or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Toddler › Life with a Toddler › Struggling with my 2yo and really need advice.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Struggling with my 2yo and really need advice.

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I am so upset about the way things are with my 2yo DD. My son was born two days before her 2nd birthday, and since then it's been not great and has progressed to awful. I could really use some advice. I feel like she is totally detached. greensad.gif

She has epic tantrums where she pulls her hair out or scratches at her throat or hits herself in the head or bangs her head against the wall/sofa. She has become picky about eating, and honestly it's so much harder to feed her now that DS is here because I can't really trust her with anything messy in the living room. So her diet is not great, due to what I offer, but also due to what she will accept.

Lately her poops have been awful-- stinky, loose-- and today she had a VERY loose poop that oozed out of the dipe, down her leg, soaked her pants, and got tracked ALL through her room and the hall before I noticed it was "leaking". Basically I spent an hour cleaning her up and the diarrhea on her bedroom carpet. I had to put her in the tub and she was distraught. Every time we wipe her she FREAKS OUT. She refuses to go on the potty and has a major meltdown if we try.

Usually when she wakes up from her nap and sees me with the baby she immediately starts to cry. Hard. And then won't let me hug her or near her. She wants to watch TV. She's been watching so much TV lately so I can get the baby to sleep without her running in and screeching and annoying him/waking him. (Her noise *really* seems to bother him, especially when he's nursing or tired. He just hasn't "gotten used to the noise" in the house like everyone said he would.) The TV thing is out of control, but I don't know how to stop it. We have little to no backyard for her, we live in a hilly condo complex with nowhere to walk, nowhere for her to run around and burn off steam. But if we even try to get her to walk to the mailbox she'll have a meltdown and cry or demand to be carried. (By DH, not me. And she won't go in a baby carrier.)

I'm worried something in her diet is causing these weird poops. I'm worried she is detached from me and I'll never get her back. I'm worried she's unhappy and believes I don't love her. I tell her I love her so many times, I try to hug her...and just get rejected every single time.

But my DS is 15 weeks and fairly high needs himself. So I do need to give him a lot of my time. I'm a SAHM and DH works full time and has a pretty long commute. With the way things are I haven't had the courage to leave the house with the two kids alone.

I'm worried something irrevocable is happening to her and me. greensad.gif We used to be SO CLOSE, and she was SO HAPPY in May, just before DS came. greensad.gif

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 41

I am sorry you are feeling so sad hug.gif.

 

If it were me, I would try to get out of the house everyday, even if just for an hour. If she won't walk, would she sit in a stroller? Find out if there are any mothers' groups in your area. Sometimes being around other people might put some perspective on your situation. It's good for you too to have a routine, or an outing to break up your day a bit. Does she nap in the afternoon? A morning outing might make for an easier nap too.

 

As far as the diet/poops are concerned, I would consult with a doctor. It might be dairy or gluten allergy if the loose smelly stools are frequent. Of course an elimination diet is a daunting task on top of everything else you are going through, but might be necessary. As far as I know too, children with food allergy might experience behavioural problems before the allergy is addressed. I would keep her meals very simple, lots of fruit, veggies, nuts (if she's not allergic) and non-dairy protein (beans, legumes, etc). Serve it "monkey-platter" style if she's more of a snacker than a meal-eater. Juices and smoothies are a great, easy way to get nutritious foods into picky eaters. Maybe she'd be more inclined to try them if she got them served in a fun sippy cup that she picks out herself? the ones with a pop-up straw are good.

 

Good luck!

 

post #3 of 41

I agree with getting out of the house each day, even if just for a short time. Go for a walk, go and watch the older one play if possible. Try and get some YOU time in a few minutes each day as well, even if it's just for a few minutes, do something you want to do while they both nap or while your partner is there to watch them.

