Night Terrors?

It looks like our Timothy is going thru night terrors. For the past week, he’s been waking up every hour or so for the first half of the night, crying.

When I watch him on the monitor, I can see him stretching his hands in front of him, looks like he doesn’t actually see anything. And then when I walk in, he usually fights me off: doesn’t want to be held or cuddled. Just keep crying and crying, and THEN he asks me to hold him.

Google says it’s night terrors. Unlike nightmares, this is a weird feeling of overwhelming fear that seizes the baby when he goes from one sleeping phase to another. They’re crying but not fully awake – hence the fighting you off. They don’t actually realize you’re in the room. Or that you’re their mom.

It says night terrors are often caused by lack of sleep. True, Timothy has been waking up earlier than usual for the past week – and today for the first time (like, ever?) he fought nap time. He kept crying and crying and crying and crying… for like half an hour!!!

He’s finally asleep now, but I hoped he’d have a longer nap today… now that he fell asleep a full hour later than usual, don’t think that’s gonna happen.

I’ll just try to get him to bed earlier than usual today, I guess.

I feel so sorry for him, the night time crying is so heartbreaking… :(

Things That Seem to Have Worked

As Timothy is approaching the 2-year mark, I decided to review some of the strategies that seem to work really well in terms of setting boundaries and discipline.

1. Nothing needs to be done right NOW. I decided to respect my son’s wishes – hoping he’ll respect mine. If I tell him “let’s go to bed” in he says “no” – that’s okay. My response is: “ok, you want to read another book (do another puzzle, play ball a bit more, whatever)? Let’s read another book and then we’ll go to bed”. I have always been approaching it this way as per my sister’s advice – and it works great. We read another book and then I tell him: “okay, we read another book and as we’ve agreed – let’s go to bed now”. He always goes. Well, maybe there were a couple of times when I needed a bit more talking – but I never needed to force him.

Bottom line – ask him to do something, but don’t expect him to drop whatever he’s doing to do as you wish. He is a person, he has his own needs and wishes. Respect them – and he’ll cooperate!

2. Limit the “no”s

I try not to say “no” too often. I want them to be meaningful. If he’s doing something dangerous (like jumping on the bed and getting too close to the edge) – I tell him to be careful because he’s too close to the edge and might fall and hurt himself. But I don’t tell him to stop jumping. He needs to explore the world – my job is to warn him of the risks.

If he’s doing something really dangerous (like climbing on the kitchen counter), I tell him that I am too scared for him, this is too dangerous, and ask him not too climb because I am afraid he’s gonna fall. It seems to work. He gets it – I don’t just make him stop doing things, I have a reason.

3. “No, this is mommy’s”

This is a “no” that I came up with. Again, I am not a big fan of “no because I said so”. But it’s hard to explain why touching my phone is a “no”. So it became “no, this is mommy’s phone… book… tea… etc”

I can now even leave a mug of tea (not too hot, just in case) on the coffee table and if Timothy touches it – it would be to push it away. Saying “no! mommy’s!”

4. Taking turns.

I don’t truly understand why most parents ask their kids to share. I mean, you can share a sandbox or a carousel. But how do you “share” a toy? The most you can do is taking turns – and that’s what I’m teaching.

I can’t report much progress here yet, Timothy gets very upset when I remove him from a sleigh or a car or whatever to take turns with another kid – but I believe we are moving in the right direction.

I also noticed that Timothy tries to shoo other kids away from “his” toys mostly with words. He waves at them, says no, and babbles something. He might slap them – but very lightly, not to hurt – but to get his message across…

5. Crying and being upset is okay.

I am trying to be consistent about my rules. And as much as it breaks my heart sometimes, I do not budge.

I sit down with him, I acknowledge his feeling “yes, you are sad… you are upset… you really wanted for mommy to bring you upstairs…”

I sympathize: “I wish I could bring you upstairs, just take you in my arms and go up – but I can’t…”

If he lets me I’d hold him and tell him that I am here. I love him, and I know he’s sad. But most often he doesn’t want to be hugged when he cries like that. But I always make sure he knows I am there, right next to him. Listening. Caring.

