Some support and guidance with toddler please? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-28-2005, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi there -

I am a long-time lurker but new member. And to be honest, I am at my wit's end with DD, 27 months.....but I have faith that you GD mamas will have some insight for me.

As a preface, let me say that I am 7 months pregnant, live in the middle of nowhere with no pretty much no friends/support system, have no car of my own, and have a dh who works 2nd shift 60 miles away with lots of overtime. And dd is getting her last molar (she is a terrible teether). So I guess that's how I rationalize becoming such a yelling, crying, frustrated, lonely, and clueless mama.

Lately a lot of my issues with dd stem from her incessant hitting, pushing, kicking etc. She has a little friend who is 2 months older and quite a bit smaller than she, and she beats the crap out of him. And he just screams but doesn't hit back. And the weird thing is that she never does so in an angry way...I mean, it's not like he provokes her or anything. They will be playing and doing whatever, and she just goes over and pushes him in the face, or scratches or kicks or whatever. She does the same thing to me and cat, and loves to knock over lamps too. I used to try time outs because this boy's mother used them with him and they seemed to work, but man, did that backfire with dd. She just laughed at me and got up, or screamed like I was ripping her toenails out, only to get up and hit him all over again. So lately, after she completely went after her cousin, I tried taking her out of the situation and talking with her about how we don't push or hit and it makes people feel sad when she does that and I try to talk about it with her. Which is challenging since she pretty much doesn't talk at all, though I think her comprehension is excellent. She just smiled the whole time and then pushed the little girl down even harder than before. It's to the point that I hate it when she is around other kids. She is always the aggressor and I can't be more than 2 inches away from her. It doesn't matter what reaction I give her, she just laughs and smiles and continues. And I don't know why she feels the need to hit all the time! Can anyone tell me why she is the bully ALL the time and what I do about this? Do I just keep taking her out of the room every time she hits? Her friend's face usually looks like he got into a fight with a cat by the time the evening is over. And when kicks she me in the belly or whatever, do I just keep on telling her that that hurts me and that there is a baby in my belly and model gentle touches? Or do I leave the room? I will admit that by the end of the day I feel bruised and tired and when she goes to nurse (or should I say twiddle endlessly) I tense up with fear that she'll bite me instead.

I have a lot of other questions, but I'll stick to this one for now. This whole toddler thing is so bizarre, and I don't really know what "typical" behavior is. She just whines and tantrums all day long and I just cry because I am so tired of days on end of intense in-your-face-ness. I just can't make her happy it seems, and she won't leave me alone. She just wants to be on me or touching me or doing stuff with me ALL the time. Like, she won't play by herself for more than 1-2 minutes, I can't leave the room, and I had better not give attention to anything or anyone but her. Which wouldn't be so bad if that didn't entail all-night nursing, the nipple twiddling, the hitting, allowing her to be the principal player in eveything (ie, if we do dishes, she HAS to be in control of the water and everything else, which doesn't work so well on a well, or else she screams endlessly, the child cannot be redirected. She's as focused as I am )...I really do believe in attachment, but oh my, I am touched out and I am growing resentful of her. I have no more patience, and I just hold out for when she finally goes to sleep. She's such a happy, fun, confident, strong-willed, fearless kid, but the past 3 weeks or so have been hell. And I know that my own loneliness and boredom and fear of what this new baby will bring compound the negative energy.

I hate it when I yell at her. I hate it when I try to get 2 minutes alone to myself in another room and I just want to climb a tree when she comes running after me. I hate that when she hits me I freak a little inside (I'm not sure if this has to do with me being pretty badly abused as a kid)...and I just cry and want to get away from her. I hate being embarrased that my kid is the bully. I hate feeling like my nerves are shot and then remembering that I have to start this all over again in a few months.

So, that was long and complaining. But, can someone tell me that I'm not the only one and that there is hope?

Thanks so much
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#2 of 8 Old 12-28-2005, 01:34 AM
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I'm really sorry. Your post reminds me of when I was pg with #2 and had a high needs overactive toddler on my hands. I got put on bedrest at 23 weeks and still had to care for her. Oh boy was that hard!!

To get her through that period, up until bedrest I took her out a lot. I mean, every day we went somewhere so she could walk, run, or climb. Be it walking laps in the mall in the summer heat, or going to the playground. After bedrest my dh tried to take her for a long walk every day in the evenings. I invested in an inflatable trampoline for her, I think it was called the Jumpoline. It was inexpensive and I think you can find it online. It was a lifesaver. She jumped and rolled and threw herself against the walls of it and got a lot of her energy out.

I structured a good part of her day. Morning was a video and breakfast. Followed by story time, nap, lunch. We went out in the afternoons before bedrest, and then got home, did puzzles together on the floor, and another video while I got dinner ready.

She was aggressive towards other children and I had to basically withdraw her from playgroups for awhile until she got older. One of my best friends had a baby that she was aggressive with, and we agreed to just talk on the phone for several months or see each other without kids until my dd grew up. Now my dd and hers are best friends.

