Incredibly intelligent--incredibly INTENSE two year old
Let me start with some basics: I have two boys, a three month old (Connor), and a 26 month old (Ian). The 2yr old has been a very intense child from infancy. The three month old has had a lot of medical issues since birth, and in researching ways to help him, I've stumbled across a potential explanation for my two year old's behavior. Read below, an email that I recently sent to family.
Okay, I've been doing all this research on what might possibly help Connor, right? I've been focussing on food allergies lately, suspicious that he might have some allergy to my breast milk. In my research, I've started to realize that Ian shows many of the classic signs of chronic allergies, including swollen lymph nodes (constantly, so swollen that they stick out of his neck, you can see them when he turns his head), frequent colds, several ear infections, often a dry cough at night, a runny nose, he had reflux as an infant...Also, several times I read that chronic allergies can lead to behavioral problems (think about it, have you ever had a headache--even a really minor one--that just nags and nags at you until you finally snap? And it might be the littlest thing that makes you snap, maybe you can't get the cap on your pen, maybe you can't get the key into your ignition)
So, I took him in to the dr yesterday. He was in prime mood, too (by that I mean he was being terrible) He wasn't listening AT ALL, kept trying to escape from the room, was walking around the room hitting and kicking various things, answered "NO" to everything... It was making it really really hard to talk to the dr. Also, I had Connor with me and he was fussing, so I was trying to deal with Connor, trying to keep Ian in the room, trying to keep Ian from climbing the walls (literally it seemed) and trying to talk to the dr. Even Super Nanny couldn't have handled it I don't think.
Oh yeah, and this is after a rough day at work...hell, it's been rough since I went back to work, no one is giving me any flexibility even though they all know that Connor is still sick and I don't have a sitter for him until next week.
So anyway, the dr listens to me, then tells me "yep, he might have some allergies, give him some Zyrtec once a day, that should help. As for the behavior, here take these pamphlets on discipline and sibling rivalry." Then he started talking to me about how consistency is the most important thing, and how I have to be sure to give individual attention to Ian...I just stared at him. I couldn't believe it. He not only completely blew me off about the allergies (I didn't go in there to drug my kid...I want Ian tested so we'll know what he's allergic to so I know if it's possible to avoid it) but then he started questioning my parenting abilities!!!!!
I know that my recount of this might seem simple and innocent to you guys reading this email, sure a dr needs to remind parents once in a while about proper discipline. But it was just the last straw for me. I'm already hanging on by barely a thread here. I have spent HOURS researching discipline and development trying to come up with ways to control Ian. So don't talk down to me about consistency. He's just such an intense child, and SO intelligent, so advanced...it's incredibly hard to keep in front of him. And I see almost immediately the effect of one wrong response from me and Jim. Jim popped him in the mouth the other day (not slapped, not hit, but a quick pop to the mouth) when Ian spit on him. It was pure reaction from Jim, not appropriate, sure, but who can think of appropriate when your two year old has hit your last nerve?? Anyway, Ian just yesterday hit me in the face because I was down at his face level trying to get him to look at me and listen to me as I was telling him that we had to stay in the doctor's office (yep, he did this in front of the dr) What was I supposed to do?? Obviously spank him isn't the answer to that one. I can't talk to him about it, that's what I was trying to do in the first place. Time out doesn't work unless I physically hold him down somewhere. Ian yells at us to STOP, tells us I DON'T LIKE IT, says NO...all words that it seems we're constantly telling him, so no wonder he tells it back. I'm struggling with how I respond to that. On one hand I want to explain to him that children do not speak to grown ups like that, but then on the other hand I wonder if he's intellectually capable of understanding that?? And if not, how the hell do I get through to him?????
I'm feeling like such a terrible mother right now because suddenly my kid is the one behaving like this in public. What the F did I do wrong????? He doesn't get away with things, we have strict rules and he knows what behavior is expected of him. And most of the time he's very well behaved. His teachers at school tell me that he's always good for them. A little obstinance and selective hearing here and there of course, but that's to be expected. Since he doesn't do this at school, I have to assume that it's me. It's something I'm doing or not doing, but I have absolutely no idea what it might be. God knows I've put time and energy into figuring out what it is and attempting to makes things better.
