3 year old and newborn...AAAAAH - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-05-2014, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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3 year old and newborn...AAAAAH

I have a 3 year old and a 1 month old. So far, things have been hard but are getting better, however I am slightly freaking out at the thought of my wife going back to work in 2 weeks. I have no idea how I can take care of a baby and, as I call her, "extra feisty" 3 year old, at the same time. So far we have been having one parent with each kid, if one of us has both kids at once for a few min the 3 year old gets out of control, throwing all her toys, going through the cupbords and throwing everything out, or having a meltdown. Our baby is pretty mellow but does want to be held most of the time, not in a carrier. Also, we don't have a yard, so we have to walk 15 min or drive to get to a place where we can play outside, which stinks.
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#2 of 6 Old 08-05-2014, 05:01 PM
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Use these methods:


Direct your attention toward her acceptable behavior and her good behavior. In particular helpful behavior, helping with the baby, being kind to the baby. Show that you notice immediately when the behavior happens. Do this repeatedly and and often, with touch and enthusiasm. Be specific, not generic like "good job", say what you saw. No caboosing criticism on the end, no "but...".

Then, start pretending to ignore unwanted behavior that is harmless in the short run. Direct your attention to the positive opposite. When you start pretending to ignore the behavior may get worse for a few days, but then it will start getting better.

For behavior that can't be ignored, act to redirect it or maybe use short restrictions of activities that she likes to do a lot. Don't give it a lot of attention, interest, or face-time. Instead, act.
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#3 of 6 Old 08-06-2014, 08:15 AM
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When you say not a carrier, are you referring to babywearing or a carseat/swing? And if you are referring to babywearing, how many types of carriers have you tried out...ssc (soft structured carrier - there are numerous brands but tula, ergo, kinderpack and boba are a few), ring slings, wraps, mei-tais....sometimes it's a matter of finding a carrier style or position that baby is happiest in and that changes constantly as they age. Toddlers can also be quite happily worn in kinderpacks and tulas if baby needs more space to move and the toddler is also seeking attention but in the way.

The toddler is still adjusting to the shared attention but 3 is a great age for reinforcing independent play and more concentrated types of play like puzzles, association and memory games, art projects. Start now the two of you home introducing new activities and the second parent slips away while one stays with the two, but pops back in frequently in the beginning, but less as time goes on. Start looking for opportunities at libraries or museums for playdates....and consider the 15min walk a GOOD thing!!! Use that time to either walk to the destination (or tandem carry the kids or stroller if you choose) but the walking in itself is a great way to talk about various things with the toddler as you go, pick up leaves and flowers, point out colors or play "I Spy"....there is so much you can do on a walk!!
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#4 of 6 Old 08-06-2014, 12:09 PM
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I have been with my two (2.5 and 7 months) pretty much full-time for 5 months so I can give some advice. I have a "baby containment device" in each important room (whether that's a baby seat with something to bat at, the bumbo, a changing pad on the floor . . .). I separate them in the kitchen and other rooms by sitting the toddler on the counter and getting him involved.

When my oldest is getting out of control and unsafe, I either get up/leave the room with baby (after which he usually wants to "try again") or try to get him occupied with something fun and messy. I got him a baby doll of his own which helps a lot (calling it "your baby" and letting him call the shots with it). I use disposable diapers more often now, put potty training on hold, and I let the toddler watch age-appropriate tv shows while I put the baby to sleep. Get some one-on-one time with your oldest while the baby sleeps (play which chokeables, wrestle, etc.).

Trust me: it gets easier when the baby takes predictable naps, smiles, and can interact to some degree with your toddler. I also found that letting them be physical (safely - I look at the baby's face to see if it's safe, otherwise I'd be interfering constantly) makes them like each other more.

I recommend getting out of the house and seeing other adults and toddlers. If you walk to wherever you are thinking of, you will be happier and maybe run into someone (immediately exchange numbers if you like them). I recommend childcare trades, playdates, all of it. Consider yourself a hero if you get out of the house! It's really hard to have a baby and a toddler!
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#5 of 6 Old 08-12-2014, 09:03 PM
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Ha, I remember being in that boat...yeah, it was a big time royal suckathon. Time cured the worst of it, and the 3-year-old eventually became a 4-year-old and things got soooo much better. So hang in there, even if you do nothing at all, it gets better. But what helped me keep my sanity was getting out of the house frequently, and dropping all expectations about things being the way they were before (with just one kid). And of course the magic tincture of time.
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#6 of 6 Old 12-15-2014, 10:43 AM
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As mom to a 4.5 and a 1-year-old, I'm very glad to hear it gets better with time! I try to tell myself that several times a day, while keeping my expectations low for the present. I'm pretty much spending all my time keeping them safe and happy and the house in a reasonable state of cleanliness. It's tough right now, but only today I started to notice it getting better. With 14 m.o. DD starting to walk on her own and 4.5 y.o. DS playing quietly (wow! quiet!) for almost an hour. DD is finally at the stage where she can toddle up to DS, plop herself down and play with him without too much fuss. I hope this is a start of good things to come.
Good advice in this thread... no time to add anything new.
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