2 1/2yr old has beat me & worn me down, I'm exhausted and out of ideas. :(

(3 Posts)
ExhaustedAndOutOfIdeas Tue 18-Jun-13 11:18:51

I want to try get all the facts down (and my thoughts in order) so this is going to be very long. Any thoughts, advice, experiences will be very welcome. I'm all out.

Ds2 is 2.9yrs old. He's never slept well, woke every 1 1/2 - 2hrs every single night until 16months. This was the age he dropped all but 1 20/30min day time nap and started walking unaided. We still couldn't get him to sleep until at least 9pm and he would wake between 4 & 5am ready to start the day. He's better now. No daytime naps, lots of fresh air and activity means we can get him to sleep around 7/7.30pm but he's still up around 5am most mornings.

He was commando crawling around 10 weeks, but didn't crawl properly until 7 1/2-8months trying to pull up (but not succeeding) on furniture at 4months, by 6 months was pulling up and cruising furniture with great confidence, but didn't walk unaided until 16 months old. At this point he went from walking unaided to scaling dining room tables and kitchen work tops within a couple of months. He never did learn how to open the stairgate, he just climbed over it instead. I became a helicopter parent.

His speech seemed to explode over night, from nothing to full sentences around 18months. He was still BF 8-12x a day but these where short feeds as he just got so easily distracted.

Now, I'm not sure if any of the above is relevant but I thought getting it all down would give a fuller picture of our problems and as I said, helps me get my thoughts in order.

From 2yrs old until now. Very demanding, if he wants something, he wants it now and if you say no, he will repeat, repeat repeat himself in the hope that you'll change your mind. This can either end with him finally giving up or a full blown tantrum. During a tantrum he will scream, and I mean SCREAM at the top of his voice, throw things and lash out. Mainly at his unsuspecting brother (ds1 4yrs old). Sometimes, he'll just by-pass asking for something and drag a dining room chair through the house to wherever he needs it to get what he wants himself. We have to keep the ipad in the car as no matter where we hid it, he would find it. (Small house, not much storage) using the dining room chair if necessary. Once on the ipad, any attempt to take it off him would result in another full blown tantrum. We tried giving him 20mins on it each day (we don't have a TV) but this just made it worse so now there is a full ban on it.

He tries so hard to be very helpful, if you ask him to do so something in the same room as you're in he will generally do it, with a few little prompts along the way, if you ask him to get something from another room, he'll say yes and happily go off to get it. You'll have to go and find him 10mins later and without exception, he'll be engrossed with his trains and track (BIG obsession). You'll prompt him and he'll say "oh yes" then get up to get it. It's like things just slip from his mind within seconds especially if there is trains around.

He hits and is destructive, this is mainly aimed at his brother again. Screwing up ds1's colouring while he's in the middle of doing it, kicking down towers ds1 has spent time building, whacking him around the head or giving him a kick. All the while he is laughing. Time out does not work, he either laughs and runs away, no matter how many times you put him back or he cries hysterically and trashes his room. We've now gone down the route of picking up ds1 straight away and taking ourselves to another room away from ds2 for a couple of minutes. Giving ourselves a sort of time out, where we can comfort ds1 and make sure he's ok.

He also has no qualms about hitting children 2/3x his size. An example: At a little disco put on by Kindy, there's a bubble machine on the ceiling and a small group of children underneath trying to catch the bubbles, quite obviously my ds is trying to catch them on his tongue hmm. A bubble lands on ds2's shoulder and a young lad of around 6yrs old taps my sons shoulder to pop the bubble. He in no way meant any harm. (Obviously now, I'm pretty much qualified in being a full blown helicopter parent). I knew what was coming But before I could get in and grab ds2, he's turned round, put out both his hands and with his full force pushed the young lad to his bum. I grabbed ds2 and handed him to the nearest person while I helped the lad up and checked he was ok. By the time I turned back around ds2 was screaming, kicking this poor woman and she practically threw him at me. We left right away but as soon as we where outside he was distracted by the street lights and completely forgot what had just happened.

He has refused a pram since around his 2nd birthday so he walks, a lot, first with a backpack as he would bolt, run into roads etc. Now he's much better at holding hands with a few reminders and small bribes along the way but would still quite happily run into a road if it wasn't for this.

He just. does. not. stop. talking. Ever, if he runs out of things to ask you, he'll talk to himself, his trains, his dinosaur light, anything as long as he can keep talking, it takes ages to walk anywhere because he wants to stop and talk to every single person and dog we come across. If we're in a hurry, he'll just shout hello to people, and if they don't answer him he shout it again and again until they either do answer or we've moved too far away.

In between all this, he is delightful, funny, extremely loving, But these moments are getting further & further apart.

