Toddler adjustment issues/newborn mentioned

(15 posts)(9 voices)
  1. DS is 3. DD is a week old. We are having HUGE adjustment issues. We have tried to keep DS's routine the same - he still goes to daycare full time. However, he doesn't want to go in the mornings at all and will fight about it and say he doesn't like to go (total lie as he is fine when he gets there). However, it is the evening issues that have me most concerned - he is saying he is lonely. We are trying our best to not rock his world but apparently in our efforts to keep his life normal - we have gone off on the wrong track. He is fighting bed - he says b/c he is scared and lonely. Part of me knows that this is a stalling tactic and part of me is very concerned that a 3 year feels lonely in his own house. We are still doing bedtime the same way we always have - however, I admit I am less involved b/c DD is often feeding when he is getting ready for bed.

    I talked with him tonight and just tried to talk about how crazy our house is right now and to assure him that it will settle down and we will all get used to having a new baby. I am trying to give him something to look forward to the next day i.e. tomorrow when he gets home from daycare we will bake muffins together.

    Dh is having a huge amount of difficulty dealing with him and that is a big part of the problem IMO. Dh cannot talk him down - instead often (like tonight) gets him even more upset b/c dh feels his is manipulating the situation by stalling. I think he is stalling as well but also feel that if this is the time he expresses concerns i.e. lonely - that we need to let him and talk it through with him.

    Any other suggestions......I admit I did not think my independent little boy would have such huge adjustment problems. Prior to DD's arrival, he was a very independent little guy who would self amuse a lot and was great to do his own thing (w/in reason by that I mean we are in the room with him but may not have been directly involved in what he was doing).

    Thanks,
    Nancy

  2. Nancy,

    When our baby arrived the twins were 2.5. I distinctly remember \"h*ll\" breaking loose for a good three week period; basically the time it took me to establish breastfeeding and become a more functional human being. DH and I were doing it on our own also, didn't have any help or meals coming....so it was pretty exhuasting. I too was adimant about keeping to their routine and would drag my arse out of bed at 7 every morning so that we could eventually get the baby into some semblance of their routine. At three weeks I started taking over the bedtime routine (mostly b/c I needed to since DH was going back on shift) and although it was a bit crazy...I found ME bein involved with their nightime routine really helped (in any form you can!!) I know, it's tough....at the time my twins were going to bed at 6:30 and the baby was ready to be nursed promptly during the time I was reading to them, changing them etc!

    Another thing that I started around weeks 3-5 was a star chart. I actually found a great magnetic Melissa and Doug one at Lakeshore Learning last week. When B was born, using the star chart definitly helped reinforce cooperating during those difficult times (bedtime routine). Now doing it with them, we discuss \"earning their stars\" throughout the day as we struggle wih respect or cooperation etc. and after dinner if they have earned all their stars they get 4 jelly beans (we're also using the chart to reinforce them staying in their rooms!).

    Anyway...after that long ramble, I just wanted to say it will get easier....the first three weeks for us were misery with the twins...but it got better through a lot of consistency, patience and mommy time outs

    Brittany

  3. Hey Nancy - congrats on your DD! I only have the twins, but they are 3.3 right now and new 'fears' jump up every day - I can only imagine adding another child to the mix. One thing we learned in the parenting classes we took is that 'children are done baking at five' - meaning that up to that point they are constantly trying to figure out where they fit into the family. They do this by testing different behaviors to see where they get the best reaction then they 'stick with what works.' In your case I think two things - one, continue with your consistency of his routine and two, maybe reassure him that he is still a very important member of the family and that his 'job' is to be a big brother - give him some 'jobs' that make him feel important and useful (getting diapers for you, putting his jammies in the hamper, etc.)

    One of my DS recently became afraid of the dark and lonely (his brother sleeps in the same room with him!!) - I picked a stuffed animal out and told him that 'pig' would keep him company if he were lonely - now there are nights we find him wrapped around the pig!

    My DH also reacts the same way as yours - often escalating the problem. For us, going back to what we learned in our parenting classes gives us a 'neutral party' to refer to and re-evaluate how BOTH of us handle the situation. It's helped us get out of some sticky parenting situations where both of us thought we were right!

  4. Hi Nancy,
    Just wanted to pop in and say CONGRATS on your new DD! I sure hope the transition smooths out for your little guy - you got some wonderful advice from the kalerante_2 and sonia57.

    All the best!
    Alissa

  5. Nancy-

    Congratulations on DD! I'm not there yet, but I have a 3.5 yo DD and am due with #2 in OCt, so I expect we will be facing these issues soon enough. What about talking to DD, at a different time than bedtime about why he is feeling lonely and what you and/or DH could do to make him feel less lonely. Then you are giving him a chanceto express it when it can't be viewed as stalling, and maybe you guys can work something out together!! Just a thought.

