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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
That's a terrible thing to write and even more terrible to feel. I have a 3.5 YO DD (Sam) and a 16 month old DD (Lila) and Sam and I are having such issues (not just us, her and her daddy and sister too). She's more and more aggressive with Lila and I'm working with her (unsuccessfully) on that. She is boycotting bedtime so she's exhausted. For two weeks now going to sleep later and getting up earlier and FIGHTING so much with us and bedtime. She's been hitting us and the dogs and her sister and being more agressive with objects as well. I know she's struggling. It's obvious. And the worse it gets, the worse it gets, IYKWIM. Damnit, I know she's a sweet and gentle and amazing child and I can't find that feeling in me. I feel like I'm losing her somehow, or at least losing my relationship with her.<br>
I've been trying to spend more time with her. When I'm home alone with both girls (which is most of the time) I can't manage to be on the floor with her without Lila getting into everything we are trying to do. I have (since Lila was born) given Lila's needs precedence, if that makes sense. If she needed to nurse, or be picked up, or take a nap, then Sam had to wait. It still works that way and I'm wondering if it's time to let some of Sam's needs take front seat sometimes - more often than they do. Also she and dh sleep together and Lila sleeps with me. Lately she has really been wanting to come to the bed with me and I know it must seem one more injustice to her that Lila gets to sleep with mommy and she can't. So we thought about switching (letting dh sleep with Lila which would be a bit rough on her - she still nurses once or twice a night) or letting her just fall asleep with me and then be moved to the other bed with dh (which is rough on me - after so long of sleep deprivation I am exhausted at night and she is so hard to get to sleep).<br>
So we're having trouble. I know to work on the relationship and I don't know how. Lila seems in the way all the time (no wonder Sam is having trouble with her) and right now I like Lila so much better. She sleep easily, cuddles me a lot, and is easy to figure out. I didn't know it would be like this. I feel so terrible for my feelings and even more terrible for my inability to connect with my daughter. I love her so much - why is this happening?
 

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This is most likely way overgeneralized, but WHO does like a 3yo? They seem like little people set out to ruin your day. Then, you see them sleep and they're so precious. Luckily, we've loved them for a couple of years before and we know that they will most likely grow out of it. When they're 5, they're so wonderful that we forget all about when they were 3<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
What helped me was to sit on the floor as much as possible so that I was accessable to both of my children. Also, I tried to be patient when my 3year old freaked out because I did something that was against thier "rules"such as to climb the stairs first or put thier socks on in the wrong order. Also, the term "use your words" came out of my mouth all of the time. I really worked on helping them to verbalize feelings and wants during this time.<br><br>
I hope you feel better.<br>
Lisa
 

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I feel like I am spamming this board today. 3 year olds are hard. Just look at all the headings in this forum! A majority are parents asking how to deal with 3 year olds! What I have found is that children need to know what the limits are. If you set them, and consistently enforce them (the hardest part, I realize) eventually kids will stop testing. But you need to enforce the limits consistently, so that the kid realizes what the limits are. Once they realize where the boundaries lie, they won't keep to testing to find where the limits are. They are just doing their jobs--our job is to keep the boundaries up so that they are (and they FEEL) safe.
 

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DS is now 4, but I can recall (vaguely..I've already blocked it out!!) a time about 6 months ago when he started to *change*. He was doing a lot of testing. If I cry/whine like M, will I get preferential treatment, too? If I throw things on the floor like M will mama just smile and say, "Whoops, that goes here..." and so on.<br>
It was difficult, but I kept a mantra goign in my head:<br>
"It's hard to be him. He needs to know I listen..." and then gave him loads of my time. Yeah, M's needs became more balanced with his, so it became easier, too.<br><br>
(((hugs))), you'll like her again soon<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> .
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sunnylady303</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8116676"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I feel so terrible for my feelings and even more terrible for my inability to connect with my daughter. I love her so much - why is this happening?</div>
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I have just a second (wiggly toddler here) but wanted to address this. A few months back, my 3.75yo son had me feeling this way--not through aggression, but through general whininess and mopeyness, alternating with extreme defiance, with a big dollop of clinginess on top. And I have a young daughter who was going through an exceptionally cute, engaging phase at the same time.<br><br>
I realized that I was going through my days just trying to manage my son, because connecting with him seemed too hard and ineffective. And that wasn't working for either of us. So I started pretending that I felt more connected--things like:<br>
1. Saying "I'm so happy to see you again!" after some time apart<br>
2. Whispering "I love you" or something silly at unexpected times<br>
3. Allowing treats, even if his general behavior made me feel like withholding them<br>
4. Extra cuddly time in morning upon waking up<br>
5. etc. etc.<br><br>
After a few days of "faking" it, I started to feel more connected again. And after a week, he was responding in kind. Who knows, maybe he was coming out of that phase anyway, but it felt good to be proactive about it.<br><br>
Anyway, you'll want to address the aggression separately, but maybe this would help too.<br><br>
must run
 