This will pass. It's important to set limits with her hurting others. Let her know that's not okay, and if she does it once, you warn her. If she does it again, pick her up and go home. She should learn from that to be more careful. If she beats you up, set her down, walk to another room, and if necessary shut the door. Then after 30 seconds or so, open it and hug her and talk to her. I'm not so sure that's great GD but that's what was effective for my dd after trying many other things that didn't work for her.

I am not particularly fond of the toddler years. I enjoyed babyhood very much, and I really enjoyed dd1's 4th year. She just turned 5 and still enjoying it. My dd2 is about to turn 2 and I'm dreading the 2's and 3's just because I had such a hard time with dd1. But it WILL pass. Just try to record the good memories because someday you'll miss that little toddler insisting "I do it!" and "Carry you."

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
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#3 of 8 Old 12-28-2005, 11:20 AM
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you know what, at 27 mo old and not talking, I would suggest you try to teach her some signs. It sounds to me like she is a VERY frusterated little girl. You are right in that she understands, but imagine not being able to tell you what she wants? VERY frusterating. Most children that are very aggressive and severely tantruming at this age tend to have a lack of verbal skills. It could still be in the well range of normal, however I would encourage you to introduce some signs to her so she can tell you what she wants. You can use ASL or you could get a book called Baby Signs which is a bit simpler and uses simple, easy to remember signs. Most children that use signs pick up words faster. My kid were signing before they turned one and after that, I would try to teach them a sign and they would just say the word, so they stopped. But she can learn to sign, eat, drink, stop, sleep, poo or pee, thank you, please, up, mama, daddy, kitty, fan, ....... anything that pertains to her wants or needs.

I think learning an alternate way for he to communicate would benefit, and before this baby comes.


this is were i found an online baby signing dictionary.. check it out.
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#4 of 8 Old 12-28-2005, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by CharlotteSometimes

As a preface, let me say that I am 7 months pregnant, live in the middle of nowhere with no pretty much no friends/support system, have no car of my own, and have a dh who works 2nd shift 60 miles away with lots of overtime. And dd is getting her last molar (she is a terrible teether). So I guess that's how I rationalize becoming such a yelling, crying, frustrated, lonely, and clueless mama.

Dear Momma, you do have your hands full.

The first thing I would suggest is to think of the behavior problem as yours. I figure kids just do what kids do, we are the ones who are supposed to know better. If the problem is your being tired, unsupported, and out of control- then how are you going to fix that? If you can figure out what it is going to take to mostly be able to respond to whatever your dh does in a respectful, in control manner, she will start behaving better. You need to get a handle on your own anger, your own issues with your childhood and how hard it is when you feel out of control. This is what we all must do to be good at GD... really. And I believe that GD begins with being gentle with yourself and setting more realistic goals, being patient with yourself and just try to do each day as well as you can.

Keep coming here- the best GD moms in the world will support you.


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#5 of 8 Old 12-28-2005, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the responses.

USAmma, I'm glad to hear a "been there, done that." I think that some of my worry sometimes is that perhaps her aggression is not normal or that maybe I could be stopping it somehow magically. I do try to keep things very structured, and I have to admit that this business of it getting dark at 4pm is really kicking my butt. Getting her to sleep lately has been such a challenge that the nights seem to be getting longer and longer. Also, she has no interest in videos or anything like that, with the exception of Thomas the Tank Engine, which she wants on as background noise, but won't watch. (I hate to admit it, but there are sometimes when I'm jealous of parents whose kids will become captivated by the tv.) I like the idea of the trampoline. I think I also need to put a ton of food out on the table and just let her serve herself. Lately she just wants to eat ALL the time, but not much, and I get tired of cooking and then seeing it just sit there.

Most of all, thank you for your perspective that this will pass. She's changed so much just in the past month or 2, and it's really blindsighted me. She used to be my little sidekick and we just sort of hung out together in a very calm and chill and gentle way. There was little to no crying, just lots of cuddling, eating, playing, walking, and boobie. And now this thing appeared out of nowhere, seemingly the day she turned 2. I just hope that on the other side of toddlerhood there is more fun.

angela&avery: I should have been more specific when I said she wasn't really talking. She says about 2 dozen words, and can sign maybe the same amount (she made up the signs as she went along). I feel like I know what she wants most of the time in terms of needs and wants and what she's generally thinking about. But what trips me up is, what is she thinking when she out of the blue walks up to a kid and smacks them? I wish I could understand. I ask her and she just smiles very coyly. She doesn't look angry or anything....And when I ask her to stop pinching my nipples and that we suck on the Buddha (she calls my breasts Buddha because I guess with my pregnant belly I look like, well, Buddha ), why does she keep doing it like I didn't say anything? She screamed early in the morning for about an hour because I put my breasts away and wouldn't let her play with them because I couldn't take it anymore.

