or Connect
Mothering › Groups › May 2012 Birth Club › Discussions › Parents of toddlers?

Parents of toddlers?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I know it's mentioned on and off in several other threads, but do we have a support thread for parents of toddlers yet? This will be my second child, my dd will be just under 2 1/2 when the baby is born. I can't believe the mixed emotions that I have about her becoming a big sister. I would be nice to talk to the rest of you in the same situation!


We got a few "new baby" books. Dd really loves the Sears one, "What Baby Needs." She wants to read it several times a day! I have a theory though that it can trigger a bad mood. I try to hide it, but she asks for it specifically. I wonder if we've been pushing this "you're going to be a big sister!" thing for too hard for too long though...it has to feel like forever in her little toddler life.


We are also really struggling with dd's sleep. She's always been a challenge in this area, but I'm nervous about when the baby comes! We still rock her to sleep at night, and it's usually me that does it. When I don't, the drama and drawn-out time frame are not worth it. I'm really hoping that I'll be able to keep this special time with her after the baby's born, which is why we're not pushing change any harder. Do you think I can pull it off? It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. She still wakes up once or twice a night too. Most of the time she'll put up with dh going in to her, but once in a while she's so sad that it's not me. :-( I know for sure I won't be able to go to her in the middle of the night after the baby comes, so we're sticking to this pretty well...most of the time! I love to go in and snuggle with her at night though, and she goes back to sleep so much more easily for me than for dh. I'd love to just keep her in our bed, but we only have a queen and it's already going to be a squeeze with the baby (I already warned dh that he should probably just get used to sleeping with dd!).


Anyway, just thought it might be nice to hear what others are thinking about! Let me know if I already missed a similar thread, and I'll just post there.



post #2 of 19

My first was 2 yrs 4 months when her baby brother was born.  It went well, though I'm not going to lie- the transition to 2 kids was a lot more challenging for me than from no kids to 1. I worked really hard to slowly transition my daughter to more independent sleeping during my pregnancy.  She was sleeping with us when I first got pregnant (we have a queen too) and we slowly moved from that to mattress on our floor and up nearer to me in the night if she needed, to mattress on our floor if she woke up during the night, to eventually her own bed all night.  Yes, still waking up every so often but easily going back to sleep with a kiss or drink or whatever.  We also transitioned during that time how she fell asleep.  We started by having her lay in her toddler bed and one of us would rest our hand on her while she drifted to sleep (so frustrating to sit on a floor for that long!  LOL!  But worth it in the long run!!) then we moved to just sitting hear her so she could see us while she fell asleep.  To "good night" with hugs and kisses and walking out.  I am SO glad I did that work while I was pregnant so I didn't have to try to deal with a super long bedtime and a newborn!!  She actually even slept through my homebirth, only waking up once briefly while I was pushing needing her blankets fixed quickly.  


I do have friends who have managed it with kids who are more difficult to put to sleep.  I have a friend who has kids the same ages as mine (2 and almost 5) who still lays with both of them for 30min+ to get them to sleep.  I just couldn't do it anymore!  And I didn't cause any drama, it was all veeeery gentle, no tears.  

post #3 of 19

DD1 was 3.75 when DD2 was born and DD2 will be 2.75 when this baby arrives. DH has always been in charge of DD1's bed time. When baby sister came along this special bond was a life saver to me. We still haven't quite adjusted to getting two kids to bed peacefully since they sleep in the same room now. 


We're fond of the book I'm a Big Sister by Joanna Cole. There's a brother one too. I also really liked the language in What to Expect When Mommy's Having a Baby. There's a newer edition but this is the one we have. 


I'm not sure how things will go with the new baby. DD2 is somewhat more attached to me since we had a nursing relationship for a little over two years. However, she seems to love babies and didn't freak out when she saw me holding one. She keeps telling me she has a baby in her tummy too. 

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Masel View Post
I'm not sure how things will go with the new baby. DD2 is somewhat more attached to me since we had a nursing relationship for a little over two years. However, she seems to love babies and didn't freak out when she saw me holding one. She keeps telling me she has a baby in her tummy too. 

DD tells me she has a baby kitty in her tummy! :-) She listens to it's heartbeat with a pretend doppler and it occasionally comes out for a snuggle, then goes back in...so cute! She loves my belly and gives it snuggles and kisses all of the time. She talks about the baby and calls it "baby boo-boo." I really hope these are good signs, but it's so hard to know. The reality of a new baby compared to a kicking belly bump is a little different!


