I hate how I'm treating my toddler since DS2 was born - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 12-03-2013, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know if I should post this here or in the toddler forum but here goes. My title says it all; I have a 4yo and a six week old and I'm starting to be awful to my toddler. Nothing he's doing is anything other than typical 4yo behavior, especially with a new sibling, but it's driving me crazy and I hate the way I'm handling it.

For example, DS1 has slept in my bed since he was born. He has his own room now and goes to bed there but always comes into bed with the baby and me during the night, at which point he makes noise and usually wakes the baby or sometimes his pull-up leaks and we have to deal with that. If I ask him to go to the potty or walk down the hall for something he screams and wakes the baby on purpose. Then I get so angry. I'm just so tired and have such a short fuse. Even the little noises he makes when he's not even trying to disturb the baby are getting on my nerves. It's awful. It's like he can't do anything right. :'-(

My DH works out of town most days and is not home at night. So I'm alone through all of this. During the day I have some help but DS1 is still relentlessly trying to get my attention. I try to give it to him but I also have a baby to care for. Today, DS1 even started spitting on me to try and get my attention! Of course I didn't handle that very well. I have never hit him or been verbally abusive but I will yell and give him a nasty look. I don't try to give him that look but I know it's awful.

I'm sure hormones are playing a role in this. Please be kind in your responses. I can't handle much right now. :'-(

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#2 of 9 Old 12-03-2013, 04:37 PM
 
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((((HUGS))))

 

I think you need to change some expectations so you don't drive yourself crazy when expectations aren't met. He's 4. It's completely age-appropriate for him to start out in his own bed and join you in the middle of the night. If his pull-ups are leaking, then he needs something more absorbent at night. If you're using disposables, then Goodnights are a better choice than pull-ups."Making" him go to the potty in the middle of the night is also a non-issue if his nighttime diaper is absorbent enough.  I would allow him in your bed but make it clear that he needs to be quiet and let the baby (and you!) sleep. 

 

That was my rule with Hannah (then 5.5) when Jack was born- she could climb into my bed in the middle of the night but she could not wake me up!!!!


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#3 of 9 Old 12-03-2013, 05:02 PM
 
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Oh Dalia, I know exactly how you're feeling. I feel like I've been a monster to my 2 year old since his brother was born two months ago. I don't have a whole lot of advice to offer you, but I wanted to let you know that I understand what you're feeling and I think it's completely normal.

Some of the things I've been trying: repeating to myself that he's only 2, that his needs are still important. Deep breathing, taking a time out for myself. I find getting out to a mom and tot playgroup is really helpful, too. Or just changing the scene by going for a walk or a drive, or maybe taking a bath together.

Also, I think we need to be gentle on ourselves. We're only human, afterall. Hormones and lack of sleep probably all play a part. I've been advised over and over on these boards to make sure I'm eating and drinking plenty., as I'm nursing both of my boys.

Hope things get better for you.
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#4 of 9 Old 12-03-2013, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you ladies. It helps so much to know I'm not alone.

Let me just be clear and say I don't have any expectations of my DS other than for him to be four and act like a four year old. He knows he is totally welcome in my room and I know that his pull up leaking is not his fault. It is tough because he will not do ANYTHING I ask most of the time, but I also see that as age appropriate.

I know I'm wrong, but I am having such a challenge changing when I'm in the middle of it. I feel like I'm damaging my child. :'-(

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#5 of 9 Old 12-04-2013, 06:43 AM
 
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I also find it really difficult to change my behaviour as it's happening. Sometimes I'm aware of it but I still find myself taking my frustration out on DS1. Other times, the words are out of my mouth before I can think about it. I always apologize to him and explain why mommy was angry. The amount of sleep I get plays a big factor. I'm sorry you don't have help at night. Nights can be so difficult! My DH is home nights, but I still do pretty much all of the nighttime parenting. Last night was a bad one for me, and DS1 was wide awake at 4:30, so I'm already dreading this day.

I know it doesn't help you, but I feel better knowing someone else is experiencing this, too! Hugs to you, Mama.
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#6 of 9 Old 12-04-2013, 07:26 AM
 
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Dalia, I'm sorry you are going through this. :Hug

 

Four is the "Mom, Mom, Mom, MOOOOM, look at me, look at me, look at me, look at me, MOOOOOOOOOOOOM!" age. It's kind of difficult without a newborn in the mix.

 

My older two were only 26 months apart, so my older child's antics were "age appropriate" for a 2 year old. One expects some.... irritating behavior from 2 year olds, especially through the filter of having a newborn, newborn hormones and being sleep deprived. I can imagine how difficult it would be with a more "mature" child who still is a young child and doesn't really understand why you don't have all the time in the world for him. Kids are self centered, I think that goes without saying. It's age appropriate, but still difficult at times.

 

I found with my first two that making things really fun while the baby was awake worked better for us. Then the older child thought, "Oh, fun things happen with Baby is awake." And she looked forward to that time, rather than wishing the baby were asleep or not there at all. I also would have us both nap during the baby's naps. Oh how I prayed for both kids to nap at the same time. They went through stages where they took turns napping so I never had a peaceful moment. I swear they plotted it! (Yeah. A 2 year old and a newborn had a spread sheet and CIA style planning to keep me on my toes and awake all the time.....) I also sometimes did some things with the 2 year old that we didn't do frequently, like finger painting (I hate finger painting) on rare occasion when the baby napped, as these were things we couldn't do with a new baby in arms easily. It's also difficult because of the weather, I don't know where you live, but a new baby just as winter is arriving can be difficult when you can't get outside easily. Maybe taking a short walk with baby bundled in the sling and 4 year old bundled will help him burn off some energy. Even if it's just around the block. Or even a trip to the mall. I found getting OUT with both kids energizing (and exhausting at the same time.) But at least we changed our mood and got out of the house. Cabin Fever setting in early this year is really hard for everyone.

