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Please help me be a better parent today (long)

594 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  janerose
I am just so frusterated and feeling so mean towards dd. She is 19 months old. It's not her fault and probably has more to do with my being pregnant, sick, too busy with school, ect. All she wants to do is read. You'd think that's a good thing right? I mean it's 24/7 with her though. We read for hours a day and it's driving me insane. Then if you try and distract her or tell her "not right now". She screams and freaks out and then hurts herself, usually by hitting her head on the floor and then screams louder. I try sensory stuff. Today I had a huge plastic thing full of flour and different toys to go with it. She just kept eating the flour, I couldn't get her to play at all. It's the same experience we have with any sensory play and her, all she does is eat the project. I take her outside for at least an hour each day. That usually goes well. She'll see me eating something, ans then scream and drop to the ground over wanting some. I give it to her and she spits it at me and freaks out (I assume because it's not what she wanted?) This is some of the stuff that goes on during a normal day.

When I type this stuff, it seems like small potatoes. She has just been so mean and I don't know why or how to deal with it. When she's screaming and thrashing around I've had to set her down and walk out of the room a lot lately to keep from feeling rage about the whole thing.

I can't keep her outside all day or take her places all day long (she's always an angel in public). I really think that shes bored. In August I will be done being pregnant, done with school, and will put her in preschool. I honestly think that she's ready for preschool now. She is so independant, carefree with strangers and other kids, never misses me when I'm gone, loves to do projects and stay busy, ect. But I can't afford it right now.

So how do her and I not drive each other crazy for the next few months? What can I do to keep her and I happy? Thanks for letting me vent.

Another thought. She can't talk at all or sign yet. Maybe she's frusterated because she can't communicate her needs/wants with us?
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im sorry i dont have any stellar advice, just wanted to give you some support.
just wondering, maybe some chances for dc to get into some play groups with other kids. it might help her work off some energy? i found a great coffee shop the other day that had a huge play area. dd is about 18mos and she loved being able to play while i sat back and watched with some coffee. maybe something like that if its available in your area would be a cool outlet for your dc to play?

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Oh, it's so hard! I know -- I know exactly how you feel. My DS (also 19 months) on occasion, is like you describe, and I have to do the same thing -- walk out of the room and sit in the bathroom for a minute, breathing deeply, to calm myself. It is such a difficult situation. I'm pregnant, too, so I know those hormones add an extra punch.

I do agree with Fremontmama -- are there any cool playtimes that you can take DD to? Library times? I work p/t, so I don't make it to lots of those things but I always see lots of them in my area. Maybe if you could figure out one good outing a day, it would be something to look forward to and get her and you out of the house. We have some great options around here but I don't know about your area.

Also, these may seem obvious, but is she eating enough, sleeping enough, drinking enough water, etc. etc.? Is she sick? Ear infection? Teething? The thing with the eating and how she screamed for it and then threw it down makes me think maybe her teeth hurt and she knows it will hurt if she eats it? My DS does that. I'm just thinking of anything now. I know that my DS was at his worst when he had a sinus infection and was teething. That was a horrible week!

Oh, and last thing, it's not to late to teach her some signs. You just have to be very diligent about repeating the sign every single time you say the word. DS doesn't speak many words but can sign about 10. I think it helps a lot, except for when he signs "more" and I have no idea what he wants more of! But you could teach her "more," "eat," "all done (all gone)," "sleep," "help," "pain".... those are the especially helpful ones that DS knows.

Good luck -- hang in there! It will get better.
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At least twice a week we go somewhere and I let her romp until she is beat. The mall has a play place, we use McDonalds, the park, ect. I can't afford to do it everyday though. I live out in the woods and the drive to town is a bit costly. She probably would love a playgroup. But everyone I find out here is pretty mainstream. Then the AP people, are never able to get together for whatever reasons (I find that happens with AP groups even in different states). She did it again today. I washed her hair, she was mad. When I was done I sat back down to read my magazine and she threw her head back!!! Hit her head on the bottom of the tub and damn near drowned. I can't take this kind of thing. It makes it hard for me to feel sympathetic when she's doing it on purpose all the time. We can't dress her, brush her hair/teeth, change her diaper, ect. With out a huge meltdown. I keep thinking maybe a sensory problem? But she ALWAYS wants to be hugged and cuddled. Does it work that way? Anyway, I really am just venting now. I'm so out of ideas. I'll just keep trying to be the best mommy I can be for now. Thanks again.
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HANG IN THERE, mama! yes, it's all of the above (toddler, can't communicate, hormones, etc.), and IT WILL GET BETTER! it might get worse for a while (i don't know when your new baby is due), but this time next year, i promise you will be looking back and wondering how you survived...

