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21 month old driving me bonkers

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Old 05-31-2007, 12:56 PM   #1
lex jude
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21 month old driving me bonkers

Please, I so need some reassurance here, because my darling little boy is drivig me up the wall. Let me explain:

When he was a little baby, I guess I was spoiled because he was the most well mannered, quiet and behaved little baby. He ate whatever I put in front of him, and never whined at all.

Now that he has grown up a bit into a toddler, he's started to assert himself and his new independence (so he thinks!). He whines so much more, pitches fits at random times and pushes his boundries. To some extent, I suspect this is normal....however, he is literally driving me up the wall with all of his whining and pouting when he doesn't get his way (or sometimes for no apperent reason). He won't listen, he's become such a picky eater, and his solution to being reprimended is to throw or hit something.

Example: When he wakes from his nap in the afternoon, I try to be as pleasant as I can and hold him and bring him downstairs, telling him what we will do this afternoon. However, his first response is to whine and cry--no matter what I do! Sometimes I get fed up with it, and put him back in his crib to cry. He will stop within minutes, and then I'll try the whole process AGAIN (this method usually works). But then I feel so darn guilty about letting him flip out by himself--nothing seems to help him--is this normal? Other times he will be his usual sweet self, and I think, why can't this little boy come around more often!!!

Plus, going out to eat is such a chore...any tips for keeping a baby happy when going out to eat? We don't do it often, but there are times when we like to go out, and he HATES sitting in a high chair. We tried the whole booster seat, but then he will just push and kick whoever is next to him. He will literally cry the entire time--what kind of distractions work for you?

I am a first time mom, and any hints about this goofy pre terrible two's age will be MUCH appreciated!!! I feel like such a crappy mom right now and I love my son dearly....but MAN. Having a toddler is ROUGH!
He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.

Last edited by lex jude; 05-31-2007 at 12:57 PM.

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Old 05-31-2007, 02:25 PM   #2
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Re: 21 month old driving me bonkers

Welcome to the wonderful world of raising a toddler!

This is all normal, I promise. Like you said, it is all about asserting his independence and testing his boundaries. He will keep doing it and you just need to keep on being consistent with what you do.

As far as letting him flip out on his own, well, IMO this is the best method. When they have tantrums sometimes there is just no calming them, as you already know. There is nothing wrong with putting them somewhere they are safe to cry it out. The worst thing to do is to feed into it. It only makes them last longer and a lot worse. Don't feel guilty about it. Everybody needs a good cry once in a while.

I can't help you with the going out to eat. When my dd was around that age we went out to eat with my mother and sister and she she pitched an absolute fit. I tried everything and nothing worked so I took her to the car and sat there with her until they were finished eating. They got my food to go and I avoided restaurants for the next year or so until she calmed down.

You are not a crappy mom, this is a crappy stage. I hate to say that it will get worse before it gets better, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck!

Old 06-02-2007, 04:49 AM   #3
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Re: 21 month old driving me bonkers

Hi! Just wanted to offer hugs and support! I have a 19 month old so I know what you are going through! One thing I have started recently is to offer choices when he is not doing what I want him or need him to. For example, we in the airport and he wanted to go a different way than we needed to go to get to our gate. I told him "lets go this way" when he refused twice I said: "you can walk this way with mommy and daddy or you can ride in your stroller." He didn't cooperate so I just put him in his stroller and said "Ok, I get to choose now- you need to ride". I later let him down again, repeated the same choice and he walked with us. I said "Good choice!!" He is starting to get it. Offering choices lets the toddler feel like they have some control which as you know they really want!!

As for the going out to eat-- we have to do that a lot because my DH mom loves to go out to eat and have our company. First we use toys and books that DS does not see unless he is out to eat, if that looks like it is not going to work, we have a portable DVD player and that always works. I know some people may think that is wrong, but it works for us. Good luck!!

Old 06-04-2007, 06:52 AM   #4
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Re: 21 month old driving me bonkers

Jude, you already got some good advice. I just wanted to add that don't burden yourself thinking that you have to fix everything and make him happy all the time. Let him be free to feel the way that he needs to and give him space to do that.

Old 06-04-2007, 09:31 AM   #5
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Re: 21 month old driving me bonkers

Yeah, those "pushing the boundries" moments are the make and break time for who has the say in your relationship. If you let him run over you this early things will only get worse, trust me. You're the boss, and no matter how bad you feel about imposing your will on him, it is for his own good. If you let him have his way and he gets used to it... look out. You are in charge and you have to act like it. Love doesn't mean no discipline.

Old 06-05-2007, 07:33 AM   #6
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Re: 21 month old driving me bonkers

Dito to what people are telling you.. it is boundry testing and you have to crack down.

This is the stage where we asserted you are a big boy.. you are going in the potty, you want to walk talk and do what mommy and daddy do then you must act like a big boy. If my son threw down in public.. we took him to the nearest bathroom and solved tthe problem or went home. He quickly learned that if he wanted to go out and do things he behaved. The or else was not at all desireable and only had to be done a few times. This was also the time I caught myself using the old line.. "Don't make me pull this car over.." I knew I was full circle and paying for all my crimes against my own parents.

