Bonding with my 17 month old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 02-04-2013, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is now 17 months old. I only breastfed him for 3 months :( Heres link if anyone is interested in why:

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1333532/i-think-i-know-what-i-have-to-do-final-update

 

Ok well on to my question. I have a 4 year old son with High functioning Autism (aspergers). He is a challenge at times. He and DS2 pretty much keep themselves entertained, with me as "referee". But I find myself really missing alot of "mommy-son" time with DS2. I feel like I never got the breastfeeding/cosleeping bond that I had with my first. Seems like DS2 really has the closest relationship with his big brother. A little jealous...

 

I spend alot of energy directing, rerouting, talking to my older DS since he has some issues that come from his having special needs. At times I feel like I don't have the energy that DS2 needs, I want to be that person to him, but Im so tired. I pretend to smile and want to play with his toys and read him books, pretend to laugh, because I love to see him smile :)

 

He's also a very passionate boy. He is super persistent and also gets angry when he cant get what he wants, or very frustrated at times. I always wonder if that is a personality trait, or if its because he hasnt had the bond he needs with me.

 

I had a beautiful home birth with him, nursed him as long as I could and carried him in the wrap, but I still dont feel the same type of connection I had with my first. Is this normal for a second child? I could really use tips or suggestions.


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#2 of 19 Old 02-05-2013, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello? Anyone out there? tea6.gif


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#3 of 19 Old 02-05-2013, 06:25 AM
 
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Hi there!  You know, I don't really have any advice, since I am mother to an only for now.  I also worry about my still-very-hypothetical second, and how much one-on-one he or she will get, and how that will affect them.  It seems to me that you are doing your bare best, and although it may not feel like it, that is enough.  smile.gif
 


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#4 of 19 Old 02-05-2013, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for replying MrsGregory. I also feel like I am putting my best effort in. I guess I just wish things were different. We have had a very rough past 5 years. Suffice it to say, we are lacking in some areas because of the circumstance we find ourselves in. Im constantly pushing myself to try and fill in the gaps and make up the difference so that the boys can have some semblance of a normal life. I spend alot of energy on things that come naturally to most people. I just dont want to lose this time in DS2s life and I worry about him being deprived of the attention my first got and is still getting.

 

For instance, when DS1 wanted to play with his food, I let him all the time. It usually went on the floor under him. DS2 plays with his food, and he has to throw it across the room, get it in his hair and so on. It just makes things SO much harder for me. So I dont let him do it. Paint, rice. mud, etc.. same rule.

 

Another example - I would stop whatever I was doing to play with DS1 when he was this age. But I am so exhausted, my apartment is a wreck and I cannot let it go to pot or people get grumpy around here since we live in one room and space is tight. I feel if let one thing go, everything goes. Everyone is happiest here when we follow the routine. But DS2 is constantly underfoot. He can not be entertained by something like a toy for more than 2 seconds. He climbs all over EVERYTHING and is constantly in harms way. Hes a dare devil!

 

When we go out with him, he doesnt stay and play anywhere. He has to constantly be running to stairs, escalators anything. Find the most dangerous place and he will be persistently fighting to get to that place. It takes so much out of me and its tiring.

 

When I sit down to play with him, he is always hurting me. He throws toys at my face so fast and I dont have time to shield myself.

 

Writing all this out is making me see the problem a little more clearly. I dont know how to deal with his personality type. He is wild, aggressive spontanious, adventure seeking. But Im blaming it on myself for not giving him enough. Maybe I need to just embrace who he is, although that personality type makes me anxious. DS1 and I are more on the super sensitive side.

 

Thanks for letting me vent!
 


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#5 of 19 Old 02-05-2013, 06:54 AM
 
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I had a hard time bonding with my first due to PPD. In the long run, what got us bonded really was I think physical touch. Skin-to-skin contact isn't just for nursing moms and babes. I think nursing helped for me as it forces physical touch and causes hormones to be released that help with bonding, but physical touch will make a big difference for you regardless.

 

Do you have any time alone with the younger one? It would be great if you could snuggle up and nap with him, but it sounds like that's a tall order. I nursed for a long time but I didn't really like nursing that much. What I did like was co-sleeping - it was a big snuggle fest.

