Intense 12-month-old. Help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 02-06-2013, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
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#2 of 14 Old 02-06-2013, 09:55 AM
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11-13 months or so was very stressful for us too. The desires and preferences come out full force but the physical and communication skills are novice at this age, making for little people with a lot of frustration. DD tantrummed more at that age than she has done since (22 months now). Everything you wrote was my DD to the letter at that age. Around 18 months she really mellowed out but there was marked improvement by 15 months.
I tried to cater to her as much as possible where I could so that the tantrums were fewer and she was less frustrated. It really didn't matter if the diaper waited until she was done with the blocks but there was no leeway about safety. I started offering her choices, learned to diaper her standing, introduced the potty by reading books while she sat all in an effort to interrupt less and accommodate more when it wasn't important. It certainly helped. She got down to three or four tantrums a day about not getting a steak knife, going in the car or other nonnegotiable things.
Your DD sounds like the average healthy young toddler who is frustrated that she cann't get things her way before she can speak. I would not worry at all. It's not AP that did this, just time and healthy development smile.gif
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#3 of 14 Old 02-06-2013, 11:00 AM
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Sounds totally normal! Do you use sign language with her? Might help her communicate her needs/wants easier. Also, with my son I found giving choices, explaining things, and warning before leaving or moving on helped. Also, no matter what, stay home during nap time smile.gif I always felt like an awful parent when we took our son out when he was tired, especially for lunch with my dh's family. Easy solution is to just stay home wink1.gif

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#4 of 14 Old 02-06-2013, 11:24 AM
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It sounds pretty normal. I remember thinking I had everything figured out until my first child turned 1 and then I took a parenting class because it became obvious to me that I had no clue what I was doing! One thing that I found very helpful was to give my kids transition time.... "Ok kids 5 more minutes on the slide and then we are going to go. Ok kids 2 more minutes....". Obviously a 1 year old can tell time but they get the idea pretty fast. When they are babies you just kind of pick them up and move along but as they get bigger they have their own ideas and don't know what comes next unless you tell them. This helped with the tantrums a lot at our house.


On transitioning to big kid bed- I don't know if I should pass out advice because we didn't do a great job but if your kid can't go cold turkey you could fall asleep in your bed and then move. Or we had a pallet in the floor next to our bed that we called the "emergency bed" where our son could sleep if he felt he needed to be close to us but not actually get in our bed. Transitioning while pregnant is really hard ,too, because the child feels even more chucked out.


It's tough.  My best parenting advice is " this too shall pass!"

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#5 of 14 Old 02-07-2013, 04:29 AM
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Hi there, it's not easy! But sounds totally normal. Some children are clearly just more opinionated/passionate and less easy going than others.

For us, making a game out of what we can helps, as does prior warning "say bye bye to the diggers" etc beforehand as the PP suggested, and having a box of distractions near the nappy changing table, also choosing my battles wisely. As a previous post mentioned, it IS a tough age around this one year mark.

I've also found this book very supportive so far. I like it as I feel that I share the values that the author describes, which are nurturing, kind and respectful to children. It's called The Thriving Family by David Coleman. He's an Irish clinical psychologist. His wife is also a psychologist and they are pro breastfeeding and supportive of cosleeping. You can get it on kindle as well. Maybe through or

Just to reassure you, breastfeeding and cosleeping helps to promote attachment which hopefully gets the parent and child through the tough times with a little more nurturing and support. In the long run we hope our children will be more trusting and self confident in their future life. These early years are particularly challenging but that is all part of normal development.

I can directly compare my son to my neighbour's same aged son who was "ferberized" as my neighbour called it and who sleeps in cot in a separate room from 8pm until 8am. Anyway... His behaviour and tantrums are far more challenging than my DS. I only share this last piece of information as It sounded like you were having a moment of wondering whether breastfeeding and cosleeping were causing your daughter to behave the way she is.

Take care.
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#6 of 14 Old 02-08-2013, 06:50 PM
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Yeah, that sounds like my DD at 12 months. Sounds like my DD today at 15 months, since she's still not talking much.
Actually, at 10 months, when she started walking, she "toddlerized" overnight. I remember my mom and I looking at each other in amazement when she pitched a fit for the first time over something smile.gif

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#7 of 14 Old 02-08-2013, 07:46 PM
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I agree with the PPs that it all sounds normal for that age. Could I suggest that you don't try to change the sleeping and feeding arrangements right now unless you absolutely have to. There is so much going on for them, developmentally, at this age. Adding changes like own bed and no more feeding to sleep can be much harder. You mentioned that you might be pregnant. My advice would be wait and see if you are pregnant. If you are you still have 8-9 months to make the changes. In a couple of months time your LO might be more receptive.

And, if not, there are sometimes other options. We have our toddler's mattress next to ours ( both on the floor) so she is still part of the family bed but we have more space and she isn't sharing a sleep surface with our 3 month old.

