26 month old ran out of store and into street - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-03-2010, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Help! I have no idea how to handle this. My son has been acting out in a lot of ways the last 3 days, which i think is due to cutting his molars, and the fact that his dad and older sister (my SD) just left town for 2 weeks. Also, the night before my DH left, he was home with DS while i took his daughter out to dinner. DS was very fussy, getting into everything, and could not sleep, and DH was stressed and got overly frustrated when DS bit him on the knee. (pushed him back so he fell on the floor and yelled) I am adding that in because I don't know how much whatever stress from that evening with his dad has affected him.

Last evening he did something he has never done before. He picked up 2 1$ toys at a store, and i was telling him he needed to put one back. We have been working on this lately, and usually after some reluctance, he gives whatever it is up. This time, he darted towards the front door of the store, and ran out, into the 5 MPH parking lot street, which is usually very busy. Often people speed, but amazingly i caught him and no one was coming from either direction.

Of course he didn't get a toy. I firmly told him what he did was very naughty and very dangerous and he could have been hurt, and how, and how he must stay with mommy in the store etc etc. I did not let him down for the next 10 min. because i had to pay for what i came in for. I kept talking to him about it. He seemed to sense the fear in my voice, which i understand is an important part of getting across danger discipline.

I have never yelled at or spanked my child, though i have done time out maybe 2-3 times. Most people think of me as a very laid back, permissive mom, but i just try to be very in-tune, sensitive, and use age appropiate gentle discipline.

DS has always been a sweet baby, but also has always had an extremely strong will, which is compounded by the fact he is over the 100% percentile in size, and has tons of persistance. Because he can get easily frustrated at times i have always tried to keep a calm attitude about things that don't really matter, and try to create as much of a yes environment as possible. DH is getting more or more on board after coming from raising his first 2 children with yelling, spanking, CIO, etc.

I feel like it is very difficult for me to go anywhere- i am so scared after how easiy my child could have been killed last night. Today i took him to the farmers market and even though i talked to him ahead of time about staying with mama, and holding my hand or onto the stroller, he kept trying to get away. He loves to go there and helps me pick things out, so it is usually an occasion for him to be good. We were going to get O.J. but while we waited he kept knocking all the stuff down at the stand over and over and do i told him we were now not going to get juice and why and that we were going to leave, and i put him in the car and repeated why we did not get juice since he was still asking for juice.

Besides the whole running away/not staying with mama thing, here are some other things i need help with:

1.) if you tell him "no" or do something he dosen't like, he spits at you, like a raspberry spit, like a toddler way of saying "fuck you!"

2.) if he is done eating or dosen't like something, he spits it out onto the floor.

3.) the constant dumping!!! if you give him a snack, he dumps it out all over the floor. the same with everything else, and if can access a glass of water, the same thing. he has been doing this for over a year!

4.) he is getting to the point where he likes to have his diaper off but will take it off and pee on the floor and won't have anything to do with the potty chair or the big toilet.

5.) aggression with us. this is better except for times like this. hitting, biting, kicking, scratching are still happening on occasion.

6.) raspberry spitting...sometimes he does it in our faces in a playful way which we tell him we don't like and put him down. sometimes he also does it when people say hi to him, or to other kids.

Most of the time, he is a very sweet, loving, energetic boy who is very charming. he is def. spirited and a handful but always has been. he is talking and seems to understand directions. when you say no he often acts like he dosen't hear you. He is still pretty clingy and likes to be held, but is getting more and more independent.

I am committed to raising my child gently, with no yelling, hitting, threats or other things like that. i also want to raise a kind, respectful child, but with his spirit and self-esteem fully intact.

my husband is getting more on my side by seeing how other ways do not work with our child, and if you yell at him, he just tends to keep repeating the undesired behavior. my husbands personality is intense and DS often has worse behavior around DH. I have tried very hard to be the very stable, calm and consistant one and hope i have not erred on the side of being overly gentle.

DS still bed-shares with me, he was induced with cervadil at 42 weeks, i have diabetes, he has had no vax's, he is very healthy, but had a bad first year of ear infections and always has difficulty sleeping. he stopped napping near his 2nd birthday but is starting again. both DH and i have some mental health history, though we are both quite stable, and i was on medications before my pregnancy. there was a lot of tension between DH and i esp. DS's first year. My SD is very loud, rough, and a very brusque personality. DS does watch Kipper, Thomas etc at rest times, but i am weaning him from screen time (though he has a lot when dad watches him.) He also has had sugar in his diet but i am weaning the entire household off sugar, processed food etc little by little. He does drink "juice"- which is about 1/8 of a cup full of water. I am sharing all this just because i want to provide as many clues as possible into things which might affect behavior.