 

Anyway, I think anywhere you can get some physical touch time, especially some skin on skin, even if it's just hand on arm, would help. I don't know why the skin-on-skin touching is better, but even babies and kids can tell. When I co-sleep, my little one always pushes her bare food against my leg and her hand against my arm. She will seek out that skin-to-skin contact even in her sleep.

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#6 of 19 Old 02-05-2013, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you have any time alone with the younger one? It would be great if you could snuggle up and nap with him, but it sounds like that's a tall order. I nursed for a long time but I didn't really like nursing that much. What I did like was co-sleeping - it was a big snuggle fest.

 

Anyway, I think anywhere you can get some physical touch time, especially some skin on skin, even if it's just hand on arm, would help. I don't know why the skin-on-skin touching is better, but even babies and kids can tell. When I co-sleep, my little one always pushes her bare food against my leg and her hand against my arm. She will seek out that skin-to-skin contact even in her sleep.

Mamazee, my oldest goes to school for 2 hours weekdays and I use that time as time to clean, plan dinner and spend a little time with DS2. He helps me vaccum and then has his nap. He hasnt slept more than 3 hours in a row at night EVER, because of reflux and allergies. And three hours in a row is rare lately. The sleep deprivation just makes me want to konk out anywhere. We dont have help and can not afford to hire help.

 

I really like the idea of the skin to skin. Im going to try that.


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#7 of 19 Old 02-05-2013, 09:41 AM
 
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My DD loved to "help" at that age. We had lots of fun over a basket of laundry or a bowl of raw potatoes. She'd hand me a potato, I'd peel it and she would put it in a bowl of cold water. Laundry was mostly her running around with unfolded clean clothes while I tried to fold other items. It took twice as long but it was new and exciting for her and let me get something done without her getting in trouble. I know it would be much harder with another child but perhaps you might find a way to fit it in your routine. A very easy and fairly neat activity is to give kiddo a muffin tin and some chunky cut up veggies or nuts in the shell (or maybe small toys) and let him sort them. My DD was absolutely entranced by putting things in containers. My FIL built her a learning tower and right now she's entranced by a bowl of water in the sink and a BBQ brush. I'm just tossing out some ideas that help me entertain/contain my toddler. I just found that between 15 to 20 months or so, toys lost their appeal completely and she wanted "real" things in the worst way.
What time do the kids go to bed? In your situation I'd try to spend DS1's school time as special DS2 time as much as possible and do chores after bedtime or through the day in small bursts. I think you're a very dedicated mom and I can see how much this is upsetting you. You can try new things and see what he likes. DD is also very physical at times and she LOVES a good tickle or a little roughhousing. Sometimes different kids simply have fun differently and a parent has to try things out of their comfort zone to fully enjoy a particular kiddo. Hang in there, your son loves you and you're doing a great job trying to bring the two of you closer. I hope something in my post is helpful in some way.
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#8 of 19 Old 02-05-2013, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD loved to "help" at that age. We had lots of fun over a basket of laundry or a bowl of raw potatoes. She'd hand me a potato, I'd peel it and she would put it in a bowl of cold water. Laundry was mostly her running around with unfolded clean clothes while I tried to fold other items. It took twice as long but it was new and exciting for her and let me get something done without her getting in trouble. I know it would be much harder with another child but perhaps you might find a way to fit it in your routine. A very easy and fairly neat activity is to give kiddo a muffin tin and some chunky cut up veggies or nuts in the shell (or maybe small toys) and let him sort them. My DD was absolutely entranced by putting things in containers. My FIL built her a learning tower and right now she's entranced by a bowl of water in the sink and a BBQ brush. I'm just tossing out some ideas that help me entertain/contain my toddler. I just found that between 15 to 20 months or so, toys lost their appeal completely and she wanted "real" things in the worst way.
What time do the kids go to bed? In your situation I'd try to spend DS1's school time as special DS2 time as much as possible and do chores after bedtime or through the day in small bursts. I think you're a very dedicated mom and I can see how much this is upsetting you. You can try new things and see what he likes. DD is also very physical at times and she LOVES a good tickle or a little roughhousing. Sometimes different kids simply have fun differently and a parent has to try things out of their comfort zone to fully enjoy a particular kiddo. Hang in there, your son loves you and you're doing a great job trying to bring the two of you closer. I hope something in my post is helpful in some way.


