Struggling with making the parenting choices

I've been recently finding myself doubting my instincts, choices and just my general parenting abilities. I can't tell if my child is acting out or just cognitively more delayed than we thought. I also can't tell if we are making the right choices with her language development.

DD is 17.5/14.5. She has back and forth eating issues and sometimes I feel like she's doing it (hitting spoon, spitting out and throwing food) just as a form of acting out but I can't be sure. She's also pushing, hitting and biting. The problem is I want to discipline with explaining why we don't do that, then redirect, but it doesn't work because of my 2nd problem.

My 2nd problem is we are a bilingual home, but DD won't say more than Dada, Daddy, Dadden and she refuses to look at us if we sign more than one word at a time. She will watch you sign NO, but will look away if you sign more than that. I feel like she's very slow to progress because she won't let us communicate. If you tried to read a book she yells at you and doesn't want to look at it or sit with you. If you tried to sign the story she cries and tries to get away from you like you are torturing her.

EI wants us to focus more on English, but ASL is where she's made more improvement than anything. She signs milk, more, all done, sleep but only if you ask her if she wants milk/more or is all done. I just feel like she should be more mentally developed than she is and I feel like I'm doing something wrong and it's very depressing.

She seems to not want to learn, she wants to be in her own world doing her own thing. She's very ADHD type behavior and she's terribly moody. She has fluid in her ears, but hasn't had diminished hearing. She will watch tv and even signing on tv and not move the whole time.

Anyone experience any of this? Have any thoughts or suggestions? Thank you for your time reading this.

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Trust your gut. I am told by "experienced" parents that these tues of behaviors are normal for preemies and term children. My son is 18 months actual/ 15 corrected and we have also experienced a lot if what you are experiencing. My son will bite in anger or even hit his head. He will not pay attention to use when we tell him no and try to explain why and redirect. I find that my son is very independent and wants to exert that and let us know he wants his independence. It's a tough transition but once we started there was a big difference in begaviour. We give him his own spoon during feedings And he tries to feed himself, we gave him a drawer in the kitchen with " safe" kitchen utensils for him so he feels like he is involved without putting limits on him. But as I said trust your gut if you feel that there may be cognitive problems talk to you pediatrician early intervention is best. Good luck

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Parenting is so hard even without extra things to worry about. It's easy to get obsessed in the preemie thing and forget what a typical child that age would be like. I have the same problem myself! 1) Do some reading. Educate yourself about what behaviors are common at what ages. There are tons of parenting books that you can pick from. You can also tailor many of the styles to fit your needs. I have read that you just can't discipline before the age of 2 (and I would say ADJUSTED) because they aren't developmentally able to get it. You do just have to use distraction. I do think she is too young for full on explanations. She is at the age (like my son) when they can be very motor-driven. My son just wants to move. If you try and make him sit for too long he will zone out. He's not interested. Let me tell you... how many typical one-year olds do you know that will sit and attend for long periods? Our kids are heading right for the terrible-twos! They call it that for a reason. :) I am not saying to not be attentive and alert for problems but try not to drive yourself crazy either. Therapists aren't always right. Sometimes they forget to be flexible and work WITH the child during their therapies. You say bilingual... and you mentioned ASL... there has been debate about teaching kids sign verses making then learn speech. There are still people that feel that you shouldn't teach sign at all. I believe that it's great if she can learn and use sign... and I believe the speech will come when she is ready. Kids do act out more when they don't have any means of communication. I have seen kids who are delayed with speech a bit because of a bilingual household. In the end they all get to the same place though! Be careful about labeling her in any way. I am assuming she is your first? Let me tell you... once you have a few more kids most of these behaviors, at this age, are NOT surprising at all. :) Kids this age are not rational so be careful about your expectations. I have also learned that kids go through a million stages. Just as you figure one out it's over and they are onto something new. Just be patient. Don't give up but make sure you keep it fun and be creative. The minute something becomes negative it is not going to be effective. Easier said than done I know for sure. Good luck!

