Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Taking suggestions...

On how to wean Matthew from needing CONSTANT attention. He can usually play by himself for a while unless his sleeping isn't going well...which is 99% of the time...so basically I need some advice for that 99% of the time. We play together a lot but since there are times when I need to get stuff done, I'd like to know the best way to handle the screaming, crying, my-life-is-totally-ruined fit that occurs should I take a phone call, go to the bathroom, clean the house, or actually try to feed myself.

Sometimes, if rested, he can do really well playing if I am on the floor folding laundry or something like that. SHould I decide to stand at the bar to check email or wash dishes or start lunch, all bets are off. But recently since his sleep has been really off, I can't do ANYTHING else even if on the floor by him. Try to look at the mail....no. Try to blow up his new pool...no.

I don't like spoiled kids and don't want to raise one...so there are definitely times I just let him cry and try to redirect him with words. But lately even that is not working. He will just continue to throw a huge fit that gets increasingly worse. I know so much of it is probably sleep related, but with such little control over that, I'm looking for any advice I can get.

UPDATE: Thanks everyone for your comments! I am actually doing a lot of the suggestions you made, so it may just be a matter of time...before I can go to the bathroom again. HAHA! Actually one of the best things I have done is start a Warren Wiersbe study on Philippians. It's called "Be Joyful" and is a reminder that our joy is in Christ, not our circumstances. Hmmmm...maybe I'll write that on M's forehead with a sharpie

To May, thanks for your comment! I couldn't access you blog so just wanted to note how funny it is that we both have Matthews with the same characteristics. Maybe we should think about changing their names!

9 comments:

Rebecca said...

Um, I have very little to suggest here... all I can tell you is that it WON'T last forever!!! And pray for patience until the day you go answer your phone and - what? - no screaming!!!

I don't think there is anything we can necessarily do except to give our kids some individual attention during the day, which I know you are already doing. We can't wait on them hand and foot 24-7 and we can't be with them every second. They have to learn that they are loved without thinking the world revolves around them. But let's face it, they are still babies and it takes awhile to become aware of these things. :) Give it time, and definitely make time away from Matthew - leave him with a sitter and go out dancing with your hubby (haha!). You will be better able to handle this really difficult phase if you aren't around it 24 hours a day. :)

I will be praying for you!!!

Hugs, Rebecca

Jenna said...

TV????

I'm KIDDING....don't do that!

How about a box of things that is only for when you really need to do something? I did that with my son when he was a toddler. I had two different boxes of stuff (jingle bells, little people toys, nesting cubes, whatever) and I would give them to him so that I could make a phone call or whatever then I'd pack them up and put them away. The next day, box #2 would be used. One of the things I used was an Aquadoodle- he really got into that.

All that said, that nice piece of advice would have been utterly useless for my daughter who still has to stand right outside the shower curtain when I'm in the shower. She is past the throwing a fit point (most days), but at 27 months old, she's still very....um...how do I put this.......needy. She still won't play all that well by herself, but it IS better. Rebecca is right- it will pass. Keeping your sanity while waiting for it to pass is another issue altogether!!!

Have you read "Sleeping Through the Night" by Dr. Jodi Mindell? Even if Matthew is sleeping all night, she gives lots of great tips for transforming poor sleepers into great sleepers. I had two HORRIBLE sleepers, and now we are the envy of all our friends. It worked for us. I've read every sleep book out there (that's how bad our kids were), and I refer back to this one a lot still.

It's hard to be "on" 24/7- it really is. I'll be praying for you as well.

Jenna

babysarah said...

I am so glad you asked this question. I am having the same issues with my daughter - that we brought home about 6 weeks ago. I am trying to be patient as it is all so new for everyone but it is so difficult! I can't even get a cup of coffee without the ugly snotty cry. Definately made more diccicult by the fact that I have a 6 year old that needs me too.

Tami said...

Hang in there Tish....sounds like Matthew is very attached to you, and that is such a good thing, even if it doesn't seem like it right now;-).