Your DD sounds adorable! Your post made me giggle just thinking about how DS2 would turn every situation around. My DS loves to help too, but the potatoes and the bowl of cold water would be all over the floor and he would be screaming incessantly for the peeler - lol. The veggies in the muffin tin would be half eaten, spit out and then thrown down the stairs and all over the bed. Then he will take the muffin tin and hit his brother in the head with it. You can imagine how messy things get here. lol -wonder if this is typical? Maybe I should be looking into ADHD?

 

Kids go to bed at 8ish, but its a loooooong process. Having one with autism means that bedtime is difficult and may last hours. Also we are living (and sleeping, eating) in one room, so there's no way really to do housework without waking them up. At least until we move.

 

Thanks for the encouragement :)


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#9 of 19 Old 02-05-2013, 06:01 PM
 
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LOL you have a creative little guy there!! I was honestly trying to think of fairly easy/safe things but it sounds like he could turn a plush kitty into a deadly projectile lol. Sorry I wasn't much more help. How is he outside? Could some time at the park help him burn off energy? DD and I used to walk around the neighbourhood before the weather and first trimester fatigue made it very difficult. Although at that age it was a lot of "stay on the sidewalk please" and "that's dirty, don't pick it up" :/
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#10 of 19 Old 02-05-2013, 10:23 PM
 
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I'm thinking since you can't spend the whole time yr older ds is in school bonding you could maybe set aside whatever time you can (maybe 10 min on a timer?) giving yr 100% "quality time" attention. I would do something together that is not likely to end in conflict but that involves a lot of physical contact. For example put on just a tank top, take his shirt off and tickle/wrestle with tons of eye contact. Make sure if he says no/stop you listen right away even if he's laughing, then ask if he wants more. Don't involve toys, just one on one connection. Alternatively you could play chase. Who chases who can be decided by your son. It seems like usually one brings giggles and the other meets resistance. try to stay on eye level. You can pretend to be animals and communicate in animal sounds. Don't let yourself get interrupted by phone calls, etc. during "his time".
 

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#11 of 19 Old 02-05-2013, 11:02 PM
 
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Posting again after being called away to soothe my 18mo back to sleep....

Not sure if you have a partner or other adult who is sometimes there at bath time but is it possible for you and ds2 to take baths together on occasion? Try to plan a simple activity that will be engaging for him so it won't become a splashing, flinging toys at yr face battle. Just something like pouring water from an old shampoo bottle on your hands or other body parts together or squeezing water out of a sponge or drawing with bathtub crayons. This will give you lots of skin to skin and good bonding time where he can't run off ; )

 

Also, what are his current passions? What makes him happy? What are some reoccurring topics/ favorite objects or experiences? What person or animal does he think is interesting? What does he seem to like to wear? How can you reinforce or support these budding interests? Can you ask questions or tell simple stories about them at meals, while in the car, while diapering/pottying? Use them as play themes when you play together? Get books out of the library that relate or can be interpreted to? You can also just appeal to his toddler ego by making all books with a main character use his name. I'm thinking intentionally engaging yourself positively in who he is as a person could be beneficial to how you see each other and feel towards each other.

 

I hope some of these ideas are helpful. You are really on the right track just in being aware of the issue and trying to make a change so try and breathe out some mommy guilt and breathe in some appreciation for all the hard and wonderful work you do as a mother! Good luck and enjoy!

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#12 of 19 Old 02-06-2013, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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LOL you have a creative little guy there!! I was honestly trying to think of fairly easy/safe things but it sounds like he could turn a plush kitty into a deadly projectile lol. Sorry I wasn't much more help. How is he outside? Could some time at the park help him burn off energy? DD and I used to walk around the neighbourhood before the weather and first trimester fatigue made it very difficult. Although at that age it was a lot of "stay on the sidewalk please" and "that's dirty, don't pick it up" :/

 LOL! Funny you should say that because yes, he has done that too with a build-a-bear. His brother was taking a bath, he threw said plush toy in the bathtub, took it out soaking wet and then threw it at his brothers head!! Now thats one deadly projectile!