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I think the posters above are basically right, it's a bit early to say what is going on and there is a wide range in "normal" behavior.
Having said that, I found Waldorfs method to be very helpful to my sanity during this age.

With this age, we understand that neural development is not yet ready for explanations and with some sensitive children, the act of speaking may be adding to the problem, rather than helping. Speaking produces sound waves, vibration, which may be upsetting to some children, so that they aren't able to hear and understand each word being said. So we use a short phrase, and say what should happen (instead of saying "no, don't do that" or giving a reason to toddlers).
Some examples, "spoons hold their food" "food goes in the mouth" "toys get cleaned up" "spills get wiped up" "we're gentle with our hands" "our hands are for helping" "we only bite our food" etc...

The other Waldorf method that I found most helpful during these youngest years is to have a rhythm to the day and week. Each day has a similar routine. Children find it comforting to know what is coming next but they don't quite understand what will happen in the future. To compare this to NICU life, our primary nurse explained to me once that they used the same type of bottle for each feeding so that the baby could get used to it and not have to re-learn eating with each feed. At the time I thought, "of course!" but the nurses used to be able to choose which bottle they preferred to use, which meant that over the course of shifts a baby might be fed with different bottles. It sounds so obvious, of course a young child is comforted by the same things happening in predictable ways but adults often forget or have trouble establishing a rhythm. In the rhythm, however, there is very little "asking" of the child about their wants. Rather than asking if she wants to read a book, if story time is at the same time each day, perhaps after a meal or snack, it will become something that happens. We do observe if the rhythm seems to be working for the child and adjust it if it isn't working for some reason.

For stories, this age often prefers fingerplays to books. Some examples: dex=11

You might be interested in a fascinating new book called "Far from the Tree." The chapter on deaf families may be of interest to you.

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From what you are saying, she could have sensory issues, which are a little different from cognitive problems. If her sensory system is overwhelmed she may have trouble with the cognitive things. As an example, my daughter is 7 and she can do the schoolwork for her grade. However, she can not do it in a classroom of 25 children. She can play with groups of children but to settle down at her desk and hear a lesson, she needs a calmer environment. When children are hitting and pushing, may be a sign that they are looking for comforting proprioceptive input. When this is needed, we do joint compressions (ask your OT or PT) as well as play with heavier things, like hauling all the family blankets into a pile and then rolling down the pile onto the carpet.

I wonder if EI has an occupational therapist to help you sort this out? In my experience however, the problem I have had with most speech and occupational therapists is that they looked closely at individual problems but did not look at them in the whole context of the life of the child and of the family. So, to say the language is a problem and overlook that ASL is integral to the life of the family? It seems strange to me, for them to just say, no don't use it.

It is hard work, to sort these things out. It is also very hard to get conflicting advice. Ultimately, you have to observe the child and see how she is reacting and figure out what is needed.

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My two year is still doing a lot of the younger behaviors and I was very frustrated with her not listening or redirecting. Her therapist put it to me this way. We see the cake and know as adults we shouldn't eat it but we do it anyway. It's the same for kids only they have even less impulse control. Now when she gets into or does something that's wrong we don't get upset we simple tell ourselves or each other it's chocolate cake. Either the object is removed and explain that it's not zoey's toy or the behavior is punished with removal from situation. Usually hitting or biting I remove myself from where she is for the moment. She doesn't really do either any more. She will through a tantrum if we take things away but they don't last long. I suggest ask your ped for a referral to early intervention. It's through the school district. If she does have delays it's a good idea to have it documented and get what help you can. Our two youngest have a speech pathologist and a early intervention occupationalist at the house every week. It takes a village to raise a child.

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Sethsmom- Thank you. Looking back on it, I definitely think this started around the time she became mobile. I guess I should start looking into ways to nurture that independence. I think at this age and limited communication it's hard to tell what is being independent and testing limits or what is maybe expected more from her than she is ready for.

