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How does anyone do this? 4yo and baby. I can't do this.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey there. I am at my wits end. I don't know how anyone in the history of the world has ever done this without losing their minds. I have a very spirited 4yo DS who I love so much, and he is making my life hell. I know he's not trying to do this, he's just being a 4yo. But he is being completely impossible. I'm trying to be gentle, compassionate. I don't believe in punishment or "sticker charts". But I'm alone a lot of the time with him and my 4mo DS and he is just relentless. I cry all the time!!!!!!

I hate myself most of the time. I set off to be this great parent and constantly fail. My baby needs sleep but my 4yo makes this nearly impossible. Unless he is watching TV he is RELENTLESS in waking the baby, screaming, whining, and generally being super disruptive, such as throwing wooden balls at the door when I am trying to put him down. At night we all sleep in the family bed, but he purposely wakes the baby when I beg him not to. I am alone with them at night so it's not like I can tell him to go with his dad. Even when my DH is home, which is rare, 4yo DS will stick to me like glue at night.

I am very fortunate to have help from a nanny. But even when she's here my DS is stuck to me. It's like pulling teeth to get him to go with her. He can't understand why I would want him to go with her. He begs me, "Mommy why don't you want to be with me???" Sigh... As a result our nanny is more of a household helper for me than watching the kids. The baby is naturally with me, and my 4yo is on me like white on rice!!! I feel like a hostage. I know he can sense this. :-(

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my son fiercely. I wish I could do this better. I have health problems right now that include chronic pain, which makes my fuse shorter than I like.

This was long. Sorry! The main thing I need are ideas on how to handle naps. My 4yo is watching so much TV and I hate it. I would like to be able to put my baby down without having to hand 4yo the iPad.

Thanks for listening.
post #2 of 14

My daughters are three years apart.  My older daughter was also spirited and she definitely required a routine.  She was taking swim lessons and gymnastics at the age of 3.


In addition, she was also in preschool 3x a week with options to stay until 3pm for an extended day rather than to be picked up after lunch.  She REALLY needed to be kept busy and preschool helped us with this tremendously. 


I have often watched videos from back then and wow, she had so much energy.  I don't know how I managed to get through the days....

post #3 of 14
Awe... You ARE a good mom!!

Anyway, I agree with Pepin. 4YO needs somewhere to go to let out energy. Gymnastics, swim, t-ball, preschool....anything, really.

I signed my my daughter up for gymnastics and dance right after her third b-day (baby sister was 2 weeks old). She had two 45 minute classes a week, and let me tell you......it was heaven!! lol I could hold the baby and just sit.....for 45 minutes.

I'm not a big fan of bribes, but I frequently used the, 'you need to get some sleep, otherwise you'll be too tired for dance' type line.

And don't feel bad about the IPAD/screen time. Really....he'll be fine. When the kids are older you'll be able to direct them into healthier directions. For now, its all about survival. I can't tell you the number of times I let the IPAD put my kid to sleep because I was so tired, I just couldn't handle it anymore. Women put too much pressure on themselves to be the perfect mother.

As for the night-time routine. At 3 or 4, I let my kids know that sleeping in my room was a privilege. They sometimes, still, get reminded that if they are loud and keep others awake, they will be invited to sleep in another room of the house.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Pepin. DH1 is in preschool two days a week. We tried him in aftercare but he didn't like it. At the time he was just beginning to have a hard time being away from me as our DS2 was just born. So I told him he didn't have to go to aftercare. Now I'm thinking we need to try again. I'm also considering putting him into a gymnastics class. I just haven't done these things because we try not to do so much scheduled activity. He has a routine at home but I mean classes and such. I guess we have followed the Waldorf way for the most part and just let him play at home. But I'm starting to go nuts with his level of energy.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
I just feel like there is such a gap between the parent I want to be and the parent I am. I don't want him to watch so much TV and yet he is watching hours a day! I don't want to be authoritarian and yet I am yelling every day! I feel like a failure.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you, KSlaura. I think the whole screen thing is tough when you are in the Waldorf community. It's really frowned upon. Honestly, it pisses me off. I am just trying to survive as you said. I feel so defeated all the time.

Thanks for your suggestions!!!
post #7 of 14
You'll get there. Just take it one step at a time.

My feeling with the tv, is that if you take it away, you need to be prepared to replace it with something else. I'm sure DS will want even more of your attention. Could the nanny take him to a weekly program at a library or nature center? Even a short, daily trip to the park would probably help. Since you're paying for the nanny, I'd have her take him somewhere, out of the house on a regular basis. He might fight it at first, but will probably respond very well to it after the routine is established.