 

It would be so nice to have your DD! When we take DS out, we have to put him in the wrap because we cant hold him. He physically fights us with every little muscle in his body to climb down and run away. And he usually wins. Once his foot hits the ground he's gone! And theres no looking back! lol But we do have a park with a gate, so that works when its a little warmer. Still alot of work to keep him from eating the wood chips every 5 seconds, but maybe this year he will start going on the slide a little more.

 

Oh and congrats to you on your little one due soon!

 

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Also, what are his current passions? What makes him happy? What are some reoccurring topics/ favorite objects or experiences? What person or animal does he think is interesting? What does he seem to like to wear? How can you reinforce or support these budding interests? Can you ask questions or tell simple stories about them at meals, while in the car, while diapering/pottying? Use them as play themes when you play together? Get books out of the library that relate or can be interpreted to? You can also just appeal to his toddler ego by making all books with a main character use his name. I'm thinking intentionally engaging yourself positively in who he is as a person could be beneficial to how you see each other and feel towards each other.

Hi boater - love the idea of chasing him around. That is one game he really gets into. Tires me out, but worth it.  Also, I am gonna try the bath. Im sure he would love that! Just worried that my 4 year old (who loves to splash me) will want to join -lol.

 

You know, I never really tried to figure out what really makes him happy. He seems to be obsessed with the vaccum, the blender, blowdryer, dishwasher. Anything that plugs in and makes noise lol. He loves to control machines and push buttons to make things happen. He adores his brother. Just wants to do anything his brother is doing. Hes extremely persistent. He started crawling and walking at a super early age, because we figured he wants to be just like his brother. He loves to laugh and smile. This is going to be something that Im going to have to work on - trying to find out more about what his interests are.

 

Thanks you both have given me some good ideas - and motivation!


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#13 of 19 Old 02-06-2013, 08:20 AM
 
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Thanks for the congrats! I'm excited and terrified to have a newborn in the house with DD.
I have to say, I'm pretty lucky with DD. She doesn't run away, holds my hand to cross the street and gets into mild shenanigans around the house. I can't imagine having your little firecracker! DD is pretty stubborn and willful at times and I thought I had my hands full! Hopefully he will mellow out a bit - DD did around 18-19 months. In the meantime, enjoy the little guy.
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Even though your son's temperament is different than my dd's I can think of about 4 different little boys I've nannied for before dd was born that were just like that. They were intense and easily over stimulated (though hard to tell that's what it was because it seems like they are the "stimulator") and very difficult to discipline/control when necessary. One boy in particular when he got a bit older (3 or 4?) he discovered Lego kits. The really complicated ones with picture instruction booklets to show step by step how to build the thing? That really focused his energy. He loved it! He was so good at it and you wouldn't have expected it of him because he seemed so wild and frenetic. I think it's important to help kids like this see themselves positively. It's easy for them to get pigeonholed as being wild or destructive or "bad' or "all boy" and then they tend to sort of live up to that label and feel bad about themselves which can lead to negative behavior in a yucky circle. Maybe if you could say things to ds2 like "Oh, you are interested in how things work. You're curious about pushing buttons and the loud sounds things make. It's fascinating stuff! Let's explore the vacuum cleaner together. Wow! you made it turn on and off all by yourself! When Ds1 gets home lets tell him you can do that! I bet he will think that's really cool!" Then when he gets home it's, "guess what ds1 did today...!" That kind of talk gives him the message that the things he likes are good and interesting and he is capable of positive intention and action.

 

 

Also have you considered getting him one of those monkey backpack leash things? I'm sure it might feel a bit embarrassing but if he developmentally lacks the impulse control to safely go for a walk perhaps it could bridge the gap until he is able to hold a hand and not run off?

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#15 of 19 Old 02-06-2013, 12:28 PM
 
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You know, I never really tried to figure out what really makes him happy. He seems to be obsessed with the vaccum, the blender, blowdryer, dishwasher. Anything that plugs in and makes noise lol.

Have you thought about building a busy board?  I'm putting one together for my 15mo DD bc she's super inquisitive and prefers things around the house over her toys any day.  I found some cute ones searching pinterest, but things like door knobs, latches, keys/locks (tied down so they can't toss them or eat them if small), faucets for turning, light switches....anything that would interest them in the house but isn't always easily accessable.  She is also very messy with playtime, so activities for her are fun but don't require much clean-up:

 

Squirt paint in a ziplock bag, tape it to the table and let them use fingers to spread it around - you can also reinforce the entire bag with clear packing tape if need be.

