in a store by myself.  He twists to get out of the sling, he kicks if I try to put him in a cart, and he won't stay on my hip.  He wants down and that's all he will accept.  We were going to try to start potty training next week, but that is suddenly seeming like a terrible idea.  Getting in or out of the car means an instant meltdown, because he wants to sit in the front seat and play with the buttons on the console.  In theory, I'm okay with that, but it's ten thousand degrees here already and we can't just sit in the car idling and wasting gas.  

 

He's also a very talented climber and it's guaranteed that if I have my back to him for more than thirty seconds that when I turn around he'll be up high on something.  I'm so glad we don't' have tall book cases!

 

Anyhow, I'm sure this phase was induced by a 10 day stay at my father's house, in the middle of which DH went on a business trip.  Right when we got back was when this big shift happened, so I'm sure he's responding to all the change going on..he's a big people person, and I'm sure that important people flitting in and out of his world is stressful.

post #39 of 84

Luckiest, to me it sounds like it's time to steel your nerves and enter your zen space :)  No, I'm serious.  When my daughter goes through phases like this, we both fare best if I can remove myself from her passion.  I need to remain firm in our boundaries, then calm while she freaks out.  That's my job.  The unhappiness and rage that she's feeling is, unfortunately, her battle.  I stand firm, calm, and gentle in the face of it (um, ideally), and when it passes, we hug and try to move on.  When we have days where she's finding every single "no" thing in the house, I take us out somewhere that I know I'll be able to say "yes."  A hike usually works really well for us with this, or a farm.  And also, try to provide ample play time for the things that he seems really obsessed with that are getting him in trouble - like climbing.  Take him to a rock wall or somewhere else with good climbing potential and let him go at it as often as you can until he moves on to something else.  And my last piece of advice - I know you said you like to say yes, but try to avoid saying yes to things that you won't always want to say yes to.  Like playing up front in the car.  We made that mistake, too.  If you say no from the outset, there won't be confusion about that boundary later on and you'll avoid a million future battles. 

 

Good luck.  My girl has just entered a particularly hard phase, too, so I know how you feel.  At 27 months, we're suddenly at the "NO!"  "I don't WANT to do that" phase.  I'm having to learn a whole new way of speaking to get around the "no's."  I kind of miss the stage where I was the one saying no instead...
 

post #40 of 84

Thanks for reviving this thread Luckiest. I've thought about it many times over the past few months, especially when we've had one of *those*days (like today!) when I think, "why is this so HARD?!" 18-23 months was killer for us. DS had a pretty good vocabulary but had a really hard time explaining himself and making his needs clear, which led to epic temper tantrums. And like you said, a lot of times he was set on getting something that was off limits or impossible to give him. It felt like we were butting heads all day, every day, despite my best efforts to be patient and compassionate. Things have improved a lot in the past couple of months---he's talking more and getting a little more patient. We still have some really rough days though (like today) when nothing seems to please DS and he just sort of rages against me and the world. It makes me sad to see him so upset and angry, but also wears me out and leaves me totally exhausted after trying to be calm and patient with him all day. I love what you said newmamalizzy about standing firm, calm, and gentle in the face of the toddler storm---I'm really working on not letting my son's meltdowns wear me down!

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