I think, as with many things, you have to work on the independent play in baby steps, and Matthew's progress, more than likely, won't be 'linear'. What worked for me with Nathan was making sure he had quality, undivided attention before trying an independent play time. Begin by actively playing with him, and after a bit become more of an observer, while still remaining physically close. Once Matthew becomes comfortable with this, start moving farther away from him as he independently plays. Gradually increase this, until you are able to do 'your thing' while he continues to play. I would many times continue to talk to Nathan, and he would come over occasionally to 'check in' but this seemed to work quite well. As for when the phone rings, and it's impossible to 'ease' him into it, I'm at a loss.

I would always praise for good independent play, no matter how short, and if I remember correctly, for a child Matthew's age, if you can work up to 15-20 minutes at a time of independent play, he's doing great!

As with Jenna, I also rotated toys, to breathe new life into them, and when I could, I would involve Nate and Owen with what I could...i.e. when I cooked, they played with pots and pans. When I dusted, Nate and Owen would have something to clean etc....

As for Owen, he was easy. I think part due to his inherent personality, and part due to the fact he was a second child, I didn't have the same issues with him. He amazes me to this day how he can occupy himself in the most creative of ways.

As for the sleeping, well, we've already 'talked' about that. It WILL get better. As we discussed there are so many uncanny similarities between Matthew and Nathan...out of curiosity....would you say Matthew likes his crib? Does he spend any time after naps, or in the morning when he wakes, where he'll just play, or does he immediately want to get out? Nathan wanted out of his crib ASAP, and at 18months of him still not sleeping though the night, we reluctantly took the advice of our friends and moved him into a bed. It took 2 nights, and Nathan has slept through the night since. In my amature psych analysis, I think all he needed was the control in knowing he could get to me if he needed to.

Hope some of this helps;-)

mly95014 said...

Hi Tish,

We have the same issue with our son, Matthew (who is 10 months old), whom we brought home from Taiwan 2 months ago. Although recently our Matthew's sleep has improved, albeit slightly, we can totally relate to your Matthew's sleep issues. And our Matthew's clinginess does get worse when he hasn't had his naps or enough sleep in the evening. Hang in there and I'll be following your blog to find out what works for you (other than time).

Blessings,
May

Yvonne Crawford said...

yeah, I'm with Rebecca it won't last for ever...and with my kids now it still is in spurts, not crying but a bit of whininess and it's hard when you need to call the IRS or someone really important and listen to things they are saying to you. I don't have any hints, it just kinds of works itself out and when they are young I used nap time to make those really really important phone calls or made my husband do them. :)

Katie Beasley*Designs said...

My only advice is to chill. You need space and so does your child. Don't hover over them 24/7... they need to figure things out. If they cry, let them cry - they will get bored with it after a bit. This is the time for them to find themselves, otherwise they will be very clingy as they get older. I take my kids to the gym and drop them off - I think that is great for them, esp. early in life.... but just chill and it will all work its self out.

taiwanbaby said...

cormac has just started the "fits". if you feel the fits don't have anything to do with bonding then it's o.k. to ignore some of them. I just read the most fab book by Dr. David Walsh called something like "No, kids need to hear it and parents need to say it." He says that under 18m kids don't do anything to specifically torment you. they are curious and think everything revolves around them. You belong to him and he doesn't get that you might have other things to do except be with him. Also i think some kids need to learn to play by themselves. my boys are really great at it, but my daughter SO isn't. she is getting better, i think it's an age thing. hang in there. other kids might be a distraction. have you any moms clubs out there.

cari

taiwanbaby said...

cormac has just started the "fits". if you feel the fits don't have anything to do with bonding then it's o.k. to ignore some of them. I just read the most fab book by Dr. David Walsh called something like "No, kids need to hear it and parents need to say it." He says that under 18m kids don't do anything to specifically torment you. they are curious and think everything revolves around them. You belong to him and he doesn't get that you might have other things to do except be with him. Also i think some kids need to learn to play by themselves. my boys are really great at it, but my daughter SO isn't. she is getting better, i think it's an age thing. hang in there. other kids might be a distraction. have you any moms clubs out there.

cari