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Discussion Starter #1
DD has always had a hard time doing her own thing. Sometimes she will for a few minutes, but it's rare. I've tried everything I can think of. I'll put things away for a time and take them out so they are 'new' to her, but she's not very interested. I've tried getting really new things, but again, she's not interested. She likes to help me around the house, but when it comes to me needing some time to sew or online, it's a no go. She will hang on my chair and whine or want to sit in my lap or 'need help' for everything. She is capable of so much, I know she is capable of half the things she asks for help with, because when I get up to help her or do it, she will rush to do it. I play with her during the day, not too much though, since I need to be doing my cleaning, cooking, ect. We go places in the morning, the park, library, farm, playdates, ect. It's after nap that is killing me. For 3-4 hours it's a struggle for me to find things for her to do while I get somethings done. She simply doesn't have any desire to play play-doh/dolls/blocks/color/ect alone, or even right next to me. She wants me playing with her all. the. time. HELP!
 

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At that age, my DD didn't want to spend much time playing alone, either. But by the time she was 4, she was great at entertaining herself. So don't worry - it won't be like this forever. An approach that seemed to help get DD used to playing without me was to say, "First I'll do X, then I'll play with you." And then I'd devote as much time to X as I thought she could handle (at first maybe just a few minutes), then do something with her for a bit, then say, "I'll read one more book (or whatever), then I need to do X." Gradually I was able to extend the time she would stay content while I was doing stuff. (And then, just when things were getting easier, I had another baby, and now he's the one keeping me from getting stuff done! But it's not nearly so bad with the second one, because he's got someone else besides me to play with.)
 

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See another baby on the way is why I am worried. As it is, she can't/won't play on her own. What will she do when I'm nursing the wee one round the clock?! I'm a nanny for a 4 month old now, just 2 days a week. And she is great when C is over. But it's not 24/7, so it's kind of a novelty for her to help me feed/change/play with her. I think it will be vastly different when this baby doesn't ever 'go home'! WHen it's day after day of me taking time out to nurse/change/rock the baby to sleep, I know it will be a hard transition for her. I am trying to slowly incorperate short snippets of time where she entertains herself, so it's not such a huge deal in 5 months. I surely don't want to make her feel left out or excluded in any way, though I know at times it will seem that way to her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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*hugs*<br><br>
I think everything will be fine with the new babe, I really do. B is just now beginning to play alone for short periods of time without me -- I find that setting things up with her and playing with her for a bit, then sort of drifting away from her when she is immersed in something helps a lot (though I am still available of course). I can typically get 15-20...sometimes 30!! minutes out of doing that.<br><br>
She won't feel excluded when babe comes... a little annoyed at all the attention he/she gets, sure -- but you have to be secure in the attachment/trust/love you have been building for three years with her -- I think working on getting to a place where you are secure in knowing that A knows how dedicated you are to her and how much you love her. It is a totally normal, common fear to have I think (dunno, we only have B <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> )... but I think it will totally work itself out. Most likely A will love to help, and you will work it out, because you are <b>mindful</b>, and <b>smart</b>, and <b>dedicated</b> to living unconditionally, and dedicated to your attachment to A ---<br><br>
I get the feeling this post has less to do with "help her to learn to play alone" and more to do with "I am scared about entering in another babe when my older babe seems to need so much of me".<br><br>
You are going to do great. Sure, there will probably be a few tiny bumps -- but all in all, I think you have a great vision of what you want for your family and you are reaching it and for it every day.<br><br><br>
PS - I know OP in *real life* in case the post seems too intimate or familiar <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Also, are you cool with huge messes? I find B is more than willing to play alone if I am enabling her to go nuts with something --- have you tried painting in the bathtub <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
I am always recommending that on this site I LOVE IT. I set her up in the bathtub (no water) with lots of fun things --- paint/shaving cream/lotion/cornstarch/whatever and let her go to town. I can get a good 30 minutes (alone) out of that <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Then I can hose everything (including her) down when she is done!
 

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My oldest didn't entertain himself alone until he was 6, when he learned to read. Our whole life changed at that point!<br><br>
When my 2nd was born, I wore him in a sling constantly so that I could maintain my activities with ds#1. Nursing the baby down for a nap was the hardest part -- but he was a little older than your dd. The baby learned to be really easy going about having his schedule interupted.<br><br>
Playdates with friends helped a lot. Having another child over the play actually made less work for me -- they would entertain each other. Then in exchange, I would get an afternoon a week where he went to the playdate's house.<br><br>
DS #1 also REALLY LIKED to be given "jobs" to do, and I could buy myself a few minutes here and there by getting good at creating tasks for him to do. Seriously. Even at 2 yo. he enjoyed things like sorting the laundry into darks and light. I'm not saying that he did it perfectly, but it would keep him occupied. And the belief that he was "helping with a job" motivated him.<br><br>
The really nice thing about having a child who follows you around "helping" all day is that they grow up being really competent at houshold tasks. Its really nice having an older child who can cook and clean, and it was worth the constant shadowing when he was a toddler.
 

