What's Bothering my Toddler?

A few nights ago, Gavin’s behaviour took a huge turn for the worst.  He woke up in the middle of the night crying hysterically and it was not from a night terror.  He was impossible to placate and every little molehill was a mountain.  I couldn’t understand how my sweet and gentle little boy could turn into such an unreasonable and difficult little terror.  If I thought it was just a one off, the same thing happened during his afternoon nap the following day.  He would writhe on the bed as though in pain but could not articulate to us what was bothering him.  All he could utter was, “I don’t like it!”  And when we asked what he didn’t like, he would just repeat it over and over again.

From what I could discern, everything was bothering him.  He didn’t like the blanket, he didn’t like his pajama pants covering his feet, he didn’t like the left breast (or the right), he wanted to go to the toilet and then he didn’t, and then he didn’t want to put his diaper back on.  He would make unreasonable requests at 3am in the morning, like he wanted to go downstairs or watch Thomas on TV.  When we said, “No,” he would scream and cry like it was the worse thing a child had to endure.

Even managing him during his waking hours has been difficult.  All he wants is me and he’s been demanding my attention a lot more lately.  Then again, the attention I’ve been devoting him has dropped considerably since I’ve been succumbing to the fatigue and morning sickness.  When we go to Playland in Kizsports, I would sit by and let him run about and follow him rather listlessly.  Previously, I would be chasing after him, throwing him in to the ball pit, and sliding down the slides with him.  How could he not notice that Mummy’s behaving differently?

I guess he’s been upset by all the changes and he hasn’t been able to articulate his concerns.  This behaviour must be a backlash of all the emotions that are pent up inside that he doesn’t know how to express.  I did try giving a little more time to him during the day and the crying and fussing during his sleep cycles seemed to ease off a little.

So I’ve made a list of things I can do with him during the day that shouldn’t take too much out of me:

  • painting
  • playing with trains
  • reading books
  • watching Thomas and Friends (while I try not to doze off – apparently it doesn’t count if I sleep through it)
  • feeding the fish

Incidentally, I tried baking with him and it was definitely not a “light and easy” activity so strike that one off.  By the time I was done, I think I was more ready for an afternoon nap than Gavin.

White Choc Chip Cookies

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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