Introduction and vent about my 3-year-old daughter

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mama_c, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. mama_c

    mama_c New Member

    Hi all,

    I just found these boards after a long and immensely frustrating day of parenting, and am I ever glad I did! So I thought I would just introduce myself and my family and vent a bit, then go ahead and read some other posts.

    I am a mom of a very difficult three-year-old daughter who has me at the end of my rope right now, and a 5-month-old son who's fairly easy, as far as babies go. A little background on my daughter: as a baby she screamed almost constantly, slept in 15 minute spurts, and didn't crawl, roll over, or pull to a stand, although she walked at the normal time. After begging many doctors for help, I was finally referred to an early intervention program, where daughter recieved physiotherapy and occupational therapy (for sensory issues -- couldn't stand certain textures, noises, etc.). Finally, at 21 months, she could crawl, pull to a stand, and roll over. Her sensory issues, at least the obvious ones, seamed to be gone. But she has behavioural issues that leave me so exhausted I barely have any "mom" left in me for my DS.

    She is so shy she is actually fearful of most people, especially kids (I have never had a play date or trip to the park where I spent any time standing back and chatting with the other moms, unless she was right there beside me, gripping my hand). She wakes up angry every day, spends the majority of her day angry, in tears, and throwing outrageous tantrums. It's gotten so bad I don't dare leave the house with her unless my husband is with us, except to take her to preschool twice a week (where she spends her time clinging to the teachers and cries often, although she says she loves it).

    Today I had a friend over whom daughter adores... when the friend is not around (talks about her often, pretends to be her, etc.) But as soon as my friend knocked on the door daughter started crying and screaming in terror. She then spent the whole visit clinging to me, crying every time I got up to do anything (even though I brought her with me and never let go of her hand), and shooting nasty glares at my friend and her baby. Then she threw a beanbag at my friend's baby's head (missed, thank goodness). After my friend left, daughter spent the rest of the day as she always does, screaming and throwing tantrums.

    I just don't know what to do. She has no diagnosis, although she sees a neurologist about the motor skill delay. I've told everyone who works with her about the behaviour, but I don't know if anyone really gets how extreme it is. Until recently we were working under the assumption that the tantrums and fearfulness were due to frustration because of the motor skill delay, but she is now almost caught up to the other children her age.

    I just don't get it. If I wasn't her parent, and with her practically every moment of her life, I would probably think she was being abused or something. She just seems so darn unhappy all the time. Her neurologist doesn't think she's on the autism spectrum. Another thing I should mention is that she tests quite high cognitively (about a 4-year-old level), talked early, and has always had a close relationship with me and husband, even though she started showing intense fear of strangers at around three months.

    Well, thanks for reading all that, it felt good to get it out, and I look forward to reading some of the other posts now. If you have any thoughts or can relate, I'd love to hear about it. :)
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I would find a good neuropsychologist that works with younger kids. I know the neurologist is a doctor and everything but a neuropsychologist adds in how neurological issues relate to behavior. If you can't find one you can see soon, then a good CHILD psychiatrist is necessary. I think you are right, there is something going on. You list the services your daughter has received (and is seeing) but have you had thorough Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech evaluations done? You might want to also check into those.

    You have come to the right place. Just to warn you, it is a little quieter here on week-ends but others will definitely be along so don't give up on us for lack of immediate responses. Welcome to our little corner of the world.

    {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}} to you AND daughter.
  3. mama_c

    mama_c New Member

    Thanks, I'll definitely look into the neuropsychologist. She's on a wait list (and almost at the top I'm told) to see a child psychologist through her early intervention program, so I'm really looking forward to that. The only evaluations she's had done are the general ones the program does that cover cognitive, speech, social, and motor skills all in about an hour session, so I'm not sure how thorough those are. Her speech has always been fine though, it's just been the motor skills and social skills that have been a problem. For gross motor she originally tested at a 6 month level when she was 15 months old (yikes!) and is now at a 30-36 month level at 36 months old, so we're really glad for that. But I sure hope we can get the behaviour under control, or at least figure out the reason for it. Once again, I am so happy I found these boards!
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Her speech may be fine but her language processing could be an issue. Even though she is very verbal (so are my sons), she may not be able to put everything she is feeling/thinking into words. Behavior is usually a way to communicate when kids don't have the skills to communicate them in other ways. I would pursue thorough Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech evaluations. Unless you specifically ask, they will usually just evaluate the common things. You need them to dig into everything.

