My 15 month old shrieks like a banshee if I so much as try to cook or do dishes in her presence, esp. if she and I are the only ones at home. Ever since she started moving around. I don't know if it is because she thinks that I am doing something interesting without her knowledge or if the sounds scare her. She lets me fold clothes though she may try to undo what I just did, which I suppose, is typical of a toddler. I wonder if her vocal cords can take the strain that she puts on them by shrieking.
About getting scared - she can walk. But utterly lacks the confidence. She appears to be afraid of getting hurt. She was very frightened of a swing (the kind for babies and toddlers) at 12 mo. Now, at 15 mo, she'll sit in a swing, but absolutely will not sit on any other surface in the park. She screams bloody murder if I try to set her down.
She seems to think that I am trying to harm her if I try to set her on the toilet seat for toddlers.
In the morning, even if one of us is in the room, she shrieks if the other leaves the room while she's looking. She doesn't care otherwise.
She's finally understood that she shouldn't crawl into the bathroom after me, but doesn't stop her from pacing the floor agitated.
When I tell her that something is dangerous or not to do something, she listens, but crawls back to me, crying. She even seems to sulk at times, lying on the floor.
We've never let her CIO for sleep or for anything else. Why is she so frightened that I'll leave her or let her come to harm? The only time that I've physically had to struggle with her is to put her diaper on her. I sometimes have to hold her down with one hand while trying to quickly affix the prefold+cover on her. She'll keep trying to crawl away. I suppose this is "normal" for a toddler. I don't know if I hurt her when I hold her down (oh wait, I do hold her down to give her her supplements at times). Is that what makes her so frightened of everything?
She is very communicative. Has her own words for water, food, going out, sleep, toys. And many more. I was afraid that she was turning antisocial with the screams, but she and her 2 year old friend were happily sharing crackers. Nary a scream. What gives? Or doesn't?
About getting scared - she can walk. But utterly lacks the confidence. She appears to be afraid of getting hurt. She was very frightened of a swing (the kind for babies and toddlers) at 12 mo. Now, at 15 mo, she'll sit in a swing, but absolutely will not sit on any other surface in the park. She screams bloody murder if I try to set her down. She seems to think that I am trying to harm her if I try to set her on the toilet seat for toddlers.
All of these things make me wonder if she has issues (hypersensitve) with vestibular processing. One way to think about it would be she feels as if she can't get her balance and it is scary for her.
Here is a good link, look under "signs of vestibular dysfunction, 1. hypersensitivity to movement (over-responsive).
Please don't let this freak you out. She may or may not have a disorder. My son had lots of sensory issues but they were easily treated with about 6 months of occupational therapy. I mention it because from your description I think it would be worth looking into.
Everything else sounds pretty typical to me. Some separation anxiety, some frustration with not being able to exert herself, other typical developmental stuff.
All of that said, this could just be temperament. It isn't a parental failure and it doesn't mean she isn't a great kid. It will be a challenge to cope sometimes but you will figure it out.
I second the idea that this sound like some sensory issues - and if it turns out to be such, be proud of yourself for recognizing this early - OT can work wonders and it's just so helpful to have an understanding of the issues your child is facing...
1. Hypersensitivity To Movement (Over-Responsive):
__ avoids/dislikes playground equipment; i.e., swings, ladders, slides, or merry-go-rounds
Fine with swings now; sat on a see-saw for some time, although held by me, because her weight wasn't sufficient to let gravity do its job. I don't know if she'll like it again.
__ prefers sedentary tasks, moves slowly and cautiously, avoids taking risks, and may appear "wimpy"
She crawls like a maniac. Stands up and walks around holding onto things all the time. Gets into cubes used to house her clothes. Is afraid of falls it seems however, but a fall doesn't deter her from standing up again. Just not confident walking, it seems.
__ avoids/dislikes elevators and escalators; may prefer sitting while they are on them or, actually get motion sickness from them
Well, she is most often sitting in her stroller or in the baby carrier or in my arms, so can't say.
__ may physically cling to an adult they trust
As in how? All the time? She goes to strangers just fine soon after warming up time.
__ may appear terrified of falling even when there is no real risk of it
Hmmm, she seems most afraid to walk. She climbs out of our bed just fine. She tries to climb in too. Stands up in her high chair in a bid to escape (why I feed her sitting on the floor) if left too long.