Lindsay, did your dd drop her nap before she started going down so easily at night? We keep trying different things, but it just takes dd forever to wind down at night, then she only sleeps for nine hours. I think the nap is going to have to go before the baby is born. How is your 2 year old doing?


post #5 of 19

Thanks so much for starting this important thread!  DS will be exactly 3 1/2 in May when this babe arrives, and I've realized recently that I'm actually having a lot of intense emotion about it. And I'm certainly worried about him - his world is about to come crashing down in such an intense way!  I have a younger brother myself and I remember quite vividly when he was born (i was 4). I know it ultimately is for the best, and believe siblings are important, wonderful... but still!

DS is REALLY excited about the baby. He firmly tells people he is "already a big brother" and last night told DH "daddy, I will still love you and be your friend when the baby comes." love.gif

He's always rubbing and kissing my belly and has felt the baby kick and seen it move. He loves that.  I'm just feeling so emotional (no surprise there, I guess?!) about our little family of 3 becoming a family of 4, and I think I'm having trouble visualizing this new reality as a result.

Plus I've all sorts of anxiety about being sleep deprived again and taking care of 2, blah blah.

Mostly I'll just be here to read what others say!  Can I just reiterate how much i love this DDC?? blowkiss.gif

post #6 of 19

Great thread! My son will be a little over three when the baby arrives. He knows something is going on, we talk about the baby all the time, point to my tummy, and he has felt the baby kick and move. He knows he is going to be a "big brother," but I'm not convinced he has any idea that an actual baby is going to show up at the end of April. I feel so much emotion for him, and really worry about how I'm going to be at the hospital after we have to leave him. My mom and my sister are coming to stay and spoil him, so I hope he is just happy and oblivious and not anxious or missing us.


One thing I know I have going for me is that he sleeps very well in his own room, goes to bed on his own, etc. and has since he was fifteen months. He still takes a nap as well, but we keep experimenting with possibly dropping it.


I'm already making plans for giving DS extra attention after the baby is here. I want him to feel happy and loved by both of us, and not just have DH take over everything for DS. Right now we take turns doing the bedtime routine, and I hope that continues.


I'm happy that the baby is coming at the end of the teaching semester so I will have the whole summer off, but I'm super nervous about fall when I'll be leaving DH at home with TWO kids.



post #7 of 19

My son turns 2 on May 23, and his brother is due the same week. I'm excited for the future years to have them so close in age, but I'm definitely nervous about the first year or so! My son is going through (what I assume are) typical toddler behavior stages, and he is wearing me out with his boundary testing, tantrums and demands. Just when I'm about to collapse on the couch in tears and feeling kind of woe-is-me, how-will-I-handle-two, what-was-I-thinking, he calms down and comes over with kisses, hugs, books to be read and "song pease" requests, reminding me how much I love that little stinker. The real saving grace for us is that for all of his challenging behaviors, he is incredibly easy to put down for naps and bedtime. (He wasn't always like this, but started doing this right around 13 months.) He's very routine-oriented, which I think helps. Once he sees me put milk into his cup, he grabs his blankie and takes my hand, leading me into the bedroom with a "night night bye bye". He drinks his milk while sitting on my lap, then I put him into his crib and he's out. He does occasionally wake up in the middle of the night, but I just give him a little warm milk and a cuddle and he's right back down.


I really don't know what to expect when the new guy arrives. Milo loves to talk about babies, read books about new babies (that Joanna Cole book about being a big brother and a Mercer Meyer book called "The New Baby" are his favorites), but I don't know how it will actually be to go from babies as an abstract concept to the reality of one being in my arms. He loves to look at real babies, and he's learned that he should touch their feet or their bellies gently, not their faces or hands. He likes to feed his baby doll a bottle, brings it to me for "nu nu" (I have to pretend to nurse it) and wraps it up in a blanket to go "night night". He doesn't seem to mind when I hold other people's little babies, although he does *not* like it when other toddlers try to sit on my lap or touch my belly. All signs seem encouraging but...who knows!


Mostly, I wonder how I'll handle it this summer. It was pretty simple the first time around...if I was tired, the baby and I stayed inside and cuddled and nursed and looked at each other dreamily. My son was such a bad sleeper and nursing was so absolutely awful and painful for the first 6 weeks, *and* I got some kind of weird arthritis reaction in my hands and feet post-partum that I could barely walk for 2 months. But it was manageable because there was just him. I'm nervous about handling two of them if I have similar issues this time around. I keep reminding myself that my grandma had several little ones underfoot and managed to help run a farm as well. Surely I can manage two in a city apartment!



post #8 of 19

We started transitioning DS (29 mos) to his own bed about the same time I found out I was pg again (so right around his bday).  We also started night-weaning around that same time.  He's still not sleeping independently, but he is doing better.  We dropped naps right around Xmas, and now bedtime goes so much quicker, it went from a 90 minute fight to a 10 minute one.  I wish he would sleep past 5 am, but I haven't yet figured out how to accomplish that. 


