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Discussion Starter #1
What’s going on? I seriously need some outside perspective because DC is frustrating me (and others) but I’m worrying if it’s mostly because of inappropriate expectations.<br><br>
Throughout the day she can be demanding, impatient, “selfish”, frustrated…ah…I feel bad for saying this but she’s just been having rather long bouts of being generally “unpleasant”. It’s wearing on me and even our close friends are noticing.<br><br>
The things that are most frustrating to me are the things that I’m afraid are actually “age appropriate”. For instance, she doesn’t pay attention – to what she’s doing or her surroundings. This is really hard for me to handle. I’m generally really cool – really cool – about accidents. They never get me upset but lately they have been frustrating me because DC just seems so careless. Is there anything I can do to alleviate this problem?<br><br>
She also is very demanding of immediate attention and she loudly and repeatedly asks until I’m resentful of helping her with what she wants. Is it age appropriate for her to wait 5-10 minutes until I’m finished with what I’m doing? If so, how do I go about that? Do I just immediately answer her and ask her that I’ll help her when I’m finished and then ignore her constant follow-up requests?<br><br>
Thoughts?
 

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We have this. Actually, my dh came up with our "solution." (Works often but there's no silver bullet.) When ds starts doing his thing--Mom, I need this. Mom, I need this. Mom, I need this. (intensity increasing)--we enthusiastically respond, "OK, yes, I can help you."<br><br>
We follow this response with the explanation of what must be done before we can help.<br><br>
In fact, I caught myself starting to threaten ds--i.e., we can't go to the park if you don't blah blah blah. Instead of the "if you don't" approach, I am trying hard to keep it positive. "If we get the toyroom cleaned up we can get moving to the park."<br><br>
I have also found this period to be one where he is just discovering some new capabilities. He didn't know he could put his own underpants on until I was too busy to help him.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, 1jooj<br><br>
I like the idea of interrupting myself from what I'm doing to immediately and enthusiastically respond that, "Yes, I can help you". Do you think the same thing would work if I said, "Yes, I can listen to you as soon as I've finished my train of thought"? I ask because DC is most often interrupting me when I'm chatting with a friend or DH.<br><br>
I must say that I'm actually very good with phrasing things positively - it just comes very naturally for me (I'm the oldest of 8!). But, I do run into a wall when phrasing positively doesn't "work", which seems to be happening more and more lately.<br><br>
And, yes, I do think DC is learning some new capabilities, which usually causes some stress.<br><br>
It's also getting hot here and I think I have a touch of PMS - never a good combination for me - PMS and a Toddler...urgh!<br><br>
I've been thinking about this issue today and I think what's getting me more than anything is how she doesn't seem pay attention to things around her. When do they normally start doing that? Oh, no! I just realized DH STILL doesn't pay attention to things around him - could this be genetic?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OMG!<br><br>
I just remembered that DC also can.not.find anything. She’ll walk into the room, stare directly at the toy she is looking for and say she can’t find it – AS she’s looking at the freakin’ toy…Makes me loopy!<br><br><br>
Seriously, if this gets much worse (and/or you all don’t tell me this is totally normal) I’m going to start thinking there’s something wrong with this child.<br><br><br>
So, I changed the title because I wanted to draw more attention to the attention issue….
 

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Hi IdentityCrisisMama.<br><br>
I think your kid sounds so normal. This can be a very frustrating age; I know...my dd turns 3 this Saturday. Her best friend is 2.75 and is slightly more like what you describe.<br><br>
A couple thoughts:<br><br>
First of all, she learned recently to open the fridge so she can get her own juice, yogurt, fruit, cheese, etc. I keep everything in the same spot in the fridge . This keeps her from interupting me constantly to wait on her. "Get it yourself" is my mamantra.<br><br>
Second, I try to get out and walk at night with my neighbor. It's exercise, it's a bitch session, but most of all it remeinds me that my chatting can happen during my time./..my "job" is to care for my kids so I can't expect to hang out on the phone too much during the day (although I try) or have adult conversation. Expecting my kids to wait until I am done is only sometimes fair and realistic. Their childhood is fleeting and I will look back on my life and hope that I had the strength and patience to enrich their lives daily...not just on average. Put the high expectations on yourself, not the kids.<br><br>
If dd is standing staring at a toy and telling me she can't find it, I make a big production about WHERE Oh WHERE COULD IT BE???? It's funny, it makes her realize how silly it is, and we laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine.<br><br>
When your dc turns 3, s/he will be more focused and less needy, but there will be a whole new parade of problems and challeneges..so enjoy the "ease" of the ones you got now <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> My dd has started hitting for the first time in her life...WTF???????<br><br>
Good luck..commiserate right here. I got my eye out for a vent session so I can join in.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That’s why I love this place. I know I can come here for support, advice AND a kick in the butt – <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">: ! Thanks <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">…more later.
 