just take it day by day, minute by minute if you have to. can you find a local kid, either after school or a homeschooler during the day, to be a mama's helper? not a baby sitter... just someone else to read to her (and that's fantastic, btw! she's absorbing sooo much from that...). this helped me save my sanity with my toddler years! even a 10 year old kid will be fascinating to your dd, and give you a breather.

signs and talking will help, and she's learning more about those every day. it sounds like she's one of those kids who will be real quiet for months, then one day just start spouting whole sentences (my oldest was like that). i thought he was brain damaged or something, but it's just how these kids work. your next kid might be babbling at 9 months, like mine did... even though they come from the same place, they are sooo different!

you're doing a great job, mama. keep it up, just surrender to the tiny tempest that is your toddler. she's just as frustrated with you right now... this is both of you learning the wonderful dance of living together.

i must admit... when ds has driven me to the absolute limit, i will pop the They Might Be Giants ABCs DVD on (we don't have regular TV, just a monitor for movies). this will mesmerize him, even in the middle of teething. i hate myself when i do it, but it keeps me from losing my temper. sometimes i just need a few minutes where he's not grabbing my boobs, not throwing another book at me, not shrieking because i wouldn't let him stomp the cat's tail...

do whatever you have to to get through this year. it will be full of frustration, but there will be days you are just sooo in love with your little one, i promise!

good luck, mama!

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HI Melaya,
Just an idea about the reading thing. would it help if you read some stories onto a tape and let her listen to the tape when she wanted stories but you are sick of reading?

It sounds like you are having such a rough time right now. I too was pregnant with a 19 month old and feeling crazy at times. I think it's totally normal given how tired pregnancy makes us, combined with the fact that these little beings we call toddlers just need, need need all the time. Is there anyone you could depend on to help with her once in awhile so you could have a short break, time to yourself to refresh and replenish your own supply of good mommy ness? I find those short moments of peace invaluable to my sanity, and also good for our kids to have time with other, fresher faces once in awhile. I think it's as good for them as it is for us, we get a break, they get someone who isn't sick of buildign towers and reading, kwim?

Anyway...not real solutions for you, just a bunch of empathy. MOthering is a damn hard job. Harder if you don't have the support of real live mommies going through it with you.

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I can definitely relate, not so much at this very moment, but in general. And that's without being pregnant while having one, so I can only imagine. I know that when I was pregnant I felt awful, I feel for you with a toddler and what you are going through.
A couple of things. One is that it sounds like you're locked into one of these parent/child cycles of engaging in confrontations. Can you find a way to opt out of that as the adult? Could you give her a whole day of the snuggles she seems to want and try to break the vicious cycle. Just a thought. Sometimes when my toddler is a bear, I find that doing the counter-intuitive thing is right. For example, if she is whining when I am cooking and I am just gritting my teeth, seething and I want to YELL.... I decide that in the future I will give 15 minutes of my undivided attention-no phone, just lap time prior to cooking. This kind of response usually helps us out of the cycle.
Another thing, you are talking about a timframe until August... That's 5 months, some of which will be your honeymoom trimester, some of which will be hard, no doubt. How much would it cost to give her the preschool stimulation you are thinking that she needs for these 5 months? I know that sometimes when we do the actual math, the feeling that we can not afford it turns out to be more of a feeling than a fact. Again, just a thought.
Also, a nice book for moms, a supportive, spiritual book you might want to consider is Buddhism for Mothers. Try to do a little something for your pregnant self, when you can. I wish you well!!
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Melaya --- I live in Seattle. Too bad we aren't a little closer, we could get together and let our crazy ones entertain each other! And we'll have our next kids close in age, too.

When you said that your DD has a spaz attack when you try to change her diaper or get her dressed, I was nodding my head, almost saying, "Yep!" That's how DS is EVERY time. He HATES HATES HATES havving his diaper changed or getting dressed. In order to make it at all bearable I turn on a movie for about 5 minutes. We don't watch TV but have one for movies. He watches about a total of 25 minutes a day broken into small segments when I want to change him or get him dressed and ready to go out the door. Otherwise it's like, complete meltdown for like 20 minutes. ARGH!!! I feel your pain!
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No great suggestions. Just wanted to send you a hug. I know how difficult they are that this age. My DD is 18 mo. I took her to Walmart today & EVERYTHING was a major whine fest/meltdown. I ended up leaving without everything I needed because I just couldn't handles listening to her anymore.

She also is the queen of tantrums during diaper changes or getting dressed. I will be honest & say that the only way I've found to prevent those fits is to distract her with the TV. Usually she watches a couple minutes of PBS or a Signing Time video while I change or dress her. If you're TV free that obviously won't help, but it has saved my sanity & IMHO a sane mama is more important than a few minutes of TV watching a day.

Definitly start signing with her if you're not already! It's not too late. I can't even imagine how much harder our days would be if DD didn't have about 50 signs at her disposal (she only talks about 6 words).

Good luck!

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