I love him so much and want to help him but I'm all out of ideas, I'm exhausted with the constant hovering, I feel sorry for ds1 having to be left to his own devices a lot so I can constantly watch ds2, I absolutely loved being at home with ds1 but have recently just started a part time job just so I can have some time away from the constant whirlwind that is ds2.

Between the childminder, family members and random strangers in the street, we've had ADHD, Autism, ODD, straight forward crap parenting and "oh he's just a normal toddler" suggested to us.

I don't know what to think anymore. I guess going to the GP would probably be the next best step hence getting this all down here, I'm just a bit afraid of what he might say. Whatever he says, I clearly need some help here with him because what we're doing now isn't working.

It's night time here and I'm shattered so I'm going to sleep, will be back in the morning to read through any replies you may be able to offer.

TIA.

You could be describing my 2.5 year old in so many ways.

It's exhausting. My DS is not your DS but here is our story.

My 2.5 year old was tested at 2.3 years following red flags coming up in the M-chat test administered by his GP who is a paediatrician. (Not in UK)
He was then given a full evaluation by a clinical psych. We filled in lots of forms about the details of his observed behaviour at home and out of home and the psych administered the ADOS test and other tests.

He was given a working diagnosis of autism, presenting with mild symptoms and precocious language skills but delayed/difficulty with social interactions. He is obviously bright but not connecting with others appropriately.

Despite asking for the diagnosis process because deep down I knew something wasn't quite right from babyhood, it was still a time of grief and anxiety - asking then waiting for the results then getting the diagnosis.

But having got it, we were able to make an intervention plan, learn what to do and get help. As you know, catching it early makes a huge difference as small children's brains are so plastic. We learned communication and play techniques that helped us and leaped DS loads, everyone became happier and life became easier and more hopeful.

Your son is not my son and you might do MCHAT and find there are no red flags at all and he is just being a typical toddler. I do not mean to frighten or to diagnose for you and nobody should be diagnosing over the Internet. I just wanted to pass on our experiences in case it helped and to wish you well.

capecath Tue 18-Jun-13 13:19:32

Hi there, sorry to hear you are having a tough time. We have two active little DS's (DS1 2.10 and DS2 10 months) and many of the things you have said sound just like DS1.

DS1 has always been a climber, ever since he could pull up at 10 months. He is distracted by anything and everything when walking alongside DS2 in the pushchair, but is recently getting better when we can chat and talk about where we are going. He also talks to all his toys, everyone he sees and just loves being around people. He talks and talks and talks. Constantly. I think these things are all quite common for his age though. To me he sounds like a bright and social little boy!

Some thoughts about some things you are experiencing which I think could be issues (sorry if some of this is tough to hear but I am just trying to help...). Him thinking hitting other kids is funny is a real issue. Perhaps too young for a proper time out...? DS1 just starting to understand these and he is a few months older. For now you may just need to keep watching him and remove him firmly from the situation and reprimand him as soon as it happens, consistently and repeatedly each time. Stay with him, perhaps and hold him firmly for a minute. How was your older one with him when he was younger? I am aware that the younger can often be more boisterous due to play with older siblings.

You said he refuses to go in the buggy. DS1 went through a stage like this (and the car seat) around 2 and it was pretty awful, but there was no option for him - he had to get in - so we persisted. Sometimes with bribery, sometimes with force, which was so hard. A lot easier now (he even wants to go in the buggy sometimes) since we can talk about where we're going and reason a little (we allow him to take toys to play with in the buggy or car), but I think you need to let him know that you are in charge, not him. If he has to go in the buggy, he has to get in the buggy. Not an option to just refuse. You are boss. Similar goes for sleeping. 5am is not play time, it is sleep time. We have done sleep training with both our boys and it has worked wonders. At least, he needs to stay in bed for a couple more hours. Could you get one of those clocks that shows a sun when he is allowed to get out of bed? (I could be wrong but it sounds like some of his aggression may be from tiredness??)

If you are happy with him walking rather than being in the buggy, insist he holds your hand until you are happy he won't run into the road. Talk to him about crossing the road. Something like, stop, look for cars, no cars coming! Ok we can go now! And we always walk on the pavement. Repeat repeat repeat! I have gone a little overboard with this and think DS1 is a little paranoid whoops... but I suppose better than running in the road hmm

You are further down the line than me, but so far I have found it very hard not to compare my younger one to my older one. I find my surprise at them being different rather funny, since something inside me expects them to be the same but obviously they are not. Sounds like your little one is more outgoing perhaps than your older? You do need to be sure to let him know who is boss (for his own good) and he may require more attention for now, but don't be too hard on him - sounds like a bright boy... who knows... a leader?! Hang in there smile x

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