frustrated with toddler, disappointed in self - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 11-01-2010, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are having some serious adjustment issues, mostly at night. Baby wakes up every 2-3 hours to nurse, sometimes (lately once per night) having issues with reflux and pain after nursing requiring up to 1.5 hours to resolve (yuck). DS1 is 35 months and is still waking up once, and now more often, twice, per night.

I feel like co-sleeping and attachment parenting have failed me. I can't imagine doing it any other way, and I loved having DS1 with us in the bed. However, now he always wants me to be laying down with him to fall asleep. That means if baby wakes up during one of his night wakings and I have to attend to baby, he screams and cries until I come back. Last night, this went on 1.5 hours, the other night, for 2.5 hours. He's tired, so he's even more defiant during the day. I'm tired, so I have even less patience for him.

We've tried having DH console him. Unfortunately, DH sometimes has little patience and is not very nurturing at night, so DS1 is often afraid of him or won't be comforted by him (every once in a while he will, though). He usually just wants me.

We tried having baby in the room with us, but it was worse, since baby would wake up toddler, and then he would cry that I should lay down with him and put the baby down. Now I am sleeping in separate room with baby. DS1 comes to find me when he wakes up.

Also, naptimes are a huge battle these days. Again, he wants me to lay down with him, but is usually overtired and just wants to play. Then, to get him to be serious about lying down, I give him positive and then negative consequences. If you lay down, you can go trick or treating later. If you don't lay down, you won't get any candy, for example. These don't work. The only thing that works is if I resort to, if you don't lay down, I'm going to let you go to sleep by yourself.

So here I am threatening him with the one thing that I actually want him to do! And, same with nursing -- I tell him he can't nurse if he doesn't behave, because this is the one thing he really cares about. It is awful! I'm so disappointed in what it has all come to, but he just won't listen/cooperate! He is so defiant (I think still within normal toddler range) and I can't get through to him any other way.

If I had followed different parenting strategies, maybe he would be sleeping on his own, not dependent on me, and this would not be an issue. If he were not so attached to me, he could handle me holding the baby at night. Instead, he will only go to sleep if I am laying next to him, and he only wants me for comfort. Again, I only practiced AP because it seemed natural and couldn't imagine anything else, but I'm not sure I'm thrilled about the results.

He's very sweet with the baby and is never aggressive towards him or anything like that. If baby is happy or sleeping, he's okay with him being around and me wearing him. It's just when baby is crying that he says he doesn't want me to hold the baby. Also, he is acting out a lot with the defiant behavior, and is very hard to discipline. I just feel like I'm flailing here.

Anyway, I guess this is just a vent, but maybe some others have BTDT or are going through it too???

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#2 of 8 Old 11-01-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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I wish I could offer advice or something, but I'm mostly sympathizing. I raised my twin boys attachment style and had some doubts about my choices when they reached 2-4 years old and couldn't do anything without me. Literally, I was still taking naps with them and STILL going to bed with them, or they would wake up. My dh would even get on me, saying "you trained them to be like this". Now they are seven years old and so independant that I miss them! So, at the time, there were days I felt a bit trapped, but I *know* I did the best I could and spent the most time with them that I could have. Now, I have this new little baby and she already will nap without me and sleeps much better than my boys ever did, so I think personality has a lot to do with how much a toddler needs their mama as well.

I live 2500 miles from my family, and I always thought attachment parenting would be easier with family around to help. It's so draining when it's the nuclear family doing it alone. I think Mama's take the brunt of it, because my dh didn't have the patience or the ability to soothe and calm my babes either. But I know my mother and sister would be a huge help if I lived closer to them. You are not alone.

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#3 of 8 Old 11-02-2010, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pacifica - thanks for your thoughts! It's true, being away from any real help makes things all the more challenging. I guess part of the difficulty is just the age, but the acting out makes it all the more intense. I suppose in a few years I'll be missing this little guy too!

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#4 of 8 Old 11-02-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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Sorry you're having a rough time

I'm lucky in that my toddler WILL nap by herself... if I can get a spare 15 minutes to rock her to sleep. My baby has been going through a phase of not wanting to be put down At. All. And not sleeping without my boob in his mouth.