Just this week DH has started taking over night-time duty.  A GF of mine read him the riot act about me still doing it at 6 mos pg.  It's really simple, there's no way that I can meet the needs of a toddler in the night AND an infant.  And the infant takes precedence.  I can't count on being able to hand the infant to DH for an hour or two at night so I can deal with DS, and in the night I can't meet both of their needs while my DH sleeps.  It's just not possible.  And waiting to do the transition with DS would make him blame the baby, so we started now.  It hasn't been easy for anybody, particularly DH who is the one who both has to listen to the screaming and lose sleep.  DS starts screaming as soon as we hint it's time for night-night, and doesn't stop until he decides milk is more important than screaming (so through diapering, through pjs on, through reading a book, etc.).  Last night he screamed for almost 20 minutes before he reached that point.  Thankfully he seems to have given up the middle of the night waking, but that was a scream-fest also.  And mornings are one too.  And since DS is getting up so bloody early, he's standing at the kitchen gate screaming for me, so even with the door closed and the monitor off, I can't sleep through that, so I eventually get up and relieve DH (who is trying to sleep on the couch at that point) so that DS will shut up and DH can get another 30-90 minutes of sleep.  I'm hoping by next week it's going smoother. 


I think that planning to hand off the baby for a 15 minute bedtime routine would be fine, but not one that may last 90 minutes.  What do you plan to do if your infant needs feeding right then?  What do you plan to do if your toddler wakes your infant up?  Your choices are get your toddler accustomed to the transition now, and if your infant allows you to continue the bedtime routine, great, but if not it's not the baby's fault (in your toddler's eyes).  Daddy's going to have to step in at some point, and it's better for everyone if it's now, to get everyone settled before the baby arrives. 

post #9 of 19

My DD turned 3 in November, and DS turned 2 in January, so I'll have a 2.5 yr old and a 3.5 yr old when the baby is born.


Neither kid sleeps through the night (most of the time). Both kids can go to bed with Daddy, but don't like doing it much if I am in the house...as in, usually scream and wail and refuse to sleep until i come up. My son won't settle back to sleep at night with his dad, it has to be me. Nigella will settle to sleep with her dad... sometimes. If she's in our bed she can sleep with dad no problem while I go deal with Orrin, but that won't be so possible once baby is born. Both of them need someone to lay with them for a while before they fall asleep. I can only sneak out once they're asleep (which is often about 30 min per kid- I can usually leave after about 10 minutes with Orrin, but not always); my husband can leave after about 5 minutes and they fall asleep on their own.


This is actually a really big deal- because they're not NURSING to sleep. It's been a long 6+ months to wean both of them, and get them to the point where they could sleep at all without nursing. I used to get home from work at 9-9:30 PM to two wide awake but overtired kids and then have to go and nurse them both to sleep. I think once they understand the baby is around and I can't stay with them as long they'll be better about letting me leave. I did a lot of what Lindsayjean was saying- slow transitions. I stopped trying to leave while the kids were awake because I kept falling asleep before whichever kid did :/ Still do, in fact!


I am having a lot of stress about adding a third. I feel like neither of them get enough one-on-one attention... or any one on one attention, really. I have trouble balancing work/domestic tasks/play time/ snuggle time with the two of them, and adding an infant to the mix is going to make it all a lot harder (probably). I am overwhelmingly in love with both of them, in totally different ways, that it's hard to picture that spreading out over three children although I know it will for sure. Also have no idea how to do basic stuff with three kids- like shower, sleep, grocery shop, housework, whatever. I'm sure we'll find our rhythm at some point but for right now the whole thing leave me feeling borderline scared.


Ruby- Nigella was a nightmare at bedtime. Fidgeting, talking, singing songs, needing to pee, thirsty, begging for one more book, saying she's hungry, la la la la la. She'd regularly take 2 hours to fall asleep, and would often be up until 10 pm. We finally dropped her nap and she started sleeping better and longer at night, and it takes a lot less time to get her to sleep at night. She is napping now though (oops) so she'll probably be up until 11. Bah humbug.



post #10 of 19

My first still took a LONG nap when her brother was born.  She actually didn't drop napping until she turned 3!  My son, who is now 2.5, definitely does NOT take naps anymore.  So I think every kid is different.  I think sometimes if kids have a really difficult time getting to sleep it might be time to consider dropping the nap if they are over 2.

