My son just turned 2 a few months ago. I am expecting a baby girl due April 1st. The home-stretch fatigue/insomnia just hit me this week and I feel like a zombie, which I'm sure doesn't help the situation, but lately my toddler is driving me crazy and I'm wondering how I will manage him and a newborn when I'm even more sleep-deprived.
DS has been high-energy/needs since birth and it has been a challenge...up until the last few months, when he has actually started to show some ability to entertain himself here and there, I haven't been able to get much of anything done. He is SUPER social and generally obedient. He loves being out and around other kids. At home, however, he has never been into toys and would much rather get into and scatter household objects throughout our home. Of significance: we moved in to our home 1.5 years ago and since then DH has been renovating our basement by himself, which means I've had to single parent A LOT, especially these last 9 months since finding I was pregnant, since DH ramped up the work down there a lot to try to get it all done. That being said, we both also work FTOH and so when I am home there is a lot to do i.e., cooking, cleaning, getting things prepared for the baby, etc. and I'm also tired! The rest of the house is disorganized chaos due to this reno since we aren't using 1/3rd of our house, so I'm constantly trying to keep the rest of it livable. Despite this, DS still gets a ton of attention from us, co-sleeps with us, etc so I don't worry he is deprived of attention, but I explain this because there often isn't the opportunity to spend weekends out of the house taking him to all sorts of kid-friendly places at this point, which I'm sure would make life easier when we are home.
So, the problems I'm having lately coping with DS is:
1) when DS is home with us on weekends or the occasional vacation/snow day, he will. not. nap. The only thing that works lately is to drive him around, and sometimes that doesn't even work to keep him down once we transfer him in from the car (and then there's that time wasted driving him around). I know the weekends change up his routine, and he doesn't always nap at the sitters, but boy are those days rough, and I haven't even had the baby yet.
2) he demands things ALL DAY. Every 30 seconds. For ex: he wants water, I get it for him, but he doesn't want it in the blue cup but the red one. I'll sit back down, he's finished it and wants more water. He wants to do something, I set it up for him, then it's something else. His attention span is short so if I even have the energy to try to muster up an exciting indoor activity, it lasts 30 seconds but takes me 10 min. to set it up, and then I have another mess to clean up. He goes from one level of the house to the other, taking toys/household objects with him. I try to set boundaries/limits but then I feel like I'm having a power struggle with him all day. I don't yell and I do use some occasional time-outs (for both of us!) and generally he can be a good listener, but on days when he doesn't nap, it feels like I'm constantly fighting against him.
I'm sure a lot of this is normal toddler behavior, but I have no idea how I'm going to manage this with a newborn!
Unfortunately lately to catch a break or to get something done without his fussing I've resorted to more screen time than I'd prefer to use. Thankfully all of the programs/movies are stuff I've chosen and I tend to talk to him while it's on so he's not just starting at a screen, but I feel guilty. If anyone has any ideas to keep my little guy more grounded, or to give me tools to better cope with his active personality, I'd appreciate it!
Another idea is to have DS help you but that usually slows down cooking/cleaning and may not be practical at the moment.
For napping, when you discover the secret let me know as napping has always been an issue with DD. The car worked for us for awhile and then didn't anymore. Trying quiet time instead of napping (stay in your bed with these books and/or stuffed animals until I come get you) has not really worked too well yet, but I think it may be where we are headed as she is really trying to drop her nap. Often times she needs to "win" something (getting up to go potty, having us get her a drink, turning the light off herself, etc.) before she will "give up" and go to sleep, not sure if that applies to you or not. And often one of us will try and put her down and she won't go, but once the other steps in she does. It is super frustrating, especially since I'm usually the one she won't go down for, but if it gets her to nap, we just do it.
For demanding things all day, start teaching him to wait (even just 30s or so). Also, anything he can do himself, try to get him to do himself, even if you fill up the water cup, have him come to you at the sink to get it. As for bouncing around from one activity to the next fast, the best way I have found to deal with this with DD is to have her clean up before moving onto the next activity or next room. He's not going to be able to clean by himself most likely at this age, but it gets them to slow down and for their to be a natural consequence to wanting to bounce from activity to activity. As for him wanting to play with all your household items, put limits on it, but don't limit everything. DD has one kitchen cupboard she is allowed to play in, the rest are strictly off-limits. She has to keep certain pathways clear of stuff so that we can all walk around the house. That sort of thing. Put gates up to keep him from moving around between floors at will. Definitely get him helping cleaning up for sure, even if he isn't able to really help much, he will soon enough and it is best to get him used to doing it ASAP.
Find a couple things that really hold your DS's attention and he really enjoys and save those for when you need them. DD loves to pretend to wash dishes, either in her high chair or with a chair next to the sink. She really will do this for a long time, almost always I have to call it quits. I usually give her a bowl with some water and a small amount of dish soap and some random safe items and she will pour, splash, wash, etc. forever. Same with pretending to cook in her own little bowl with safe-to-eat ingredients next to me with some random spoons, cups, etc. Letting her do this kind of stuff is fun for her and lets me get quite a bit done in the kitchen or nearby if she's in her highchair with minimal interaction needed from me. And while there is some mess to clean up, mostly it is water or some spilled dry ingredients, which are pretty easy to clean. For water play, I just take off everything but her diaper and let her go to town. For the food play, I just undress her in the kitchen and put new clothes on (usually I'll start it in the morning in her PJs and then we'll change into clothes for the day after). Also, sometime eating something that takes awhile (like a Popsicle) can be a nice break. Again, don't be afraid to diaper-only it if it is messy and bath straight after. Baths are another thing DD enjoys a lot and I can clean in the bathroom a bit while she is playing after I've cleaned her. Just some random ideas that might spark something for you.
Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13
My DD went through a stretch where she stopped napping. We have a gate on her bedroom door and she knows that naptime means go to your room. If she doesnt sleep, she will play. She gets to come out after an hour of play or whenever she's done sleeping, depending on which it is. It's wonderful and it was great time for me while I was pregnant to rest and relax. FYI, my husband reno'd our entire house, every single square foot of it, and I was a single parent during that time too (LOL) and I worked two jobs. I feel for ya - it sucks, but saves sooo much money!!
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