 

I think it sounds normal for a 2 yr old to do these things. Unfortunately, you may be dealing with more normal 2 yr old things than the usual mom would have to AND you have to also add on the stress of having a baby in the house and that can make things seem way more exaggerated when we are tired and dealing with young-uns. I hope it gets easier soon!

post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 
Oh, mamas. greensad.gif DD woke up soooo early this morning with ANOTHER one of those leaky poos-- all over her PJs, her sheets, dried up her back...I am truly getting to my wit's end. I don't know WHAT TO DO!!!! I tried to get her outside and she just screamed. And screamed. Wouldn't eat. Just a little bit of toast. Screamed for Max and Ruby (a TV show we record for her) Got distraught when I wouldn't put another Max and Ruby on. I told her the TV was broken so she would be forced to play with toys for a change. She saw me nursing DS and wanted me to draw on her easel (NOW!!!) with her. Then got upset and started yelling/crying again. She went into my bedroom and asked for that TV to be turned on. I told her no, it was broken. She laid on the floor and screamed every time I tried to touch her, rub her forehead, kiss her. I just sat there telling her I loved her, I wasn't going anywhere, I was with her, I realized she was upset/mad/sad (I'm NOT upset! I'm NOT mad! I'm NOT sad!)

I picked her up and tried to hold her, kiss her, walk with her...she just arched in my arms, pushed at me, s c r e a m e d...I walked her up to her room (away from baby DS) and she screamed that she wanted to lay on her pillow. She shut her eyes and wouldn't look at me. Screamed NO!!!! when I touched her head or her leg. I turned on a world music CD and left. She was asleep in about 10 minutes and has been asleep for two hours now.

greensad.gif

I am at a total loss. I think she's detached from me in a very bad way. DH suggests preschool. I don't think that's a fix for what is happening. I'm scared she is damaging herself in some way.

I have such a bad headache from the screaming all morning. I still have DS to care for, and my (totally mainstream) SIL is coming to visit this weekend. greensad.gif

gloomy.gif
post #5 of 41

(((HUGS)))

 

First I will say that I don't think you're doing anything to damage her or your relationship with her.  That is guilt talking.  You are there for her and doing everything you can to make her feel loved.  She just needs time to work through what she's feeling.  Is there any way you can go somewhere with her even for 20 minutes, just the two of you?  I don't think she even knows what she wants.  She just knows she's grumpy with *whatever*. 

 

IMO, maybe now is a time to go very, very easy on her and let her "have her way".  I don't think you'll spoil her or create a monster if it's just for a short few months. (or whatever)  Go with the whims and wishes that are mostly reasonable and seek out those moments the two of you can be alone together.  Even if it means a dish isn't washed or a load of laundry isn't washed. 

 

She isn't acting this way for any wrong reason.  It's just what she knows to do right now. 

 

I don't know about the poop stuff.  It could be coincidence.

post #6 of 41

I'm sorry you're struggling.  I have a daughter the exact same age (I remember you from our ddc) but I don't have a baby right now.  I've had that dynamic before though and it's tough to have a 2 yr old and a new baby.   My toddler is behaving in similar ways to your daughter - so I think some of what you're dealing with is developmental and some of it sounds like transition to having a new baby.  My daughter is VERY possesive right now and has trouble "sharing" me with her older siblings.  I think that is very much part of being two and processing the world around you. When my oldest (now 11) was 2 and his sister was a newborn - I had similar feelings of being 'detached' from him.  Going from 1 to 2 was a big transition for me and I found it hard to re-frame my relationship with my oldest.  I can report that we worked through it and it did get better and have a great relationship now. 

 

Here are a couple suggestions that might help: 1)  Remember that your daughter is still really little and try and keep your expectations for her realistic (I may be projecting - but I know when I look back that I expected WAY too much from my oldest after we had another baby because suddenly he seemed so big.) 

