I work 4 afternoons a week (soon to increase to 4 days a week. Alice is cared for by family for two afternoons a week by family and 3 afternoons at daycare. She really enjoys it most of the time. Alice has a younger sister, who is turning 1 next week. They adore each other and often play together. Of course there are the usual tussles and frustrations siblings have but nothing I feel is out of control. Alice loves to be the big sister and wants to help with everything but doesn’t have a sense of when her sister has had enough. That’s ok, it will come with age.
A Time for Practical Parenting
We aim for 7:30 bed time but sometimes get there by 8pm, occasionally later if she has had extra sleeps. Sleep has been a challenge with both of them needing sleep training to get them from 3 wakes a night to sleeping through. Both still wake a few times a week and need help to get back to sleep. We have a bedtime routine of bath, milk, brush teeth, story then bed. Alice tries to drag it out as long as possible and currently insists that someone lie next to her while she goes to sleep. Not great I know and she screams at the top of her lungs if we try and leave before she’s asleep. They both sleep in the same room as of a month ago so we have been giving in to the screams lately to let her sister sleep. I think Alice has nightmares so I thought moving them in together might help. Too early to tell. We also have a gate on the room to stop her getting out in the night. Otherwise she’s up several times a night and our bedroom is upstairs so I don’t like her climbing g the stairs in the middle of the night.
Alice is very advanced with speaking and very switched on. You can have a full conversation with her like a 4 or 5 year old. But her emotions seem to change with the wind. I know that’s normal at this age but they are such extremes. One minute she’s coming up with some inventive game and laughing with joy and mischief then I might say no to something she asks for and a big screaming tantrum ensues. And I generally have to intervene physically otherwise she will try with force to get whatever she was denied. The she’ll insist on being picked up and cuddled for a long time, needs her dummy etc. I don’t often go head to head with her because she will dig in and often can hold out longer then I can to get her way. I try and find compromises or make games or appeal to need to do things herself.
Alice is very decisive, wants to do everything herself or her way. She loves to do the opposite of what you ask of her and never stops what she’s doing when I tell her no in a firm loud voice. It almost always takes physical intervention to stop her. And she’s smiling at me the whole time. She just loves the reaction. Most kids jump (or cry) if their parents use a loud firm voice but Alice just keeps on going. I know a lot of this is normal behaviour but it’s just constant all day long and everything I try to do around the house is a struggle.
None of the defiant or clingy behaviour is new. She has always been like that, she is just better at communicating now. I don’t want to crush that determination and drive she has and I want her to feel safe in the world. I thought that giving her most of the cuddles she wanted would her move on from the clinginess but it has never improved much. Ok I can actually walk out of her sight now without tears but It seems odd to me that even me walking two steps ahead of her on the stairs some days causes her to get anxious and rush to hold my hand and say ‘wait for me’ in a desperate voice. None of this would be a huge bother but I am having such difficulty coping with it. It causes me such frustration and drains my energy each day.
I just want her to grow up to be a balanced and well rounded kid. I don’t currently feel in control of her I never make a big deal out of something that she doesn’t want to do, we just try again tomorrow.
So if you have some tips/frameworks for helping me out I would be very happy to hear them.