Deterioration in my toddlers behavior :( - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 10-21-2010, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I am heavily pregnant and at times feeling really overwhelmed with DS.

My son, (he will be 3 in Feb, 2 months after the birth) has become oppositional to an extent that I am finding it very hard to cope with him. When we leave the house he is running away from me and I am getting exhausted chasing after him. He is whining much of the time and is generally rather a grump at the moment. He has never been like this.

He has also become super clingy to me. I cannot leave him at our neighbours or with his grandparents any longer. He wants me on the same property..... and this sucks. I had so hoped to have a movie with DH before this birth, and a romantic meal out. However, I do not feel comfortable leaving him miserable with other people.

GAH! I have spoken with other mums who were expecting a second child with the older one being between two and half and three, and this seemed to be fairly common. Oh, he is also asking to nurse again and I really do not like it. He gets like 5 seconds a side, which seems to satisfy him.

I guess this is more of a vent than anything. Any other BTDT stories to inspire/soothe me?

I just do not know how to handle this.

Other changes are we have started in a new homeschooling group, so he is getting to know a new group of kids and mums. And he is watching more movies. We don't have a TV, but I have started to put movies on the computer for him when I need some quiet time. And finally, DH has suddenly become much busier at work, and is not at home as much. Leaving me alone for longer periods, and DS without his dad (whom he is also very attached to).

I think that about covers it with regard to changes that are going on that could explain his crankiness.

What to do???

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#2 of 11 Old 10-21-2010, 02:21 PM
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All of my kids are spaced where the baby is born when the older child is 2 years 10 months.

Hang in there, mama. 3 is a sensitive period. How often are you going to the homeschool group? My kids never enjoyed big playgroups, especially at 3 years-old-- unless it is the same group of kids in the same environment each time and there is some real consistency. It was just confusing for them.

I might cut back on the homeschool group and only go if it is at the same location each week, or whatever. Maybe have play dates with the kids he likes the most one on one?

The movies on the computer are fine, don't sweat it and you can wean him off of the movies after baby is born (but realistically, like 6 months after baby is born).

He probably senses that you are uncomfortable and have that "waiting to run the marathon" that is giving birth energy.

Also, have him get as much papa time as he can when papa is home/on the weekends.

I'll be back if I can remember anything more.

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#3 of 11 Old 10-21-2010, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the encouragement. DS is getting as much daddy time as is possible right now. DH has also been missing him, although both of us are getting worn down by his seemingly constant opposition.

The group is twice a week. Once in the same location and once rotating between homes. There are 4-6 mums (me included) and 5 - 8 kids, 2 of them babies. I was thinking of a third group which I loved, making pitot on a fire together once a week - but it is just too much for both me and DS right now. I had thought that getting out would be good for him, but it looks like it might not be *that* good right now. One of the mums does live close to me, so perhaps we can meet up just the two of us, with her son (DS's age) and her baby daughter.....

DH is really doing his best to take over evenings as much as possible, as I am just finished by the end of the day. And he spends lots of time with DS on the weekends - but it is hard for both of them to suddenly have 10 -11 hours apart from each other regularly (DH mostly used to work at home, and now has a period where he needs to be out of the home).

I am not going to sweat the movie thing, other than that I worry that it is contributing to his whining. It is not ideal, but then again, neither is it ideal to have a mother and toddler alone together for extended periods of time.

Poor thing. I can't help thinking he is not having much fun either, and he really just needs our attention right now... I just have only so many reserves and options right now.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#4 of 11 Old 10-21-2010, 03:57 PM
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Not pregnant and can't imagine the extra work that means for you, but I'm subbing because my son is also turning 3 in Feb, and we're experiencing most of the same things you describe, especially the clinginess, especially the fragility of mood, especially the lowered resilience for challenges... etc.

Mom of one child (2008), wife of one husband, tender of dogs, cats and chickens. Household interests: ocean life (kid), bitcoins (husband), simplifying (me).

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#5 of 11 Old 10-21-2010, 07:58 PM
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My toddler was a really delightful and mellow 18 - 2 3/4 . And now, not so much. More or less the same things you described. Difficult age with difficult emotions. Sometimes 3 is just a much harder age than 2 was. He has become a much more physical, less mellow, more emotional, less flexible, more tantrumy kid. I think you can expect more of it in the future.

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#6 of 11 Old 10-22-2010, 02:06 PM
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Glad to know it's not just my DS, too! He will be 3 in Feb (must be something with the age) and has become totally indignant when you ask him to do something. He has also become quite a "mama's boy" - refusing to go with my parents the other week! He has also gotten very physical - trying to hit and throw things - even spitting.

Beth , WOHM ~ DH ~ DS (2)
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#7 of 11 Old 10-22-2010, 03:51 PM
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I have always felt that 3 was a much more challenging year than the two year olds! I am 34 weeks pregnant and my daughter will be three in Dec, so I can relate to your experience right now! I try to just accept the fact that I am tired and will be for quite some time.