    I would also highly recommend you pick up the books "The Explosive Child" and "What Your Explosive Child Is Trying To Tell You". They are awesome resources to help you shift how you perceive the issues so you can be in a better place to understand where some of these behaviors might be coming from.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi! Wow I am so glad you found us. I found this board on a similar, I was totally spent, day. Sometimes from my difficult child, sometimes from the school system or just stupid people who dont help things along when we are in public.

    I remember when my difficult child was younger, as goals were made for his IEP in school I would say to people even when he was in Early Childhood Sp. Ed. .... You know, if he never really learns to read or do math, that will be okay with me, BUT I really want him to smile and be happy. He was nearly always straight faced or crabby. I'd hear my neices or nephews singing in the bath tub or giggling as they played and felt so awful for my little guy. Now he does have those times and they are precious. He still has a base personality that is pretty grumpy but he finds things funny, sometimes gets too silly like a preschooler (he is 14), and other times just can be pleasant and I'll take t hat!

    Sounds like you are just at the beginning of your road, given that she has motor delays it is probably not huge leap to say there could be other neurological issues. They may be just subtle enough that they are hard to diagnose by someone who sees children in a stress situation like a doctors office. To diagnose anything they really have to do a full evaluation with questionaires and standard protocols that look at how a child interacts and uses information around them. Looking for a child development evaluation center (a childrens hospital or university clinics or private companies that specialize in developmental conditions in children) can provide you access to neuropsychologists, or other psychologists who specialize in developmental diagnoses, Occupational Therapist (OT)'s, speech lang folks , and they would probably just consult with your physical therapists since they already have good info. I would not ask a dr. if he thinks you need the evaluation, just say you want it. One thing that is for sure, though no one can guarantee a child will improve, there is way too much evidence that the earlier you can start therapy, the better. so better to see IF there is another issue. From your post, it sounds like your mommy instinct is saying there is another something going on. Those sensory issues may be still bothering her but at a different level on the heirarchy. Interesting she imitates your it a copy kind of thing or does she create her own story lines? She sounds like she gets really overwhelmed easily.

    For what it is worth, this just popped into my head as I read your post. It may not hit her issue at all but......I have worked with kids who's parents take pictures of the different things they may do during the day (online pics that represent the activities like clothes for getting dressed, a toilet for using the bathoom, a car or van for going on a trip, pictures of family or friends etc.) anyway...they use these pictures to make a schedule. You can put them on those clip key rings and can flip them over before the next could show her the picture of your friend, then what are going to do with her (snack) then wave bye to friend, then tub for bath time.. Some go thru the whole schedule for the day first to let them know abou tthe day, some wait and just show the picture of the upcoming thing. Just in case some of the meltdown is not being clear about what is going on and will she need to go with someone else etc. She may just have a lot of anxiety over separation as well as not being able to figure out what will happen next. We use this kind of schedule with kids iwth adhd, austism, genetic disabilities, etc. in early childhood sp. ed. and it seems to really help some of them to calm. ( I remember one kid who was about 80 lbs and age FOUR! he would flop down on the floor and people woudl pull on his arm to get him to come join them-not mean but you know, like come on X lets go get a drink--and I started this...I would go up to him and for example I put a picture of a water fountain in front of him and say, we are going to get water. He just took the picture, stood up and started walking...usually dropping the picture half way there, smile) Just an idea. Over the years you will get many ideas, some may work, some may not. IF this does help her, you can laminate frequently used pics so you can put them in your purse etc. I used to print out a one page schedule when my son was older, with a small picture and a word or a few words, for a schedule and it included expectations/rules on it so my son had a visual to use to keep him on track. We dont do that much now but I probably should sometimes!