 

Clear plastic bottle filled with glitter, rocks, beads, plastic sea creatures...whatever they like, along with water, hot glue the top on and viola a fun toy for shaking, kind of like a sno globe but less fragile.

 

I made an "ocean" bag for DD using cheapo blue hairgel, a few green marbles, a sticky octopus from the dollar store, and a few plastic fish all in a ziplock bag reinforced with clear tape.  She carries it around poking the stuff making it move - loves it!

 

When it's warmer I found good recipies online for DIY paint that's 100% edible and washes away with water so we can sit out on the deck and get creative.

 

Everything I do with DD right now has to be either edible or 'contained' bc she eats everything!

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Omg sassyfirechick I LOVE the ocean bag idea!! Will have to steal it (along with a few others wink1.gif )
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#17 of 19 Old 02-06-2013, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also have you considered getting him one of those monkey backpack leash things? I'm sure it might feel a bit embarrassing but if he developmentally lacks the impulse control to safely go for a walk perhaps it could bridge the gap until he is able to hold a hand and not run off?

Wow - forgot about those!  We got two for DS1's second birthday. We tried using them, but it was always a joke because he never really got into trouble. We ended up giving them away and the notion went out of my mind. Who knew I would need them lol!

 

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Squirt paint in a ziplock bag, tape it to the table and let them use fingers to spread it around - you can also reinforce the entire bag with clear packing tape if need be.

 

Clear plastic bottle filled with glitter, rocks, beads, plastic sea creatures...whatever they like, along with water, hot glue the top on and viola a fun toy for shaking, kind of like a sno globe but less fragile.

 

I made an "ocean" bag for DD using cheapo blue hairgel, a few green marbles, a sticky octopus from the dollar store, and a few plastic fish all in a ziplock bag reinforced with clear tape.  She carries it around poking the stuff making it move - loves it!

 

When it's warmer I found good recipies online for DIY paint that's 100% edible and washes away with water so we can sit out on the deck and get creative.

 

Love. love, love the craft ideas. Even DS1 Im sure will enjoy playing with these.

 

So glad I could get on here and vent and get ideas and support. By expressing how I feel and with everyones help, Ive come to really appreciate the fact that he is his own person, a unique personality. This evening, I really had a different point of view as I played with him and bathed him. I really feel like im starting to see "him" and not just another task to complete. Cant wait to try all the ideas - you guys are great! thumb.gif


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#18 of 19 Old 02-07-2013, 02:47 PM
 
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Thing1Thing2, I'm pretty happy to see that you're feeling encouraged!  I can relate to having a bad year or three or five, and you start to wonder if this is the new normal, if it will ever get better, or if you go on long enough, you forget what better looks like.  It's hard.  It's exhausting.  But - BUT - you sounds like you're managing well, and staying positive, and that's an achievement right there!  I've been reading the thread and getting good ideas for myself.  I'm noticing that whenever I'm stuck with Little Miss, the answer always seems to boil down, somehow, to being sure that I'm parenting my child.  Not the child I wish I had when I just want to slap on some mascara and get out the door, but the child I have.  The child that needs me to stop 5 times while combing my hair and hug her.  Your child, your little boy, sounds magical.  Messy, and magical.  smile.gif 
 

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#19 of 19 Old 02-19-2013, 06:22 AM
 
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My favorite book to read my 17mo is "I Love You Stinky Face," its about the unconditional love a mother has for her son but really fun - if he was a stinky skunk she'd still love him, if he was an bug-eating alien she'd feed him bugs & love him... You may enjoy it with both your boys.

A lot of times when I'm doing chores while my daughter plays on her own I play childrens music, Pandora has many toddler, childrens & singalong station or buy a CD/iTune When certain songs come on I stop to sing & dance with her (if your happy & you know it, head shoulders knees & toes) or just pick her up & dance around while she giggles.

Another idea for simple bonding/connecting with a high energy tot, once you have him strapped up in his highchair/carseat/stroller take a quick minute to make eye contact, tell him something sweet & positive then give him a quick kiss. Do it again before you take him out. "Thank you for being so good while we took your bro to school, I love you" or "Great job eating your veggies" or whatever you come up with.

Good luck.
Let us know what works for you.
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