2) Find a routine that works for your day and stick to it - working some time outside of the house into the routine is good too.  This may take some time and your daughter may resist it, but most toddlers like predictability and that can help with setting expectations for TV - i.e. "No Max and Ruby now - but after X you can watch your show."  Schedule in time to read books and cuddle or another activity that you know she likes and that will help you both reconnect.

3) Pre-school - My three older kids all did it and it was great for them and for me.  Pre-school for us was a play-based 2 hr activity 2 -3 times a week that gave good structure to our day and gave them an outlet to paint, play with playdough, water etc that I was too burned out to offer with a baby at home.  It's hardly a necessity, but it might be worth exploring. 

 

Poop - sounds like something is going on in her digestive tract.  If if carries on - you should check with her dr about allergies.  If she's in discomfort - that might also be contributing to her mood.

 

Good luck.  It does get easier!

post #7 of 41

Regarding the poop: does she wear disposables?  If so try putting a cloth diaper cover OVER the disposable.  It would likely do a better job catching runny poops (this has worked for me in the past when my kids were sick with diarrhea).

 

Adding a kid's probiotic to her diet (you can add the powder to smoothies etc) would probably be a good idea.

 

Look at her diet and see if you can cut back on any stool-loosening foods (fruits like watermelon, grapes etc), and add more stool-firming and easy-on-the-stomach foods (off the top of my head I'm thinking the good old "BRAT" diet for post-stomach-flu: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast).

 

Mama, do you have anyone who can come and help/support you?  A sister or friend who can visit and help out in whatever way they can (feed dd the messy food that is too tricky for you to deal with while nursing a babe, hold the babe so you can do a craft with dd, help you get out of the house, do a load of laundry or dishes, etc, etc)?  Or does your budget stretch to hiring a mother's helper?  Do you have any friends who are also SAHPs who you could meet up with during the day (meet at the park, at their house, at your house, etc).  Do you have any "kid restaurants" near you?  (I'm thinking of a place geared towards kids with a toddler-safe play area, kid-friendly food, etc.)  There was one that we used to go to at least once a week for about the first 6 months of ds's life.  Dd loved going there - it was a treat for her.  She was happy, it was a safe place for her to play, and it was a totally baby-friendly space (no stress for me, even if he cried).

 

I agree with pps that getting out of the house is crucial.  It is pretty much what saved my sanity when ds was a baby and dd was 3yo.  I would wear ds and push dd in a stroller and take her to the local park.  She could run around and play, get fresh air, have some snacks, etc.  I could nurse ds as needed.  Sit.  Maybe meet another mom.  Etc.

 

I have to go take dd to swimming lessons now, but I will try to come back later with more ideas.  Good luck mama.  (((hugs)))

post #8 of 41

I've got a 2y and a baby, 2 older kids as well. This spacing is the one I hate the most. DS1 hasn't taken to DS2 so well, and has regressed as well. The tantrums, screaming, yeah, great fun when there is a baby to deal with as well. Definitely get out every day. It may be a lot of work but it really helps the toddlers. I can't count on my 2y to walk or listen so unless it is a very short distance from point A to B, then he has to go into a stroller and I wear the baby. We go to the park, library, open gym, kid's museum, and then he gets dragged along to all my big kid's school and activities, not as much fun though. 

post #9 of 41

You are going through such a difficult time. It sounds to me like you are blaming your daughter for a lot. I'm not sure blaming is the right word. In an ideal situation (at least for her) she would still be nursing and there would be no baby. It's not her fault you had another baby. If she were nursing it would eliminate a lot of the problems. Her stools would be better. Its not her fault she isn't nursing.

 

Just turning 2 is too young to expect her to be potty trained. You need to learn how to avoid tantrums and manage them when they happen. You are looking for something to blame so you are blaming her diet. Elizabeth Crary has a web site and has written many books about toddlers that are very good.