It just seems liek every time I try to help her with something, like getting her toy trains on the track, it just isn't right, and she just screams at me and throws herself on the floor. But if I don't help, she freaks out too. I wish she could just TELL me what I'm to do, you know? But I don't know how to manifest that sort of thing in signs.

MsMoMpls: I like the idea of treating this as my problem. It's easier for me to cope with my being at fault versus something being amiss with her. I am trying to think how I can remedy ME, but I think I reach a dead end because I just feel so worn out. I wish I could be some of the mothers I know who relaly enjoy playing with their kids and feel fulfulfilled by motherhood, and I have to admit that I am so bored and tired of playing with DD from 8am to 9pm. I can't read, I can't talk on the phone, and can't do anything really that I might enjoy. She hates going outside in the snow unless I carry her, and at 35 lbs and me pg, it's getting to be less enjoyable. Chores used to really delight her, but now they just seem to stress her out when I have to help her. I wish I had more energy and interest to give her, but I am fresh out of ideas. When it's 3 degrees, dark, and we're carless in the country, it seems like Dr. Phil really is a fun, cool idea
So in a way I feel more calm about it being my problem. I imagine if I were my usual fit, energetic, not-tired self, and it were summertime, and I didn't have 2 properties, etc etc etc.....I'd be feeling like I was doing ok.

Maybe I just need to wait until the baby is out, the weather is better, we have money for another car....Hey, at least she started the potty thing all by herself about 6 weeks ago (she just woke up one morning and said pee, we put her on the toilet, and that was it, no more dipes ever again...she does everything like that. No practice, just one day starts doing it. Kind of weird, huh?)

And if anyone can think of any, are there any books that might help me through this? I have no which ones are worth looking at.

Thank you all.
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#6 of 8 Old 12-28-2005, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlotteSometimes
I just can't make her happy it seems,
Stop trying to "make" her happy. What I mean is, don't make it your goal to make her happy. Respect her desires, opinions, feelings and all that. But if she's unhappy (say, about something that can't be changed- ex she wants another cookie, and there are no more cookies) then let her be unhappy. Hold her (if she wants to be held), empathize with her, and maybe try to offer an alternative. But don't go crazy trying to "make" her happy. (not saying that you are- but I see a lot of people who do it)
With my ds (who admittedly is much younger than your dd- he's 17 mos) if he's unhappy, I make a reasonable attempt to redirect him to something that may satisfy him. After that, I hold him, talk calmly, and let him decide what *he* wants to do to make himself happier.

As far as hitting, my biggest suggestion is to give her alternatives. "You can touch me gently" (and demonstrate, maybe exaggerating a bit to be interesting) or "You can jump up and down" (if its an energy or excitement issue) Try to figure out what the "impulse" behind the action is. What was she trying to do? Why? Then offer her an alternative that honors the original impulse.
I did that with ds, to curb his hitting (he was hitting "just because" basically lol not often) and just yesterday, instead of hitting (it seemed like he was thinking about it) he did the "gentle touch" that I tell him to do instead of hitting. Quite an exaggerated touch from the top of my head to my chin. But he did it, and he thought it was fun

That's mostly from the book Becoming the Parent You Want To Be by Laura Davis - ages birth to 5yo I loved it, and I recommend it all the time. There's a good section on dealing with difficult behavior (hitting, biting, etc).
Also, have you read The Continuum Concept? That may help, too.
I also liked Unconditional Parenting and Loving Your Child Is Not Enough (similar to How to Talk...) though that's aimed at older children, I believe.

You may also find some good info here

It would be rough, I imagine, having a clingy dc AND being pg! It will pass, and I really hope that it passes soon!!!

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)

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#7 of 8 Old 12-28-2005, 03:43 PM
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I'm about to order Simon that jumpolene!!! Dh and I were dreaming of something like that only yesterday. Woot! Update: It looks awesome, but now I'm a bit worried and having second thoughts because it's made with PVCs.

What I wonder is why that mom would keep bringing her son to your place if he leaves there looking like he's been attacked by a cat!?! I wouldn't take Simon back to that type of situation and would be right on top of him if he were with a child that I couldn't trust. He's also a non-agressive child who tends to cry if another child pushes into him and not do anything to retaliate. If you try more playdates, maybe you could encourage that mom to be more involved as well?

For the most part, Simon gets agressive when he's tired, bored, or (related to bored) doesn't have a way to get his tremendous amount of energy out of his system. Perhaps that jumpolene or something similar would be a huge help?

Any chance she's worried about the new baby? Confused about your changing body? Maybe a book that talks about how she'll still be loved and what things are exciting about having a new sibling would be helpful?
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#8 of 8 Old 12-28-2005, 04:08 PM
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Hugs to you! It sounds like everyone is stretched pretty thin. Hopefully you will find what you need here. I second this recommendation:

Originally Posted by Deva33mommy
That's mostly from the book Becoming the Parent You Want To Be by Laura Davis - ages birth to 5yo
As I read your story, I thought, "This has 'Becoming the Parent' written all over it!"

Good luck!
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