A Toddler’s Anxiety

It’s not the most positive word to sum up our week, but unfortunately there has been a lot of Anxiety in our house this week.

We had such a lovely weekend last weekend and started off the week feeling good, tired, but good. On Monday hubby had taken the day off from work to help me catch up with a few house jobs, (my pelvis isn’t helping me at the moment so I really appreciated it!), plus it was nice for him to have an extra day off after a busy weekend before going back in to work. My parents came and took Monkey to his usual Monday Rhyme Time session at the library and all seemed well.

After lunch we were all in the garden and we were chatting to my parents about them looking after Monkey for the night when we go to a wedding in August, and also about hubby’s work Christmas party and what the best arrangements will be as we will have a 6 week old baby. So whether hubby should go alone (I doubt I will be up for leaving the baby that young, especially if we are breastfeeding)  and whether he should come home or stay over afterwards. Throughout this conversation Monkey was about and playing but didn’t seem to be taking much notice, though in hindsight I think he picked up on more than we realised.

Monday night hubby went out for a work management dinner so I did the bath and bedtime routine that is normally his Daddy time. This isn’t that unusual and Monkey went down fine. He knew Daddy was out but he was fine about it and went off to sleep nicely. Then well over an hour later he woke up really unhappy, which is incredibly unusual for him.

I tried various things, is he cold? Is he thirsty? Is he poorly? But nothing, warmer pjs, drink, calpol,singing, lots of cuddles and talking to him, none of it seemed to make much difference and if anything he seemed tired and didn’t really want me there that much (he’s so independant sometimes). He did eventually go off again, though only for about half an hour and then he started crying again, I was really at a loss as to what was wrong. He can talk so much more now but his vocabulary is still so limited and all I could really make out was Mumma, Dada.

Hubby came home around this time and he went in to see Monkey, after a bit of a cuddle and reassurance from his Daddy, Monkey went to sleep and slept through the rest of the night. The next day passed without too much incident though he was a bit tired and therefore overly irrational at times, as Toddlers can be!! That night Daddy did bath time and Monkey went to bed happy, only to wake up really unhappy again at 2.30am. Hubby went in and he was already out of bed and so so unhappy! He gave Daddy big cuddles and then started shouting for Mummy. As soon as he had seen me and had a cuddle he went back to bed and slept through again. It really seemed like he was worried we had left him or something. This was when we thought that maybe he had picked up on our conversation on Monday more than we realised.

He woke up pretty happy, though he is being pretty irrational at breakfast time at the moment, not sure what that  is all about at the mo, but anyway. That day, Wednesday we went for a pretty regular play-date with a good friend and her little girl. All went well and it was lovely, then he found a baby dolly he wanted to play with. We were playing with baby and it was lovely, I had been thinking about whether to get him a baby dolly to play with as I read it can help with transitions before a new baby comes along.

All was fine until it was time to go home. I left him playing with the baby in the lounge while I popped into the kitchen to get our bag and bits and bobs. I’m not sure why but this prompted the most massive meltdown. He came running in, holding the baby and absolutely wailing his head off. He was so upset and insisting we take the baby doll home. He wanted me to carry her and went absolutely bonkers at the thought of leaving her. Quite often I am firm with meltdowns, but it didn’t feel  like a normal meltdown as he was so so unhappy.

My friend’s little girl thankfully isn’t too attached to the dolly and my friend said we could borrow it for a short while so she came in the car with us. Monkey didn’t want to hold her necessarily but she had to come with us. Then all the way home he was crying, which is really unusual, and even weirder, he kept crying for his Dada. I want Dada. So we called Dada on the hands free, that didn’t help. I was explaining Dada was at work and he would see him later, and he said yes, but then would cry all over again and be shouting for his Dada. It wasn’t the most fun 20  minute journey home!

Still at a loss I asked hubby if he could pop home for 5 minutes before Monkey’s nap, luckily he only works minutes away so was able to pop back for a coupla minutes. As soon as Monkey had a cuddle from his Daddy he was absolutely fine. No more tears at all and they had a lovely cuddle. We had a little chat about how we would always come back and we wouldn’t ever abandon him and he seemed a lot happier and Daddy put him down for a nap with no problem.

He has been a lot better ever since and has been loving spending time with his Daddy more than ever. All we can think is that he has been feeling a bit anxious and a combination of things, all the talk of the baby, the talk of us leaving him with grandparents for a night, Daddy going out that night, then playing with a baby just really freaked the poor little Monkey out.