post #11 of 19

The last several days have been a bit of a nightmare with my son. He's going through some extreme kind of I-hate-daddy thing, and I'm at my wit's end trying to deal with it and figure it out. I know that children often go through a phase of favoring one parent over the other, but he seems to be taking it to an extreme. The thing is, my husband is so much more patient with him than I am, and they've always had a strong relationship, always spent a lot of time one on one with each other. All of a sudden, he doesn't even want daddy to look at him or be in the same room. It's very disheartening for my husband who absolutely adores his son and is such a great dad, and it's exhausting for me. I really count on that extra 90 minutes of sleep in the morning that I was getting because my husband got up with him, not to mention the hours on the weekend when my husband takes him out on errands or on fun outings. This morning things were so bad that as soon as my son saw my husband, he started screaming and wouldn't stop. Wouldn't let him feed him breakfast, wouldn't let him be in the same room. I was supposed to report for jury duty this morning, and had scheduled a babysitter to come for a few hours so I could take care of it. I couldn't even take a shower though - my son was screaming and basically having what seemed to be a toddler panic attack...tried to climb into the shower with me, soaking himself in the process, just sobbing "up pease up pease" the whole time. Heartbreaking! I ended up having to cancel the sitter and bring him with me to the courthouse.


Have any of you experienced this kind of behavior? We went out of town for a few days last week without him, and I expected to have some repercussions, some real mommy-itis anxiety as the aftermath, but it never occurred to me that he would start shunning his dad. Any suggestions on how to handle this? Someone please tell me this will pass sooner rather than later...I'm about to hit the 3rd trimester, and I can already feel my energy levels dropping.

post #12 of 19

Cookie - how old is he?  Oh, just scrolled back and saw he's just under 2.  That sounds about right.  We started separation anxiety around 18 mos, and at almost 2 1/2 we're still dealing with the fringes of it, but it's so much better than it was.  At 18 mos if I walked away he'd be puking within minutes.  Afraid I only have commiseration to offer, no brilliant suggestions.  But we go through phases of a few days where he's very mommy-centric, and a few days of very daddy-centric, and then long periods where it doesn't matter which of us it is, so long as one of us is nearby.  Hopefully this will pass in a few days. 

post #13 of 19

Cristeen - Commiseration is always welcome! My husband and I talked about it last night, and he said he had resolved to not take it personally, to remember that it was just a stage that most kids go through off and on. Today was, happily, much better. He still needed me to get up with him this morning, but instead of freaking out and throwing a fit when his dad walked into the living room a little later, he said "dada!" and gave him a high five. I even got to go back to bed for about an hour before he came looking for me. Later on, he picked up a book, walked past me and over to his dad for some reading time. I almost passed out from shock! Now he's out with his dad doing the grocery shopping and some errands, went quite happily out the door even when he realized I wasn't coming, just a "bye bye mama" and on his way.


And really, this is all I need to not lose my mind completely. Just an hour or two of quiet and solitude every once in a while.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

I was home with dd at nap time yesterday (sitter called in sick...) and decided to just bite the bullet and drop the nap - and so far, so good! She went down in 5 minutes at 7:30 and slept for 11 hours! Yay! 


Astraia - My friends keep telling me that whole the "year of the dropped nap" is a transition year...I can see this taking a nap, not taking a nap juggle starting already. My parents live 45 minutes away, so if she sleeps on the drive there and back, her bedtime will be shot...and I'm sure she will sleep if I don't want her to! :-)


Now as to what we did instead of nap time...something I've been worried about having to do more once the baby comes...I let her watch tv shows for an hour and a half. :-( I feel bad but I NEED a break during the day. I was so tired. I WANT to have quiet time together and read books and snuggle, but I can barely keep my eyes open by about 11. I brought the laptop into my bed and snuggled up to dd and snoozed while she watched a few shows on Netflix. 


I can totally see this happening more once the baby comes and I feel so guilty about it! I was so anti-tv for so long, but I've discovered how good of a crutch it is and I'm afraid of starting down a bad path! She usually watches 30-45 minutes in the morning too when I'm getting ready for work. Do your kids watch tv? How much do you see them watching after the baby comes? When I think about my maternity leave with dd...I just sat on the couch for a good 6 weeks and watched tv while dd nursed as often as possible. It was hard for me to drag myself off the couch to refill my water bottle! I did have some serious swelling from birth that made it hard to get around for a few weeks and had a LOT of trouble nursing the first time around. Hopefully those two setbacks will not be present the second time around! 