    Stephanie

  6. Hi Nancy,
    Congratulations on your new DD! We are going through the same thing here since our new baby arrived on January 20th. It was pretty bad the first couple weeks, with both older DDs (4 years) acting out. K has since settled into the \"little helper\" role, getting wipes and diapers, picking out J's outfits, helping with her baths, holding her hand when she cries, etc, but she is resisting going to daycare now. She doesn't want me to go anywhere without her - she clings to my leg and cries. MIL had to peel her off me when I took J for her shots on Monday. L on the other hand, continues to be a challenge behaviour-wise, picking on K and just being generally naughty, but she loves daycare, and doesn't seem to mind if I have to go somewhere with J. My girls only go to daycare two days per week, though, so they have some days when they are home with me and the baby. Have you thought about cutting back your DS's daycare days (even by one) so he can stay home with just you and baby (especially if your DH tends to escalate your DS's behaviour)? That way you could try to spend some one-on-one time with him when baby sleeps (but still have the other days when he is in daycare to try to catch up on your own sleep). I don't have any boys, so I don't know how much he would want to help you with her, but it's worth a try. Also, maybe, like kalerante_2 said, if you give/buy him a special \"friend\" to sleep with it would help with his lonely feelings.

    I don't think I gave you any real advice, but I can definitely relate to where you are right now. It's a difficult time, and sometimes all you can do is trudge through each day, hoping the next will be better (and it will get better, even if it doesn't seem like it now). Take care.

    Linda

  7. Nancy,
    I don't have any advice as we're not quite there yet, but I do hope it is a short-lived transition thing. I've heard of women who always have something for their DCs to do nearby when they're nursing -- a book to read, \"baby\" to \"feed\", etc. Maybe in a few weeks once you get the hang of the new baby and can handle both?

  8. Does he respond to charts & positive feedback? Might be time to break out a chart!

    My DD was also 3 when baby sister was born and hell broke loose at bedtime too. Part of it was being 3 and part was the uproar in her life.

    I made a \"getting ready for bed chart\" with all the steps. Potty, wash hands, brush teeth, jammies on, get in bed. A sticker for each step.

    Good luck!

  9. Thanks ladies - will be back later to reply. Didn't want you to think I posted and ran. I have been reading but am dealing w/breast feeding issues too so life is crazy right now.

    Nancy

  10. lots of people recommended a chart for us too but J never seemed to quite click with that (thinking of trying again at 3 though). It seems like it definitely worth a try.

    J also \"needed\" to come in and sleep in our bed for awhile when the baby came. He did not express that he was lonely but that was definitely the vibe I was getting (DH and I were in our bed, baby was in bassinet next to bed, not to mention dog sleeps in our room!! I think he just felt left out so like I said there were a couple weeks we let him come in and sleep with us when he needed it (was not every night but probably 3-4 times a week.)

    I also think if there is any way you could do a bit of his night routine it would help. AS long as you are doing some bottles at the moment let DH go take that feeding and you can cuddle with DS and get him ready for bed.

    Like I said on the other thread both DH and I made BIG efforts to do things just with DS one on one that first month. We also did stuff as a group so he would feel part of the family as well being fussed over individually. Just a thought but you might \"break routine\" and skip daycare one day and have DH take him to the zoo or something special. Or even just have him stay home from daycare so that he can see what goes on all day. he may think he is missing out on lots of fun with you and DH and the baby while he is at daycare. If he gets a whole day home with you all he might feel more connected and/or he might just see it is not all the fun and games he thought and will want to go back to all his friends at daycare.

    The role of \"big brother\" was also stressed a lot and helping the baby etc etc. For us, J loved the baby right away and liked to be with him and help as much as possible. So we gave lots of rewards when he did good big brother\" stuff and just kept telling him over and over what a good big brother he was. That seemed to buck up his confidence quite a bit.

    The \"issues\" he had during the transition were mostly with me - it was like he was mad at me! Very tough for a hormonal post partum mom but it helped identify that I was the one that needed to really make the effort with him and reassure him that he was still very special and the baby did not change how I felt about him. I know from friends that for some of their kids the \"issue\" was with the new baby so that would require a different approach - can you get a sense where DS needs his reassurance - you or DH? Can you get a sense what he feels towards the baby? A friend of mine who had to consult a child psychologist to help her 3 yr old DD with new baby was asked by the psychologist how she would feel if DH brought home a new wife and said she was going to live with them, share all her things, wear her clothes, get lots of attention etc etc and she was going to be there forever! Well most of us would answer that we would be pretty angry at DH for doing this and that is basically what is happening to your DS. Just always remember that this will pass. DS will get used to having a sibling and before you know it they will be best friend and playing and laughing together all the time!!