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I think you hit the nail on the head -- if you are always putting Lila's needs first in front of Sam's, plus you are feeling angry at Sam and more loving toward Lila, it's almost certain that Sam does feel very jealous and abandoned, which makes her behave badly, which makes you feel less warm toward her, which she picks up and feeds the cycle. It's hard getting displaced as the baby, and the more you can cushion that with reassurance that she's still your special baby and you love her as much as you always have might help.<br><br>
Can you try just really focusing on Sam for a while? Lila's not an infant; it won't kill her to wait sometimes because you are busy with her big sister. Can you find things to do with Sam that are special big-girl things that Lila can't do? Art projects or baking or something like that, that you bring out during the baby's nap or when Daddy's home, that are just for mommies and their big daughters. And yeah, I think switching beds might be a good idea to try for a little bit.<br><br>
I would also read "A Birthday for Frances" with her, because it really speaks to how the big sister feels about the adorable toddler interloper who gets all the attention (or so it seems to the big sister). Frances is not nice at all to Gloria for a while, and then she pulls it together and realizes how much her little sister admires her.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Thalia the Muse</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8118832"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think you hit the nail on the head -- if you are always putting Lila's needs first in front of Sam's, plus you are feeling angry at Sam and more loving toward Lila, it's almost certain that Sam does feel very jealous and abandoned, which makes her behave badly, which makes you feel less warm toward her, which she picks up and feeds the cycle.<br><br>
<snip> Lila's not an infant; it won't kill her to wait sometimes because you are busy with her big sister. Can you find things to do with Sam that are special big-girl things that Lila can't do?</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: I really think this is a big part of the problem you're having. I've been making my 10-mo-old wait (even just a couple minutes) for several months now, so long as she's safe, relatively clean and recently fed...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">: Sometimes I wear DD on my back so that I can do something with DS without her crawling over and pulling up on me.<br><br>
I'd try to set up the younger one with something that will occupy her even if just for a few minutes, and do something else with your older one; preferably, do whatever it is that SHE wants to do for that time.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> good luck reconnecting with her!
 

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Does she have any food dye in her diet? This is about the age that dd started really becoming agressive in response to Red #40. It takes at least a week to detox from it, so if you suspect this might be it, give it 2 weeks or so to see real results. It takes lots of label reading- it can even be in bread. ((Sigh!))<br><br>
Big hugs!<br>
Manda
 

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I have felt the ame way about ds. My littledd is so sweet and gentle and helpful and ds can be so aggressive and downright mean. I was told to say to myself, "it'sthe behavior I don't like, not the child", but honestly, that was very hard for me to believe sometimes. It is getting better, however.<br>
When dd falls asleep, ds runs to me for 'mommy time' and we play on the floor his way for at least 15-20 minutes. I have also begged dh to do daddy time with him and that has really been helping. Also, I do make dd wait sometimes (astually sometimes it feels like she waits alot-she is not very high needs and ds is very high needs). I also try to refer to them as 'them', or 'you two' and talk to them about being a team. Talking about when the older one was a baby and how it was then and the things they did and looking at pictures of those baby years seems to help too.<br>
It can be so hard. I have done a lot ofhard things in my life, and having two kids is by far the hardest. That said, it is getting easier (two steps forward, one step back, sometimes three steps back, two forward). My two will play together now and do parades or games, or simply play separate, but peacefully.<br>
Good luck and don't forget to breathe (and use rescue remedy and burn sage and take walks!).
 

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A big part of this is just Sam being 3.5. It's just a hard age- the transition from toddlerhood to childhood. But it may be compounded by jealousy of her little sister- who isn't an infant anymore, and whose needs can probably wait as long as her big sister's can.<br><br>
Don't feel guilty for "not liking my child anymore." All parents have those moments- it's just that not everybody shares them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all for your advice. I know she is having issues with her sister. From her perspective (and in reality too, I guess), I am always putting Lila first and it is time for that to swing back in Sam's direction. I guess I hadn't fully realized how old my baby had gotten and Sam is just as deserving of attention as Lila is. It is hard to do things with Sam with Lila around - she is so demanding of attention.<br>
And it is hard with Sam being more and more aggressive toward Lila. But I hope that will go away as she feels closer to us again. We can't quite figure out how to handle it. DH really wants to DO something and I feel like Sam knows it's wrong so other than stopping it and letting her know later that we don't like it, that there isn't much to do.<br>
The more time I make an effort to spend with her the more I like her again. Thank you for not telling me what a horrible mama I am for feeling like this. You are all the best. I love MDC!!
 

