I have no idea what to do - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 07-16-2010, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Really, I don't. I suspect all of this falls under "normal" behavior and that the fault lies with my total inexperience with toddlers, but I am really struggling with my 17 month old DD. She is an intense, high needs baby and has been since birth. She doesn't entertain herself AT ALL - it's mama time all the time. She needs me to sleep with her to get her down for a nap, she needs constant interaction all of the time. Long story short, on a good day, I'm tired.

Lately, she's testing her boundaries at every chance she can get. She climbs the kitchen table, the toilet seat, the chair - if she can get on it, she will try. She knows she's not supposed to - she watches for a reaction. I remove her, tell her it's not safe and try and redirect her. 3.4 seconds later, she's back up.

She's hitting a lot. I tell her that we don't hit each other, demonstrate proper touching, explain it hurts - no reaction except she laughs. If I make a sad face, it's even funnier.

Today she has bit me, without exaggeration, close to 10 times when nursing. She chomps down, looks up at my face and *pulls*. Honest to God, it took everything in my willpower not to throw her off the bed. I've stopped nursing her (just makes her cry), made sad faces (makes her laugh), walked out of the room - doesn't seem to be getting through at all.

Basically, today has been a crap day where it seems abundantly clear I am not cut out for this. I have no idea what to do with this child and I just want to escape, which makes me feel horribly guilty. What are you supposed to do with a toddler who is running the show? I try my best to be AP and GD, but I think I'm failing on all fronts. I would love to have time to read 30 books on the subject, but I don't get 5 minutes to myself a day, so I'm totally lost.
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#2 of 12 Old 07-16-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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You're not failing at this. You have a 17 month old. I know this is small consolation, but this is all totally normal. It's her job to test her boundaries. It's how she's growing and learning about the world. Doesn't make it any easier than you, but trust me, you're doing OK.

Is there any way your DH can take over, even for just 10-15 minutes each day, so you can have some time to yourself? Not time alone to read about GD, but time to actually remember yourself as human. That may go a long way towards refreshing you so that you can live to fight another day!

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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#3 of 12 Old 07-16-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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I would just give a loud, startling "ouch!!" (which would be my natural reaction anyway) and put dd on the couch or bed, turning away from her or standing up and walking across the room, repeating "ouch." I would repeat it each and every time she bit, even if she cried. I would then quickly recover and pick her up so she didn't feel abandoned, and return her to the breast. It is a perfectly natural consequence, and you shouldn't have to be a chew toy!

Mom to Delia  (5/25/07) and Alex  (4/10/10) and 2 spoiled kitties
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#4 of 12 Old 07-16-2010, 11:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ps4624 View Post
She needs me to sleep with her to get her down for a nap, she needs constant interaction all of the time. Long story short, on a good day, I'm tired.
DS was like this. My DH worked a lot and as a SAHM with VERY few support people around me I did everything and was exhausted. Start working slowly to have her spend time with others (best that you are not there at all) and it will get better.

"Lately, she's testing her boundaries at every chance she can get. She climbs the kitchen table, the toilet seat, the chair - if she can get on it, she will try. She knows she's not supposed to - she watches for a reaction. I remove her, tell her it's not safe and try and redirect her. 3.4 seconds later, she's back up."

This is what a 17 month old does. If you have time to read just a couple of articles go to www.naturalchild.org. Under Articles choose Living with Children and read Born to Explore by Missy Willis and then go back to the section titled Gentle Guidance and read Toddlers: To Tame or to Trust by Naomi Aldort. There are lots of other great articles there that only take a few minutes a piece to read. Maybe you could pick one a day to give you some new ideas.
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#5 of 12 Old 07-17-2010, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If you have time to read just a couple of articles go to www.naturalchild.org. Under Articles choose Living with Children and read Born to Explore by Missy Willis and then go back to the section titled Gentle Guidance and read Toddlers: To Tame or to Trust by Naomi Aldort. There are lots of other great articles there that only take a few minutes a piece to read. Maybe you could pick one a day to give you some new ideas.
Thanks for the link - I've reviewed a couple of articles and this is exactly what I needed. Obviously, I'm just having a doozy of day, but your suggestions and empathy (and a good long cry on the couch) have helped a lot.
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#6 of 12 Old 07-17-2010, 12:46 AM
 
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(((hug)))

I could have written your exact scenario when my DD was that age ... and actually my son does a lot of this now and he's a bit younger.

