What is wrong with this child?! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 01-17-2008, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So here's the story:
I have been watching a friend's baby for about 4 months now. She is currently 9 mo. old. I have 18 month-old twins (b/g). I only have her once a week and often we will skip a week. Previous to her coming to our house she was watched at home by either her mom or dad so no real social experience.
Well, let's just say.... it's not going so well. The thing is, she seems miserable! She is VERY sensitive and I know the twins overwhelm her sometimes. But even things like today she put something inappropriate in her mouth and I said (as I usually do to my own kids) "no, no, not in your mouth" in a very sweet sing-songy voice. She burst into hesterics and would not stop for over an hour. I tried holding her, rocking her, talking to her, leaving her alone in the room she sleeps in (thinking maybe she just needed a break from us), everything I could think of. Are there babies that are just like this or do you think something is wrong with her?
In the four months she's been here I've never once seen her smiling, goo, babble, laugh, none of that cute baby stuff. She either has a terrified look on her face or is crying, and really we are nice people!!!! We sing songs, read books, play on the floor, I mean my own kids seem to have a ball and I love being a SAHM, it's not like I walk around in combat boots with a scowl on all day!
At first I thought she was just in an unfamililar place and needed to get used to us but that doesn't seem like it has happened yet. I know it is tough because we don't see each other very often. The other thing is that I've had her when she's sick, teething, etc. and none of that seems to change her disposition. Seriously, if either one of the twins had been like this as a baby I don't know what I would have done. I just feel bad because I feel like she is unhappy here but I don't really know how to tell her parents either. I'm wondering if it could be a sensory issue???? Well sorry for the rambling vent I just have no experience (luckily) with this type of child. TIA for any input.

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#2 of 13 Old 01-17-2008, 03:22 PM
 
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This sounds like my child. He is very high needs, and he is STILL this way if mom or dad are not there, at 14 mo. Can you wear her, or do something else non-stimulating? I know this might be really hard with your twins!
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#3 of 13 Old 01-17-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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When you say that you never saw the baby smile or babble - that's when I think smth. might not be right. I would try to talk to the parents, but be prepared for them not to be so receptive,maybe start by asking if she ever smiles with them - what makes her smile or when is she the happiest, etc. Then you can say that she seems very sensitive with you etc.
Hope everything is all right and it is just indeed a more sensitive baby.

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#4 of 13 Old 01-17-2008, 05:08 PM
 
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I think the parents should've known this long before 4 months passed.

I am having a similar issue with my own DD, although in my case, I am hoping that it really is just a matter of her getting used to the new environment. This was only her second week. She spends 2 days a week in the care of a wonderful provider, but she is unhappy most of the time she is there. Previously, she had been home with my mom because DH and I work full time. It breaks my heart, but I am not sure what else to do. The new arrangement really is awesome for her, but she doesn't see it in the same way we do.

Obviously, I don't have any advice, but I'd like to know what others think.
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#5 of 13 Old 01-17-2008, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Adrienne, I can sympathize with you. That is partly the reason I haven't said anything directly to the parents yet: I know it is the best situation for her to be with us because the only alternative is daycare which I really don't think she could handle. So I want it to work out. I have asked them some things to try to gain a little insight but it is hard for them to give me real specifics because she is their first and only child and I think when she is at home with them (which is 90% of the time) things are fine. Sometimes its ok--right now the 3 of them are playing on the floor together. But we just got back from a walk and she cried every time the carriage stopped. Then she'd stop and start again. I tried holding her when she really started crying and she would stop..... whimper for a little then go back to crying, and over and over. She sort of reminds me of a fussy newborn but she's 9 mo. old. Thanks for your advice all.

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#6 of 13 Old 01-17-2008, 06:36 PM
 
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Regardless of how great the care is, the parents have every right to know that their LO is unhappy. I would be really upset if DD cried all day when I was gone and I wasn't told...

DD is only 4 months, but maybe only seeing you once a week makes it just like being with a new person for her? I'm wondering if it were more regular if she'd get more used to it. Maybe the shift in her normal routine throws her off?
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#7 of 13 Old 01-17-2008, 06:44 PM
 
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Am I wrong, or isn't 9 mo. around the time when real seperation anxiety kicks in?
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#8 of 13 Old 01-17-2008, 08:46 PM
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some children are just sensitive. My son cries when you say something to him that starts with a No.... even with the nicest voice I have. I can even say "Zachary honey... please dont..." and before I can finish the sentence he's crying... He is getting better with it as he gets older... I wouldn't worry about her too much just yet... give her a little time... it may also be that she's just not used to you... you said she only goes about once a week... and kids that age dont really have a great memory.
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#9 of 13 Old 01-17-2008, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I agree with most of you that she probably doesn't ever get a chance to get comfortable with us or used to the whole situation (leaving her home, being somewhere else for the whole day) because it occurs so infrequently. And that is part of the reason I haven't come to the point where I would tell her parents it isn't working out. Don't get me wrong, by-no-means do I lie to them and tell them she was all smiles! I tell them exactly how the day went and try to give them my insight on why "she seemed overwhelmed.... I think she forgot us....." etc. In a way I'm glad she doesn't have to leave her parents very often but I do think that is what makes it harder. That and I think she is just a very different kind of kid than I am used to.

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#10 of 13 Old 01-17-2008, 11:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panthira View Post
Am I wrong, or isn't 9 mo. around the time when real seperation anxiety kicks in?
:

My dd was sensitive and starting at around 9 months was nearly impossible to have in daycare. It took a lot of time and patience and we switch DCP's 3 times because she was just too high needs for some places. Ultimately though we found a great place, AND around 14-15 months she grew out of it.
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#11 of 13 Old 01-18-2008, 03:46 AM
 
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Poor little babe just sounds sensitive/high-needs. Be gentle with her, she needs someone who is willing to work with her personality instead of against it. My son is spirited/high-needs and this is one of the reasons I don't leave him with anyone. I worry that they would think something was wrong with him, LOL.

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#12 of 13 Old 01-18-2008, 12:41 PM
 
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How does she react when the parents come to pick her up at the end of the day?

I have worked as an Infant teacher for about 5 years in a high quality early education centre. I have met and worked with many different personalities in infants. My first instinct is that because she doesn't see you on a regular basis and she is hitting that stranger anxiety/separation anxiety phase that this is what is going on. However stating that you have never seen her smile even at a younger age is an observation not to be ignored. Even in highly sensitive, slow to warm up infants I have managed to get a little smile when they are engaged in an activity they really love, or when I am signing, or when the parents come to get them.

If I were in your shoes I would be documenting my observations and sharing them with the parents. I would also be paying close attention to how she reacts when she sees her parents at the end of the day.

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#13 of 13 Old 01-18-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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It worries me that a 9-month-old is so sensitive to the word "no." I hate to say it, but it makes you wonder what kind of treatment is attached to that word at home.
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