Having a 2 year old is like using a blender without a lid

Today started off pretty badly. The Roberts’, (that’s us by the way) had a 4.45am start. For the past week or so the boys have been getting over nasty colds, which at night has left them coughing. I swear, as soon as you tell someone that your baby’s sleeping through the night, 9 times out of 10 something goes wrong. Lesson learnt. Never be a “smug mum” because it will come back and haunt you when you’re next getting up at the butt crack of dawn!

Hhhhmmmm Like butter wouldn't melt!!!!

Hhhhmmmm Like butter wouldn’t melt!!!!

My children have never been ones to “lie in” though. Typically they can be awake from anywhere between 5.30-6.30am. Nothing can prepare you for the early wakings kids bring you. I think I underestimated how knackered I’d actually feel after such little sleep. So today, when I was woken at 4.45am and spent the best part of the next hour trying to resettle both Oscar and Alfie intermittently, the day didn’t start off too well. Around 5.45am I gave up and took them downstairs, not before (I’ll admit this may have been a little childish) stomping around our bedroom for Chris to hear me, huffing and puffing, “For god’s sake. 4.45am… I’ve been up since FOUR FORTYFIVE.”

Chris – breathing heavily, either pretending to have heard nothing OR actually asleep. Either way, both in my eyes, equally irritating.

The 4.45am start did indeed set the precedence for the whole day. A catalogue of events that I won’t bore you with, but the overview is that it involved 2 toddlers, a kitchen cupboard, various pots of spices, virgin olive oil, vinegar, 2 toddlers fully clothed covered head to toe in said spices, oil and vinegar… Spices in the eye, crying, spices in the mouth, MORE crying… And a beaker full of water to wash it down.

I’d left them for moments. I mean literally a few minutes. Lesson number 2 learnt. Never be one of those “smug mums” that says… “I’m just going to teach my children NOT to go into kitchen cupboards so there’s no need to put child safety locks on them”. NEVER be that “smug mum” again because you’ll find yourself hot footing it to the nearest Robert Dyas to do just that!

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So yeah, trying to scoop the boys up off the floor, whilst trying myself not to slip on the oily gloopy mess, wasn’t my finest hour as a parent. The rest of the day involved two hyperactive (tired) children, a mummy who didn’t have the energy to calm them down,  disturbed nap times due to builders next door, Oscar’s portage session enjoyed immensely by Oscar but with Alfie trying desperately to partake in each and every toy the therapist brought out (cue tears and tantrums from Alfie, as to why he couldn’t possibly join in too). It will conclude, with me going to bed far too late again I’m sure, resulting in another early start and me cursing myself for watching “I’m a celebrity” (I know, dreadful tv choice) all the way through, when I could have been catching some extra Zzzzzz. I will never learn.

Anyway, my point this week was totally about a little phase Oscar’s been going through. You may wonder why I mention the events of today but when you read about this phase, you may realise why none of the above helped. I say a phase as I’m praying it’s just that but it’s, at times, becoming a bit of a habit.

Who me?

Who me?

You see Alfie has started walking. He’s been walking for about a month now and since then, I’ve noticed a big change in Oscar. Suddenly he seems to be taking a lot more notice of his little brother. Before, in his eyes, Alfie was pretty boring. He just used to sit there or crawl around. Now that he’s almost eye level, well, he’s a lot more intriguing, isn’t he? I think in Oscar’s mind, he now sees Alfie as a walking target. I liken Oscar and Alfie to a cat and mouse. Scurrying around everywhere, busy doing what they do, but every once in a while, when Oscar sees his target, he pounces. And by pounces, I mean pushes him to the floor. He’ll walk up to him, place the palm of his hand, square in the middle of Alfie’s forehead and bam, he’s down. It’s been going on now off and on for a month. It would be funny, if it wasn’t a regular thing but today in particular, Oscar hasn’t stopped. If Alfie cries when he does it, Oz thinks it’s hilarious. And he’s worked out that although Alfie’s walking, he’s not the sturdiest on his feet yet and if you push him, he wobbles and that’s funny too. He went through a bit of this sort of thing when Alfie first sat up. He’d push him over then. Falling from waist height and on carpet wasn’t so bad. Being pushed over from standing may be grating on Alfie just a little.

"Mummy, Seriously?"

“Mummy, Seriously?”

