more on cranky toddler

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from stefani2. Show stefani2's posts

    more on cranky toddler

    hi all - i need more advice on DS (15mo). a couple of weeks ago i posted on how he was cranky after his PM nap, and got the advice to put him to bed earlier. so we moved bedtime from 7 to 6:30, which i thought was helping, but now i'm thinking we're regressing and it's something else. DS is a complete crank after his afternoon nap and also when we get him up in the AM. for the afternoon naps, he sleeps from 1 until anywhere between 3 and 4:30. we usually wake him up at 4:30 b/c of the impending early bedtime plus to keep him on a (somewhat) similar schedule with DD. it takes him sometimes over an HOUR to snap out of crying, tantrums, wriggling on the floor agony after waking up from the PM nap. even a snack doesn't snap him out of it. (btw we have a regular snack schedule, so i don't think he's hungry.) the morning thing is even weirder: this am for example we heard him chirping and chatting with DD (twins), happy as a clam, but when we came in to get them up he went into full breakdown mode until we got him in front of his sippy cup of milk. this is now typical for the AMs too, but they are not as severe or long-lasting as the PM episodes. help - i'm really at the end of my rope. i hate to feel so frustrated and -annoyed- by my son (and feel horrible for even putting it in print!). thanks.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    First of all, who wouldn't be frustrated?  Kids ARE frustrating to their parents, it's a fact of life, not anything to feel guilty about.

    However, tough question - what is the payoff he's getting for throwing a tantrum the second you walk in the room?  There must be one because he's happy as a clam entertaining himself and when you walk in he feels a need to get something from you by throwing a tantrum.  He gets SOMETHING.  What is it?  

    That's rhetorical.  We don't need to know, but you do.  And, make sure he doesn't get it anymore.  If he's fine the second before you walk in he's not starving or in pain or have any other "legitimate" need to scream and cry.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from stefani2. Show stefani2's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    unforutnately, not so simple. we don't "reward" him w/ any attention when he's cranky. not my parenting style to coddle. so it's something else... :(
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    I was going to say the same thing as Kar - that it's an attention getting ploy (even if it's negative attention).  I mean, it's really hard to completely ignore a tantruming 1-year-old, isn't it?  And at that age there's really no reasoning with them, so I'd say just try the best you can to distract him when he throws these fits and hope he grows out of it soon!  Believe me, I feel for you.  I see the terrible twos looming with DD and I'm terrified!
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    I'm not saying or meaning to imply that you're coddling him, but he gets something for it.  It's clearly not an obvious or easy thing to recognize...but it's something.  Humans just don't display completely random behavior.  And, that's encouraging because it means it is identifiable.  When you can identify the payoff you can stem it.