Three year olds are struggling with the needs for autonomy and security. This can be quite a difficult time for them and we parents must try to have as much compassion for them as possible, as well as for ourselves when we have just run out of patience with inconsolable dictators! I remind myself over and over that my daughter's behavior is not "bad" she simply has unmet needs and lacks the vocabulary to express what she needs. I like to remind myself that she has been on this planet for less than 1000 days, and I should cut her some slack. Not always easy when she is in a hitting/kicking mood. I mean really, how does that express an unmet need?

I know several women with kids in the same age gap and they have all had similar experiences with their older child. I can't help but think they know on a higher level that a huge change is coming, and they just don't know how to process it. I love the book "Siblings Without Rivalry" , we have a large extended family with many LO's under the age of 4 and this book has really helped!

I recently checked out a book from the library with hundreds of ideas for toddler fun, it's been a huge help when I am just too tired to argue or even have a constructive thought of how to entertain her!

Best wishes, I wish I had more advice, just hope knowing you aren't alone is some comfort!

SAHM to dd 12/07, ds 12/10, 4 dogs, 3 cats and happy partner to Matttreehugger.gif
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#8 of 11 Old 10-22-2010, 09:55 PM
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Mama hang in there it is ROUGH being pg with 2.5 year old, I know from experience, it was pretty much awful. DD ran away all.the.time. she drove me nuts, I cried most days and thought "what the hell am I gonna do with 2 of them?"

The cusp of 3 is a transition that is many times not easy, 2 year olds are cute, still listen and can be very fun. 2.5-3ish is the HIGH point of defiance and tantrumming. They are no longer your sweet little baby, their personalities come out in full effect, they are verbal and yet cannot articulate any feelings due to their difficulty in finding words to say how they feel. So in many times it comes out in a physical way.

If he is running away I would consider getting a moneky backpack leash, some may think it is an awful thing, but my DD almost ran into the road while I was heavily pg, she could have easily been run over. I would get one in a heartbeat if I had to deal with that situation, it was a very unsafe situation.

Good luck-it gets better. She's way better now that she's 4.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#9 of 11 Old 10-23-2010, 11:56 AM
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Hugs, mama. Its hard enough taking care of a toddler. Being pregnant on top of that must be very tiring!

I'm not pregnant, but I have had issues with my normally sensitive, generous, obedient son. We don't have TV and dont usually watch anything online.
The issues always start when I let him watch anything.

It happened once when he was sick, so I let him watch some cartoons online. That very day he was restless, argumentative and aggressive. I quickly weaned him from watching and he was a totally different boy. Then it happened again when we were moving. I needed time to pack, so I let him watch - his sudden change in behavior confirmed that watching was affecting his patience level with *everything*. I'm still trying to wean him off. He cries and carries on all day that he wants to watch.

Not saying that this is what is happening to your LO, but just wanted to let you know what my experience was, just incase it can help you.

I hope things get better for you soon.

Wife to - Mama to DS 6/08 and DS 9/11
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#10 of 11 Old 10-23-2010, 05:09 PM
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my son is not yet at almost 3 (nor am i pregnant) but he just turned 2 and can relate to your issues. my son is the king of cling and some mornings i can barely make breakfast without him holding onto my leg. clearly your little guy knows that changes are indeed coming with a new baby and he's regressing to hold onto what he's had with you. seems like regression is normal behavior but how to handle it the mystery to me.

I've read it all from Harvey Karps Happiest Toddler on the block to Dr. Sears but none seem to help me as much as our old infant class instructors blog. We were in an class called RIE and have learned so much. here is a link to her addressing tantrums but she does touch upon regression here...good luck!
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#11 of 11 Old 10-24-2010, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your insights and words of support. Things have calmed down significantly with the opposition - I think primarily because he is getting more and better sleep, and I have taken more of an active leadership role with him. I don't dither during transitions. Meal times just happen, bed times just happen, and for the most part he just does it. I have dropped language like "do you want to" and finishing my sentences with "OK?" (well mostly, I still sometimes do it, but I am making myself more aware of how often I do it and trying to stop)

He seems to need this level of structure.

I do think screen time makes things more difficult for him, but on the days that I am finished, the 90 minutes that I get to quietly rest are worth any poor behavior that I need to deal with later. Not ideal, but this is definitely my reality at the moment.

I think sleep is crucial for me. Now that I have had a few nights of good sleep, I can see a way forward. I know this will all disappear at the birth and I will have to go back to functioning on minimal sleep - and I am dreading it. However, in my calmer moments, I know that that too shall pass and we will get through the chaos of sleep deprivation and the change of welcoming a sibling into our lives.

Again, thank you to those who shared your personal stories and advice.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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