Usually he’d cry a little bit and (in the case of going up the stairs) would stand up abruptly, ask for my hand and walk upstairs with tears drying up quickly.

it’s important for them to learn that thing don’t always go as they want – and it will upset them – and it is okay to be upset – and he can always seek my understanding and sympathy in such cases.

He’s almost two, and he rarely gets too upset now. We went through a phase when I thought “uh-oh, the terrible twos are coming” when he would refuse to put the coat on… to put the shoes on… to walk out the door… to climb the stairs… to leave daycare… to go to daycare… to eat… But you know what? These episodes have almost vanished. He’s very easy to talk to. He listens. He understands.

He is so, so cool :)

6. If he doesn’t want to eat – that’s okay, too

Yes, there were a few times when he went to bed without eating. And that’s okay. I know he ate enough during the day (from the daycare report) and he usually has a banana on the way home from daycare.

I do not play into “no I don’t want this, I want that” – if he asks for cereal and then once the cereal is in from of him, decides he wants cheerios with milk – I say no. You asked for cereal, here it is. And if he refuses to eat – well then, all done, off you go.

Again, about a month ago it was starting to become a problem – asking for various things and then refusing to eat them, asking for more and more other food. I decided to put a stop to it: if you’re hungry, you’ll eat. If you aren’t – well then off you go. And it seems to be working, too.

Horrible Mood

I’m in a horrible, horrible mood today.

My head is aching again. It started to ache yesterday and I was waking up through the night with the headache still killing me just behind my eyes, and it is still aching today. It feels like there’s a ball of pain rolling and rattling behind my eyes. It’s especially bad when I roll from one side to the other in bed.

Hubby has to work today, so I am stuck alone with Timothy who keeps driving me up the wall with his relentless throwing.

After an incident a week ago where he threw a stone right into another toddler’s forehead, we announce war on throwing. So since 7 am today, I keep removing whatever Timothy send flying to the upper shelves where he cannot reach stuff. I even gave him a couple of time-outs in his high chair, although I am sort of against timeouts.

I literally am going insane. His throwing is driving me SO mad. He threw crayons down the stairs. When I took the rest of crayons from him, he started sending his nesting cups down the staircase. When I took those away, he threw a book there. At that point I gave him timeout.

He stopped throwing things down the staircase after that, but he keeps throwing. Stuff. He threw the cucumbers out of his snack plate all over the floor. He collected them when I asked him. He took puzzle pieces out of a box and immediately sent them all flying around the room. I took those away, too. He threw more food, more toys, more puzzles. I am running out of space to put things out of reach.

I am running out of patience. The persistent headache doesn’t help. I really feel furious – because I feel so helpless. Nothing seems to work, he just keeps throwing things.

He threw a car that landed in my lip yesterday. He narrowly misses my head all the time. And while I am fairly agile – other toddlers aren’t. And what about the time when the baby arrives? I soooo worry about Timothy throwing something into baby’s head, eyes, etc.

I don’t know what to do.

I am sure once the headache passes, once I calm down, once the playground dries up after yesyerday’s rain and we can go out, after hubby arrives to bring some relief – things will get better.

But right now I am at my wits’ end.

On Timothy

Timothy is a very busy 19 month boy.

He’s talking a LOT. He has over 50 words in his vocabulary, most of them in English (not surprisingly, English words are short and easy to pronounce, unlike the Russian ones… anyone would prefer saying “cookie” over “pietchenka”, right? :)

He says all the obvious ones like mama, papa, no, sit, etc. – and animal sounds (and sign language signs). He has more complicated words and even phrases like “outside” and “what’s that?”. He even knows Mars – the planet. Go figure. He still can’t tell the difference between moon and sun :) But overall this whole talking thing is so much fun – and makes things so much easier! He can say if he wants to drink (that word is one of the few in Russian!), or if he wants cookies, or if he wants to read a book (which sounds more like “buck” :)) He also babbles all the time and comments what he’s doing. Like he would grab a book, sit on a pillow on the floor, and comment: sit! (For a few days we couldn’t understand why he kept saying “shit” :) :) :) )

He started singing – I am assuming they have been singing “Mister Sun” at daycare cause he bends his knees rhythmically, clutches his hands and chants: sun! sun! sun! Only it sounds more like “thun”. Charming :)

Hi finally has figured out how to give real kisses, with the sound. Melts our hearts.