 

I don't have any answers for you. I just know it's hard. Sometimes working at "catching them being 'good'" works in times like these. So you 4 year old knows you are "looking at" him and paying attention. Maybe some really dedicated time with him, at a time when the baby would be happy to just hang out in the sling, so he can get the attention and recognition 4 year olds need would be helpful. Making puppets for a puppet show he can put on would be fun. I found out the hard way that I had to let the kids know ahead of time the puppet show will have a time limit. About 15 minutes is about it. I would let them know ahead of time, and set a timer, otherwise we'd be there all day. The kids could play with the puppets after of course, but I made it clear I was only going to be a captive audience for a specified period of time. This kind of thing plays right into the need for "Look at me!" 4s have.

 

Does he go to Nursery School or PreSchool? I found that really helpful for all my kids, but when DD1 started PreSchool when DD2 was a year old, it gave us a break from each other a few times a week for an hour or two and gave me time to have alone time with the baby, do some shopping or rest, if someone else was picking her up from preschool. It's usually only an hour and a half or two hours 2-3 times a week in most Nursery Schools, but it provides the older child with some social time and may cut down on the burn out you are experiencing.

 

One more suggestion: Is your 4 year old in Pull Ups during the day or just at night? I found my kids did really well with cloth training pants (the ones with the really thick middles) during the day, before they were using the toilet, because Pull Ups don't feel wet. A few accidents with wet pants in mid winter and my kids learned pretty quickly how uncomfortable it was to have cold pee running down your leg, and that it was preferable to use the toilet consistently.  (With two of them, DD 2 was one of those kids who learned to use the potty overnight herself.) If he's only in Pull Ups at night, it may be more difficult. Maybe make using the potty before we get in bed with Mama and the Baby a prerequisite would help. We had a "use the potty before getting into bed with Mama and Papa, even with toddlers in cloth diapers and it helped a lot with middle of the night changing of sheets. You said he screams if asked, but I would go potty myself, (to "show them Mama does it too") and make the potty before bed sharing non-negotiable. Of course, it depends on the temperament of the child, if it's going to turn into a power struggle, it would be useless (you could try 3 nights, working on being really non-emotional about any of his outbursts if you can) and see how it works) so then going to a more absorbent diaper and/or a new diaper might help.

 

Hugs, Mama. This is a rough time. I hope things get better. :goodvibes 


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#7 of 9 Old 12-04-2013, 09:31 PM
 
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Oh I've been there! Even if you don't think you are, you are doing a good job. Going from one to two is a huge adjustment for everyone, you included!! When I had my second it was very difficult for me to deal with DS1. He annoyed me more than I care to admit. I think that's natural though... you have a baby who you need to protect with all of your instincts and sometimes a toddler doesn't mesh with those plans. Something that helped me was making time for alone time with DS1 whenever possible. It sounds like you have a lot on your shoulders, but even finding 10-20 minutes of time a day to bond with your older son will do wonders. Maybe when the baby is napping. That helped me re-solidify my relationship with my older son.


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#8 of 9 Old 12-04-2013, 10:41 PM
 
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This. I yell and give terrible attitude face a LOT. She's just so ANNOYING. Was she always this annoying?! I don't remember thinking so while pregnant. She was my sweet baby. Then she all the sudden became the annoyance. The one who shakes the bassinet when baby is sleeping. Who throws books at baby. Splashes her in the bath. Kisses her too hard on the face CONSTANTLY. Etc. Etc.


Mine turns 4 on a few weeks. I don't even want to have a bday party for her. Sooooooo fed up with her crazy behavior. Also with the unpredictability of the baby (3mo) sidelining me at every chance to reconnect. I hate this age. I do. I know it's all normal for a 4yo. Especially when a new sib is added.

I could have written this post. Omigawd. Just commiserating mostly. Due to crazy freak out tantrums we keep the baby far away from the oldest at night. I've been delegated to the twin bed which my DH and I both know DD1 will *eventually* sleep in. This means he puts DD1 to bed while I deal with baby. We've officially weaned though it's been forced and she still asks for it. It's all very sad for me but heck, 4 years (almost!) is a great run and had became a bit too much while pregnant and now especially while dealing with a new nursing. DD1 won't share my lap. Tandem nursing was very painful. DD1 also won't just lay down to sleep and asks to be rocked to music. So now DH is forced dead tired to rock a 30+ pound kid for 45 minutes a night. It's very hard on him. I'm up with a fussy baby on/off till 3am sometimes!

My question... Not to hijack but... Does your DPs take naps? Mine pretty much refuses or acts like I won't actually let him take one. It's frustrating when you feel like you just cannot help a person suffering from lack of sleep because they won't allow the help!

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#9 of 9 Old 12-05-2013, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When my DH is home he takes naps. A lot of them. I'm not saying he doesn't help out because he really does, but the man can sleep. I'm the one who rarely naps. I just can't seem to calm down enough. I'm also apparently made out of titanium and have some kind of super powers because I should honestly not be functioning on so little sleep. Oh wait, I'm NOT functioning! Lol

I went to the doc and got some calming herbs and I have the therapist on Monday. I was so mean to my sweet boy night before last that I must take action. I've realized this is about me, not him. It's PPD and lack of sleep.

It's 5am and DS1 just went back to sleep after being awake for two hours (baby sleeping). I handled it great. Thank god for small miracles!!!

One night at a time. :'-)

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