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I agree that your dd's behavior sounds normal--sounds like my dd a few months back. I also agree with what Karma said about adult conversation with a little one, and try to limit my "me" time to when dd is with dh or a video or asleep (and, frankly, she is now at an age where I get plenty of "me" time throughout the day because she plays independently SO much more than she did 6 months ago....), but I have a couple of tips that may help when you feel that you *need* time on the phone or with an adult.<br><br>
First, maybe a timer would help. Set the timer for 5 minutes, maybe even give it to her to carry around, and then honor the timer and turn your attention to her when it beeps. "A minute" or "five minutes" might as well be "never" to a toddler, so this may help her with the intangibles of time and patience.<br><br>
Second, if you know that you are going to need some time to talk to a friend, etc, get her involved in something soothing and novel. It is temperate most of the year here, so I fill up the baby pool whenever I want to call my mom and dd is acting needy. I can sit on the porch and watch her splash (also on the porch) while talking on the cordless--bliss! Tubs are useful as well. Water is not just for bathtime!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br>
Maybe have a special basket that you pull out when you want to visit with a friend, some magazine clippings, safety scissors, and glue sticks, for instance. Something tactile and engaging that she can do on her own.<br><br>
I love 1jooj's "Yes, when...." response. Good reminder for me to keep phrasing things positively!<br><br>
Finally, IME, dd really did mellow out after she turned 3. But stressful times can bring out the worst of attention-seeking behavior. Recently we had a houseguest, which was enjoyable but stressful for dd. We had SUCH a hard time sitting and talking, because she would constantly interrupt and want to be center of attention. I found that if I sometimes turned my full attention to her--actually walking away from my friend--and then got dd involved in something really fun, then I could slip away and she would let us talk a much longer time uninterrupted. Sometimes I think they just want reassurance that you *will* pay attention to them, and then, once filled up, are better prepared to honor your "me" time.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>IdentityCrisisMama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">OMG!<br><br>
I just remembered that DC also can.not.find anything. She’ll walk into the room, stare directly at the toy she is looking for and say she can’t find it – AS she’s looking at the freakin’ toy…Makes me loopy!<br></div>
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Oh come now! You can't really mean that you haven't seen men do that ALL THE FREAKING TIME! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Sorry, I couldn't resist that. My DD (she's 4) and my DH (he's 39) both do this all the time and it makes me loopy, too!<br><br>
I love the enthusiasm suggestion. And your DC sounds completely normal (whatever "normal" means in toddlerhood!)
 