__ afraid of heights, even the height of a curb or step
Stands in a high chair and the height of the swing didn't bother her. She loves a step. Goes up and down, up and down. However, when I tried to teach her to get out of the bed before she turned 1, she would refuse to go and climb, more like claw, back up. She learnt to climb onto and off furniture on her own. Now, climbs into and off stroller (tolal) herself.
__ fearful of feet leaving the ground
__ fearful of going up or down stairs or walking on uneven surfaces
We were hard pressed to keep her off the stairs, pretty high rise ones too, when we visited someone recently.
__ afraid of being tipped upside down, sideways or backwards; will strongly resist getting hair washed over the sink
I don't think she is afraid of any of this; may strongly resist getting hair washed in sink, just because she's not used to a shower. She let's me wash her hands, tipped towards the sink, though, and tries her best to touch the sink fixtures, touch the sink...
__ startles if someone else moves them; i.e., pushing his/her chair closer to the table
Nah, doesn't bother her. We went on a "boat ride" this afternoon, with her sitting in a Closet Maid fabric drawer.
__ as an infant, may never have liked baby swings or jumpers
She didn't like the swing initially, but she was fine with her Fisherprice 3-in-1 rocker. She enjoyed the jumperoo from day 1, but mostly, only if I don't use it as a baby-sitter. I have to be in full view. Normal, "that giant is a part of me and a giant part of me is walking away from me", behaviour, I suppose. She'll let her father leave her in it, and do dishes and such, but not me.
__ may be fearful of, and have difficulty riding a bike, jumping, hopping, or balancing on one foot (especially if eyes are closed)
I had to drag her away from a trike in the mall the other day, although her feet don't reach the ground. She wanted to be wheeled around in it. This was a trike with no bells and whistles nor a handle for parent to push it around. So, I took her to a toy store to buy one with it, which had a foot rest that she could reach, and while she wasn't unhappy in it or didn't protest, she wasn't particularly thrilled either. Thinking that she lost interest in trikes, I took her back to the first store to see what she does, and what does she do! She starts jumping in her stroller as soon as we get to the section. Granted, the thrill on her face wasn't the same as the first 2 times on it, but she was happy nonetheless. Her feet don't reach the pedals on this one; at one time, she was trying to propel herself forward with one foot on the ground, other foot hanging almost on the seat.
__ may have disliked being placed on stomach as an infant
Initially, but by about 2.5 months, she was fine with us helping her roll onto her tummy. She lifted her head straight up at 3 months.
__ loses balance easily and may appear clumsy
Well, given that she cannot/will not walk yet, I don't know.
__ fearful of activities which require good balance
Same as above.
__ avoids rapid or rotating movements
She enjoyed "ring-a-ring-a-roses", holding on to mine and DH's hands. Crawls like no-man's business, pushes anything from waste paper basket to stool to footstool to chair to walk with. Rotates round and round while sitting, to avoid grabbing hands of other babies.
Based on what I mentioned, hypersensitivity is the most likely, correct? But she doesn't appear to have most of the symptoms, thank goodness, apart from the apparent fear of walking. Earlier today, she started walking, but on a sleeping bag. She kept slipping and losing her balance, so she fell. However, she was very gleeful that she managed to walk and tried to let off steam by bending over in a mountain pose, head touching the ground. Jumping in that posture as well as she could, promptly fell on her face. Looked around to see if I was watching, which I was, hoping that she'll get up and walk again, now that she was off the sleeping bag, gave a whimper, and off she went, about her activities.
Sorry for the super-long post. I am normally a hypochondriac. Left to myself and if I can, I'll sanitize everything and everyone. It takes a lot of will power to not do it, knowing what I do about how the immune system works. So, it is reassuring that I don't think that DD has it. I'll observe her for a bit longer. We have a pediatrician appointment tomorrow, but it is for a follow-up because at 12 mo, her total iron was low.
Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. I'll keep it in mind for her 18 mo appointment. Or sooner, based on what my observations turn up.
My DD got like that for a little while. She is still like that with the morning thing and leaving a room. She has outgrown most of it now.
I wouldn't rule out sensitivity but she may also just be , ya know, a baby becoming a toddler.
Where is she when you do the dishes or the cooking? Can you give her side-by-side play? When I need to do stuff like this, I get her on a step ladder at the same level as me and give her a plastic tub and some plastic dishes to wash with bubble soap and a spong, or let her chop the play veggies we have. This seems to stop her objections to mommy doing something without her.
even though we did EC she started to reject the potty at that age too, but now she is back into it a little.
