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Thread: My toddler is really stressing me out

  1. #1
    Matryoshka Guest

    Default My toddler is really stressing me out

    My toddler is really stressing me out in so many ways.

    One thing he does which is so annoying is his possessive ways with his things. He has a bunch of stuffed toys, a shoe box full of little cars, and some other random things which every time the baby is up he shrieks hysterically for me to help him put all the stuff on the kitchen table. He refuses to put them anywhere else, he seems to feel the table is a safe place for them and he screams again if the baby goes anywhere near the table. I don't know if this is a phase or if its abnormal, but its driving me nuts. Its also sad that he refuses to play with any of his favourite things when the baby is around. I thought of buying the baby his own little cars and seeing how he copes with that, but i so didn't want to parent by buying them exactly the same things. I don't expect him to share everything, or even much at this age but his reactions seem a bit melodramatic??



    The other thing is meal times. I get heart palpitations as they draw closer because i know getting him to eat will be a battle. He will only eat the following: sausages sliced very thin, steak cut up to look like sausages (and told him its sausages), must be with tomato sauce. Rice with season all sprinkled on it. Potatoes that look like chips. Fish fingers. Spaghetti bolognaise with parmesan. (no parmesan and we have a melt down). No fruit or veges unless i bribe him with the promise of more little cars next time we go shopping. I hate that i have to do this but i am desperate. He is almost 3 and he is still 12kg. He will only drink milk if its mixed with aktavite. He will only drink water if i put juice in it. He will only eat cheese if its cut in to squares. Before he flipped out because one was slightly more of a rectangular shape

    I don't know whether to be more firm with him to get him to change his ways. For example my dh has said i should stop giving him a second dinner if he refuses to eat the first one. For instance i would make him fish fingers if he didn't eat a casserole because i don't want him to go to bed hungry. But then i think he's still so young, isn't it more important that he just eats? And about the toy thing, i don't know if i should just tell him its a bit ridiculous to be putting these things away all the time, or whether he needs to feel that they are safe.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2

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    Oh hun I dont have any advice! But I hope someone will have some words of wisdom for you! Good luck x

  3. #3

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    Oh no, I have no advice either, but I have some opinions and ideas

    I like the idea of only giving him the meal you prepare and not give him something else afterwards, BUT in all honesty I am guilty of doing the EXACT same thing The theory sounds great, I even sometimes put her plate in the microwave for when she comes and ask for something to eat I can just put her left-overs infront of her. (BTW it has NEVER been eaten ) In THEORY they will eat when they are hungry, BUT over the weekend she had fallen asleep before dinner and I felt terrible. She did wake up at 11pm and I gave her some cereal And we mommies worry about them not eating

    They (they who) also say that it's better to give him a choice. He can have his cheese in squares or grated. He can have sausage in slices or whole. I don't know if that would work for him being a little more flexible in what SHAPE his food is in. It might make him feel more grown-up and more in control. rambling

    About the toys .... *sigh* have no cooking clue, so sorry.
    but i so didn't want to parent by buying them exactly the same things
    I hear you, me neither. Kids should be prepared for life and life is not like that.

    Any chance that you can do something "special" during the day, just with him. MAYBE he is trying to get more of your attention. I'm not saying your a bad mommy, no way. Just that with a new baby in the house, he might feel a bit left out. I have two also and I have to out of my way to make time for dd to do "special" things with her. We go to the shops alone, I bath her alone, I comb her hair, we have tickle fights, we bake biscuts and make dinner. Just so that she gets some of my attention exclusively.

    Goodluck, it's really hard work being a mommy.

  4. #4

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    When I read this and got to the cheese I had a thought. I run it by my DH and he agrees. Your little man is showing traits of giftedness. My DS is much the same with his stuff, and its because he has such a greater grasp of things that he is so melodramatic about everything. Harry has an absolute wet if any other kids go near his things because they might break them. He is much the same with his food or drink too - only we have it to the point now where we do say, fine, I'll put it away and you can have nothing, so he will eat what is on offer.

    I would see if you can contact someone for support and advice, there are mothers groups for G&TC all over the show who are invaluable. I know you are in WA but the NSWAGTC are the best in the country to talk to. But I am fairly sure because fussing over a rectangular piece when the rest are square is so familiar to me. It has to be perfect for my Lyta too.