 

One common mistake parents make is calling the older sibling the big sister. They talk about how the big sister loves the baby and have the big sister hold the baby. They talk abou the big sister being the helper. The big sister may not want to be the big sister, may not want a baby, may not love the baby, and may not want to be the helper. It can be helpful to stop all big sister talk and to let her know you have plenty of love for both of them and you will take care of both of them. I don't know if this has been going on.

 

How could life when your daughter is 2 cause irrevocable damage to your relationship with her. You can do things to make life easier and make your relationship closer for right now. Even that is no guarantee. You can do everything right when your child is 2 and that is no guarantee of how your relationship will be when they are 20.

post #10 of 41

my daughter was 3 when my son was born -- that probably made a big difference. however i will state that life in our household basically revolved around her. the baby got his every need met -- don't get me wrong. however i made sure we went to every library program for her, she went to preschool. we went on outings (those were for all of us -- especially me. there is no greater torture than being home alone day after day for the long haul with little kids). things were a little dicey with getting the baby to sleep with the noise of the 3 year old, but it worked out. eventually. 

 

so... my advice to you would be to see what you can do to restore your daughter's idea that life revolves around her a bit more. maybe make an "improvement" each day and keep adding on. i get that babies are high needs. i have had two of those. however babies are also very very portable and easy to please when you nurse them. so... get good at pacifying the baby while you focus on the toddler. i used the moby wrap *extensively*. you can wear the baby in the sling and set them up on your open breast. adjust the fabric so that no one even has to see it! and the baby can still breathe and nurse... and you are "hands free" which is the best! so, if you can get your baby like that... then you can say to your daughter... "i'm all yours. what would you like me to do?" and then start trading with her. "Ok, i'll do that for awhile, and then we will have lunch. OK? you will have to sit and eat. but, sure, we can play suchandsuch game first. let's go."

 

good luck with it! this is just a hard phase. it will get better.

post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

You are going through such a difficult time. It sounds to me like you are blaming your daughter for a lot. I'm not sure blaming is the right word. In an ideal situation (at least for her) she would still be nursing and there would be no baby. It's not her fault you had another baby. If she were nursing it would eliminate a lot of the problems. Her stools would be better. Its not her fault she isn't nursing.

 

Just turning 2 is too young to expect her to be potty trained. You need to learn how to avoid tantrums and manage them when they happen. You are looking for something to blame so you are blaming her diet. Elizabeth Crary has a web site and has written many books about toddlers that are very good.

 

One common mistake parents make is calling the older sibling the big sister. They talk about how the big sister loves the baby and have the big sister hold the baby. They talk abou the big sister being the helper. The big sister may not want to be the big sister, may not want a baby, may not love the baby, and may not want to be the helper. It can be helpful to stop all big sister talk and to let her know you have plenty of love for both of them and you will take care of both of them. I don't know if this has been going on.

 

How could life when your daughter is 2 cause irrevocable damage to your relationship with her. You can do things to make life easier and make your relationship closer for right now. Even that is no guarantee. You can do everything right when your child is 2 and that is no guarantee of how your relationship will be when they are 20.


Frankly, this advice seems very un-helpful.  The OP is here crying out for help and it seems like you're trying to put a guilt trip on her.  I haven't heard her blaming her daughter.  I hear her feeling guilty.  Mom is understandably emotional about this and I don't think it's right to assign blame anywhere.  Do you know that the 2 year old isn't nursing?  A lot of kids have weaned by then anyway and I don't think nursing would specifically make this "all better".   This site has obviously demonstrated that many children can be ready for potty learning at this age and many are not. 

 

post #12 of 41

Wow I agree with YF.  What unhelpful, guilt inducing advice, Forever.  Geez. You responded to a post of mine a while back about breastfeeding and never have I had someone on Mothering respond in the way you did.  Made me feel guilty and pretty crappy for thinking about weaning my then 14 month old. 

