I'm having some major behavior issues with my almost 3 year old right now, and I'm feeling really confused and lost about what to do. She has a moderate dose of the "normal" 3 year old things: Defiance, freaking out when she doesn't get her way, trying to boss me around, etc. I feel like we have a reasonable grip on those issues, and I find a lot of advice about that type of thing on this forum.
What I'm really struggling with is this not-really-discipline issue of my daughter's intensity. As I said in my title, she just seems frenetic. She is very verbal and needs to be talking all day long, and needs to hear a response to everything she says or she can't let it rest. Her mind seems to move a mile a minute, and every single thing that comes into it is verbalized. Every input seems to be of equal importance in her mind - i.e. she comments equally on stuff like a speck of lint on my shirt or the sound of the heat kicking on as to "regular" stuff, like what we're drawing or reading or whatnot. She doesn't miss ANYTHING. She asks me for things and then asks me for 16 other things in the time it takes me to get the first thing. The constant talking talking talking and flitting from idea to idea, the constant back and forth between me and her...it's driving me nuts.
On top of that, she does this talking at the expense of or in addition to all other activities. She cannot entertain herself at.all. "Go play, please" has become a punitive thing for me to say, and the more I try to get space for myself, the more frenzied and desperate for my attention she becomes. When I DO play with her, she continues to talk and talk and talk, and generally tries to get me to direct the play, but we can never get into a groove and it's kind of a disaster every time. I feel like there's some major need of hers that I must be failing to fill. Is this all normal 3 year old stuff, too? I don't know how to cope with the constant need anymore. (Doesn't help that she has an 18 month old cousin that we babysit who can play for HOURS without asking for a single thing.....makes me feel like I've done something all wrong.)
My sister thinks she needs to be in preschool. She thinks that perhaps she is under-stimulated staying home with me, and that's why her brain is flying into a frenzy. She has a point that DD seems most calm in high-stimulation environments, like a party with lots of familiar adults. In general, I'm not a fan of pre-school before age four. I worry that if she enters a directed-play environment now that she will never learn how to direct her own activities and create fun for herself.
My sister also thinks a reward chart may help encourage her to play independently more often, and again, I worry that it would work TOO well, and erode the little bit of intrinsic motivation that my daughter seems to have. She's always asking me whether things she does make me happy. Now are you happy, Mommy? Does that make you happy? I don't know what I did to make her so concerned about that, and I feel really guilty about it.
But...she's driving me nuts, and I hate feeling annoyed at her so often.
Is it just a matter of time and maturity? What can I do in the here and now to help our relationship without negative consequences on DD?