    The good news is this too shall pass. As he gets older and understands what is going on around him better he will react more rationally to the situation.

  5. #5

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    OH man, it's totally NOT too melodramatic keeping his fave things away from baby . Anyhow, you can't simply talk him out of the way he feels.
    Maybe you can choose a designated area on the table or toybox that he can put his things in. Make a song and dance about putting it there so BABY can't reach, because baby is LITTLE and can't play with his big toys yet. If you soothe his anxiety about it, he won't stress so much.

    Food is a hard one. I think I'd be inclined to always make a bit of something he definitely likes each time for a backup, then you can praise his little tooshie off for eating some dinner and it can turn the stressing time into a positive one. Does he like mashed tatoe? I always serve that with dinner cos both of them like it, I can hide cauliflower in it so at least I know they have eaten something. They also seem more inclined to try something else if its on the plate in a little amount. It sometimes seems repetitive giving them the same stuff but he won't starve and you can still intro new foods as time goes on.
    DD hates it when you threaten to eat her portion - she shovels it in so I can't eat it even if she was protesting against it 2 seconds before...

    hth xoxoxo

  6. #6

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    With toys, that's normal. Ask him to pick his favourite big boy toys baby can't have and some little boy toys baby can have - and some that they share too. But he should be encouraged to give his brother ONE toy so brother can join in the game.

    I'd stop buying toys too, only if baby breaks the toy, so your son knows that it's OK to let baby play with a toy even if it breaks.

    As for food. DS gets dinner with us. He must TRY the food. If he hates it, he can eat what he likes only, so long as he tries it. If he hates the whole thing, he can have bread and butter. I do not make another meal. We all eat together even if DS only has bread and butter (which he loves). Last night I made a lovely salmon and green bean stir fry (with courgette and tomato sauce) and rice. DS only ate the rice (a big portion in the end), he spat the beautifully moist and fally-aparty salmon out. No stress, more for me. Just have to remember the no stress thing because he did try some of it.

    Say no, acknowledge the tantrum but don't give in. Soon the toddler will learn that you love him, you hear his pain, but you are in charge. You can do this gently, but gentle parenting doesn't mean giving in to tantrums. I do try to avoid tantrums, but if DS wants something he can't have (eg wants to run on the road, wants me to get out of bed at 6am...) then he can have a cuddle, have his frustration acknowledged, but not what he wants.

    HTH and the very best of luck to you.

  7. #7

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    I never cook 2 meals. I'm not running a restaurant.
    My children have plenty of healthy food offered to them throughout the day and if they miss a meal they're not going to starve.
    Tonight I served Shepherd's Pie. Yasin looked at it and ran from the room SCREAMING lol. Imran and I sat down and started eating and Yasin deigned to join us. I told him that as a compromise he could eat the potato only. He yelled at me. I told him that if he didn't want to do that then he could have his bath and go to bed. He got under the table and screamed. Imran and I finished our meal and went and had a bowl of ice-cream. Yasin stayed under the table screaming. I told him it was bath time unless he ate his food. He got out from under the table, ate his food, declared it delicious and had some desert as well.
    It took about half and hour of blood curdling screaming but we got there in the end lol. Luckily my neighbours have raised children of their own so they're not fazed by Yasin's screaming show-downs.
    I buy my children matching but not identical toys and they play together with them ie Yasin owns Thomas and Imran owns James and they both own some track and they play trains togther. Same with the Little People sets and so on. Anything that saves me from dealing with fights over toys is my kind of parenting. I'm not into making stress for myself.

