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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does your toddler pick up on your stress and if so how do they react?<br><br>
My mom passed away suddenly last week and I'm having a very hard time. My husband and his family were able to watch dd while I was making the arrangments, they have a pool and all sorts of stuff to distract her, so I don't think she realized anything was wrong. Even at the service, her 18 month old cousin was there and they played happily. Now that we are back home and everything is quiet again, she's very touchy. Easily frustrated and big crying spells that I have problems calming her down. I'm afraid she's feeding off of my feelings, but I don't know what to do about it. I'm trying to make sure we get out each day, like we went to the zoo this morning, but I still feel numb and zoned out. So now I feel guilty for not being a better playmate. We don't have any family here, or any friends with kids. I guess I'm looking for advice/support. Maybe some fun activities that are easy and don't require alot of thinking on my part (for a 15 month old). Thanks.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> to you. I am so sorry that you are faced with some sharp edges right now.<br><br>
The stress question: I can relate. I was once hospitalized in an emergency health situation. Without any notice dd was in the hands of my dh and my mom. Long story short - when I returned home after a few days my dd was just "great" (like you mentioned the normal behavior at the family service). Slowly, the other shoe began to drop and I could sense the stress coming out of dd full force. Example... coming across a playmate playing with a Big Bird doll and my dd just loses it! She grabs on to it screaming bloody murder full tilt while I and a few other adults intervene and convince the older child to let my dd play with it.<br><br>
My recommendation (this saved us): routine. We spent the rest of that summer doing almost the same thing everyday. A walk in the morning, playtime, big nap, playground & sprinklers in the pm. When I look back on that period I can really say that dd was wonderful. Even during the tough age bracket of an 18 mo old she had a wonderful day each and every day.<br><br>
I think the routine was a huge stress reliever for me and dd. We knew exactly what was coming next. I hope you can try it.
 

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I'm sorry for your loss.... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
Have you specifically told DD what happened and what you're feeling? If not, give it a try.<br><br>
I haven't BTDT myself but a close friend lost her grandmother and her DD reacted similarly. She talked to her about what happened (died, won't be able to see again, will miss her--not much detail, though, just that) and how she was feeling. And that everything would be OK, that she would feel sad for a while but would be ok, that she might seem "distant" but still loved her daughter as much as ever... and (IMO probably most important) that her daughter did not have to feel sad just because she did.<br><br>
She said her daughter started being her "happy self" again that very day.<br><br>
Take care of yourself. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Well we've had a bit of BTDT, too. Last month we had put down our beloved dog due to her hip dysplasia. Our 2 yo dd loved that dog, as did my dp and I. We involved dd in the procedure, took her to the vet with the dog's body, etc. so she could be part of that. Well all the crying around the house by me prompted many discussions. DD and I still talk about all the things that happened when Sasha died. ["Sasha died at home. Then we picked up the body, put it in her wrap (a bed), put her in the car and all drove to the vet's office. Then, we said bye bye to Sasha's body. We miss Sasha. Now we offer her spirit apples on the altar at home."]<br><br>
Then, one week later, I found out that my birth mother was dead.<br><br>
There was a lot of crying for a few days at odd moments. DD would see me cry and touch my teary face, and we'd talk about how mama was sad, and why, and that I will feel better later. Now if I cry dd hugs me or lays her head on my shoulder and then smiles at me, as if to ask if I feel better now. Too cute!<br><br>
Her sleep during this time was all wacked out. She started rolling out of her bed and onto me (we have the beds pushed next to each other) in the middle of the night, needing to touch me in order to sleep. She's stopped taking naps. She is more clingy. But I find that just touching her a lot more often during the day - and I already had a LOT of body contact with her - meets her needs. We talk a lot about feelings in this house, because that's how we are and because dd is very sensitive. She misses Sasha, and I get sad. We have a lot to discuss!<br><br>
I am sure this, too, shall pass. But in the mean time I encourage honest discussion and exploration of your feelings, assuring her that you will all be OK. And the routine suggestion is awesome.<br><br>
Hugs all around.<br><br>
Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone.<br><br>
I haven't talked to dd about it. Telling her seems like the hardest part yet, I guess it makes it real. My mom was the grandparent that was here when she was born, that would call to talk to dd (not me), just the one most involved and I hate that she lost her at such a young age. People keep telling me that she's too young to understand and it's better if she doesn't see me upset but I know she feels that things aren't right. I am going to talk to her tomorrow, since we are heading back to deal with my mom's estate next week.<br><br>
And the routine idea is great. Thank you. We are going to be going back and forth for a while (my mom was 3.5 hours away), to get the estate settled and the house taken care of, but I want to make it as easy on dd as possible. I figure we can do something together in the morning, then lunch and nap, then her other grandmother will watch her for a couple of hours while I work on things. Then dinner, play and bed. When we get back home the pools should be open and it will be easier to fall into a good routine.<br><br>
Thanks for the advice and the support. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever gone through and I hate the effect it is having on dd. She was a total mess this evening and nothing I could do helped. Finally dh took her to read stories and I did laundry and stuff. I feel helpless, like when dd was a newborn and I had no idea what to do with her. I guess it doesn't help that she just became a confident walker and much more adventurous and such.<br><br>
Thanks again,
 
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