When I was pregnant my nipples became too sore to feed completely on demand so I night weaned. When my milk came in she would get full before she fell asleep so she stopped feeding to sleep. Or the baby was unsettled so I couldn't lie down with her but had to stand at the foot or the bed swaying and singing.

My point is plan ahead for sure but let things evolve as well. Sometimes letting nature take its course as it were is easier than trying to force a change as part of your forward planning.

All the best, it is a full on age.

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#8 of 14 Old 02-09-2013, 07:35 AM
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Another vote for "that's totally normal".  12-18 months is kind of intense.  I thought it was much harder than the so-called "terrible twos".


The inability to communicate well combined with still-developing motor skills no doubt is part of the reason why this is such a tough stage.  It seems like all of a sudden they go straight from having needs to having wants--which unlike needs don't always work out. ;)  Hence the screaming...oh the lovely screaming.  Yeah, it sucks...


I did things pretty AP myself--that kind of orientation towards parenting just came naturally to me--and now I feel pretty vindicated for having stuck with it (in spite of all advice to the contrary).  DS was a rather sensitive baby/toddler, and had a strong need for closeness and attachment, which I chose to honor (and ignored all the voices saying you're going to spoil that baby by wearing him all the time/sleeping with him/etc).  Now, he's three and we have this beautiful, very connected relationship, but he's starting to detach a bit and branch out more on his own, and I feel like having honored his need for attachment earlier helped a lot in working with his personality to make this a positive thing for him. So if AP is working for you, stay with it, you will be glad you followed your instincts.   


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#9 of 14 Old 02-09-2013, 09:07 AM
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Yep. All this is completely age appropriate and normal. I agree that it's also not attachment parenting related. All babies will go through this as they explore and test limits and boundaries. Age 1-3 are the most intense ages for tantrums and some kids are a little earlier than others. I agree with choosing your battles. Safety is where I draw the line and distraction is really helpful too. No you can not play with the electrical outlet. Here is a fun toy. Enjoy. It is an intense age but theyare delightful in between the tantrums and it's fun to see them learning so quickly.
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#10 of 14 Old 02-14-2013, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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#11 of 14 Old 02-14-2013, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Morgan Mareglia View Post

Hey everyone.  Thanks for all of the responses!  So glad to hear this is all pretty normal.  I guess it just kind of took me by surprise!  I have started to try a few signs with her.  I have noticed diaper changes getting a little easier, so that helps.  I think we need to get into a better naptime/bedtime routine.  Giving her a bath at night just seems to stimulate her and she doesn't seem to be interested in sitting still for a massage or bedtime stories.  She hasn't taken to any sort of "lovie."  These are the suggestions I've heard for winding her down at night but they've never worked... Anyway, thanks again for all the help!  I do feel better.  She's a little tough to figure out but that makes it fun :) 


As far as the winding down for bed thing, my DD also does not calm down for activities that are supposed to be soothing/calming.  At your daughter's age she still really needed me to kind of meet her at her energy level and ratchet her down, if that makes any sense.  I think she still fell asleep with me heavily thwacking her back and singing campy, rhythmical songs (NOT lullabies) at that age.  That was how she started falling asleep on the nights when she didn't fall asleep to her bottle, and how I generally used to put her to sleep for naps.  As an infant, I could almost always get her to sleep dancing heavily to Queen.  Yup.  All about figuring out what makes your particular kid tick. 

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#12 of 14 Old 02-14-2013, 05:26 PM
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I am so glad to hear that 12-18 months might be the toughest stage.  I was dreading the terrible twos and the even more terrible threes based on Little Miss' current behavior at 16 months.  The past months have been no bueno. 

A big hearty agreement on the "transitioning" advice.  I describe everything we're about to do in very glowing terms, and then have her say goodbye to the current activity.  I do this until she is really ready to move on.  Otherwise we're talking stiff as a board screaming until she's purple tantrum.  Fun for all ages, that.  dizzy.gif

lovestory.gif   And on 09/23/2011, we were three;  husband, daughter, and me!

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#13 of 14 Old 02-14-2013, 10:05 PM
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I could have written this post.

DD Seraphina born at home on 2/21/2012! 

"Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one."
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#14 of 14 Old 02-15-2013, 06:12 AM
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It doesn't seem that out of the ordinary. I agree that signs are great, my son is almost two and has been signing since 12-13 months, knows about 20 signs and understands a lot of spoken vocabulary. He also gets frustrated when he's not understood, hates the car seat, so I bribe him with a treat if he's resistant, but now he usually goes willingly for a rice cracker. Now that he talks a little we don't have nearly as many problems. When he is sleepy, all bets are off though. I did attachment parenting with both kids and my daughter stayed in my bed until she started school, and I have had few behavioral issues with her. I think we are very close, and I nursed her to 3 years also. Don't give up on AP!
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