3 yr old DD is really giving us a run for our money. Always a very easy going, very happy-go-lucky, super extravert kid pretty much turned into the opposite shortly after her third birthday. Essentially over the past 2-3 months we have watched her behavior go from bad, to worse, to impossible. What once started at home as the occasional refusal or testing of limits has now blossomed into almost 24/7 defiance and aggressive/inappropriate behavior. She goes to daycare three days a week (two of these days are with her 18 month old brother) and the third day is just for her. She has gone for almost two yrs now and has always loved it, but now even the daycare provider is struggling with her behavior.
This all started happening around the same time that she tried dropping her naps. She's always needed a lot of sleep (12-14 hrs each night) but it seems now like it's not so much a number of hrs issue, it's a matter of not being able to go long stretches without a break -but for whatever reason her body doesn't think she needs it anymore. We have nap time at the same time every day, routine hasn't changed, same with daycare. She might take a nap one day, and not take another for 10 days after that. When she's this overtired it results in her constant crying, meltdowns over EVERYTHING (she got the blue cup instead of the red one) unable to communicate (she will literally start baby talking and pointing as if she can't even really say words, although she has an accelerated vocab) she'll get violent with us parents and 18 month old DS (last night she got mad at me for pushing the laptop out of her reach as she was pounding on it, so she got off the chair, walked right up to DS, looked me in the eye, and smacked him in the face) she's got a real taste for potty talk now which I know is normal, but it's a domino effect and is completely used because she knows the adults don't approve.
I could go on and on, I'm just so confused at this point. Is this SIMPLY the transition from a napping kid to a non-napping one, and if so how long is this going to take? If she's so tired, why doesn't she pass out? Or is this more than that? I should mention I'm PG with number 3, is this acting out because she's scared of how things might change? Does she need more one on one with mom and dad? Is this possible ADHD/sensory stuff coming out? We have tried EVERYTHING to change this behavior. Aside from trying to help with the sleep issue, I've tried positive reinforcement, timeouts, ignoring, bribery, warnings, you name it. The thing is, when she's running up and down her room walls with a marker in her hand, or putting her baby brother in a head lock, or refusing to put on her boots and coat when mom is trying to leave the bank -I can't just ignore it! But the more I say, "no, don't do that, etc" the worse it gets.
So anyway, any thoughts from BTDT parents are most appreciated. I'm totally exasperated, not to mention I go to bed each night feeling guilty because I feel like all I do anymore is yell, lecture and man handle her. She was playing with her dolls tonight and she started yelling at them because they had torn apart a book (something she did two nights ago) and she was speaking to them the way that I had when it happened. It made me realize, we have a problem here -how did we get into this cycle? please help us get out...