DoublePreemieMom- Yes she is my first. I was approaching the parenting style of redirection but explaining like "hands are for clapping, not hitting.", "food is for eating not throwing" and I figured while she may not understand it that over time it would sink in as she learned the words. And yes I have found myself fighting a battle with everyone who is trying to help DD because they all focus so much on using English more than ASL. I know she may need a bit of help, but having no foundation in language is the worse possible thing, whereas ASL can be a foundation language while a spoken language is learnt. There is NO Coda (child of deaf adult) who has not learned to speak from exposure to the language in their world from other people, tv, toys, family, etc. I never even wanted to use English at all, and I do it only because she wasn't watching us sign and we wanted to make sure she was getting something. I hate people making me feel like I'm doing something wrong by focusing more on ASL, but that is our primary language at home, there isn't even an option to use spoken English for my husband.
Thanks. I thnk maybe i don't really know how kids this age act, and I should look into that. I felt like I was doing something wrong and that she was becoming a "brat" (for lack of a better word) because of my shortcomings, but maybe it is just the age. THanks again.

Florinas Mom- I am a person who runs great on routine but I've been having trouble following one because sometimes DD just takes sooo long to eat which really messes up out day. I really have to focus on making and following a routine better. I will definitely look into that book. I really struggle because as preemie parents we all know that we can't compare our families to non-preemie families, but then add to it that we are a Deaf/Hearing family and I feel like a total black sheep.

I have brought up sensory issues with her therapists before. Her first OT basically told me that we all have sensory problems, it's just finding them out and trying to make it better from a young age and then just learning to deal with it. In fact I have serious problems with sticky stuff or anything on my fingertips and DD will only take food if I put it in my hand for her to take, so every meal time is a battle with my own sensory issues. We did recently talk about getting her a heavy doll to play with. She has an OT now also, but it was DD's developmental teacher who suggested focusing more on English. Then DDs ear Dr, SLP she met and others (not OT) who have suggested we sign and talk at the same time, ugh. My problem is we have no one who is competent enough about ASL to understand if you don't tell parents to speak "spanglish" to your kid, you don't tell parents to talk and sign at the same time. Thank you I will look at those links you gave.

Maconrod- Thank you so much for that great analogy. That's a great way of looking at it. She is already in Early Intervention. They want her to see a speech pathologist which I've agreed to as long as they find me someone who understands that I will NOT remove ASL from our household and a person who can respect that ASL is a language just as much as any spoken language. They want her tested just for a baseline in case she does need any services later on.

Thanks again ladies. I know as parents we doubt ourselves sometimes but I feel like as preemie parents it's worse because we have all these educated people in our lives making us doubt ourselves even more. It's hard to stand up to a person with a degree in the subject and tell them they're wrong! So thank you all for making me feel a bit better and giving me some wonderful ideas!

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Sorry I didn't know the abbreviation. Lol. My first was born at 26 weeks he turned 16 today. When he was 7 his therapist told me, "Don't let anyone tell you what is right for your child and your family. For the rest of his life you will be his addvocate and you are charged with taking care of him and his needs. His first IQ test was 63, he and I worked hard over the years I have fought with teachers, counselors, principles, and doctors. Different meds, and pulling him to home school twice. He is a sophomore in a small public high school and retested IQ at 107. He is happy and has a 3.28. I couldn't ask for more but I never thought we would get to this point.

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I'm a first time parent and so I do not know what I'm doing either, but I try my best. You're doing your best, and teaching multiple languages can cause lots of parental worries. I was initially raised bilingually, but my nervous parents pushed English on me when I started school, and this meant that I'd have to struggle to learn additional languages, including my parents' "native" language in school! Looking back, I regret not being more bilingual. I am still envious of peers whose parents never backed down on their bilingualism and gave them absolute fluency in two languages. In all honesty, I do know a couple of people for whom bilingualism didn't work out ideally, but they are exceptions.