    ETA:  To say or believe it's completely random means you're in trouble because no one can remotely hope to suggest a solution to a random tantrum because it's random. And, since his immediate human/basic needs are not driving the tantrum (given that he's happy and doesn't throw one until the moment he sees you), it means he gets some sort of reward.  And, I mean "reward" in a psychologically clinical sense - the clinical opposite of random screaming which would indicate psychological problems which I assume he doesn't have.  Either it's random or he gets a logic-driven reward/payoff.  Figure out what that is and you can solve the problem.  Assume that he gets nothing out of the deal, and you'll be stuck with the tantrums.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    Stefani
    Let me say that I'm sorry that you are going through this.  How awful for all of you.
    I think it's time to call the pedi and see what he/she says. You just never know - waking up cranky all the time could be a sign of something. Besides - even if it's only some behavioral thing (and of course it probably is) they may have a better suggestion than us.
    My son (2 1/2) sometimes cries because he wants to play in our room in the morning and after nap and I want him to come downstairs.
    Could it be something as simple as that?  I find that giving in for 5 minutes usually solves the problem around here.
    Good luck!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from MM379. Show MM379's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    Hi Stefani, First off, I agree with the poster above that a call into the Pedi would be helpful.  Just noticing that you say "PM" nap....  Does that mean the kiddos may still have an AM nap?  Wondering if there may be something with the sleep cycle here and if he may be venturing toward 1 midday nap per day, as often is the case around that age.  My DS went to 1 nap at 12 mos and was much happier for it.  If you have the Weissbluth sleep book, maybe check out some of the signs your DS is exhibiting and some of the recommended sleep patterns around that age. 
    As for the AM, my DS used to do something similar.  He could babble away in his crib, but the second he saw us, he HAD to have his cup of milk.  I think he just associated the cup of milk with starting the morning with us or with comfort and cuddling, and just didn't have the practicality yet to realize that it takes a trip down to the fridge and and a few prep seconds to actually have the milk in hand.  I usually find with those kind of tantrums, ignoring or distraction work best (like making up a song about getting up, getting milk until the milk is actually in his hand).  To me, the AM tantrum sounds attention-seeking/impatience typical of the age.  The PM one is a little more perplexing and I think could be sleep-cycle related.  Sounds like you tried some adjustments already and again, I think consulting the Pedi and a good sleep book may be helpful.
    I always enjoy your posts and that you are candid and down to earth.  Don't  feel bad for venting.... you have to let it out somewhere!
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Redsoxfan76. Show Redsoxfan76's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    I agree that it is normal to get annoyed with your child, and also normal to feel guilty about it! Agree with previous poster too that he must want something.  Maybe he is just a needier kid than your DD as far as affection and he wants a hug? I know you say you don't coddle but I don't think that would be coddling. Maybe he just feels like his sister gets all the positive attention because she is so well behaved and this is only way he can get some (albeit negative) attention?

    Have you tried talking to him? I am at an earlier stage with my first child so I don't know when they can really communicate but maybe ask him (after first calming him down) why he is so upset? Maybe he doesn't even know why he is throwing tantrums but if asked he would reconsider? Maybe something like "I know you are upset, can you tell me why you are crying and we can make it better?" or something? I don't know - maybe I am reading Barbara's mailbag too much. :)

    Regardless, I think a call to the pedi is in order as others suggested. I can tell by the tone of your post that you are really struggling with this. I'm sorry about that and hope that it gets better soon!
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from winter09wedding. Show winter09wedding's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    first, please don't feel bad/crazy/etc for posting. I think that this "precommunication" phase is really challenging for a long of kids and their parents, and I can't imagine dealing with two at the same time.

    Let me preface this by saying I don't have twins, and I would imagine that this would be so challenging to regulate two sleep cycles, but it is possible that he needs more sleep in the afternoon if you are waking him up. My DS is always a crank when i wake him up. I know that the ferber book has some good info on sleep cycles, so it may be that you are waking him during a cycle and if you waited 15 minutes it would be a lot easier for him.  Although it must be so challenging to manage two sleep cycles separately, since your twins are fraternal I think that it would make sense that their sleep cycles may also be different. I remember that ferber has a table of "necessary amounts of sleep time" that can vary an hour in each direction- what if DD is on the light side and DS is on the longer side?

    this is also around the same age that my DS moved to one nap. it is now from 11:30/12 through 3/3:30. so he is up in time to get tired for bed, but gets a more solid chunk of sleep.

    Aside from the sleep schedules, I found around this age my DS began having a really hard time when he felt I didn't "get" what he needed?  We started working on sign language, and it has been really helpful.  He now has signs for milk, eat, diaper, bath, sleep, etc. and- although he still gets upset when he doesn't get what he wants- being able to know has been really helpful.  there are a few good websites with demonstrations, I find the books really challenging.

    good luck- i think that the pediatrician may also be helpful- even if it is just feeling a little less crazy.  hang in there.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    Hang in there... and don't feel bad.  As my therapist says, they're just feelings.  You can *feel* any way you want, you just can't act any way you want.  :)