So right before we leave the dr's office, Ian pees his pants (now I know why he kept trying to get out of the room, but all he had to do was TELL me potty and I would have taken him) So now I'm dragging an un cooperative two year old with pee soaked pants, while carrying a 3 month old in a carseat carrier (because I was in uniform and couldn't wear my sling) through the hospital. We stop at the bathroom because Ian says he has to go potty. He takes off his wet clothes and refuses to put them back on (which from his point of view makes sense). I try to explain that we have to go home to get dry clothes and that he can't walk around naked, but it starts a whole new fit of kicking and screaming and refusing to cooperate. Then we go to the pharmacy where I have to pick up Connor's refill of Prevacid for his reflux. When I get it, it has an expiration date of only two weeks!!! So they gave me a one month supply that's only good for two weeks. I pointed it out and they told me that each time they make the medicine (they have to compound it) it's only good for two weeks. IDIOTS!!! Fine, so I understand that, but why give me a month's supply then????????????????? AND, I have to give them 72 hours notice when I want it refilled, so every 10 days I have to call or go to the pharmacy to put in a refill, then 3 days later go back to pick it up, then 10 days later call them back...
Oh my god, I completely lost it. Connor was still crying, Ian was still crying and trying to take his pants off... I literally dragged Ian to the car (at this point I didn't care who was looking. Someone asked me if I needed help and I snapped something rude at them). I got Ian and Connor buckled into their carseats and drove to Jim's work. I sat there in the car for 10 minutes waiting for him to get off and then sobbed all over his shoulder in the parking lot. I think both boys were crying still. Poor Jim had no idea what had happened!
I know I've been struggling a little since Connor was born, but every time I think I'm getting things back together, something like this happens. I don't think this is just normal parenting struggles, I don't think I have bad kids, I don't really think that I'm a bad mom (although that's hard to push away sometimes) But I also have no idea what to do from here.
OH yeah, to add insult to injury (or insult to insult to insult) when we got home, Jim suggested that we just order pizza so we don't have to worry about dinner. I LOVE pizza, and would normally have jumped on the idea, then washed it down with some ice cream (ice cream cures every depression!!) but I"m on this stupid diet for Connor. There isn't even any comfort food that I can eat!!!!!!!!!
So I don't know what to do. But I do know that I'm really tired of drs not listening to me and not giving me credit for the effort I've already put into a problem before I take my kid in. I wish the drs would recognize that I'm an intelligent person. And I wish that the drs weren't so quick to medicate when there might be another solution. This dr refused to even test Ian, said that he thought the allergies sounded more environmental (which I'm doubtful of since he's had them since birth, in two different countries, and every season of the year) and that even if we identified exactly what the allergy was, the treatment would be the same. Well, that's not true. If it's a food, then I can limit Ian's exposure to it. If it's mold or mildew, then I'll research how to limit that. If it's the dog, then she becomes an outside pet (sorry Annie, but my kid is more important) But the dr isn't even willing to do anything except give me Zyrtec. Ian eats well, sleeps well, has been raised fairly consistently (as consistent as we can be considering our life style since he's been born), he was exclusively breastfed, we delayed introducing solids for longer than many parents, he wasn't in daycare until a few months ago...by all accounts we've done everything that good parents should do. So something's wrong. Our household is calm and quiet, there's no yelling or arguing, Jim and I have a good relationship, and yet still Ian is physical and loud. We don't even expose him to violence on tv. We're good parents!!! This is a household where any child should thrive. But now we have two children with problems...Ian's behavior, and Connor's health. Do you see how the last thing I needed yesterday was this dr handing me pamphlets on effective discipline???????
Help someone!! I've even been encouraging him to nurse again recently, we weaned when he was 20 months old (when I was 28 weeks pregnant).
Mama to Ian (3-17-05) and Connor (3-3-07)