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I think it's time to switch into "whoever's needs are more pressing" mode rather than "baby come first". Actually, even when dd was tiny, when she started fussing and I was doing something with ds (like wiping him after he'd gone potty - not something that can be delayed!) I would say "I'm coming M, you'll have to wait just a minute while I finish with T." Now, 90% of the time, ds had to wait while I tended to dd. And the 10% of the time when dd had to 'wait' it was at times when I could tell that she was OK for a few minutes. BUT ds didn't know that. And just knowing that sometimes his sister had to wait for HIM made a huge difference.<br><br>
I would recommend that you read Playful Parenting by Larry Cohen - it's got some great ideas for reconnecting. I'd also suggest Siblings without Rivalry. You've unwittingly set up some rivalry here.<br><br>
Other suggestions:<br>
Do things with Sam that up high on the table - craft, playdough, cooking. Either do it while Lila is napping OR while dh can watch Lila OR while you occupy Lila with something else. If Lila gets in the way, gently tell her that this is Sam's activity, and distract her with something else.<br>
Spend some time each day (20-30 mins) on the floor with Sam where SHE gets to direct the play.<br>
Can dad co-sleep with Sam so she feels more part of the family? Any way to fit 4 in your bed? (Ds wanted to co-sleep with us when dd was about 12 mos old. So, we let him come into bed one night after he woke in the middle of the night. Ds needs A LOT of space. 4 people in a queen bed was a tight squeeze. He never asked again!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks! I've begun to realize that I've set up some rivalry and I'm feeling really bad about giving Sam a short shrift. **sigh** DH does sleep with Sam but she's really wanting me, and I can't blame her. After all, Lila gets to sleep with mommy. I really am feeling like a bad mom lately. Thanks for the advice. I hope things start to get better soon.
 

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I think the PP's have said almost everything I would say.<br><br>
One thought though, can you sleep with both girls for awhile? that way both girls get to have their night time Momma needs met.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>P-chan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8118745"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I<br>
I realized that I was going through my days just trying to manage my son, because connecting with him seemed too hard and ineffective. And that wasn't working for either of us. So I started pretending that I felt more connected--things like:<br>
1. Saying "I'm so happy to see you again!" after some time apart<br>
2. Whispering "I love you" or something silly at unexpected times<br>
3. Allowing treats, even if his general behavior made me feel like withholding them<br>
4. Extra cuddly time in morning upon waking up<br>
5. etc. etc.<br><br>
After a few days of "faking" it, I started to feel more connected again. And after a week, he was responding in kind. Who knows, maybe he was coming out of that phase anyway, but it felt good to be proactive about it.<br></div>
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that is really good advice. I'm trying to do that myself as I feel disconnected from my sd after 3 years. In the beginning it was great, now we are hoping to work things through in therapy, but changing my mindset can't hurt.<br>
Not to trivialize, but I'm surprised so many people have problems with 2 and 3 year olds, I thought those were the most fun years of all with all the learning and discovering. Pre teen stuff seems to be what makes me nuts. I often wish our kids were 3 again.
 

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Just wanted to let you know that I read you post and we are in the same situation. DOn't have any advice. I have been trying to spend more quality time with Dd(3.5) over the last few days and it has seemed to make a difference , if only for a little while. Hopefully if I keep up the quality I will see an improvement in her behavior.<br><br>
Erin
 

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This is the 3rd (oddly) post I've read tonight just in this forum about 3 yr olds. It is rough. I wish I had advice for you. All I can say is that I try to keep DS busy. I make sure we have some sort of get out of the house activity going everyday. Somedays it may just be painting in the back yard, but if we can get out to a play date or the park, even better.<br><br>
I am so glad to hear someone else talk about feeling like they don't like their 3ish yo. I feel that way often too especially since DS2 is in such a cute & lovey stage right now. It makes me feel like an aweful mom, but I am glad to hear that we all feel that way from time to time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'll say it again - it helps SO much to hear (read!) that other mamas feel this way and then start to feel reattached again later so this isn't permanent. It makes me feel so much better that others have done this too. More attention defintely helps, and realizing that I need to put her needs first (someone said that both girls needs are equally valid - that helped a lot) sometimes is helping too. She still wilts and acts up when I focus on her sister. But we're improving. I hope.
 
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