Re- Waldorf--- Just use the parts of waldorf that work for you. If it doesn't work for you right now, don' t worry about it. Good parents will take the best parts of many different parenting strategies to raise their kids. You can go back and revise your strategies as the kids grow and their needs change.

The yelling- I yelled at my kids when they were young. I hated it, and it really didn't help with anything. At some point in time, I observed another mother (at gymnastics, I think), speaking calmly and gently to her children, even when they were misbehaving. I took me a few months of watching and internalizing her as a role model for me to decide that I wanted to parent my kids that way. It worked well for her, and is now working well for me. Its hard to change behavior though, takes a lot of time and effort. It is gradual. See if you can find a role-model, IRL, to emulate.
post #8 of 14
♥ I hope you find strength today.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you. I need strength today! I am trying.

The thing is I am my own worst enemy. I am constantly judging myself.

Also, KSLaura, when I feel well I AM that person I strive to be. I am patient, kind and compassionate when I am not in pain. But I'm in pain so much of the time. It's so hard. I feel like it's very unfair. :'-(

Everything I'm reading is awesome. I guess I'm just in the dumps and having a pity party. Thank you so much for the comments.
post #10 of 14
Pity party is welcome ! I invite your complaints! I'm trying to babyproof with a sleeping baby here & I feel like its all just SO hard. I cant imagine harder. I am my own worst enemy too, I never give myself enough credit & when I do I think I feel guilty or I get mad at everyone &everything else. Its not fair I know. Back to work...& may I find strength too.
post #11 of 14

Hey Dalia, sorry to hear the transition is not going too smoothly. Are you still in pain from the birth? Have you spoken to your health care provider?


TV - is it that *you* don't want him watching it or you feel like allowing him to is going to make you a lesser mother in someone else's eyes? I have really gone back and forth on the tv thing but I think now I am at peace with there just being seasons in a family's life where it is a really useful tool to help keep the sanity. It doesn't have to be a forever thing where you never restrict it again. Maybe try something like Signing Time (on Netflix if you have it) or a language video or my library has a lot of videos about big working trucks and machines that my kids really liked.


You said he goes to preschool two days a week - could the nanny be in charge of him for those same hours the other three days and plan on doing at least some of those days out of the house? Then maybe when he gets home nanny could hold baby in the same room for 30 minutes or so while the two of you have some one on one time together? Then maybe a snack and hang out with a few videos while you get some down time but are still together?


Is he involved with caring for the baby? Would he go get the diaper supplies or a clean outfit for you if you asked? That might help him connect a little better.


I am just going into my 2nd trimester and my 19mo and 5yo are super clingy. No nanny or school but we do live next door to my mil and all of the kids like to go over there for a couple of hours each day and I am just finding I have to enforce the littles going too so that I can get a bit of rest and refresher before they come back home.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you, fruitfulmama. My health issues are partially from the birth which exasperated an existing problem. I'm in therapy and seeing a doc. Healing is slow. I'm sick of it. :'-(

Thing is, I'm already doing all those things you suggested! And I'm still totally wiped. Nights are brutal. He wakes for two hours and then when he FINALLY goes to sleep the baby wakes up. Then it starts all over again until 5am when everyone is up. I'm so exhausted.

I am so over not having a husband at home. But this is the man I love and married. His career, and him, are not gonna change and I can't ask for that. But this is HARD. I feel so bad for my children. :'-(

I do worry a lot about what others think. I know it's not right. But I honestly wish he didn't watch so much TV. I think it makes him more hyper!!!

Sigh... :'-(
post #13 of 14



Sleep deprivation is a special kind of hard. It has been so long since my husband was working at night that I don't remember what I did. Maybe post over in http://www.mothering.com/community/f/37/co-sleeping-and-the-family-bed for more specific ideas on making bedtime easier? I wonder if some low-volume music on might help him wind down.



post #14 of 14

Oof, I remember the sleep deprivation thing all too well.  For my older daughter, having enough time during the day to get all her steam out was what did the trick for her -- she would be passed out cold within minutes after our usual bath and book routine.  But, she was an early riser.....ugh.  She's 12 now and sometimes sleeps until 8am.....!!!!


When my younger daughter was born....I knew right away that she would co-sleep with us.  I needed every minute of sleep I could get so that I could keep up with big sister.


Heh-heh....a number of times I would try and nap with my younger daughter because I would be so wrecked.  I would tell my older daughter to have quiet time in her room and I would set an alarm on the clock in her room.  *sigh*  She never waited for the alarm.  Instead, she would come into my room where the baby and I were napping and poke me on the forehead and ask, "is it time yet?"




In addition, hubs had an odd work schedule.  He was gone every other week.  You better believe I had some emotional eruptions!  splat.gif


I don't think my girls remember any of that.  Whew!  :thumb

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