    I second the person above who mentioned thinking about going to one nap.  Our LO is 17 months and some days takes two naps and some days takes one.  On days she takes one nap, she is really tired before the nap (around 12:30) and before bedtime (around 8:00), but otherwise pretty good.  On days she takes two naps, she is usually really cranky after the second nap.  I have no idea why this should be, but I also get cranky if I nap too late in the day and wake up as the sun is going down (4 or later).  I know kids need more sleep, but as they are leaving babyhood, maybe this late day sleep feel strange to them as well.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    When you ask the pediatrician about this be sure to let him or her know that he's playing quietly and happily moments before you get him in the morning.  It's crucial information the doctor will need to assess the root cause of the tantrums so he or she can successfully guide you to their cessation.  The more you can tell the doctor the more likely his or her suggestions will work out of the gate.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from stefani2. Show stefani2's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    all - thanks for the feedback.  my update from this AM is: he was less horrible before milk; maybe b/c i sang to him and got DD up first, giving him a little space, taking it a little slower.  a little fussing but not as bad.  regarding naps: we're at the point where we are putting DD and DS down in the AM for a "rest" and then for their nap at 1PM.  maybe 20% of the time they nap during the AM; the rest of the time they play quietly in their cribs for 45 minutes or so.  we have found when we skip this AM rest completely, the babies are both fussy and cranky by 11 or so, which is why we've kept with it.  but that's interesting about medford's DD... hmm.  yesterday DS had an AM nap and a PM nap, and DH said he was better in the PM - until i got home and he threw a fit.  it must be attention-seeking.  ???  nanny says she thinks he's being a little more clingy/huggy lately too.  will ask at the pedi this week at our 15mo appt.  THANKS again!
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    Stefani, FWIW, my DD struggles with transitions, too, and is a bit of a bear in the morning.  I think the age is just tough -- they're going through a lot of changes, they have only a few words to try to let you know what they are feeling/wanting, and they don't understand why what they want NOW is not happening NOW. 

    It could be sleep, or hunger, but I find that the evening transitions are toughest ... she's so happy to see me at daycare, then she freaks out a bit.  Ditto when DH gets home.  I think of it as a concentrated dose of, "I MISS YOU!" that she kind of saves up for end of day.  It's not easy, but it's not a personality thing or her actively seeking attention, to my mind, it's just where she's at. 

    I realize that's not terribly helpful in that there's no fix, but I find that taking things a little slower (when we can) and being willing to deviate from my evening routine if she wants extra cuddles or stories or what-have-you is key to evening harmony.  And I find that I'm less stressed and short-tempered with the whining and, "eh, eh, EHHHHH!" stuff if I'm not trying to stop it from happening, just redirect it. 

    And I always have a Sesame or two on the DVR if things take a turn for the unbearable. 
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    I've posted about this before, and it doesn't address your question, but the thing that seems to keep coming up is the attention issue.  If he is being clingy and huggy, he may need some one-on-one time.  Just you and him or just DH and him.  It could be going out with one of you to run errands or it could be a couple hours with one of you at the zoo or the aquarium or some time at the playground.  And while this is going on, the other parent can do something separate one-on-one with DD.  DH and I have been trying to do this with our kids as frequently as possible and it's amazing to see how different the kids are when they're separated, and how much they BASK in being the sole focus of one parent's attention for a couple hours.  As a parent of twins, I think  you'll also be amazed at how comparatively easy it is to handle "just one" kid at a time (you might even be able to *gasp* abandon the stroller since you don't have to worry about kids running in opposite directions).  I feel that I come back from these outings refreshed and feeling closer to the kid I was with and the kid comes back glowing, knowing that his/her individual needs/wants were focused on 100% for a period of time.  (DH and I alternate who goes with whom each time so it's balanced out.)  When we get back, the kids are happy to see each other and as they're getting more and more verbal and having actual conversations with each other, it's fun to listen to them talk about what they did and question each other ("You go to the aquarium with Daddy?"  "I go to the museum with Mommy.  And we ate burritos"  "Did you go to Boston?  And go in the tunnel?").  I love to eavesdrop and hear how they "process" the world.  :)

    Even if it turns out that attention isn't the issue, I highly recommend separate outings every so often.  It's really just a nice change of pace for everyone, I think.