His day is not really structured but i think it is very predictable. Bedtime is the same routine, and the same approx time. I take him out to the park many times a week, and play with him, and let him explore and give him tons of attention.

I am just really freaked out about what happened last night, and need ideas, or at least just support. Tomorrow we have to be around my family for easter and i know i will get some unsolicited advice from my mom and sisters and i need some support!!!! Thanks for reading- i know this is very long.

Bonnie, married to David, mother of Loki born 1/12/08, step-mom of Aislinn, Waldorf student born 1998, nanny, student birth doula, working PP doula, still bed-sharing, SAHM.
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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Good news. *A couple months ago he was doing that nakey, poop on the floor thing. *I just read on here that a mom was trying to wean her dd off of "potty-candy". *I thought potty candy, ds rarely gets sugar. *That would work. *All week long he's been using the potty every time. *(except one day out of the house) No arguing. *No accidents. *He just goes and then tells me it's done. It was time. *So that crazy behavior is just pre-potty. *You're guy's close to fully training himself judging by that behavior.
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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They sure are escape artists, eh? Managing to get two toys, run through the store, out the door and into the road that quick! No wonder those leash thingies are so popular!

On that particular behavior, I don't see how you could do anything else, at the time or now, other than try to catch his arm when he bolts.

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:46 PM
 
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At least for the bolting, you can get a backpack leash to keep him within reach without having to hold onto his hand or arm.

Equuskia in with Nodtveidt DD1 : DD2 :
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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A 26 mo child doesn't have the impulse control to not go running out of the store if that's what gets into his head. You have to find ways of making sure that he's safe. Keep him in a baby carrier or stroller. Hold his hand. Only let him walk around if the door of the store is shut (and he is unable to open it). Go shopping with another person who is designated to watch him constantly.

The other things...
Quote:
1.) if you tell him "no" or do something he dosen't like, he spits at you, like a raspberry spit, like a toddler way of saying "f@#$ you!"
Uh... normal. Not a big deal, IMO. You can model appropriate responses for him - like "no thank you", etc.
Quote:
2.) if he is done eating or dosen't like something, he spits it out onto the floor.
Also normal and age-appropriate. Give him words to use instead ("all done"). Get him to help you wipe it up.

Quote:
3.) the constant dumping!!! if you give him a snack, he dumps it out all over the floor. the same with everything else, and if can access a glass of water, the same thing. he has been doing this for over a year!
You guessed it... normal! Give him very small portions and sippy cups to minimize the mess. Again, you can try to get him to help you wipe up the spill (my ds loves to wipe things!).

Quote:
4.) he is getting to the point where he likes to have his diaper off but will take it off and pee on the floor and won't have anything to do with the potty chair or the big toilet.
Oh yay - sounds like he's on the road to potty training! If you aren't prepared for no-dipe pee on the floor time then try dressing him in onesies (some companies make them to quite large sizes) and/or overalls.

Quote:
5.) aggression with us. this is better except for times like this. hitting, biting, kicking, scratching are still happening on occasion.
More normal. Constant reiteration that it's not ok to hit/bite etc. Be on the look-out for signs that he might be getting ready to act out aggressively so that you can move out of the way and not get hurt. Shadow him when he's playing with other kids so you can prevent anyone else from getting hurt.

Quote:
6.) raspberry spitting...sometimes he does it in our faces in a playful way which we tell him we don't like and put him down. sometimes he also does it when people say hi to him, or to other kids.
Sounds like you're handling it well. I would try to keep my voice very neutral - to not give any kind of "exciting" reaction when he does this. Just "I don't like that" and put him down sounds good to me.

The good news - sounds like all of the behavioural issues you are dealing with are totally normal and age-appropriate. The bad news - even so the toddler years can be a beast!

Good luck mama.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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Old 04-03-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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I too had a bolter at that age. I bought a little backpack that had a clip on leash and used it religiously. It was so hard to get over my own aversion to them at first, but he bolted for two super busy streets on two seperate occasions with me screaming at the top of my lungs for him to stop and he would not stop. Luckily on both occasions, a stranger was there that grabbed him just before he ran in front of a vehicle, but I will always have nightmares of him being killed on those streets without that help. After the second one (it really should have been after the first), I bought the leash, and would occasionally practice with him in safe areas off-leash, but otherwise, it was hold my hand, sit in the stroller or use the backpack with his "tail".

It eventually got to the point where he would hold his own "tail" and walk beside me, or we would loop it over our arm and hold hands. He LOVED that thing. It really didn't take as long as I thought it would to get him to not bolt either. Maybe six months? Now he is three and has been able to walk beside me without bolting for at least six months.