Tantrums are normal too. DD lays on the floor flat and looks like the world is ging to end if she can't play with for example daddy's glasses...it's really just the beginning of the temper tantrum phase.
I am impressed yours doesn't go into the bathroom with you. DS was about 3.5 before he got that one. LOL.
I think you are doing a fine job. She is probably just learning the power of the shreik and it's effectiveness in getting her needs met. You can redirect this through gentle reflection and modelling. For example I say "Emily, mad? Emily mad mad mad? Emily want glasses? Mommy know Emily want glasses. Mommy sorry Emily can't play with glasses. It be okay, Emily. Mama here." Sometimes I have to leave, like I have to have a pee and she HATES that first thing in the AM when I go for a pee when she needs me...but I just say "mama go pee. Mama right back. Right back." and she shreiks and I pee and then we hug big...little by little she is getting better. Not immediately stopping your actions for her shrieks, and you calmly and slowly and simply explaining what is happening to her and reflecting to her her wants and showing her how to ask for them calmly will eventually (over the course of the 1-5 range) give her the skills to stop shrieking for things.
If you feel it might be an issue bring it up with your ped, but honestly, this seems like a very common phase amongst my mom friends.
It really sounds like sensory processing stuff to me- but I'm a mom who has a kid who was involved with several therapies and was an interesting mix of seeking and avoidant. He LIVED for spicy foods, but if you put him in a swing, life was over. He didn't walk until about 16 months... and then it was largely on his toes. It took a LOT of work to help him learn to be comfortable in his own body- and I wish we'd started when he was your child's age instead of several months later. Life would have been a lot more comfortable for him.
My experience is that parents do not accurately asses if their children have problems like this - and that includes me. I was very convinced that my ds had no issues even after I read the checklist but I took him in to a good pedi ot for an evaluation because my mother insisted and I didn't see the harm - figured it would prove me right! Ha. Also, your pediatrician may not be up to date on this sort of thing. Your pedi (unless you happen to see a developmental pedi or one who has dealt with this before) is a medical doctor. This is not a 'medial' issue. An OT is the correct person to asses.
Based on your original comments and those you made about the list I still think an evaluation. For example, some of your comments are about crawling, which is a very grounded movement, walking is not. Head tipping back is a big one, tipping forward is not part of the criteria. You could test and see if she lets you tip it back when she is not in the shower. You do list that she didn't like some things initially but doesn't mind them now. It is great that she doesn't mind them now but that may be adaptive. There are plenty of people all over the world who have sensory disorders and have never received treatment. Everything on this list is on a spectrum of possibilities.
Tipping the head back... hmmm, yes, she won't let me tip her head back often to rinse her hair out. I found an OT in my area and booked a free assessment in 10 days. Please keep your inputs coming in, as I have no idea what I am looking at. I'll keep you all posted. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. Glad I posted this thread! If it is nothing, no harm, no foul. If it is something, I am glad she can begin to get help right away and not wait until she starts going to school and a teacher tells me that something is wrong.
After reading your second post, it doesn't seem like sensory issues are likely a major problem for her (although I should point out that you only posted about movement sensitivities, there are lots of other areas to be sensitive or under-sensitive in!) It sounds more like she is just still learning to walk and dealing with separation anxiety. I know lots of kids that didn't really walk until the 15-18mo range, and separation anxiety tends to peak somewhere around 18mos for most kids. So she may just need a little time. However, I've only had extensive experience with my own kid, who does have some major issues, he could not and still can't do most of the things your DD can do, and he's not even particularly sensitive in the movement category! So I'm not sure if that means your DD is normal or my DS is really severe lol. But I will say that EI is free and you are entitled to an evaluation if you request one so if you are worried, it wouldn't hurt to just call.
And to answer your original question -- I don't think you've done anything wrong at all, it sounds like you've done everything right actually!! She will likely grow out of it but if not, the causes for it would have more to do with personality or underlying issues (i.e. SPD) than anything you could have caused!
Hi! It sounds like you are on the right track and if there are ever concerns I think a child should be evaluated sooner rather than later. I just wanted to put in a little caveat regarding the developmental questionaire you used above. Typically these types of tools are designed for a specific age group. I didn't see any specifications on that particular one, but as you noted in your pp many of the skills are not age appropriate for your DD. What may be considered a red flag at 3 is not a red flag 15 months. I am a pediatric PT and I see lots of lo's who are late walkers some have sensory issues and some do not. I do however think an evaluation may be beneficial. As someone said your pedi may not be concerned about some of these things, but in my opinion docs wait too long to refer kids for services and valuable time is lost.