Cookie - dd does this off and on and has for about 6 months. She screams "no, no, no, daddy! Go away!" when he goes to her at night instead of me. She does things like that to him during the day too. It's so sad, you can see the hurt all over his face when she does it. I'm worried that this will increase after the baby comes. :-( 

post #15 of 19

Ruby- the screaming "no no no daddy!" happens in our house too. It's JUST starting to get better, but for a long time he'd come home from work and say "hi everyone!" and both kids would run wailing to me, "i want mommy, i want mommy- no daddy, NO NO!" And same thing, you can see how hurt he is by it. He's definitely told me before that he tries to be understanding but it really really hurts his feelings. I'm not sure if it's getting better because he's spending a lot more one-on-one time with them because I'm working so many evenings, nights where he's responsible for dinner, evening walk, bedtime, etc. It also helps that he's putting a lot more energy into playing with them. Before he'd offer them a hug and they'd tell him to go away and then he'd disappear and do his own thing and ignore them. Now he comes in, says a quick hi, and then starts playing something they like or starts reading a kids book aloud or dancing like an idiot and they're happy to join in. Orrin still refuses to let my husband near him for bedtime if I'm anywhere around, and screams at night unless Jeff lies and tells him I'm not at home.


They've always been like that, though. Nigella was a super clingy mamas-girl from the get go, and Orrin is a wonderful mimic and just copied all her behaviours. He definitely hit the anti-daddy stage for real, not just mimicing, about 16 months and it's just starting to improve now.


TV- yeah, tv started here when the naps stopped. Especially with her little brother who still needed naps, and me getting up 5-15 times every night with two kids who wouldn't sleep through the night, I NEEDED my down-time, even if I just read a book and had a cup of tea it was some amount of time with no one climbing on me. Now that I've been working more hours, I need time to get ready for work in the mornings or time to do something on the computer for a few minutes and the TV got even more use. I finally started noticing how much they watch every day, and it's probably about 1 hr in the morning and 1 hr in the afternoon while we try to deal with naps,  plus another 10-20 minutes before bed - they're allowed one episode of something once teeth are brushed and pajamas are on. I'm trying REALLY hard to cut back that amount. I've phased out all TV in the mornings now, cut back the tv time in the afternoon to 30 minutes max and we'll keep the evening show because it works right now. It is so easy on the days that I'm exhausted and crabby and all they seem to do is fight and make a mess to turn it on so I can rest, but I've been overdoing it and adding excuses for every extra episode. 












post #16 of 19

I have a 28 m/o nursling! Count me in!

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

Do you have plans to make the arrival of the baby special for your toddler? I've read suggestions to have some presents wrapped and ready to hand out if people bring lots of presents for the baby and none for the other kids. I thought that was a really good idea.


I've also been thinking about a present from the baby to dd. :-) I'm not sure if this would be something big or what. My friend has a huge doll house that she's offered to give to dd. I've been hesitant because it's a big space commitment for something dd may or may not play with. That would work and not require a big expense. 


How about ideas for busy-type activities that are not tv? How old were your kids before they enjoyed listening to recorded books? I thought that might be fun. I remember loving my little record player with plastic records and read-along books. :-) I wonder if I could get some cd/book combos for little ones from the library?

post #18 of 19

My DD loves her doll house!

post #19 of 19

My littlest will be about 2.5 when her baby bro shows up. She seems excited but she also has a strong personality (don't ALL 2 year olds?!) Since this is baby #4 for us, we have done this a couple of times. I have found one of the most helpful things is introducing the older child to all the things they can do by themselves to foster confidence and Independence and pride about being the big kid. We work on getting into your own booster at the table, getting in your car seat and putting arms through the straps, finding your own shoes, making you bed, washing your hands...you know, all the stuff that is really easy to find yourself doing for your kid that they can do by themselves! This helps when the baby comes, the older child feels big and independent and you have a bit of help.


As for sleep, I am a big fan of only one kid in our room at a time! This gives me the chance to get to know, snuggle, nurse and enjoy each baby independently of a sibling. We have made sure all our kids are peacefully transitioned into there own bed by the time a new baby gets here. That way they don't resent baby and they feel comfortable in their own room/bed. We take it slow, with as very few tears as possible and lots of reassurance.


As far as behavior expectations go for after the baby shows up, I try to balance giving a little grace to keeping the "status quo" that gives my girls confidence that everything is OK. I try not to give them any reasons to test limits by keeping expectations the same, but I also try and spend a little extra time talking/singing/snuggling so they feel secure.


I have been blessed with easy transitions between children. My babies are high maintenance but there siblings haven't done the whole jealousy and acting out thing, so we seem to make it through unscathed. 

  Return Home
  Back to Forum: May 2012 Birth Club
Mothering › Groups › May 2012 Birth Club › Discussions › Parents of toddlers?