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Mommy2abigail, the age difference between your two is going to be just the same as the difference between mine. And I found I really didn't have a huge problem with DD feeling neglected after DS was born. By then, she was getting better at playing by herself sometimes. And I was able to do a lot of things with her even while taking care of the baby. She loves being read to, so I could always read her a book while I was nursing. And DS spent a lot of time in the sling, and I could do almost anything then. (There were a lot of things I didn't really enjoy doing while carrying a baby, but very few things I absolutely couldn't do.)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all your kinds words and wisdom. Yes, it is a huge fear of mine that Abby will feel left out or whatever. It's so hard to imagine loving someone like I love her, yk? I know in my head I will, it's just hard to imagine not putting her needs first every time, since that's what we do now.<br><br>
CC, great suggestion about messy things. I'm totally cool with mess, I have to be with Miss Independant-Do-It-Myself-Abby!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> We have been painting a ton, next time I set it up for her, I'll try the set up-play-wander off technique. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Jobs are a great idea too. She will often offer to 'wash the dishes', a request that I am very happy to grant for her! That usually means we need to mop the floors after, since there is soapy water everywhere!<br><br>
I suppose it really is more MY fear than HER issue. It even makes me a little sad when we are in the car and I'm on the phone (rare, I dont like talking and driving) and she's just staring out the window. I usuallly initiate conversation with her at that point. Which, thinking about it, is silly, since she is fine looking out the window. I just feel bad if I'm not paying attention to her. Silly, I know. I just adore her so much, it's hard.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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I have this same problem with my son (who is close in age to your dd). I find that when I spend the day trying to find ways to get away from him (I have a high need for personal time), that even though I spend all day with him, he is not satisfied. I've found it helpful to really focus on him, and engage my mind as well as my body, in playing with him. I start to enjoy our connectedness, and he gets his "cup" filled and is more likely to play on his own for a little while later. In "Playful Parenting" the author recommends PlayTime, which means for a certain amount of time a day, you do whatever your child wants. It helps them with feeling lack of control over their life (and you) the rest of the time. With a new baby coming, being able to set aside a small amount of time each day to do this with dd1, may be extremely helpful. On certain days, when ds is especially needy, focused time isn't enough, and I just need to accept he needs more. But most days I find it really helps our relationship, because we are connected, I am present with him instead of half-there, and I don't feel "enslaved" to his needs and want to escape. HTH!
 

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Great suggestion. I definately feel that 'trapped' thing alot, and I'm sure she is feeling it too. I will be more mindful of really focusing in on her and filling her cup. THanks for the reminder.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mommy2abigail</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9184640"><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 definately feel that 'trapped' thing alot, and I'm sure she is feeling it too.</div>
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Yeah... I get that feeling of "who's taking care of me?", "who's going to fill MY needs?" Lately I have been reminding myself that I do have a choice. And that I choose to keep taking care of my child's emotional needs because I choose to be a loving parent, and not because I HAVE to". That really helps me to stop feeling like I need to escape, and to enjoy being in the present. I COULD be a neglectful parent if I chose to... I just choose not to. Changing the way I think really helps those panicky/overwhelmed feelings fade.
 

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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>kbchavez</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9184243"><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 have this same problem with my son (who is close in age to your dd). I find that when I spend the day trying to find ways to get away from him (I have a high need for personal time), that even though I spend all day with him, he is not satisfied. I've found it helpful to really focus on him, and engage my mind as well as my body, in playing with him. I start to enjoy our connectedness, and he gets his "cup" filled and is more likely to play on his own for a little while later. In "Playful Parenting" the author recommends PlayTime, which means for a certain amount of time a day, you do whatever your child wants. It helps them with feeling lack of control over their life (and you) the rest of the time. With a new baby coming, being able to set aside a small amount of time each day to do this with dd1, may be extremely helpful. On certain days, when ds is especially needy, focused time isn't enough, and I just need to accept he needs more. But most days I find it really helps our relationship, because we are connected, I am present with him instead of half-there, and I don't feel "enslaved" to his needs and want to escape. HTH!</div>
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I was going to suggest the same thing. Greenspan calls it "floor time"...you get down on their level (whatever that means) and play whatever they want to play with 100% focus and attention. He recommends 30 minutes at a time at least and it's amazing what a difference it makes. They really thrive on that 1:1 attention.<br><br>
Whenever I'm in that zone of wanting time for myself, I try to rally and give him his time with me first. Otherwise, I feel guilty and he's not satisfied. I would try a few days of giving her that undivided attention for a period of time and see what that does.
 

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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>swampangel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9187656"><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 was going to suggest the same thing. Greenspan calls it "floor time"...you get down on their level (whatever that means) and play whatever they want to play with 100% focus and attention. He recommends 30 minutes at a time at least and it's amazing what a difference it makes. They really thrive on that 1:1 attention.<br><br>
Whenever I'm in that zone of wanting time for myself, I try to rally and give him his time with me first. Otherwise, I feel guilty and he's not satisfied. I would try a few days of giving her that undivided attention for a period of time and see what that does.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
I really like Greenspan, and I think floortime is extremely good for DD. I like the idea of setting aside time to focus on DD instead of what I used to do, which was spend the day constantly focusing on "okay can I slip away now and go do X?" which was frustrating and stressful because the answer was usually, "nope."
 
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