The Terrible One-and-a-Half’s

Where oh where did my sweet baby go? She seems to have been replaced by a slightly demonic, manipulative, demanding, stubborn, MUST GET HER WAY OR ELSE little girl. Aren’t we a little early for the terrible two’s? This past month has been rough.

About a month ago, Peanut started waking up almost every night at 3am. She cries and cries until one of us goes in there and then when we pick her up out of bed to comfort her, she just wants to play. Or read books. Or pet the cat. Or anything that will keep her out of bed, really. And then when we try to put her back to bed she wails like she’s being tortured. Big fat tears stream down her face and I feel like the worst parent in the world. One of us usually ends up being awake with her until about 5am or so until she finally gets so tired she doesn’t have the energy to fight it anymore. Is there such a thing as a 19-month sleep regression? I googled it and there does seem to be an 18-month sleep regression that many parents complain about but I’m not entirely convinced that’s what we’re dealing with.

Beyond the ridiculous lack of sleep we’re all getting now, Peanut has learned how to throw a complete and totally effective temper tantrum. First she starts out by pointing at what she wants, looking at me with her big, adorable eyes and saying, “Dat. Dat. Dat.” (“That. That. That.” for anybody who doesn’t speak baby-ese.) She’ll say this over and over again in rapid succession until she either (a) gets what she wants or (b) I tell her that she can’t have it. If we go with option b then she cries like I just told her the cat had run away. (She is obsessed with the cat, by the way.) The crying will go on for far too long unless we can distract her with something else which happens about 25% of the time. The other times we’re in for a meltdown. If we try to pick her up, she goes limp (does every child learn this at some sort of ‘torture-your-parents’ class?) or kicks her legs furiously.

Here’s a short clip of how we started Christmas morning, complete with crying for no reason we could see (please pardon our mess, it’s not normally that bad!):

So, yeah, this happens multiple times a day. Add in the fact that she now hates having her diaper changed (see above re: going limp or kicking), taking a bath, eating a meal, putting on pants, oh I could go on forever. Suffice it to say, it’s bad. How did this happen? Are we doing something wrong? Is this normal or are we not disciplining correctly? Anybody have suggestions for how to avoid epic tantrums? And is there such a thing as a 19-month sleep regression. We need help badly!

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7 thoughts on “The Terrible One-and-a-Half’s

  1. Well since our girls are 6 months apart, I appreciate this post so I know what is in store. I have been seeing the beginning phases of temper tantrums, since G was one I started with telling her “no” then counting to three each time repeating “no.” If I get to three I put her in her jumper (containment device). I then let her go nuts until she calms down then explain to her what she shouldn’t do (i.e. pull electric plugs our of the wall). Then I tell her mommy loves her ask for a kiss and off we go. I am hoping this helps when she starts full blown temper tantrums. I’ll let you know!

  2. My 18- month old twin girls are exactly the same way. And one of them is currently wearing the same pajamas. Right now its 10:45pm. They slept beautifully from 7pm until about 45 minutes ago when one started crying uncontrollably and went limp when I tried to pick her up and the other decided the lullaby music was a dance mix. I went with the let’s just play in your room until you conk out tactic. And I’m using the jet lag excuse (we flew from Florida to Israel 3 days ago) to convince myself this will not happen much longer (even though it’s been happening way longer than 3 days)

  3. There are some battles you have to win and some battles that you choose to surrender and only you can decide which ones those are. In our house, sleep was a MUST win battle. With my oldest son, we had to let him cry it out. Yes, it was torture for us to listen to, but I have stubborn children and if you give an inch they will most definitely take 2 miles. 🙂 After about two weeks of on and off crying jags, he waived the white flag and started sleeping again. As to tempter tantrums, I don’t pay attention to them. And, yes, it is completely that easy….NOT!!!! I try not to fuel that fire and tell my 2 1/2 year old that when he calms down Mommy can help him. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.

    You are a fabulous mommy and Peanut knows that she is loved! That is why she pushes those boundaries. She’s trying to figure out exactly how far she can go. This is why I don’t keep wine in the house. I told my husband one day if we had a bottle of wine, it would have been gone by 1:00 and I would have tried licking the bottle. Just keep reinforcing the things that are important for your family and carefully pick your battles. It does get better!

  4. We have a 15mo who (fingers crossed) loves sleep as much as we do. But his 5yo sister did not. And honestly I’m barely a cheery lets sing and dance with elmo person at 3pm, at 3am forget about it. We also just did cry it out once we established there was no underlying medical, physical, ghost in the room, scary shadow on the wall issues going on. Also we took turns with who got to wear the noise blocking earbuds or in my case earbuds and an audio book. Once we stopped rewarding her behavior (the docs choice phrase) she gave up.

    She also said some rubbish about if I knew my Fav person would come play with me at 3am wanting to get up as well. Uhh sure but that list really only includes a nude Hugh Jackman and Robert Downey Jr and even for them id object to playing dance dance revolution.

    The tantrums we tried a book by the best baby on earth author. Can’t remember the name that’s how we’ll it worked. Again ignoring her seemed to work best. So did letting her be hungry when it came to refusing to eat what was made for dinner. Once in a while she’ll say “I didn’t want blueberry waffles but I know I have to eat them because that’s what’s for breakfast” and I feel a bit tyrantish it’s just a waffle I could toast another flavor, eat that one feed it to the dog etc. then I talk to a friend who says something along the lines of 5th week with so&so making me cook two dinners or only eating chicken nuggets. Or I had to make each kid a different dinner because they all wanted something different and then I’m proud of my eat what’s fixed or be hungry till the next meal rule.

    • I am so with you! I am not a short order cook and the kitchen is not a diner! You eat what I make or you wait to breakfast. As the six year old has gotten older, we have allowed him to make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich after he has tried said dinner and I can tell that he can’t stand it. Otherwise, better eat a big breakfast kid! The 2 1/2 year old is slowly getting on board, but I’m convinced his head is made of granite he’s so stubborn! 😉

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