However, many of the behaviors you describe sound pretty typical for a 15 month old. They feel everything so intensely and she has no other reliable means to tell you that something is wrong than to scream. Toddlers are funny little things. I hope your OT assessment goes well. Good luck
Proud Mommy to my amazing boys (6 and 4) and my precious little girl (18 months).
Crunchy mommy and Nzjmama, thanks for your reassuring posts.
Something funny happened today, along the lines of standing/walking. I took her to a playgroup for toddlers and preschoolers, not realizing that the very first "rule" was that they should be already walking. Seeing so many of the kids walking and running, she refused to sit down. She was holding on to a play shopping cart for most of the time that we were there. She even held her own against invading little hands :-).
The assessment is indeed free, and as NZJmama says, it could be something, it could be nothing. I met 2 mothers at the playgroup today, who said that their sons, neither of them should be iron-deficient like mine was/is because they would be meat-eaters, also didn't walk until 16 months. At 15 months, they would take 1-2 steps, at 16, started walking, running. I am keeping my fingers crossed for no issues. The poor thing has had to deal with food intolerances first, then iron deficiency. I know that many children on here have had to deal with a lot worse, but it doesn't make it any easier to think that your kid has it better. I hope all of these kids resolve their issues soon.
PS: She let me clean the stove yesterday after I carried her for some time while cleaning it, then gave her a rag of her own to "wipe" the floor with. It is a dish rag, not supposed to be used on the floor, but it needs a wash anyway, and it was the only thing I could think of when my tendonitis started acting up and I had to set her down. And it worked! She was happily dragging the rag around with her and let me finish up dishes too!
PPS: I see that this thread made it to the icons at the top. I hope that it enlightens people about sensory dysfunction. I had never heard of the term before. Thank you, Mothering!
Frankly, this behavior sounds perfectly normal to me. This is the prime age for separation anxiety and yes that can even mean baby getting upset if mom is in the next room or mom has her back turned (such as at a sink or stove.) Attachment parenting (no CIO etc) is not going to prevent separation anxiety, it is simply a parenting style that respects that babies & young children have an intense (some more intense than others) need to be with their mothers-and sometimes that means actually being held by moms or having moms focus much of the time. Heck, my kids are 8 & 5 and I catch it if I am on the computer and thus ignoring them to much. Kids want the focus and attention of thier parents & just don't get it that the dishes need to be washed.
As far as what to do about it, I see you have tried 'wearing' your child on your hip or back. There are many slings or carriers that work well for this age. I have back trouble and I loved my ergo for carriing my toddlers on my back as I got stuff done around the house. Also, great you got your daughter involved in the activity or gave her a similar activity. Another idea is letting her play with pots and pans & tupperware etc. on the kitchen floor. Some kids love water play but of course then you have a water mess. But it is just water! I also found singing to my kids or chatting with them as I did chores helped sometimes.
I have also learned the hard way to find several EASY meals that can be prepared quickly & stuck in the oven or slow cooker, or prepared earlier for cooking later (kids are notorious for losing it more later in the day.) There were also days dinner did not get cooked and the dishes did not get done. When I called my husband to pick up pizza, I told him I was too busy raising human beings that day to cook.
Neither of my kids walked a single step on thier own until 14 or 15 months. They both do gymnastics now and my oldest just made the team! In other words, they are strong, agile and healthy and developmentally right on target.
I think this child's behavior is within the normal range. The child is reacting to the mother's activities and her mothering. Kids that have hypersensitivity issues respond in ways that we don't expect to normal stimuli. It's common for a 15 month old baby to want to be in arms when they want to be in arms (and that may seem like all the time). Parents can expect them to understand more than they do. Fears are common, sometimes because of the way adults in their lives have handled certain situations. If the mother doesn't know how to make life easier for the child then she can make it seem like the child is difficult.
Toddlers with hypersensitivity issues have responses to normal things that are abnormal. One of my sons had issues with his mouth and he wouldn't eat solids. He did okay with growth until around 12 months when breastmilk was no longer enough for him to maintain his weight. It was obvious to me something was wrong months earlier but doctors wouldn't listen to me. He had other issues too and continues to have sensitivity issues as an adult.