As far as night-time, I NEED my husband to take charge of the toddler so I can care for the baby. Is there any way that your husband can work on being able to comfort your toddler at night?

Kelly (28), in love with husband Jason (38) and our awesome babies:  Emma 4/09, and Ozzy 8/10

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#5 of 8 Old 11-03-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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I feel your pain. My toddler (20 months old) still wakes at night. He's in a full bed, so when he wakes dh just goes over to sleep with ds since the bed is big enough. But I do wish we'd helped him be a more independent sleeper b/c some nights, like when dh has his monthly Army duty, I'm dealing with two kids up at night and it is frequently a disaster.

I've already decided that I'm going to have to work with Fin now to help him develop some independent sleep habits. I don't want dh to have to sleep on the couch for 8 months like he did when ds2 was an infant.

Wife to an amazing man love.gif, mommy to 3 wild dudes: ds1 (5/23/05 @ 30 weeks), ds2 (3/5/09) hbac.gif, and ds3 (9/26/10) hbac.gif. Part time librarianread.gif, full time mommysupermod.gif, occasional chef and maid.

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#6 of 8 Old 11-04-2010, 10:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kelly1101 View Post
As far as night-time, I NEED my husband to take charge of the toddler so I can care for the baby. Is there any way that your husband can work on being able to comfort your toddler at night?
Yes, we had to do this. DD stays with DH until 6am. She sometimes throws fits about it but we had to do it for the sake of everyone's sleep. We all sleep better now. In fact in the last two months DD has even slept through the night (~8:30pm-~5:30am) twice.

I hear you on the defiant behavior. DD seems to be getting worse lately, even though I focus on giving her every bit of attention I have. Today consisted of me attending to her almostly constantly while the baby spent a lot of time crying and screaming, mostly because he was tired. I felt so, so terrible. Like I have this pretty decent baby whose cues I can generally read and I think we could really get into a routine where he would nap and be pretty happy. But because I can't even take the 10 or 15 minute it takes to put him down (b/c DD will be either physically preventing it by hitting or screaming or else she will be destroying the house) he suffers. For DD, it is so difficult to get her to nap that some days I just don't have the energy to try it. She still needs naps, though, and not napping just makes her behavior worse.

And even with giving DD lots of attention I still have tons of horrible behavior and lots of tantrums. I have the same second-guessing regarding AP practices.... maybe if I had been using time-outs or something she wouldn't be misbehaving so badly. I look at my friends whose kids don't constantly misbehave on purpose and I feel like such a failure. I don't have any discipline advice, but I agree it is just a really rotten situation. You aren't alone, and all I can do right now is try and keep my patience and hope things get better.

DD 12/07 DS 9/10

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#7 of 8 Old 11-05-2010, 09:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tribord View Post
Like I have this pretty decent baby whose cues I can generally read and I think we could really get into a routine where he would nap and be pretty happy. But because I can't even take the 10 or 15 minute it takes to put him down (b/c DD will be either physically preventing it by hitting or screaming or else she will be destroying the house) he suffers. For DD, it is so difficult to get her to nap that some days I just don't have the energy to try it. She still needs naps, though, and not napping just makes her behavior worse.
Could have written this.

The other day when we drove down to visit my mom, Ozzy slept GREAT, had some awesome naps, wasn't fussy at all. It's because my mom could entertain Em while I was putting the baby down for a nap. *sigh*

Kelly (28), in love with husband Jason (38) and our awesome babies:  Emma 4/09, and Ozzy 8/10

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#8 of 8 Old 11-07-2010, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, also out of necessity, we have changed things so that DS1 is only comforted by dad at night. Last night was the second night, and things are already getting better. Even though he is still waking, he goes back to sleep much more quickly. I think pretty soon he'll be back to just one (or hopefully no) waking overnight!

I guess have to just go back to the AP concept, if it's not working or is making you resentful, change it.

Anyway, I'm sure there will be many more rough days and nights to come, but it's good to know I have company!

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DS1 (6) jog.gif , DS2 (3)sleepytime.gifbaby.gif DD is here!

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