I do remember that fear though. It is a visual that you will never forget, even though it all turned out ok.

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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Old 04-04-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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1. Normal and he'll grow out of it as you model "no, thank you"

2. We've been having some luck with "food goes on a plate" we also ask dd to pick up the pieces to put on the plate or in the trash. She'll come to me when she's having trouble chewing and apple, for instance, so she can spit the pieces into my hand. But we've been working on this for awhile and it's still about 20% stuff going on the floor.

3. A child who is dumping is a child who needs to be playing dumping games. Get beans, rice, sand, cups, water, and set him up in the kitchen or your yard and let him go to town. Doing that daily (or several times a day) will eventually help get the need to dump *everything* out of his system. Also, if it's something you don't want dumped, swoop it away from him and tell him it needs to stay on the table/is for drinking/whatever you want him to do with it.

4. Definitely getting ready to potty learn. Play games where you take his stuffed animals to the potty. Have them get involved in playing and then have wet pants, have them make plans to go to the store so they use the potty first, etc.

5.Normal. I suck at this one. Mainly because dd is so fast it's hard to dodge her even when I see it coming. Since I'm reacting after the fact I go "Ouch! " and that sometimes changes her mood from being frustrated and angry to being consoling. Which calms things down so I can look at why she ended up frustrated. But definitely try to avoid it instead.

6. Maybe he wants to be funny when he greets people? Could you see if he'd go for doing a weird wave or saying some nonsense words? (Or real words, "koh-nee-chee-wah" sounds pretty odd if you don't know Japanese ;D)

Oh, and if he bolts *that* fast, definitely a leash unless he absolutely abhors it worse than staying in a cart the whole shopping trip.
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:19 AM
 
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DD was fast like that. She's 3 now, and I still don't totally trust her although it's been a while since she's bolted. I don't know how you can do anything other than be really vigilant and ready to physically restrain him - a kid that age just isn't going to be able to process the verbal instruction and then reliably follow it. We never used one of those leashes, but I've come 180 degrees on what I think about them - used to sneer at them, now I think they look totally practical.

All the other stuff sounds a lot like DS, who is 22 months. ANNOYING! But I think the PP's are right, it's normal. All I can say is, the more even-keeled I can respond to it, no matter how it is that I choose to respond (for example asking him to help clean up what he spits vs. just me doing it), the better. I feel better, and he doesn't get that little glint in his eyes he gets when he can see he's ticked me off. Sometimes I try really hard to pretend that it didn't get my goat, and this often has the magical effect of making it true.
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:35 AM
 
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With my little brother, my parents worked with him to stop instantly on "halt" so he'd still dash, but they could stop him before he got anywhere dangerous.

How they did it was based on him loving hugs and cuddles (he was/is quite kinethestic).

Mom would hold him while Dad waited a bit away (really close to start, farther as he got better at stopping)
Mom would put him down, he'd dart, Mom would say "halt!" and Dad would scoop him up and snuggle him while going on about how he stopped for halt woo hoo!!

Then Dad'd set him down and give the command and Mom'd scoop him up.

Over and over and over and over, day after day after day. Basically as a planned playtime with him because it was a great game for a little runner who liked snuggles.

They gradually lengthened the distance and lengthened the time between giving the order* to stop and giving him physical help to stop. And when he was pretty consistent they reduced how often they did a big cuddle/wrestle when he stopped (obviously, still giving tons of snuggles each day as always )
*if you cringe at the word "order" remember that this was to let him go for walks without running into a busy road

Anyway, I don't remember any of that, just what my Mom has told me they did, but when he was 5 and I was 10, I could take him along super-busy roads for walks.

Oh, and they worked on it until it wasn't a matter of
Parent: Halt!
Child's reaction: My parent has said "halt" what does that mean? oh, yes, I should stop. do I want to stop?

and more
Parent: Halt!
Child's body: Stop
Child's reaction: whoa, I'm stopped, hey look Mommy's holding my hand now
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:35 AM
 
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Honestly mama, you're looking for a lot of 'explanations' for perfectly NORMAL two year old behavior! It's not anything that you are or are not doing.

I second (or third?) the backpack type harness. They're essential if you have a runner on your hands. And start playing Red Light, Green Light at home. My older kids know to freeze if I call out "Red Light!" in public.

It will get easier. This is a hard hard age where they want to assert their independence, but don't necessarily have the skills to do everything they want to do. They get frustrated easily.

Wife to a great DH, SAHM to 3 great kids
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