Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The High Needs Toddler
We thought we were just crappy parents. We couldn't understand why we were more tired, on edge and struggling more than our fellow new parents. We soon discovered it had nothing to do with our parenting abilities, and everything to do with the little person we had been blessed with. A was not only a high needs baby, but she also suffered from GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Medication and time were our saviours, and by one year of age, we felt we were finally exiting the fog of gloom we had been living in for so long. I've heard of parents of GERDlings opting for vasectomies after their experience, and I fully understand this decision.
Our little baby grew, and turned into an engaging and extremely verbal two year old. She speaks in full sentences, and says things like "Mommy and I had an argument, and I was so frustrated" (honestly!) We thought that when she was able to tell us precisely how she felt, that her tantrums and frustrations would subside.
Not so. Clearly, the books are not always correct. Having a child with good communication skills does not equal a life of ease in the toddler world. Our high needs baby has grown up into a high needs toddler, and as of late, the household dynamic has not been good. There has been screaming (A), tantrums (A), yelling (Mommy) and more tantrums (Mommy).
And maybe I'm just making things sound worse than they are. As with all moms, I get to see the full spectrum of emotions from my child - when we're out (especially in the outdoors) she's a perfect little angel.
Being pregnant and sick has not helped the situation, and every morning that I'm working has turned into a battleground between myself and my daughter. Husband has started early mornings at the golf course, and misses most of the commotion.
Part of the problem seems to be A's "sensitivities"....to pretty much everything. She can't stand socks on her feet (she says they hurt, and the seam bothers her); any pants that are touching her feet are immediately taken off and thrown on the floor (and if they're tight in the waist, watch out!); brushing her hair is almost impossible given her curly knots; brushing teeth is a hit and miss; her coat bothers her when it pulls her sleeves up; and the car seat buckle is always too tight. And rather than just dealing with these issues by whining, A launches herself into full-blown tantrums over the smallest annoyance.
So far, my answer to the problem is three-fold:
1) Stay calm. Talk in a quiet voice. Reassure her that socks are not her enemy
2) Ignore the tantrums. This is hard when there are no rooms to lock myself away in my house.
3) Lose my cool, and begin yelling in return. Not a good strategy, I know.
The morning ends with me hauling a screaming A over my shoulder, no socks, no shoes, no coat, and hair not brushed. The neighbours must think we've lost it.
I need a change, because I have to deal with this by myself for at least 5 more months while husband works at the golf course. And starting my day in a terrible mood is not an option.
So far, my only solution has been to research products that might make dressing a little easier. Luvmum*** is a local Canadian business that carries brands of clothing for children with sensitivities. I plan on purchasing some seamless socks, and maybe some comfortable pants. As for the rest of the morning routine, I'm searching around for a fun/magnetic calendar we can use to teach A about the benefits of grooming :)
Any ideas for this tired mama?
***Luvmum is no longer operational. If you have any suggestions for other companies selling clothing for kids with sensitivities, leave a comment below!