  8. #8

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    My DD is totally over the top with toys too. She will yell at the top of her lungs 'NO MINE!!!' at DS if he comes near something she doesn't wan thim to have. But there is no specific things that she's possessive with, which makes things hard because I don't know what to keep DS away from, so DD can feel she has her 'own' things.
    For your DS, I think it is important for him to have his own things and for him to feel he has the power to protect them and do what he wants with them. But maybe the thing is for him to realise it's not a disaster if the baby does get them, or if they aren't on the table when the baby comes close. I think giving him a special, safe place for him for his toys is a good idea. I think kids are entitled to things that are only theirs. Most people have things that are thier's and theirs alone. Maybe just try to get him to share things he's not possessive of.
    As for food, I would give him what ever you are cooking/offering. And that's it. In small amounts and he can have more if he wants and only on offer for about 20mins or so or until mealtime is over. If he doesn't eat that meal, give him something you know he will eat for his next meal/snack, I think if you offer things he will eat at some time of the day he's not going to starve. Sit with him and eat whenever you can. I know my DD will eat more at dinner time because I (and DH when he's home) will eat with her at that time. He's eating fairly healthy things (though sausages are not so great! Maybe you could make your own and put veggies in them??), maybe try to get sneaky and add veggies to it. Spaghetti is easy to add pureed/grated veg to. If he eats fruit and veg if you bribe him, then he obviously must like the taste to some extent and isn't not eating them because of the taste, kwim? So maybe just offer them and if he eats them he eats them, if not don't stress, just put it away/ throw it out. I think a key thing is though is not to put alot in the bowl/plate and offer a variety consistently. Does he help you prepare things? My DD will eat raw carrot sticks when I'm chopping veggies for dinner and frozen peas but she won't eat them any other time. She even eats bits of raw mushroom, zucchini and corn cobs sometimes!! She enjoys 'helping' sees food is not a threat and sees it at a time when she doesn't 'have' to eat it. As well as learning about food and cooking.
    Good luck and HTH.....

  9. #9

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    We've got duplicates of many toys because they are into the same thing and it caused lots of headaches for me when they would fight over the one Thomas. But then they would fight over the one that didn't have chipped paint
    I think it's normal for them to be possessive of their toys or favourite things. Is he like it with his room too?

    I don't offer a second "meal". If they refuse their dinner then maybe a salada or piece of bread. Does he eat much during the day? C eats a big breakfast and lunch with grazing all morning so I'm happy enough that if he goes to bed without eating much dinner, he's really filled up enough during the day.


  10. #10

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    I have to agree with a lot of the others on the food issue...I dont offer a second meal. DS gets exactly what we have on his plate and if he doesnt eat it then so be it, he doesnt get anything else and I dont stress about it.

    Easier said then done you might think but DS is also an EXTREMELY fussy eater...this is what he will eat: meat, chicken, eggs,fish (sometimes), meat,eggs, meat and more meat! He is a protein lover and is therefore incredibly very lean and skinny.He does not eat a single vegetable or fruit no matter how hard I try and will very rarely eat anything at all for breakfast. IF he does have breakfast it is usually weetbix which I can usually sneak in some purreed fruit.

    Other foods he will eat are cheese, rice cakes and vegemite, rice crackers and hommus, ham, salami and any type of biscuits. Occasionally he will eat yoghurt or a tub of purreed fruit but this is very rarely.

    So come nightime or any other time for that matter if he does refuse to eat that is his problem not mine. He wont starve.

    As for the toys, I can understand him not wanting to share with the baby his special toys and I like the ideas some of the others have come up with:

    I think giving him a special, safe place for him for his toys is a good idea. I think kids are entitled to things that are only theirs. Most people have things that are thier's and theirs alone. Maybe just try to get him to share things he's not possessive of.

  11. #11
    Matryoshka Guest

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    Ahh i'm feeling so much relief after reading all your posts!

    With the dinner thing, his biggest issue is trying things (veges, different noodles, food cooked in unrecognisable ways....) he has always been this way, very weary of new things and adverse to change.

    He actually doesn't eat much during the day except for weetbix for breakfast, rice or corn thins with cream cheese for snacks, vegemite sandwhich for lunch, 1 or 2 kids yoghurts... he scoffs at all offerings of fruit, but i did manage to get him to taste some mash banana and kiwi that i was giving to the baby, so i know he does give in to peer pressure!

    I praise him excessively when he does try something new and i've had to catch myself when i say "good boy" because he's started asking if he can have things because he's been a "good boy" and i hate that! I've been trying to say rather, "that was brave of you to try it" etc ".

    The food thing has been going on for about a year, i wasn't worried about it until i stopped breastfeeding him at 2.5 years, because up until then i knew he was still getting nutrients. Now i'm not so sure, i mean how can he grow up healthy on just protein and dairy?? But thank you LULU for the cauli mash idea, fantastic, i will try that.

