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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My Toddler Is High Maintenance

Freddy is my fifth child.  I thought I'd seen it all as far as parenting is concerned.  I believed my attachment parenting ideology worked perfectly well and that fifth time round would be a breeze.  The girls became independent, confident toddlers with good routines very quickly.  Not so with Fred!!

At 27 months old, Freddy still sleeps in my bed waking a few times every night.  He is the lightest sleeper, constantly twitching and fidgeting.  He still breast feeds and looks at me incredulously if I suggest that he might like milk from a cup instead!

He hardly eats during the day and has little interest in food, unless he is having a growth spurt whereby he'll eat constantly all day.  His lack of good and consistent dining makes going to restaurants a nightmare.  The lure of dinner is not enough to convince him to sit still.  He just wants to run around all the time at breakneck speed.  So many times at hotels, Ian has taken him to run around outside while the girls and I eat dinner in peace. Yesterday I took the family to the Cafe at Morisson's for lunch and Freddy rolled around  on the floor and ran up and down the aisles.  You simply cannot contain him, he is a ball of energy that needs to be expelled or he will meltdown.  I bumped into an old friend who viewed my attempt at toddler taming with great hilarity and a few sympathetic "...and at your age too!" looks as I chased after my boy for the twentieth time.  How I'd love to adopt the European eating out mentality and enjoy a relaxed dining experience with my children!  Maybe in a few years it will happen.

My biggest issue with Freddy's way of doing things is his hatred of clothing.  He is a child with the same taste in clothing as Tarzan.  Bear chest, bear legs and shoeless wearing nothing but his nappy (Oh yes he will not potty train either.  Every effort I've made in this direction has been met with derision and the unused potty being thrown over the safety gate in disgust!)  Freddy literally screams when you dress him which is so stressful and upsetting.  Neither cajoling or a firm hand makes any difference...he likes being nude!  When he does go down the clothing route, he wants to wear one of his older sisters' item of clothing.  Many times, Kizzy has brought Freddy downstairs resplendent in one of her dresses.  Oh dear!  I'm all for gender neutral parenting, but my boy in a pink frock is not suitable attire for the school run.

For all his high maintenance behaviour, Freddy remains a constant source of utter delight to everyone who loves him.  He is bright, chatty, loving, funny and really quite adorable.  He is a unique character and a real individual.  I know from experience that he will grow out of all these quirks.  One day he will surprise me and sleep through the night!  He will self wean and potty train in his own time.  His energy levels will settle down to the point where he can sit through a meal without feeling the need to sprint around.

But until that point, I will continue to relish every moment of my high maintenance toddler.  I really wouldn't have it any other way, because to change even the slightest thing about him would be a crime.

22 comments:

  1. Bless him. I can totally understand, He is just like my son and I hope he will be a bit easier when he turns 2. x

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  2. A stranger would think you were moaning, but being a Mum and more importantly being the Mum of a BOY and being an adoring Mum I can feel the love intertwined in ALL of your words. I have tears in my eyes and right now I am in my bed with Aaron next to me. He is 16 months and still sleeps with us and his cot is still next to our bed as he sometimes spends 2-3 hours a night in it till he remembers where he is.
    I wish our boys could meet.
    Are you going to the Tots 100 xmas party? xxx

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  3. I really wouldn't change a thing! Being a mum is worth every single issue we encounter along the way. We are going to Butlins for the Xmas Party...it would be amazing to see you again. Imagine our boys together...that would be the sweetest thing ever :) xxx

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  4. ah wendy, relish it although frustrating it can be. Like Erin, Freddy is a gift, the last (is he???) in a line of children ready to be adored, cherished, worshipped and kept little by the older siblings!!!
    | love Erin being my baby and through all the hard times she is suffering (and believe me today we have suffered) I cherish these feelings as i know you do. x

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  5. And what a beautiful boy he is! Wow he sounds a handful but I cam sense you love it, and dnt reslly mind too much, by the way you have worded this. I guess being your last and the baby of the family, he wants to keep that going a little longer yet. and I guess you are happy to oblige. Xxx

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  6. I'm thinking of you and Erin, Emma. Such a difficult time for you all. Freddy is definitely the last! I'm so blessed to have him and cherish every moment! Love and hugs to you xxxx

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  7. I love my funny little boy to bits! It is like he knows he is my last baby and is playing on that for all he's worth!! He keeps me on my toes and I love every minute! xxx

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  8. oh love him, what a beuatiful photo :) Mikey was abit, although possibly not quite as manic, as Freddy, and my mum still utters about my attachment parenting and how I should be firmer, but I just can't bring myself to it, Mikes is 4 now and still very often creeps into our bed in the night and I still have to sit with him till he falls asleep in his bed in the evening, thankfully he did eventually self wean, and potty training was never a problem, but I was abit easy come easy go, and like Freddy he was a nudist so we sort of went from their with the potty ;) Also like Fred, Mikes LOVED girls clothes, and many times I did indeed do the school run (very small cliquey village school with exceptionally posh parents!) over looking until one day a gaggle of older boys pointed and laughed at my innocent boy joitering around in whatever fetching outfit I had struggled to get him to agree on wearing, and after that he was less eager to don outlandish clothes!! Anyway Enjoy him he is beautiful and they grow up too fast x

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  9. thanks for replying - rock on xmas x

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  10. Jessica Whitehead-Stevens27 October 2011 at 10:01

    lol My son is so like feddy, Its comforting to hear that others are going through the same thing.

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  11. Aww I can see myself writing a similar post in the not too distant future. My 13 month old daughter has known her own mind for some time. She's never been much of a sleeper and is on the go all of the time. She's just started to show a bit of temper when she's not getting her own way. She never sits still and feeding time can be a battle at the best of times. Like you though, I wouldn't have her any other way!

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  12. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a son who favoured outlandish fashions!! They do grow out of these phases and I intend to enjoy every moment (whilst snapping photos to embarrass him when he's older!!) Thanks for sharing your story with me :) xxx

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  13. haha...I'm glad I'm not the only one!!!

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  14. We will miss their toddler years when they start school!! I'm going to enjoy every minute....however challenging!!! xxx

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  15. Welcome to my world (middle 2 children!) Gotta love them!

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  16. Freddy really is an adorable little boy and to know him is to love him. Yes! he will do things in his own time and, although he loves wearing his big sisters clothes on occasions, the day will come when he will be happy to wear his "boy clothes" - just continue to do what you do best, being a fantastic Mum

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  17. Call for Super Nanny!

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  18. I'd have nothing to do if he was conventional! Who needs sleep, peace and quiet, relaxing meals and me-time anyway!! xxx

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  19. I've got a boy after three girls and he's been pretty easy so far compared to his sisters. None of my girls are easy though, they all come with their quirks.
    I have to admit that I've done plenty of school runs with DS in a fairy dress or tutu though, does it really matter?

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  20. I wouldn't mind the clothing thing so much if he'd wear something warm as well! I worry he'll get chilly wearing nothing but a size 9-10 strappy vest top at this time of year!! x

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  21. Have you considered your Freddy is on the Autism Spectrum? He sounds so much like my daughter - especially the issue with clothes and food. It sounds like sensory issues. Don't be alarmed, I have 2 children on the spectrum - highly intelligent, my daughter (8) is a straight A student, fact. She could even read at the age of 2. Autistic children are very happy kids too, especially when they have such a wonderful mother - as it seems that you are! It just seems your description isn't quite high maintenance, but sounds more like autism. Good luck!!

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