This, in combination with the broken sleep, busy weekend, the pretty constant pain I now have in my pelvis, and of course pregnancy hormones has led to me feeling pretty anxious too. Anxious about how Monkey is going to cope  with all the changes ahead, worrying that this is a sign of meltdowns to come.

As I always want to do something proactive I started researching ways to help toddlers deal with this kind of anxiety, but actually reading about how to manage a baby and a toddler made me feel even more worried about how I will cope in those first weeks. I just don’t think I was in a very good frame of mind about it at all. We have some books about babies to read with Monkey, but honestly they feel a bit negative, focussing more on the downsides of baby really. I have ordered some other books which I hope have a slightly more positive slant and will help Monkey to cope with the thought of the new baby coming. I will write more about that when we have the books and let you know how it is going!

I’m also feeling anxious about how much worse the pain in my pelvis is at the moment as I can’t help but worry that it is only going to get worse from here on out, and there is still quite a way to go! I saw my physio today who has given me a new exercise to try as I am struggling with the ones that were previously working, and she has tried to reassure me that it could just be a flare up because of bump growth and because of how busy we’ve been lately. So I need to try and think positive and not assume the worst. I just really don’t want to end up shuffling about on crutches again :/.

Monkey had some lovely extra Daddy time while I was at the physio and in general he seems a lot better today so I hope we have reassured him a bit and I think we will try and make sure he gets some good fun Monkey and Daddy time this weekend. I’ve written before about how he is a bit of a Daddy’s Boy, and although he has been a bit clingier with me lately,  he is very much wanting his Daddy again at the moment.

New baby is obviously going to be a transition for him but we do really want to make the process as easy as possible and help him to cope with the changes happening in his little life!

Fingers crossed next week will be a bit more positive!

The Reading Residence

18 thoughts on “A Toddler’s Anxiety

  1. This all sounds similar to my experiences, my toddler too has shown some strange behaviour in the weeks before I’m due (yesterday was my due date). Suddenly not wanting to go for nap, just when i need it more than ever! I think u just have to give lots of cuddles, reassurance and talk to them about what is going to happen. Its going to be hard but the end result, a sibling for them, is what u have to focus on. I may feel differently when this baby decides to make an appearance. Good luck! X

  2. Sounds like a tough week Caroline 🙁 All the change is unsettling, and I do think they pick up on more than we think, but with lots of cuddles and reassurance he’ll be fine, and soon he’ll have a sibling to play with (or at least poke for the first while!) xx

    • Thanks lovely, it has been a bit and you’re right they really do. He already seems a lot better thankfully so hopefully we have reassured him a bit, and will continue to do so! xx

  3. What a tough week for you all – hope Monkey starts feeling less anxious and unsettled soon. Sounds like you are doing the right kinds of things. Hope your pelvic pain doesn’t get too much worse either and that next week will be a better week all round x

  4. I think that he can feel your anxiety too. I notice this with my son as well. When I am so sad he feels uneasy too. We have so much influence and our emotions affect them more than we notice. So I think its nice that you relax as well. Hopefully next week will be better. #wotw

    • Yep it can be a vicious cycle really so have been trying to hide it from him as much as I can, not easy though! Hopefully things will be better next week! xx

  5. Oh no what a tough week for you all. I’m sure Monkey will be fine soon he may just be picking up on your anxiety. I really hope the exercise works son and the pain eases x

  6. I’m terribly sorry Monkey has been this anxious, and you caught it from him. I don’t have any advice on this as I have no kids myself. I do want to say that re the pain, it won’t get better if you’re agonizing over it getting worse. It may not get better if you’re not agonizing over it, either, but at least you’ll have one less problem.

    • Thank you, I know you’re right, just sometimes not as easy not to worry about something when you know how bad it can get though. I am all for trying to be positive though so will keep trying! 🙂 xx

  7. Oh dear, poor Monkey, and poor you. I’m often surprised by how much Little Man picks up and understands, too, as because they don’t talk that much, we can overlook how much they can actually understand. It’s a long time yet until baby comes, and you know how quickly phases pass, so hopefully this will, too, though at least you’re also preparing reading up and getting the books in. Hope you’re OK, too, as I can understand why all of this would make you anxious, along with the pain. Take care xx Thanks for sharing with #WotW

    • Thank you lovely, you’re so right which was why we hadn’t talked to him about it too much…it seemed such a long time ahead to talk to him about it, but then we realised that everyone we see does want to talk about it and lots of people kept telling him he was going to be a big brother, before we had even told him and there has been so much baby chatter going on that he has obviously picked up on it even more than we realised. thanks I am ok, a little low but doing better this week, the pain really doesn’t help though 🙁 xx

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