    With the toys, i do believe some things are only his, and those are his soft comfort toys and his box of cars, because i don't share all my stuff so don't expect him too. Its just the way he executes his demands for me to hurry and help him pack them away, i pretty much have to drop everything and run to get the things away as he is shreiking like he's been injured! I am surprised the neighbours haven't come round to check.

    I kind of think the open plan area is communal, we bought most of the toys knowing we'd have 2 boys and assuming they'd share, so maybe i'll encourage him to keep them in his room. He's not really precious about his actual room because he doesn't spend any time in there, its just for sleep.

    What i was thinking about buying the baby his own set of little cars, was moreso for the toddler to see how it feels if the baby was to keep those cars away from him... but maybe that kind of logic is beyond an almost 3 year old?? i dunno. He is totally fine with sharing anything else, so maybe i should just let it go about the cars?

  12. #12

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    Just another hint if you are trying to get some vegies into him...DS pretty much loves to cook/bake and also likes all sorts of cakes etc cause they are sweet naturally. But I manage to grate peeled zucchini or mashed banana into a few baking items which he will then eat with relish without realising. Some ideas are:

    Zucchini pikelets
    Banana pikelets (atm am adding a tiny bit of crushed chocolate from all of our leftover e.eggs)
    Banana and chocolate (as above) cake or bread
    Scrambled eggs with purree cauli
    Choc/zucchini cake
    Banana and zucchini cake
    Ham and cheese mini muffins with zucchini

    Zucchini is tasteless and flavourless and if you grate it finely enough they never know. A bit sneaky I know but it at least eases my conscience at times.

  13. #13

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    Just a thought - if he is wary of change can you serve his "usual" with a tiny bit of something new on the side. He doesn't need to eat it - just see it. Then each day put a little bit more on. After a few days ask if he would like to try it. He might not consider it "new" if it has been there for a week.

    Also DD1 is asking to help cook and she loves eating what she has helped to cook so can you involve him in making the dinner at all and see if that changes anything?

  14. #14

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    FWIW most parents think that children need more food than they actually do.

  15. #15

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    Yep, possessiveness is normal. Well, I say that because my DS does it too LOL He gathers all his stuff into a box or a wagon and it goes everywhere with him. Actually, it's settled down a bit now, he still yells at Kayla to go away if she's going near his current favourite toy, but he's not hording them like he used to. I used to laugh and say he'd make a great homeless man with his trolley of stuff. haha.

    I think if his demands of helping him get them on the table are getting to you, then stop helping him. Tell him you're not going to help him until he asks nicely or something.

    As for food.. no alternative foods in this house! If he picks at the meal that he's given, then that's his problem. I'm finding DS has picky days (not fussy... just picks and doesn't eat much) and then he has eat-all-day days! But yeah, he doesn't get anything else if he doesn't eat his meal. He's allowed to have an apple or something a bit later, but not a different meal. I've never catered to how things are cut or presented either.. except for giving him the choice of squares or triangles (everyone should have that choice )

  16. #16

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    I also grate veggies into EVERYTHING. I do the cauli in mash, fine FINE grated carrots in meatballs, peal zuccini and grate into mince, boil butternut/sweetpotato/marrows to a pulp and add to stews and mash and well, everything If I put enough cheese sauce on it, it might get eaten also.
    Also I grate carrots/butternut/pineapple/apple/pear (just about everything I can grate, if I can't grate it, I purree it) into muffins, scones and cookies. Not all in one muffin, but ykwim!!

    I have also found that if I do like balls out of watermellon, or slice apple in slices and press out stars with a cookie-cutter, it gets more than one look, MIGHT even get a taste out of it.

    Strangely enough dd LOVES beetroot

  17. #17

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    Don't forget some children need to see a new food on their plate 15 - 20 times before it becomes familiar enough for them to eat it. I'd try giving him something you know he will eat on the plate along with 1 or 2 new things - eventually if he sees it there often enough, and everyone else is eating the same thing, he might think to put it in his mouth. Don't conclude because he's refused it half a dozen times that he doesn't like it. Just keep trying.

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