 

OP, I have 2 young kids similarly spaced, like you although mine are a bit older (1 and 3).  I will say that I think that you should take your DD in to been seen for her stomach issues.  She could be in pain and that might be at the root of this.  Also, can you get a mother's helper to stay with your son for a bit while you give an hour a day to your older daughter?  Maybe when you MIL is here, that might be the best time.  I know it might be hard to leave her baby with her but I really think your DD is crying out of some one on one attention with just you.  Just an hour or so to take her to the park.

 

Also, I think that in the beginning she might fight you but just keep hugging.  She needs it.  My older DD is very into me these days and not at all into my DH, says she doesn't like him and all that fun stuff.  I told him, just force it.  Take her places, play with her etc even if she says she doesn't want to.  All weekend he worked on that, took her wherever he went etc and just last night she crawled into his lap to snuggle which she hasn't done in weeks.  I know a lot of this isn't possible right now with the baby but try to take advantage of your MIL being there to be with your DD.  I know you mentioned she is very mainstream but that is ok, trust her to care for you son and spend some time with your DD...she is begging for it, IMO.

 

I know how hard it is but you are doing a great job and this is a phase, it will pass and you are NOT doing damage to your DD by giving her a sibling, you are giving her a gift!  Hang in there!

post #13 of 41

hug2.gif

 

It sounds like your dd is going through a transition and is also two.  I've BTDT with a 2 yo and a newborn.  It was tough.  I don't think she's detaching from you; i think you're just in a tough situation and it's hard to meet everyone's needs at once.

 

I agree with trying to feed her as many "binding" foods as possible and also checking it out with her doctor if you think it's more than that.

 

If anyone could give you a hand that would be great.  Do you have a stroller for your dd?  I made the mistake of expecting my 2yo to walk when I had a noob.  He wasn't ready.  He still needed to be in a stroller and sometimes carried.  I couldn't carry them both because the 2yo weighed 45 lbs.  I used to put the noob in the carrier and push the 2yo in the stroller.

 

Good Luck

post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by poorlittlefish View Post

 

 

OP, I have 2 young kids similarly spaced, like you although mine are a bit older (1 and 3).  I will say that I think that you should take your DD in to been seen for her stomach issues.  She could be in pain and that might be at the root of this.  Also, can you get a mother's helper to stay with your son for a bit while you give an hour a day to your older daughter? 


i totally agree with both these suggestions.  i find that many times when i am wondering what in the world is going on with my toddler & her attitude, it turns out later that she was coming down with a cold or some other physical ailment.  several times i've thought it had something to do with a situational change, but in reality it was some sort of illness or teething problem.  i know it's an extremely difficult transition (as i am going to find out firsthand in the near future) but you could also be reading too much into the situation-- those viral problems and whatnot can really cause some craziness.

 

i like the suggestion of finding a way for one on one time.  <3  hope it all gets better for you soon, mama.

 

eta:  though the wording of the advice from one of the above posters really pained me... it did bring to mind a good suggestion to offer you.  if you're nursing this little one, could you express or pump a little and give some boobiejuice to the toddler in a cup or something?  it might help a bit, and that's also operating on the assumption you're not already nursing her, which you very well could be. 

 

post #15 of 41

(((Hugs)))

I wouldn't feel bad about letting her watch some Max & Ruby while you nurse.  If it calms her down and keeps the peace so you can do that....I say go for it.

 

I also agree that there could be something medical going on - her bowel habits don't sound right and if that is making her uncomfortable that could help explain a lot of her behavior.

 

Or is she starting to get molars?  That could lead to behavior issues and loose stools in some kids.


Hang in there, it will get better. 

post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

You are going through such a difficult time.
In an ideal situation (at least for her) she would still be nursing and there would be no baby. It's not her fault you had another baby. If she were nursing it would eliminate a lot of the problems. Her stools would be better. Its not her fault she isn't nursing..


Wow, WAY out of line. As a pregnant woman whose kids will be spaced just the same as the OP's, I find this advice really offensive and unhelpful.

BTW, nursing doesnt solve everything.