He started having toddler moments when he would fly off the handle in an instant, wailing and crying, and pointing at nothing in particular, declining whatever we offer (trying to decipher what he wants), pushing us away and even kicking/slapping. He refuses to be hugged, kissed, or even touched when he gets in such a mood. And he can keep going for 20 minutes and then finish it just as abruptly and proceed happily with his meal or whatever he was doing.

He had his first unaccompanied ride at a Ukrainian festival the other day. He was extremely happy the first few rounds, laughing excitedly, but then he started stretching his arms towards us, and then crying – so they stopped the ride and let us take him off :)

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He loves the playground.

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He is managing to climb increasingly complex ladders. He fearlessly plops on his belly to go downs slides (I guess that’s the way they teach them to go down the slides at daycare?) – although he hurt his hands a few times like that but now knows to keep his hands off the surface of the slide as he rides down.

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He’s terrified of water fountains for some reason, but loves wading pools and puddles. Yesterday he and another boy got SOAKING wet running through a splash pad (after the fountains switched off) and Timothy ended up falling on his bum in this puddle :)

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He understands pretty much everything. If we say let’s go for a walk, he runs for the gate, starts shaking it, saying “outside!” If we say let’s get your shoes off when we get home, he runs and sits on the bottom step of the staircase and outstretches one foot. He runs for the gate when we say “let’s go sleep” and attempts to climb his chair when we say “time to eat”.

He is starting to help us – like taking clothes off the drying thingy, watering plants in front of our house – and recently bringing any piece of garbage he finds (mostly pieces of his cheerios) to the cupboard that hides the garbage bin, waits for us to open the cupboard door and the bin – and happily throws away whatever it was. And he puts things away when we ask – like bringing his books back to the shelf or the toys back to their bins. The only thing he refuses to keep in order are markers and crayons. He just loves throwing them all over the room.

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He loves dancing. Not to just any music, mind you. He hates ABBA, for instance (which is like a personal insult to me :)), but loves Gwen Stefani :) And he was dancing all over the Ukrainian festival, attracting all the old ladies’ attention!

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He is so, so cool. In fact, Timothy now keeps exclaiming “So cool!” all the time :)

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Wow, I’ve been quiet for 2 Months!

Hello all,

We’re well and thriving. I didn’t realize I haven’t posted updates for 2 months!I’m making up for it – with lots of pics! Cause who doesn’t like lots of toddler pics, right? :)

One reason is the regular email updates with pictures that I send to all the relatives. Writing those makes me feel like I’ve updated. And no, I can’t copy-paste those emails as they’re in Russian…

Another reason is we were on vacation in Newfoundland – which was GOR-GE-OUS!!! One of the most beautiful places, ever. Out there with Iceland and Hawaii.

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And then we had relatives staying over for a few weeks, being busy with sightseeing and family chit-chats.

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So next thing you know – I have been away from this blog for too long!

Timothy is now 18 months. A year and a half! He’s starting Jr. Toddler room at daycare next month – where he’ll be starting potty-training. Which means we’ll be starting potty training. I dug the potty out of the closet today and placed it, as suggested, in the living room. So that Timothy is starting to get used to it.

Timothy has about 30 words in his vocabulary, almost all in English. Not surprising – English words are short and simple to pronounce, unlike Russian once. He understand all I say, but repeats in English: bus, plain, car, go, close – those are some of the common words. He also says my name PERFECTLY – although he has no idea what the word means. He just repeats it after his daddy :) Mars – the planet – also made its way into his vocabulary. Unlike my name, Timothy knows exactly what Mars is: he brought me a picture of it, pointed, and announced; Muhsssssss! I guess Baby Einstein videos taught him that.

He’s trying to put shoes on. He’s climbing furniture. He’s still throwing this all the time, although is getting a bit more civilized and there are certain things he now knows not to throw (but he can still drop them accidentally).

He loves book more than anything. He also likes puzzles – the kind where you need to insert a shape into a whole/slot. And he’s quite good at that, managing even the complex shapes like cars and firemen.

He’s very sweet, gives hugs and says “ahhhhhh” while at it.

He’s the best :)