So I’m struggling. I obviously need him to stop but whatever approach I take, it doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect. I tell him and sign “no” and he ignores me. I tell him and sign “stop” and he just gives me a high 5. I’ve tried ignoring him and turning all my attention to Alfie, I’ve tried telling him and signing that he makes me “sad” when he pushes Alfie over and he just looks at me perplexed. I’ve tried taking away his favourite toys and although he might cry for a minute or so, he quickly forgets, busies himself with something else, until he spots Alfie again and makes a beeline for his little friend, the mouse. I have told him time and time again to use “gentle hands” and this works for a while, but then 10 minutes later he’s forgotten.

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I know he knows I’m cross, as he cries. I also know he fully understands he’s not meant to do it and am pretty sure it’s for a reaction… Or to get my attention.

So here’s the thing. How do I handle this? I know the above might sound like I’m not being consistent in my parenting methods but I’ve tried a lot of these theories out over time and still don’t seem to be working. I make him sign “sorry” but as yet it’s just hand over hand as he doesn’t seem to want to offer it without my prompting. I would try the naughty step but I’m not altogether convinced he would understand the concept yet. Maybe he would.

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What I do know is that the pushing is not out of malice. It appears to be a game. I can tell the difference between a push because it’s funny to Oscar, to a push because he wants to sit where someone else is sitting or play with the toy kitchen that someone else is playing with. When this all started a few weeks ago I was worried Oscar would push other children over. I’d notice at our local playgroup for example or when we were out at friends houses, that he’d be doing it. I realised quite quickly it was never his peers though, it was always younger children. I’m guessing with children his own age or height he didn’t feel the need to do it.

He may LOOK like an angel :0)

He may LOOK like an angel :0)

I think it’s easy for parents of a child with DS to make excuses. I really don’t want to be that person. While I know it’s going to take Oscar that little bit longer to grasp certain concepts, I also think I’d be doing him a disservice to say that he can’t understand. He can. It’s just finding ways to get my point across. Over the last month I’ve spoken to both professionals and other mummies. The general consensus is that he’s a 2.5 (almost) year old little boy and regardless of the DS, that’s the sort of things little boys do. I guess I could sit here and speculate about why he’s doing it. Frustrations in communication? Jealously? Attention? Who knows? It’s a phase and it’ll pass… And if it doesn’t, in a few months Alfie will be stronger and Oscar will have met his match.

To me this parenting malarkey is a work in progress. I’ll figure it out one day. In the meantime if anyone has any advice on how to deal with a nearly 2.5 year old, then feel free to share.

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* Please note I’m asking for advice here, this doesn’t come under the unwanted advice that I blogged about a few months ago ;0)

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14 comments

  1. Sarah   •  

    Hello!
    I’m Sarah, Mummy to Charlotte (4) and Jessica (just 2), before I was a Mummy (which I’m lucky enough to do as my full time job now) I was a nursery and reception teacher and SENCO.
    With children at school, and with my own children at home, we use a simple three step plan (that makes it sound posh, it’s not!). When the little one does something we don’t want them to we say and sign ‘no’, then sit them down where they are to ‘think’ (depending on who it is and their understanding I sometimes add a ‘we don’t push our sister’ etc…), then ask/help them to say sorry.
    Jessica often jumps straight back up, and I don’t stop her, just encourage her to say sorry ( she’s often crying herself as she knows I’m cross/sad about what she’s done) then we carry on. I try to keep myself calm and lighthearted even when we’re repeating the process for the tenth time for the same misdemeanour and it does seem to work. I usually ask Charlotte if she’s ready to say sorry, now she’s older. I’ve never left any of the children sat there for more than a minute, I think that’s long enough for them to still remember why they are there and not start playing with the carpet/radiator/their buttons etc…
    In conjunction with the speech and language lady, the educational psychologist and the play workers I worked with we decided not to use a ‘naughty step/chair’ as the little boy we first used this with wouldn’t have linked what he had done to moving away to somewhere new, he needed something more instantaneous, as do younger children.
    I’ve used this with children working at a very young developmental level and it’s worked (not straight away and not on every occasion) with a range of children, including my own. Charlotte even went through a stage of sitting herself down and saying “think, Mummy” if she’d done something I didn’t know about! (I found that quite amusing – although I know I shouldn’t have done!)
    It might not be something you’re happy trying or something you think Oscar would take to, but I hope it helps if you do give it a try!
    Sarah x

  2. Seychellesmama   •  

    Argh fingers crossed this is just a phase!! Honestly though, I’m sure it is, I take Arthur (16 months) into nursery to play for a couple hours a week with kids who are 3 years old and there are plenty of kids in there still learning not to push, bite, pinch whatever!!! At least little O is not doing it aggressively!!