    Glad you are here. Those long days are draining so go easy on yourself.
  6. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Welcome! Get as much testing done as you can. Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), neuropsch so you can get to the bottom of why she is so unhappy. It is great that you have her in early intervention. Sounds like she has lots of sensory issues.

    My easy child 1 was in early intervention for not walking. The problem: she didn't like the feel of standing. She didn't like the pressure on her legs.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'd take her to a neuropsychologist. Her neurologist could be very wrong. It is not his specialty to diagnose childhood disorders. She does have LOTS of red flags for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
  8. mama_c

    mama_c New Member

    Hi, just wanted to say I am going to reply soon, but I wanted to wait till I have time to really read the responses. Right now my mom is visiting for a few days, but just wanted to say I am still here!
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    great, looking forward to it. Enjoy your time with your mom
  10. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    welcome to the board!
  11. mama_c

    mama_c New Member

    Hi, I'm back, finally.... ugh... both kids have been sick, DS is teething so up a dozen times a night, and I am just exhausted! Anyway, in the time since I last posted I got in to see a child psychologist. I filled out a couple questionnaires and spent about an hour with her discussing daughter. She'll be going to daughter's preschool next week to observe her (without her knowing), and then daughter and I will be meeting with her for our first session. She'll be doing cognitive tests and the psychologist will observe her playing with me, then we'll take it from there. I am very excited to get started with this.

    In the meantime, daughter's behaviour is as bad as ever, and some of it is obviously due to some extreme anxiety in certain situations. The other day we were at the grocery store and they had those little child-sized shopping carts. Well, daughter wanted to push one, but she was so nervous that she started crying right away. She wouldn't put the cart back though, so we did our entire grocery shop with her crying her eyes out, and every time I got even a few feet ahead of her she would start running, tears streaming down her face, and screaming, "I'm chasing you Mommy! I'm chaaaasing yoooou!" OMG, the people in that store must have thought I was the mom from hell, forcing my poor three-year-old to push the little cart! :groan:I am proud of her, though, for doing something that was so obviously terrifying for her.

    Well thanks for all the comments, you've given me a lot to think about. I'll keep y'all updated.
  12. mama_c

    mama_c New Member

    Sounds a lot like daughter. Everyone has always said how serious she is, and I really feel like a lot of times there's no joy in her, at least not the way there is with other kids.

    She creates her own story lines. She is absolutely HUGE on playing pretend, especially pretending to be other people in her life. She loves to pretend to be my friends, her preschool teachers, other kids, or whoever else she's thinking about.

    We did try a visual schedule for her before and it was, unfortunately, a disaster. But I like the idea of showing things just before they happen. The way ours was, it was like a board that showed what the whole day would be like. that's why it was a disaster... she's not the kind of kid who does better being warned about transitions ahead of time. If she knows we're going to do something she doesn't like, she has a meltdown; if she knows we're going to do something she DOES like, she has a meltdown because she wants to do it NOW. But I may try having one that I can carry with me, that sounds like a good idea. Thanks for the suggestions!
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    oh gosh, yeah, that would be overwhelming for a little one.

    The schedules or cues we have used at my house and also when I team taught preschool ECSE were pictures on a ring. then you can just flip to the picture of the thing you are doing (target, church, eating, toilet, home, car, bed, etc....) and show that. Cant remember if I put this...we used numbers on laminated cards they are on like a clip ring ... a card with the number 3 another with 2, and then 1.....also stop and go cards in green and red. Then we could say...3 minutes and we will go, (and it doesn't have to be real minutes, they dont know) then 2 minutes and we will go...1 and then ok lets go..... you can use go card or you can use stop doing the activity depending on what works can also just show the next transition picture.

    If you put a hook by where you have your keys some kids like to carry their schedule once they like it. Others just rip them up!

    you have done a lot. I hope you all stay healthy and you get some answers soon.
  14. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Hope you get some answers with the testing/observing.