    I hope the pedi has some guidance for you!


     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from grimalkin. Show grimalkin's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    Is it possible that your son is going through a physical or developmental growth spurt? I've noticed that my son (22 mos) will have phases of absolutely horrific tantrums when he's going through a big change (dropping AM nap) or having a developmental surge.  It eventually passes and then we go back to the normal day-to-day tantrums, which aren't fun but are manageable. 

    We just went through one of these "surges" a few weeks ago and it was right before he started speaking in sentences (seemingly overnight - bizarre). 

    After going through a couple of these phases, I've found that I'm better able to keep my sanity and patience if I try to remember that 1. it's temporary and 2. he's struggling with something and doesn't have the reserves to cope.

    I realize that's not very helpful in practical terms and I'm definitely not saying to ignore this issue but it could be something that will pass once he gets over the "hump."

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    Wouldn't a phyiscal need or discomfort manifest in at least a little whining or other sign of the problem before mom appears in the doorway?  

    I LOVE Daisy's suggestion of being purposeful and proactive about giving each twin their own special times fairly often with mom and dad.  Sharing them all the time has got to be stressful for everyone for all the reasons Daisy described.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from marriedmom. Show marriedmom's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    I think you've gotten lots of great advice, but I just wanted to second (or third?) the comments about some kids needing slower transitions. He is definitely getting old enough to have his own ideas about what he wants to do, and I wonder if he isn't one of those kids who would just prefer to hang out in his crib longer. Is it a possibility with your schedule to let him play in there until he wants to get out? Like maybe he could call you over the monitor when he is all done with his crib? I know sometimes we have places to go, and it wouldn't work, but as someone who myself likes sloooowwwww transitions from sleep time to wake time (which totally never happens in my life anymore but whatever LOL), I am sensing a kindred spirit with your boy.

    Oh, and yes - dropping a nap is always a bit of a tough thing, but that may help too, since they almost never actually sleep in the morning anyway. Te you wouldn't be losing so much time during your day to the crankies. I think 11-ish is a very typical time for toddlers to be ready to go down when they have only one nap. You might want to try it, and just be prepared to move bedtime earlier to compensate for the long afternoons.

    Just wait till naps go away entirely, and bedtime becomes 6pm. That's the life! ;)
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from dz76. Show dz76's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    Marriedmom - I wish that when my oldest dropped her nap at 2 she had wanted to go to bed earlier.  6 isn't feasible for us since no one is home yet but I'd like earlier than 9 which is her bed time now.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    In Response to Re: more on cranky toddler:
    [QUOTE]Wouldn't a phyiscal need or discomfort manifest in at least a little whining or other sign of the problem before mom appears in the doorway?   I LOVE Daisy's suggestion of being purposeful and proactive about giving each twin their own special times fairly often with mom and dad.  Sharing them all the time has got to be stressful for everyone for all the reasons Daisy described.
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]

    Not necessarily.  I find that DD decompensates more when I'm around.  Kiddos tend to feel safest with mom and reward said mom with the finest of the meltdowns.  The problem with this pre-verbal age is that it could be so many things: hungry? thirsty? molars? conquering a new milestone? tired?  not tired? 

    I could have DD fed, watered, entertained, Tylenol-ed, Elmo-ed, cuddled and she could STILL lose her mind.  I find that I run less risk of losing mine in turn if I stop trying to think I can FIX it and take it as it comes.  She's not going to be this little forever, and this too shall pass. 


    I guess I'm just not willing to try to solve for X with EVERY meltdown.  Toddlers are wee little bundles of Id and I think sometimes I over-complicate things if I worry that if I do A in response to B, we'll wind up with a Messed Up Kid in five years.  If she's some master manipulater and I'm being played ... well.  I'm already scr*wed -- she's way cuter than I am and I'm no match for her wiles. 

