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Old 04-12-2013, 06:16 AM   #1101
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Originally Posted by MrsLMB View Post

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:18 AM   #1102
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My 3.5-year-old daughter is more emotional right now than any human being I've ever seen. She has been the easy one since birth. She was a very happy baby, usually only cried when she actually needed something. Every major trouble spot that most parents talk about was easier than we could possibly have hoped for. She's had her behavior problems and is far from perfect, but she's been about as easy as any kid could be. Up until recently, her "temper tantrums" consisted of 3-5 minutes of solid crying, occasionally a holler or two, and twice she screamed a single, brief scream. Over the past couple months they've gotten worse, included more yelling and longer crying bouts and she has gotten more dramatic. In short, she's become a more normal 3.5 year old.

Suddenly, last week, she got drastically worse. She cries, genuine, intense crying for anywhere from ten to 50 minutes, usually 5-10 times daily. She doesn't want to go to the baby-sitter's anymore (the girls are there in the overlap between mine and my husband's work schedules, usually 5-10 hours a week, since my schedule fluctuates). She doesn't want to go to church anymore. She doesn't want to go to the store. Once we're any of those places she doesn't want to go home. She doesn't want to play right now! She doesn't want to eat right now! She doesn't want to wash her hands after using the toilet. She definitely doesn't want to go to bed. She used to fuss occasionally at bed time for a couple minutes. Every night over the past couple weeks she melts down, crying for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Sometimes I can comfort her, sometimes she's inconsolable. All of the above-mentioned, as well as many other miscellaneous daily activities, induce bouts of crying. It was easier to take when she was being obstinate. She's just upset now. We usually ask her to go sit on her bed and calm down until she's ready to come back out, unless it's a time-sensitive issue like the baby-sitter's. Some things, like washing her hands, she has to do first and then go sit on her bed. If the crying is in response to a necessary task (eating, cleaning up her toys, etc.) she has to do it whenever she has calmed down.
The babysitter said that today she was crying when she came, calmed down quickly, and was fine for the first 45 minutes. Then she went to the toilet, and suddenly, in the middle of washing her hands, she started crying. After many attempts to figure out what was wrong, she ended up sitting on the couch crying for over an hour. Every time she'd start to get calmed down and the sitter tried to talk to her again, she'd start up all over again.
I am really at a loss here. I know that kids go through these phases, but I don't know how parents survive them. This is frustrating and heartbreaking and infuriating and endearing and maddening all rolled into one. The 1.5-year-old is starting to avoid her. She is especially intense when she's being separated from one or both of us. The kids entertain each other so well most of the time, DH and I have realized that we don't spend a lot of time interacting with them in free time any more. We interact at meal times and bed time, etc, but we haven't been playing with them nearly as much as we used to. We're making a concerted effort to play with them more, read and talk with them more, because we feel like maybe she's trying to get our attention. It's a tricky business though. We don't want her to connect cry-all-the-time with get-more-attention-from-Mommy-and-Daddy, so we're trying not to reward the crying with more attention, but rather give her more attention when she is behaving and when she seems to be trying extra hard to keep calm. But there's that thing in my brain that says, "she's sad. Comfort her." I do sometimes, typically when she's upset that she's being separated from us. You know, "I'll be back to get you very soon. You can play and have fun and then when I come get you we'll play and read books..." but this is just so confusing. I don't know, I just hope we can figure this out. I want my little girl to be happy! Not spoiled-happy, but loved, secure, and adaptable-happy!

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Old 04-17-2013, 12:39 AM   #1103
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(((Hugs Sprout))) That must be so frustrating.

Is there any chance that she is in physical pain?
May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:29 AM   #1104
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Oh my Sprout, that must be so hard to take, knowing something is bothering her and you don't know what.

I hope you and your DH figure this out and are able to get her back to being a normal, sweet 3 1/2 year old.
"Eating ruins your appetite"~Mom

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Old 04-17-2013, 06:34 AM   #1105
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Hope it passes for your sake Sprout. You have all my sympathy. Daniel started acting out like that at about the same age, he's almost 6 and nothing has changed.
I've tried everything.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:23 AM   #1106
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I, too, would say take her to the doctor if you haven't done so already. Make sure that there's not a physical problem. Other than that, we're thinking of you! Not that it helps!
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:06 AM   #1107
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I wish I had an answer, Sprout! Doctor visit seems the best thing at this point.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:17 AM   #1108
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Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 View Post
I wish I had an answer, Sprout! Doctor visit seems the best thing at this point.
Ditto here. Maybe her pedi doctor has an answer. The terrible two's and three's are almost as difficult to get through as the teen years.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:09 AM   #1109
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Just chiming in here to add my ditto to the Dr visit .. better to be safe than sorry with this.

Hope it's nothing more than an exagerated case of normal terrible two's .. hang tough Mom ... you will make it !!
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:39 AM   #1110
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Sprout, if you haven't read Dr Gordon Neufeld's book Hold On to Your Kids, I highly recommend it. You sound like you're doing all you can. She is clearly distressed and time with you guys is likely going to be the cure. At the moment, she is crying because she is upset and needs comfort, so go for it. You are a savvy enough parent to know when/if that need for comfort changes into a manipulation strategy.

Some of our kids these days are just really sensitive little beasties and need lots and lots of connection and face time. When you HAVE to leave her, make sure you bridge the gap by telling her when you will see her next and that you'll be thinking of her etc. All the stuff I'm sure you're already doing. You might want to give her some little talisman of yours to hold on to and keep safe til she sees you again. It helps to maintain that connection to you and will help to soothe her a bit if that's one of her issues.

She's only 3. Cuddle her, read to her, play with her and help her over the bump. She's not manipulating the situation at the moment. You'll catch that if she crosses that hurdle. Its absolutely OK, and even encouraged to comfort and snuggle the stuffing out of her right now.

Good luck Sprout. I completely understand your struggle here. Parenting is a delicate balancing act and you have to do it without a net!

You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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