Demanding 2-yo

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2007
Demanding 2-yo
7
Fri, 04-23-2010 - 6:00am

I always suspected that my DS was more difficult than most. Now he's been at a Montessori school for 2 months (OT- what do you call it when a 2 year old goes to school? We call it pre-school in South Africa. Is it Kindergarten, or daycare, or what?).

His teacher has indicated that he's very demanding - he "needs" the full attention of an adult at all times, and if he doesn't get it, he loses interest in his work and disrupts other children. (Work being things like pouring, playing with blocks, lacing, etc). He also does other supposedly age-appropriate things like argue to assert his independence.

He is still not sleeping through the night either. For a few weeks, while he adjusted to the school schedule, he was exhausted and slept through. Now he's back to waking up 4 times a night, which is not fun when I'm nursing a 7-month old in my bed. If I leave the baby to attend to DS, she wakes up and cries. (DS has been in his own room quite comfortably for over a year.)

He also "melts down" regularly in the evenings, after school. He cries and cries, and I have to sit with him until he slowly and progressively calms down.

His teacher, who has been teaching 2-year olds for 10 years, suggests that he melts down because he knows he can get my undivided attention during those tantrums, and that I should tell him I will come back when he's calm. I should mention here, she sleep-trained her own babies, so I'm questioning this advice but still needing a way to calm DS down.

At night, I have started going into his room, sorting out his issue (needs a bottle, has a blocked nose, etc.) and then leaving instead of lying with him till he falls asleep again. He is protesting, naturally - he cries for me to come back. But I need to break this cycle, or else I spend every night going from bedroom to bedroom, shushing children and getting too little sleep.

At this age (28 months) is it ok if I leave him to calm himself down in the middle of the night? Can I leave him crying for a minute at a time in the evenings after school? We tried closing him in his bedroom with DH one night, and he screamed hysterically until I couldn't take it anymore, and he won. I went in and we carried on the routine of me being at his beck and call all night. I'm wondering if I overdid the AP thing - I wanted an independent child, but it seems I have a child who's more dependent than ever!

siggy2
siggy2
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2008
In reply to: chindian
Fri, 04-23-2010 - 4:04pm

hi. i can imagine how frustrating that can be. did his break downs start happening or have become more severe since he started pre-school? cuz perhaps, even though i dont have a toddler, im guessing that maybe either he isnt ready or he needs a different pre-school...maybe a smaller class size? i dont think i went to pre-school til i was 4...of course that was the 80's so maybe parents do it earlier now, i dunno.

about the sleep thing, have you tried a night light? i was always afraid of the dark as a kid (ahem, and now) so i liked to have the soft yellow glow of a night light. also, i always slept cuddling a stuffed animal, do you think that would help him?

sorry if my suggestions seem a bit wack, i havent experienced a two year old yet :-)

AlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket


Photobucket

Photobucket
Lilypie Breastfeeding tickers

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2005
In reply to: chindian
Mon, 04-26-2010 - 8:36am

Hi Roma!


It does sound like Nikhil might be on overload with school. Are they just adding too many things to his day? I thought the Montessori schools were suppose to deal with kids as individuals and let them move at their own pace - more than our regular public schools here in the states anyhow. We call school before 4yo, pre-school and I think they recently added something like Kindergarten-4 to the titles for kids who might need or want more than others and then Kindergarten is for 5 year olds. There is also daycare and they usually do some educating (it would depend on the daycare) but they do more with the kids


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2010
In reply to: chindian
Mon, 04-26-2010 - 1:19pm
Seem your LO is reacting to school. When he's home, he wants your full, undivided attention and is letting you know.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2007
In reply to: chindian
Mon, 04-26-2010 - 2:40pm

Thanks for the replies. I will try to increase the one-on-one time with him, although from previous experience, the more time I spend alone with him, the more time he feels "entitled" to. Still, I do think I should spend more time with him.

Yes, he is definitely tired from a long day at pre-school. And I don't think there's anything the teachers could do to calm him down - there's just so much excitement with all his friends, and the jungle gyms and animals and toys, etc, that he wouldn't slow down anyway!

But the night wakings have been consistent, whether he goes to school or not. When he first started school, he actually slept through the night for about 2 weeks (he was that tired), and then he started waking up again. It varies from 1-4 times a night, and occasionally he will go a full night without waking (about once a month).
Most nights when he wakes he just kicks and sort of cries, not wailing, but more like really annoyed, as if he was itchy or something, but his speech is at a level where he would be able to tell me if he was uncomfortable. It's not quite night terrors, more like night "irritations", kwim?

The past couple of days I've left him when he throws a tantrum for silly things, like not wanting me to put his pants back on after a diaper change (it's cold here). I just do the necessary, and then leave him to his tantrum. At night, I go in, and if he tells me what he wants, I do it, otherwise I hug him and kiss him and leave. He cries for about a minute and then falls asleep. If the crying escalates I go back. If it's a daytime tantrum he usually calms down within 2 minutes and is back to his old self again.

Is this cruel? Un-AP? I've just gotten to a point where I feel I can't help him when he's in that state, so I might as well get some much-needed sleep. That probably sounds insensitive and selfish, but I've had 28 months of waking up 4 or more times a night! He also seems to be in a half-awake state, I don't even know if he knows I'm there.

He used to kick his legs a lot when he woke up, but I took him to a cranio-sacral therapist and she worked on his sacrum, and the kicking has decreased a lot. Unfortunately the wakings haven't.
(I always make sure he is warm, not thirsty, nose unblocked, all the obvious things).

siggy2
siggy2
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2005
In reply to: chindian
Tue, 04-27-2010 - 9:42am

It's so hard to figure out what's going on in a 2yo's head. They don't usually have enough words to tell us even if they could understand it themselves.


I think being there for him and reasurring him that you're nearby if he needs you in the middle of the night is good. I'm not a perfect AP parent but they always know where to find me if they need me.


If he's had physical issues in the past with his sacrum, I might ask the doctor next time I see them if there might be anything physically keeping him awake at night.


I think you're doing a great job!


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2007
In reply to: chindian
Wed, 04-28-2010 - 3:21am

Thanks Wendy. He seems to be doing fine with me checking on him and leaving him at night. I know he would let me know if he wasn't! I should be able to trust my instincts with him by now, but sometimes it's hard to know what my instincts are, or whether I'm just reacting out of exhaustion, frustration, lack of knowledge or guilt.

What I've learnt from this is to try to gently push him to be a little more self-reliant all the time, while responding empathetically when he needs more from me. Hope I can remember that in the heat of the moment!

siggy2
siggy2
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2008
In reply to: chindian
Fri, 04-30-2010 - 2:09pm

It definitely sounds like school overload. I'm surprised that a Montessori school is not more responsive and I agree with your gut instinct that she's wrong on that one.


Samantha is almost three and still in our bed. She's a big time cuddler so I wouldn't say the night wakings make him super high needs. Between school and the baby, he probably just needs some mommy time.


If he's going back to sleep in a minute or two then I think you're doing the right thing. It's not like you're leaving him to cry all night.


Photobucket