Mine son is 4.5 now and just went through that whining phase again. At least it was easier to reason with him this time around and the phase was much shorter. All we had to do is take away all his toys and privelages. Then we told him when you act your age you can have your all the toys and privelagees of a four year old back, but acting like a two year old means you can onl;y play with two year old things. Since we cycle toys and there were none for two year olds about... He straightened up and stayed straight, until the next testing phase.

At two we did time outs, privelage removal, toy removal, and spankings when warrented. If he hurt the pets hitting or threw a toy he lost access to them. When they are left starring at blank walls and only given access to supervised (unsupervised made me glad that the crayons were washable.. this does not mean easy to come off the wall.. but they came off of him and his clothes) crayon usage they get the idea real quick. The choices is excellent as long as they are willing to cooperate.. mine did it for a will then he turned into a bartering lawyer. The key with giving them choices is simple.. give them somthing that you can live with and they want to do and something they can not stand.. they will concede to your point every time. The stroller choice was an excellent example.. the other is walk or I will toss you over my shoulder like a sack of potatos. They want to move and go.. be restrained in any manner is horrific to them.

Emergency entertainment pack.. get a compartment clip board.. stock it with paper, stickers, crayons, colored pencils, and activity books. Look into a leapster/leap pad as well. We also let our son pick out two cars or airplanes (hot wheels size) of his choice. This was all we needed. We did tic tac toe.. shape creatures.. alphabet.. counting and number work.. anything to engage him.. rolled cars back and forth over the table.. etc. Now we still use the drawing kit.. and are dependent on the leapster for long waits. If my son threw a temper tantrum in the restuarant. We took him to the bathroom and settled him down.. in some cases a spanking was necessary. A dash of cold water in the face shocks them out of a fit quickly as well. Used that a few weeks ago. He gave me the.. How dare you look, but stopped right then and there.

If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.

Old 06-07-2007, 12:58 PM   #7
lex jude
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Re: 21 month old driving me bonkers

Thank you so much for all of your advice and tips--and especially for making me feel better...I feel less like a crazy mom about to snap

mkgbrook: Thanks for all of the "going out into the big bad world" tips--I will so get a survival pack the next time I go to the store. Alex is just now getting into crayons and such, so that should be a good start there.

:hug: Thanks to everyone again!!
He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.

Old 06-18-2007, 04:44 PM   #8
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Re: 21 month old driving me bonkers

Some tips for going out to eat. First off try and pick a "family friendly" restaurant and asked to be sat towards the back of the restaurant, that way there is less foot traffic and not as many other diners to annoy with a whining toddler. You can also request a table with no one around so your child can wander a little bit around the table if need be.
Try and plan your meal for early evening before the dinner rush sets in. Bring your own sippy cup, snacks, toys, books-whatever keeps their attention. When the server comes to take your drink order, place the order for your kids meal. That way it will arrive before your meal and you will have time to help feed or entertain him while he is eating, and if you are lucky he will be full and happy bu the time your meal arrives.
Always request crayons or anything the restaurant offers for kids. I also have a special restaurant toy that I only let my ds play with when he is sitting at the table calmly. He knows it is special and if he acts up it goes back to "bed"(in the daiper bag) until he calms down.
Another good thing to do is ask for the check when the server checks on your meal, that way if problems arrise you are ready to pay and leave.
This is a very hard age to take kids out to eat. The trick is to just keep their attention. You can always try and play I spy or some sort of looking game around the restaurant, there sre always interesting things to point out to kids.
Make sure you really recognize and praise any good behavior. You want your child to realize it is nice and fun to go out to eat. And if all this fails order take out for another year! Good Luck!

Old 07-01-2007, 08:32 PM   #9
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sam673 HB User
Re: 21 month old driving me bonkers

The best habits are started and practiced at home! When we eat as a family, our 19 month old will sit strapped into her seat at the table and can have some snacks while we get dinner on the table. She stays in her seat until we're all finished eating and are all ready to get up from the table. We do this almost every time we eat at home - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We follow the same rules when we are out, so she is used to sitting strapped in at the table while we wait for the food, and she stays there until we're ready to go. As far as what she does for entertainment, she really loves snacks like goldfish, raisins, cheerios, fruit snacks, etc. So we give her those a few at a time to prolong her eating them for as long as possible. When she's had enough of that distraction, we move on to a very realistic fake cell phone we got at Walmart or Target and she'll "talk on the phone" for ages. Usually by then, our food is served and she works on eating whatever we give her off our plates!

Something to keep in mind is that weekends are NOT good times to bring toddlers out to eat! Especially weekend nights! Resturaunts are crowded and the wait is forever, and the service takes forever, and that's really DATE NIGHT environment! Mon-Thurs are the best nights for family eating out. Also, eat earlier instead of later. We always try to go between 5-5:30 because it beats the crowds! There usually isn't a wait - sometimes between 5-10 minutes, and the service is much quicker too, which generally makes it a more pleasant experience all around!

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