I live with my 2 year old grandson, son, and DIL (they both work full time. He has many allergies and has head to toe eczema. My son and I have been his primary care takers since birth. With me my grandson behaves well and only cries on really bad days. When my son is home he behaves well but cries easily. When my DIL is home he behaves poorly and screems. She breastfed over 2 years, co-sleeps, doesn't spank and could make herself sound like a great mother. However, she has no empathy, wants to force him to be the way she thinks he is supposed to be, and has no clue about how to parent. I am the other extreme, I have tons of empathy, I understand what to expect from toddlers (him in particular), and how to get his best behavior. My son is inconsistant on empathy because he is burned out from trying to take care of a high needs child and a high needs wife (I've only been living with them 2 months). Being a good parent involves understanding development, empathy, and having a repertoir of good parenting skills.
Hsya sounds like a first time mom gaining experience. It can be easy to expect too much from a child that can say some words. A 15 month old child can't be expected to understand things when you explain them. Her child doesn't have a good sense of object permanance. When someone leaves the room she doesn't understand that they still exist even if she can't see them. That's why they get upset when mom leaves the room. Object permanance may not come until age 2. It's normal for some 2 and 3 year olds to be afraid of swings.
Why is a baby (a 15 month old that isn't walkin well) afraid of being left alone and why is she so freightened of everything? It's in our genes. It's how humans have survived. Human babies are supposed to cry if they are left alone because they could become prey. They are supposed to be in their mother's arms. It takes a longe time for those kinds of genes to change, if they ever will.
: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons
My DD was a lot like that except for the walking part. She walked early (8months) but would scream and put herself between myself and the sink and push me away from it. I put kids music videos on or find a toy or markers for her to use at the table or on the kitchen floor. It doesn't always work but it can help. And she might just color all over herself. Or a baby carrier on my back for dishes. Its just her temperament. It gets easier. My daughter is really high needs in everything. I found Dr Sears book High Needs Child helpful. Added a couple links below.
I find singing a song helps get diapers on and clothes too. The hokey pokey works well. Tooth brushing I can pretend I am looking for animals hiding behind her teeth and make animal noises to get her mouth open. Or funny songs. If I force anything it gets worse not easier. And asking for help like what you said worked for you. I give her a spray bottle with water and a cloth and tell to have fun and "help" me clean. I might get a soaked couch but I think feeling involved helps. Its hard to include them in the dishes but maybe a couple to wipe and bang together while you clean dishes will help.
My DD did the same thing whenever we left a room too, still does sometimes and I leave the bathroom door open usually or have her come with me... But she is getting along beautifully now. At 21 months. Most of those issues have subsided. There is nothing wrong with either of you. Some people have sensitive temperaments.
So we went to see a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist together on Saturday. They asked a bunch of questions, played with her, and mainly, sat her on a giant exercise ball and had her move around on it. She was fast asleep when we got there because she refused to go down at her usual time. It was so hard to wake her up! She wasn't happy on the ball initially, but when she finally woke up fully, she had fun.
Verdict - apparently, children are walking later and later these days, and 12-15 months is not late at all. They didn't think there was anything with sensory processing. They asked us to observe her for a month to see if there's any improvement (she is walking more now, but only about once or twice a day). They said that we can see the physio then, if required, and she'll explore sensory issues too, if any crop up, but they don't think it has anything to do with sensory issues.
Thank you so much for all of your inputs! I am glad we got an evaluation sooner rather than later. You're all the best!
Dear friends, when I posted the previous post, I hurriedly typed it and didn't get a chance to read all responses carefully. Now, I did.
It's like a switch went off in my daughter's head. She still hangs around the door when I am in the bathroom, but (knock on all wood), doesn't cry. She finds it amusing; I've always left the door open so that I can keep on eye on her, but...
She still hates it when I cook. I think that she thinks that I have better things to do than cooking - like playing with her. This whole trying to get between the stove and me... I just found out yesterday, that she wants to pretend to be pushing me as if I am her walker. Giggling madly. Her head stuck between my legs. Ai ai ai, this silly girl!
And... she started walking a lot more in the past 2 days. Still holds onto a support when she can, but more willing to walk down the center of the room.
On some of the worst days, it could be lack of empathy of course, as you said, being completely burnt out. My husband is going through a very stressful time professionally, and it is rubbing off, however hard I try to ignore it. He wants me to ignore it and enjoy my life, I am not being unsympathetic to him. He prefers that I maintain a level head with DD. oops, she's waking up, gtg!
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