    I have to say I laughed at your huffing and stopping round the bedroom I think we’ve all been there haha!! I can’t decide what’s worse whether they pretend to be asleep or actually are asleep!!!!! X

  3. JoyandPops   •  

    I feel your pain, my two year old likes to wake up at 4.55am nearly every day – very precise I know, we’ve tried to figure out why but come up blank!
    This probably is just a phase. I know that doesn’t help when you’re in the thick of it but I remember my eldest went through all sorts of phases and eventually came out the other side. I’m trying to remember that myself now I have a two year old again. This too shall pass!!
    Best of luck, hang in there.
    Xx

  4. Potty Mouthed Mummy   •  

    It’s tough isn’t it when our little ones don’t act the way we want them to. I don’t have advice really, my own little terror is causing problems and I often feel I have spoiled him by being a full time working mum and letting him get away with more as I feel guilty. I do keep faith though that being consistent does pay off eventually! Not sure that helps ha! x

  5. I’m sure it is a phase. My eldest went through a stage at that age of pulling my hair. And I mean really pulling it to the point he made me cry once. And he found it funny. It was like a game. I to tried everything. The only advice I can give is to be firm and ride it out. Hope the phase isn’t a long one. #sharewithme
    http://lifeloveanddirtydishes.wordpress.com

  6. ghostwritermummy   •  

    Ugh my husband does that ‘pretend to be asleep’ thing too. SO annoying!! My only advice is to hang on in there. It DOES get easier! x x

  7. Brandyn Blaze   •  

    I agree, kids at that age just like to push each other around. I think it may have something to do with left-over dominance instincts or something. I notice my 2 year old girl is starting to push and hit as well. We remind her not to do it, she cries, and then she goes back to it later. I wish I had some advice to give, but I’m in much the same boat!

    By the way, I love the title of your post, it’s so true! Toddlers are absolutely crazy!

    Coming to you from the Share With Me linky 🙂

  8. Laura Evelyn Bee   •  

    I’m afraid I don’t have any words of wisdom for you. Sorry. But I agree with the other comments and hopefully the stage will pass. I have a 2.5 year old daughter and things she does that I worry about one week, the next she doesn’t and then she’s onto the next thing.
    I generally ignore bad behaviour (or distract / move her away if its hurting someone) and then lots of praise for good behaviour.
    Good luck!
    And great blog by the way..its my first time visiting!
    #sharewithme

  9. Lystra Maisey   •  

    Hello there, it’s so tricky isn’t it-I often look at other mums and wonder how they make it look so easy with their little ones doing as they ask! I completely agree with you and it being a work in progress, sometimes I just wonder if we will ever get to a point where we don’t have any running off or shouting but time will tell! Really enjoyed reading your blog by the way xxx #sharewithme

  10. Wicked World of Lucas   •  

    Lucas is exactly the same – never been one to sleep in and I’ve one the stomping around the bedroom (and ‘accidentally’ flicking on the bedroom light to find my dressing gown (I knew where it was). I don’t have any advice sweetie – I wish I did. All I can say is that as soon as they reach teenage years and start sleeping in until lunchtime, that’s when you can exact your revenge!!! *cue evil laugh* Chun up hun x #sharewithme

  11. kidGLloves   •  

    Grace & Lucas say – Coz’ we’re only kids, we don’t have any advice but send you XL MEGA High-5’s and hope they make you feel a bit better xxx #sharewithme

  12. I think that a phase is like a glimmer of hope for us parents. Like us wishing it would end someday =P

    But yes it is just a phase and I never thought I’d say this but it will be better. I have been there and there are really days that it feels its too much. Which I think will make us appreciate the days that are slower and nicer. Sending your hugs #sharewithme

  13. Jenny   •  

    It’s so hard to know what the best tactics are. I go with its just a phase. I am not copping out I promise I only say this because as soon as MM started walking we went through the “phase” of Buba pushing her and knocking her over 24/7 as soon as she would stand. It’s like they really did think their sibling would be crawling and boring forever and not someone they would have to compete with at the same eye level. It took a bit but its almost over now. I say almost as it still does happen but very very rarely and mostly over toys now. I hope that gives you a little light that it will go away. We tried everything but in the end I think it was just time and getting used to another walker in the family. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again next week for another great round #sharewithme

  14. Mary Luty   •  

    It’s exhausting, isn’t it? And even harder to deal with when you are knackered yourself. I need a repeat button, as my boys have a memory (when they want to) of Dory! EVERY morning I ask them to be quiet as their Daddy is sleeping. EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. And they are now 5 and 2!
    You are doing a great job x

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