    As for DH.... I am probably not the best help here. My DH did a bit of the same but I sort of played a trump card that might not have been totally fair. I basically said I was tired and hormonal etc etc I did not have time to fight with him and he had to just do things my way . I laid it on thick.... how difficult the last couple years had been doing multiple IVFs, then that I was the one who had to be pregnant (I am not a happy pregnant person), and I was the one BFing and not sleeping, DS was angry at me not him, etc etc. Basically I guilted him into submission . Like I said probably not a great or even nice thing to do but I just could not handle any more stress or friction and I needed him just do not be another source of stress. So this may not be the best way to handle this (but in my defense I was sooo tired!!)

    you are in the worst of it right now---it will get better

  11. Thanks ladies....

    We have had a good days w/DS and bad days (well nights really).

    Our plan is to drop him back to 1/2 time at daycare but it wasn't suppose to be until the end of April. We are planning on keeping him home a day here and there (probably a day a week) but honestly we can't right now - we are both beyond exhausted and that makes the situation worse when we come to bed time. We drop him later and pick up earlier so he is there less time.

    We have started walking him there which helps b/c he loves to walk and we (dh) picks him up and walks home too which has helped.

    I've started trying to plan something for the next day with him - something small. Yesterday it was making muffins (its a MIX ) but he likes baking and looks forward to that.

    He has stuffed animals coming out the wazoo including 2 large stuffed animals, special blankets and an assortment of small stuffed animals - currently sleeping with everyone.

    DD and I have been there for story time the last two nights - DD in car seat and DS has sat on the floor beside her for story time which has been good. I've cuddled the last two nights which helped on Tues, not so much last night.

    I think what would help hugely is if we set her crib up in her room so he has the perception that she sleeps in her room like him......not like we didn't have weeks/months to get this done but it is what it is - not done yet.

    Have started having him help w/diaper changes which he enjoys.

    And I think that he would be pushing boundaries w/o DD's arrival - she has just made us less patient w/the whole affair.

    I may try the chart but he has a chart to help w/getting ready to potty train and ironically b/c I didn't plan to actually potty train until the summer - he had been admentally refusing to potty train and now when we are the least equiped to deal with it - he is just steps away from being ready so we will be in the thick of that very soon too.

    Thanks....keep them coming even if its just stories that show me that it does eventually calm down.

    Nancy

  12. Nancy,

    I agree, I think once you can help or even take over the nightime routine, that will help emmensly. For some reason I knew that would be rough, but I didn't realize just how dependent the twins were on momma being involved in that. I don't think it's nessesary to have to use a bottle during that time...but somehow adjusting things so that you can both feed/put down the baby and attend to him.

    I know for us, I would put the twins to bed first (6:30) and literally toss them in sometimes as the baby was crying to be fed! If the twins didn't go to sleep that early back then...I probably would have save that time for a non-stimulating video while I fed him...then turned the video off and read to the twins and had some 1:1 time with them.

    Honestly there were times when I was putting the twins to bed and the baby would not settle and sometimes he had to cry for a few minutes so I could at least give them kisses and hugs. But it does get better.

    It DOES get better!!!

    Brittany

  13. Nancy,
    I would agree with others about trying to do the bedtime routine stuff. I still do all the bedtime stuff. Sometimes baby is asleep, sometimes I put her in the bouncy chair in the bathroom, sometimes DH takes her, and sometimes I have to nurse her on a stool in the bathroom while the girls have their bath. Like Brittany, sometimes I have to basically throw the covers over them, give them a quick kiss, and rush the screaming baby out of their room, but at least I am always there. I think it has helped to continue that part of their life. Good luck.

    Linda

  14. Last night was our best bedtime in a month - bedtime troubles started before DD arrived but escalated once she was here. Ironically I had both kids on my own last night - we did try some other stuff too - earlier bath, tv show during which we cuddled on the couch, then story, cuddles, bed. He came out of his room - just once and then settled down and went to sleep. Trying the same routine tonight although tonight it will be dh and I but I am there now even if I am feeding the baby - but normally her schedule allows us to have her fed before we start his routine.

    I'll keep you posted as things progress....hopefully for the better.

    Nancy

  15. glad to hear you had a good night! Actually I forgot that is sort of what we did too - added in 10 minutes of watching Jungle Book on tv into the bedtime routine between bath and stories. I think getting a big \"treat\" like TV added to cuddles in momma/daddy's bed really helped smooth the way to better bedtime transitions for us too. Sorry I forgot we did that till you mentioned it. Hope it helps S like it did J!

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