Toddler won't stop screaming, what is going on here?? UPDATE post #10 - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 01-04-2011, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For the last month or so, DS has spent a good part of the day crying. Sometimes he has a good morning, sometimes not. Pretty much every afternoon (after nap) has been bad. It's not just crying like he's tired and wants to be picked up or something, either. It's screaming to the point my ears are ringing and I start worrying he's going to damage his vocal cords or something. He'll lie on the floor in a puddle of tears and just scream. The only time he's NOT screaming is if DH or I are holding him, but he's 27 mos and too heavy to hold constantly, especially when I'm sick and trying to make food for us, clean the kitchen, etc. Sometimes he even wakes up at night screaming, and only falls asleep again when he's hugging me (tightly).

I can't figure out what he's screaming about! I feel so bad for him, but it is really, REALLY wearing me down. (It doesn't help that his twin sister starts crying too, when she sees him really upset.) To top it off, DH & I have really been bickering a lot because of the fussiness and clinginess and crying.

Other factors:
* the kids and I have had one cold after another through December. I took him in last week to the doctor, and he has no ear, throat, or lung issues. (doctor was stumped, suggested it could be teething?)
* I've repeatedly felt his abdomen, and it feels and sounds normal, no gas or bathroom issues.
* No new foods or household products.
* Gums aren't swollen, says his teeth don't hurt. (he hasn't gotten his 2nd set of molars yet, though)
* if I give him tylenol or ibuprofen, it DOES help.

Any guesses what could be going on? I have no idea what to do! Could it be separation anxiety, coming back with a vengeance?
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#2 of 11 Old 01-04-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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I'm pretty sure pain relievers wouldn't help separation anxiety... so my bet is on something physical. Maybe he just can't express where the pain is?? Have you tried going through each body part & asking him how it feels (if he's verbal enough to be able to vocalize that)? Did the doctor run any tests? If he's screaming that much I would bring him back for another exam & see if there's anything the doc missed....


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#3 of 11 Old 01-04-2011, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have gone over the body parts, but I don't think he's able to locate pain like that yet. Unfortunately! The doctor didn't run any tests, I think because there weren't enough symptoms to know what to look for. It wasn't our regular ped, either. He suggested that maybe the screaming is the cause of the physical discomfort.

Could the pain relievers be making him sleepy? Or maybe they just make him feel better because the screaming makes his head and throat hurt?
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#4 of 11 Old 01-04-2011, 03:56 PM
 
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I don't know, it's been years since I used pain relievers (allergic) but I don't recall them ever making me sleepy... or anyone else I know, for that matter. It seems much more likely that he's in pain and the pain relievers ease the pain which therefore eases the screaming. Did you try asking him about pain both ways? As in, "Does your head hurt? Does your toe hurt?" vs. "What hurts?" and see if he can name/point to it?

 

The other thought I had -- is this happening almost exclusively when he wakes up? Could he be having nightmares?

 

It could still be teething... I know sometimes DS seems to have nothing going on, no swollen gums or anything, and will be super clingy & fussy for a few days & then I'll see a tooth starting to break through. Your DS's issues have been going on for a while though. Hmm. I know the 2nd molars are supposed to be much more painful than the rest (DS doesn't have his yet so I haven't personally seen how that plays out).

 

Maybe he could have heartburn? Especially if you guys were eating more sweets (or other treats, greasy etc.) over the holidays -- I almost always get heartburn if I have too much sugar.

 

I guess just follow your mommy-instincts... If you think something's not right & nothing seems to be helping, bring him back to the doc.


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#5 of 11 Old 01-04-2011, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of your suggestions. smile.gif I appreciate being able to bounce this off of someone else!

I've tried asking him those questions, but he's really not able to verbalize any of it. He will just sit and cry and stare at me, or shout "NO!" (which is the answer to pretty much any question when he's upset. Exceptions: "Do you want me to pick you up?" or "Do you want to nurse?")

The nightmare/fear thing came up for me, too, but I have never seen a nightmare make a kid scream for hours on end, even when I try to give him snacks and his sisters are having fun playing. Sometimes we can distract him, like by going for a walk or to visit a friend. He's not crying when he's out or on a playdate, which does make me think it's not a physical pain thing.

They haven't gotten many treats over the holidays, they're still young enough that we can avoid most of that. I've actually been making a big effort to continue eating well, because we've been sick and I'm trying to help our immune systems.