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Great post Karma.<br><br>
As for the not paying attention to the surroundings or finding things when they're right in front of your face, I can commiserate with you...only my complaints would be more about my 11 yo ds. Just last week I was saying to him "What do you mean you didn't realize you were spilling your red gatorade all the way up the stairs" (beige carpet none the less). I mean come on, can't you see the glass splashing around or feel it dripping off your hand?<br><br>
Anyway, I can understand your frustration, but I think that Karma said it best when she said that it is age appropriate and a lot of the time our frustrations can best be dealt with by raising our expectations of ourselves. Unfortunately just when you figure out how to deal with this phase she'll be on to the next one.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everybody! You know, I had such a good day with DC today. I really do appreciate hearing that 'this is my job' and that I should raise my expectations of myself - especially because it was said in such a kind and understanding (and lighthearted) way! Believe me; it made a difference to both DC and me today.<br><br>
I did just want to clear up the thing about talking to friends. I'm not usually on the phone. I arrange play dates for DC, which combines my time to chat with another parent and allows DC to play with other children. IRL ADULT friends are SO important to my well being - seriously, I would shrivel up and die without it.<br><br>
I think DC is much more interested in *my* friends (lol!) than she is with the other kids. She absolutely loves to "boss" adults around - seriously. This started in March when we had lots and lots of family visiting. DC thinks all adults have been put on Earth for her personal enjoyment. (I'm saying this in a joking manner).<br><br>
Moving on because DC is my sweetie again...<br><br>
The ultimate problem probably comes down to transition. You'd think I'd be used to transition by now but it's the absolute biggest challenge for us. Yea -- Just when I get used to a new phase it seems like the next one comes -- now THAT makes me freakin' loopy!<br><br>
Ah, I feel so much better today (although my PMS hasn't passed - see it wasn't all me and the PMS). I had a great chat with a mom friend and DC played well with her child.<br><br>
You know what else sucks...(lol, PMS surfacing) my most cherished IRL mama friend has a daughter and DC doesn't play well with her at all - that sucks.<br><br>
Anyway, please know how much your support means to me - you saved my DC today. Thanks so much. ~ Hannah
 

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Hannah..what a domino effect..your post has made MY day complete.<br><br>
Knowing that something I said had a positive impact on someone else's day (even if it was only for five minutes) means more to me than you could imagine. And now it comes full circle. Everybody wins.<br><br>
What a joy our kids are! Without the frustration (lows), how would we recognize their wonder (highs)?<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/heartbeat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="heartbeat">
 

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Discussion Starter #12
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bawling.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bawl"> Sweetness!
 

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ICM, my daughter had profound difficulty with transitioning. We came to find out later that she had sensory problems (the two can go hand in hand). I am not suggesting that this is the case with your DC but it's something that you might want to keep in the back of your mind just in case....One other thing that you talked about is that she is clumsy - that's another marker for sensory issues. Again, not saying this is necessarily the case but I remember when I figured out the deal with my DD, there were several things that clicked at once and it was the suggestion of another mama that really helped me put it all together.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks, Lovebeads<br><br>
I was using transition to mean something different than what I think you’re talking about though. DC does “okay” with transitioning from one activity to the next (partially, because we’re blessed with a very relaxed lifestyle). Is that the kind of transition your DC has trouble with? Because I know it’s can be a huge issue for toddlers.<br><br>
The kind of transition I was talking about was adjusting to new developmental stages. This is especially challenging in the discipline department. I have come to realize that my discipline strategies *have* to be adapted as new developments arise and this is a huge challenge for me as a parent. I often find myself in a place where I realize that my discipline strategies are not addressing new issues at all. Then I flounder around for a while finding balance and appropriate expectations. And, of coarse as soon as I figure it out the cycle begins again – urgh!<br><br>
Anyway, things are better right now. DC and DH seem to need me right now so I’ll be going…thanks! I’ll check in later this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I reread my OP and I was talking about “inappropriate expectations”. It’s funny to look back at that statement. When I said it I was thinking that I was frustrated because my expectations of DC were too high. After working on this issue all week, I am starting to think that the problem is/was that my expectations where too low.<br><br>
I’ll probably have a hard time explaining this but I’d like to try. When DC was being clumsy or bossy, I was treating her like she couldn’t help herself. I’ve started encouraging her to notice her surroundings and it’s really helping. There’s actually quite a bit more to this though process but my family is waiting for me. Gotta go – for real this time!
 

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I gotcha! Yes, I was talking about physical transitions either from one activity to the next or leaving a place, etc. not develomental milestones.<br><br>
And I really understand what you're saying about expectations being too low - I think that it's hard for us, the moms, to realize that they are capable of new things every single day that they couldn't do the day before! The first few years of life bring on absolutely enormous changes and growth and sometimes it's hard to keep up.<br><br>
I am fortunate to have the queen of "I can do it myself" - she is consistently challenging herself, almost too much! But she is rising to her high expectation of herself and I am learning to do it, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
THANK YOU for my DDDDC, LoveBeads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<br><br>
Seriously, I feel so loved here...
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 
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