We're not ASL/English bilingual in our house, but I speak to my little guy mostly in English but sporadically in up to three other spoken languages, and we use (baby) signs daily.

Our LO's signing is also advanced compared to his speaking, which is normal and the main reason why hearing people sign with their babies. His first sign was milk about 2 wks after he started babbling intelligible words (not using words in context though), so his speaking started before his signing, but signing has progressed faster and started having meaning much earlier. He used "dada" and "mama" correctly when identifying photos about 1.5 months ago, but he is still reliably saying only about 6 single words, and half of those might not be intelligible to strangers. In ASL, however, he has been using two-word phrases for a month already, mostly "more___" and "all done____". He signs words spoken by other people, including our pediatrician, and things he sees, and he does so very reflexively. While playing, he'll squeal with delight and laugh hysterically while frantically signing "more, more, more, more, MORE!" Signing has gone over well and has given him self-esteem and delight. We worry a bit about what signing might be doing in terms of the initiation of his spoken English, but I agree with you, signing develops language centers in the brain and I know hearing children of HOH parents, and fears about not developing spoken language are unfounded. ASL has been wonderful. My son really surprises me by what he signs, and that's been eye opening.

Since we're a hearing family, however, we always say out loud what our LO is signing and then respond in spoken English and sometimes English and ASL (the basic signs that we know). The only time I reserve for signing only is when I'm warning him about something or telling him to stop doing something while making eye contact. I'll sign "no touch, ok?" "no climbing, ok?" or "stop, please," and deliver it with a "serious" look. Other than that, I think speaking while signing has worked well for us, especially since we say a lot more words than we know the signs for. Secondly, speaking without gestures has allowed us to learn how much he understands and adjust how we speak to him accordingly. He also isn't looking directly at us much of the time we are talking to him. I can't imagine setting boundaries with our LO without using spoken words. A lot of times when he crosses a boundary, it's because he thinks we aren't looking. Maybe you could use spoken words to initially communicate boundaries, and then progress to signing exclusively once it has become very clear that she understands what the rules are? Again, bilingualism might end up short-circuited this way, but it could be temporary. It's possible that signing and speaking together works so well for us b/c we are all hearing, but I wanted to share that our LO has gained a lot from this approach, even though he will never be expected to sign fluently.

This may or may not apply given your daughter's sensory issues, but I read an article about tv viewing from a link supplied by one of the mothers here and have really taken it to heart. The author says that babies are simply unable to understand what is happening on tv, even in educational programming, and in addition to contributing to attention, learning, and sleep problems, tv is really damaging b/c of the time it takes away from other developmental activities parents could be doing with their babies. Even your face is going to be immensely entertaining to your baby. Reading, letting your baby play games to learn how to problem-solve, and speaking or signing, are all things that help your baby develop and she will be missing out on these if she's watching tv during any period of time instead. So far, our baby has seen one baby signing video that I've watched with him and glimpses of a tv without sound. Research shows that the sound of tv without the image is damaging, but I haven't seen any research on tv without sound; and I know that even watching a show actively with your baby is not ideal. DH will occasionally watch parts of sports games w/ the volume off some Saturdays so we're not 100% tv-free, but do the best we can with zero tv Sun-F, and most Saturdays too. As soon as I learned the baby signing songs from our dvd, I started playing and singing them for my son so he won't watch a screen. Now that he's asking for more things, I'm glad that tv is not one of them b/c I'd have to say no. My son asks me to play music so he can dance (signs "more music," and he bounces in place and pivots his upper body or stomps a foot), and he loves music. TV also mesmerizes our son, but even so, he hasn't developed any desire for it. I know this might sound completely naive, but virtual tv freedom has been one of the few things we've done that I've had zero regrets about. It made sense to me to use the time he might have been watching tv on different things.

As far as reading books, I found that he still enjoys the same books we started him out with for kids 0-2 years old with textures, rhymes, and peekaboos, even though his receptive language has advanced a whole lot since he turned one (corrected). When I try to read him stories with an actual narrative, he can have a meltdown. They're too advanced for him. He still likes to point out objects in his older books, pull flaps, destroy pop-ups, etc.