OP,

Im sorry you are struggling. Have you read "No cry potty training solution"? I found it to be really helpful and it also talks a lot about how to help toddlers through poops. I hope things get easier for you smile.gif
post #17 of 41

Is there a chance your DD is getting her 2 year molars?  That would explain the extra food pickiness, and the runny poop, and the extreme tantrums.  I'd try to get a good look back there and see if her gums are swollen, and dose up with pain relief as necessary.

 

Other than that, I wanted to give you a big hug.  Going from 1 to 2 is a big transition for everyone, and it's really hard to watch that transition and blame yourself when things go wrong.  I definitely remember crying at least once with each new baby about how "I've ruined my older child(ren)'s life!"  But, really, that's ridiculous.  No, you cannot give each of your children 100% of your attention all the time anymore.  But the attention that they can give eachother as they grow up more than makes up for it, and is so, so wonderful to see.  Once the baby gets on more of a nap schedule (I'm assuming he's still all over the place, but that usually settles down after a few months) it will be easier for you to carve out special time to have with your older DD.  And then you'll feel guilty for not spending enough time with your younger child :)  LOL, but it all evens out in the long run, I promise.  If your DD is 2, she won't even remember any of this.  My 4 year old remembers things from before the baby was born, but funnily enough she said something the other day that made clear she had no memory of a time before her younger sister (almost 1) was part of our family.  It's funny, because I don't remember either... I was comparing this year's first day of school photos with last year's, and I didn't understand why the baby wasn't in last year's! I thought it was a shame that she must have been napping or something... then I remembered that she wasn't even born yet!

 

But I would look into whether she's getting new teeth.  New molars hurt A LOT, and definitely made my children's lives miserable for a long time.

post #18 of 41

And I wanted to say that every single emotion you mention I've been through, and come out the other side, and I promise that it will be okay.

 

Also, there's a mathematical formula for how long it takes a baby to go to sleep: approximately 60 seconds longer than an older sibling can amuse herself quietly for!  That's something I've read a bunch of places, and it's so, so true.  Newborn eyes drooping... dropping... slowly closing... AAAAAAAAAAAAH MOOOOOMMMEEEEEEEE I CAN'T GET DOLLY'S SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOE ON! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!  Newborn eyes pop right back open and look around for where the action is.  OMG, sometimes I just wanted to lock my older DD in a closet while I put the baby to sleep! 

 

I can laugh about it now, but it was NOT FUNNY at the time.

 

We also went from a no TV family to TV on 8 hours a day during the first few months.  Seriously, DD probably watched more TV in a day for a few months than she had during the entirety of her first 19 months.  But we pulled it back once the baby was on more of a schedule and DD was more adjusted to having a bay around.  TV isn't going to hurt her, I promise.  It wasn't really a big deal.  You gotta do what you gotta do.

 

*Hugs*  It will get better, I promise.

post #19 of 41

Definitely go to the doctor about her diarrhea!

 

Don't stress about TV.  My son watched TV non stop when I had my second.  When I had my 3rd the big two had each other to play with and were too busy tearing the house apart to watch TV even though it was on all the time.  I spent more time yelling at them to sit down, be quiet and watch TV!  Point is.. it's FINE.  It's just what it's like to have 2 small kids.  Hard, chaotic.

 

A schedule makes all the difference in the world.  are you part of any groups?  I am part of a MOMS club that organizes various things.  We shoot to be out 2x day, morning and afternoon.  That way if we miss one, no prob.

 

Is everyone getting enough sleep?  My 2yo goes to bed at 6:30 and if I'm feeling unstable I go before 10.  when DD was a newborn  I sometimes went at 8:30!

post #20 of 41

I don't really have any advice, except don't listen to ForeverInBlueJeans.  Just don't.

 

Also, with the diarrhea, go talk to her doctor.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Life with a Toddler
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Toddler › Life with a Toddler › Struggling with my 2yo and really need advice.