    Standard Caveats apply -- I've got a singleton, not a twin.  Listen to Daisy before you listen to me -- she's way smarter and actually read the books to which she refers.  I read Daisy's posts about said books.  And everyone's got to find their own way.  I just find that I have more patience and am less stressed when I look at DD as a little bundle of age-appropriate impulses rather than my adversary. 

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    Yeah, GC makes good points.  Even if mom coming into the room *triggers* the crankies, that doesn't mean it's the *cause* of the crankies.  They will tell me at daycare pickup that my daughter was "awesome" all day, and then she'll be horrible when we get home.  It's not because of us rewarding her or responding to that behavior (although, sure, that's a trap that can happen) -- I think the prevailing thought in developmental psych is that kids will break down when they feel safe.  They've got to get that negative energy out.
    This is not to say that all the actual, practical suggestions people have given are not good!  It's just that you can't necessarily conclude, "He breaks down with me because of the way I respond to break downs."  It's often, "He breaks down with me because I am me."
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    I'm not implying everything can be identified and fixed.  But, if you go after the wrong problem the right solution, if there is one, is going to get missed.

    Agreed, kids can hold it in until mom appears and then whatever pent up frustration/pain/hunger comes tumbling out when he feels safe and that things can be taken care of by her.  But, he's cooing, babbling, and playing contentedly right before she walks in.  That doesn't indicate that anything problematic is going on in the minutes before she arrives.

    Maybe he really does need that alone time post-nap to fully wake up and want to be in the thick of life, again, as married mom suggested.  
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from stefani2. Show stefani2's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    thanks all.  i have a little update.  for the past 2 days i've taken it a little slower w/ DS when we get up and it's helping a bit.  and, i broke out ferber again and he has something about "nap transitions."  he says that during the transition from 2 naps to 1, sometimes a toddler will have the AM nap and sometimes s/he won't, and on the days s/he doesn't nap in the AM s/he's a cranky mess in the PM.  ferber says this is part of the transition, but that said transition should only last a few weeks, and if it lasts longer, you've got to move it along.  we've been doing the AM "rest" since they were about 12 months old - 3 months.  SO - my next move is no more AM nap or rest, and maybe an earlier PM nap and bedtime until we're transitioned.  i hope it works!!!  :)  i'm also going to try giving him more time between waking up in the PM and me getting him from the crib.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    In Response to Re: more on cranky toddler:
    [QUOTE]It's just that you can't necessarily conclude, "He breaks down with me because of the way I respond to break downs."  It's often, "He breaks down with me because I am me."
    Posted by medfordcc[/QUOTE]
     ^ What I meant to say, but stated more better using the good words. 
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from marriedmom. Show marriedmom's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    Stefani - So glad you are feeling better about it and have a plan. Sometimes that's all it takes to stay sane. ;)

    DZ - While I would never say that being a SAHM is overall easy, those transition times are definitely one that I think are a bit easier on us (well, me as a SAHM). My DS also stopped napping at 2 (way too young!), and I had the luxury of being able to schedule our evening so that I could put him to bed. I am was definitely netally ready to say goodnight to him. LOL. My sister (who works) is struggling with this right now b/c her twins will party all night if they nap, but if she puts them to bed early enough for me to drop their nap (I babysit them), then she doesn't really get to spend any time with them and has a crazy rushed evening. If she doesn't rush, then she misses the window and they party all night even though they're exhausted! All trade-offs without a great solution. So I (sort of) feel your pain!
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from luckinlife. Show luckinlife's posts

    Re: more on cranky toddler

    I am just posting to say that the loss of the morning nap stinks!  I am right there with you Stefani.  I haven't had the crankiness issues luckily but I miss my time in the morning for sure!!  She also has given us a harder time going down for an afternoon nap even without the morning nap.  I just think this is a transition thing.  The perk is that she is sleeping a little later in the morning. 
     

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