Just remember that some days are hard, some days are harder and some days you feel like being a mom is a breeze! Fortunately, the love and dedication for your child is what gets you through it. Being a mom, especially a nursing/AP one, can be extremely draining physically and emotionally. You are doing everything right.

It's difficult when you are responsible for a tiny person that is just starting to learn about the world around them. They don't say thank you. They don't understand patience. Your selfless acts feel unnoticed and unappreciated. Not to mention feeling like you don't have a moment to think - let alone space to yourself without being touched or needed!!

You ARE doing an amazing job. And you WILL get through this because every day is different and stages come and go. Keep your chin up and know that you are a wonderful mama doing the best she can and one day you will feel like all of your sacrifices were worth it!!! We ALL have days like this!

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#7 of 12 Old 07-17-2010, 12:56 AM
 
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http://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Life.../dp/0028740173

This book helped me A TON. Instead of trying to tell the reader how to "fix" the child, Lieberman just explains what it's like being a toddler, their motivations, etc. I was so tired of being told how I should parent, when I first needed this book (and I still reference it often) I found it refreshing that it was mostly all theory.
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#8 of 12 Old 07-17-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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I want to add that if you AP/co-sleep, which I do, just ignore Lieberman's position about sleeping arrangements. I don't, however, think her position, which I disagree with, nullifies the good information in the rest of the book.
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#9 of 12 Old 07-17-2010, 02:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tammylsmith View Post
I would just give a loud, startling "ouch!!" (which would be my natural reaction anyway) and put dd on the couch or bed, turning away from her or standing up and walking across the room, repeating "ouch." I would repeat it each and every time she bit, even if she cried. I would then quickly recover and pick her up so she didn't feel abandoned, and return her to the breast. It is a perfectly natural consequence, and you shouldn't have to be a chew toy!
This is what helped my dd stop the biting phase when she was 10 months, though I didn't do the ouch after the first time because that was too traumatic for her. It only took a day to work, if it hadn't I seriously would have weaned her because it hurt more than I could take. I still remember the pain and horror of that day years later and I never want to go through anything like that again. You are very brave to keep going! If she is playing I would suggest not putting her back on the breast but doing something else to entertain her until she gives cues for hunger again.
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#10 of 12 Old 07-17-2010, 02:42 AM
 
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You are doing a wonderful job!

Yes it is normal behavior but you need a break from it. I hope someone in your life can give that to you.

Please get advice on nursing problems--you can't continue nursing being bitten 10 times a day. There must be an effective tactic that works.

Try to create a 'yes' space for the two of you. I kid you not, when my son was that age we had maybe 5 pieces of furniture that were bolted to the wall, padded foam on all sharp edges, and a lock on the toilet, fridge, oven, all doors, all closets, you get the idea and not one other thing in the house except his toys. If an object was a problem we got rid of it or nailed it shut. The point-I could actually turn my back on ds and there was no way for him to kill himself if I took my eyes off him for a minute. Sounds extreme, but it made life much easier. LOL--I actually bought industrial strength velcro and attached the tv to the tv stand with it. My son got into EVERYTHING at that age.

He was also a terrible hitter, just awful at that age.

He is now a very lovable and gentle teenager--they do outgrow all of this

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#11 of 12 Old 07-18-2010, 02:54 AM
 
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There's a book called "Things To Do with Toddlers and Twos" and another book called, "More Things to Do with Toddlers and Twos". Both are by Karen ******.

My library system has them so yours might too.

When my kids were that age, I used lots of ideas out of these books to set up simple things for my kids to play with so I tried to keep them busy with age appropriate educational play.

Kids this age are into exploring, exploring, exploring so I tried to direct their exploring into things that I chose and were fun for them.

Another thing that may help is for you to get more breaks. I used to take Tuesday nights out every week when my kids were young and I was with them all day, every week. As soon as my husband would arrive home after work, I headed out the door and didn't come home 'til 10 pm.

Try to find ways to nurture yourself, even if it's in a small way everyday. It's hard being the parent of a toddler.
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#12 of 12 Old 07-20-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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Lots of good advice here.

Do you have something she CAN climb on? play structure or slide or...
Redirect her to that (every time) she climbs on something else.

AND LOTS of climbing/large muscle activity.

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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