Maybe I should send the regular ped an email to just check in about it. I hate for him to get unnecessary tests though, he was a preemie in the NICU for weeks, had monthly shots afterwards, has had multiple blood draws for anemia and also got 2 blood draws for allergy testing. I'm very hesitant to put him through that again!

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#6 of 11 Old 01-04-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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Oh I don't blame you... we had a blood draw ONCE -- just ONCE -- for DS & I'm still traumatized by it (he's completely forgotten it, as far as I know)! But I think it would be far worse for him to just keep screaming if he really is in pain.

 

I do think fun outings CAN distract them from pain so I wouldn't rule physical causes out just because of that.

 

How about homeopathic remedies? I'm not even remotely an expert so I can't recommend anything specific but we have great luck with homeopathics & they're very very low-risk. That might be a good route to try because even with vague symptoms a good homeopath could probably come up with a remedy that will help...


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#7 of 11 Old 01-04-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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My daughter did this right about this age, and boy was I relieved when her first 2 year molar broke through....  it was always worse for her about 2 months before they broke through.  My DD did great on all her teeth except these last molars which were just awful.... maybe it is the teeth?

 

At right about 31 months I went through another spell like this, and after much deliberation, I took her to the Dr. and had every test in the book, and it was AWFUL.... turned out it was a rocking case of growing pains.  I think....  but I doubt that would be true for a whole month....

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#8 of 11 Old 01-04-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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I'm sorry your having trouble figuring this one out, its hard to see your baby that upset!

 

if it were my child id call a pediatric specialist, and demand a battery of tests, traumatizing or not, if the kid is in pain, you need to know. have you looked into allergies? specifically food allergies that could be aggravating his bowels, intestines etc?  that would be the first thing i would do is cut out dairy, nuts and gluten. then sugar. 

 

id still do the tests though. 

 

good luck! 


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#9 of 11 Old 01-04-2011, 06:05 PM
 
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My first thought was teething....


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#10 of 11 Old 02-15-2011, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought I'd come back with an update. I took him to the doctor and she checked him out and watched a video I took of one of his screaming meltdowns. She thinks it's just temper tantrums. He's healthy and doing well otherwise.

So, to recap: it's not teething, this has been going on for 3 months and his back gums aren't swollen or tender at all. I don't think it's food allergies, because he had some sensitivities early on and we had to work with an allergist to expose him to dairy, soy, nuts, gluten, etc very slowly, plus he had blood tests to check for that (which all came out negative).

I've decided that it's separation anxiety. He just needs a lot more closeness and reassurance than his siblings. Several people have told me about cases of separation anxiety like this after age 2, I had just never seen it before. I hope that I'm not making a mistake by not getting further testing, but as they say, the simplest explanation is usually right.
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#11 of 11 Old 11-30-2012, 03:23 PM
 
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Did you ever find out what was wrong?

My 22 month old is the same way. 

She has done this off and on since birth. 

At first it was colic/acid reflux. We fixed this.

Then it started again months later, and we were told to use pepto. Bingo, it worked.

Then it started again a few months later and pepto worked only sometimes. 

Now she is back to doing it again, around the same time of year as last year and nothing will stop her. 

She cries to be picked up, she cries to be let down, she just cries and cries and screams. Pepto has been only fixing it 1/2 the time again, but it is daily (just like before) and goes on for  a few weeks to a month or longer and then stops. 

We never change her diet, (granted in years past we had to go Dairy free for her because of an allergy) and she never gets dairy. When she starts these fits we let her cry the appropriate amount of time and then go to her room to get her if she has not stopped. We tell her she can come out of her room, she screams "No" and cries louder. We have tried EVERYTING. 

Once we get her from her room the fit will continue, sometimes for almost an hour. I always feel like I have a colicy toddler.

She does this in the middle of the night or aftr naps. I can not think of any times it happened early in the morning but there are times she wakes up a crab. 

 

We tried seeing a specialist in dietary needs and there was nothing wrong with her. 

We have been to her general Dr. several times. 

No one can figure out what is going on, so I finally turned to google.

 

When she is not in these moods she is the happiest kid ever. As soon as the fit is over, she has a mild calm down period and then she is the happiest kid again. 

 

Please let me know if you ever got answers. 

In order for me to type everything here it would require several pages, but in general, I know there is something wrong and I can not solve this. 

 

HELP

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