I'm not sure why, but our son gives me a lot more eye contact than he does DH. He looks at me when I tell him to, and he'll also look up and down as I direct him without gestures. He does none of these things with DH, and so DH was afraid our LO was autistic, but he is definitely capable of sustained eye contact, but chooses not to use it with some people. Even with me, I had to really cultivate the eye contact by making sure I was always giving it to him, and at first, I had to tap the bridge of my nose as I read Florinasmom suggest in a threat a while ago. Lo and behold--it slowly worked! There have got to be other tips too that you can use to cultivate eye contact. I tell DH to give our son more eye contact to get it, but I don't know if that's what's wrong there. We're just trying our best. His last EI report described him as a baby that is social, engaged, and gives lots of eye contact (we don't really agree with that and are still trying to improve it, but he was good with his eye contact at his evaluation).

Our LO doesn't have sensory issues that we can tell, but he is capable of having MAJOR meltdowns, and he can become very dramatic sometimes. Usually it's been around new people or at times when he's tired or hungry. This might be normal, and there are usually other underlying reasons. You mentioned that your daughter might be frustrated in her communication. Before his signing took off, I think the meltdowns were worse, so frustration with communication can be a big part of it. I have no personal experience with the challenges of ASL/English bilingualism, but if you are willing to speak and sign until your daughter's eye contact improves (through whatever means her therapists suggest), it might give her the foundation she needs to get to the point where you can use sign exclusively. My LO is definitely happier with sign. He used to hate diaper changes, but when he realized that he could sign "diaper change," he would light up and laugh at his hands and tolerate his changes better. DH speaks to our LO in English only, while I occasionally use other languages. I don't see a problem with that, but that's a personal parental choice whether both parents use the same or different languages with their babies. You're doing a wonderful job. I can't imagine there's a manual for how to raise a preemie bilingual baby. Your commitment to bilingualism is admirable. It's definitely very hard in a predominately hearing world.

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Remember often times the child is Emotionally Immature, with a preemie background. She may not be where you think she is. Take it slow and easy. Often parents want to make sure they aren't missing the development stages and when really the child isn't there yet. I noticed you commented you are a first time parent and this all I feel would put more strain on you as you are insecure and don't know what is expected at this age along with preemie development and wanting your child to look and do their best. Hang in there mommy you are doing super as you are reaching out with questions.

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RE: She has fluid in her ears, but hasn't had diminished hearing. She will watch tv and even signing on tv and not move the whole time.

Usually kids with fluid in their ears can hear BUT the quality of their hearing is problematic. They can understand some phrases b/c they pick up on inflections without hearing the enunciation. They get that you want them to get something b/c they also understand body language and context w/o really hearing things well. Fluid in ears is akin to listening to someone speak underwater.

14.5 months is young. In an ideal world, the toddler would sit down and listen to a story but that's not the reality of a lot of kids. They'd rather be playing. I say 14.5 months b/c adjusted age is a much better mark than birth certificate age, which really doesn't have anything to do with development.

Are you reading things word for word? That's a mistake that most parents make with their babies and young toddlers. The words on the page are often longer than the child's attention span. Plus, parents try to assert linear order, which is also a mistake. For the first year or two, don't try to read word for word. Just describe what's on the page. And let the child choose which pages she wants to go to. Then talk about that page. I highly recommend Usborne Touchy Feely books. Kids need the books to be interactive. The Usborne company has several board books that have nice textures so that kids can enjoy the experience of "reading." In reality, one doesn't really need to "read" to babies and toddlers but should get them to like the concept of "books."

I have one child (the 25-weeker) who was filling in story lines and could say what was going to happen next in Disney books when he was 18 months adjusted. And then I have the full-term spitfire who primarily used books to chuck around the room until she was 2.5 years old. The books we use with her are much simpler than the books we would have read to our son at that age. It isn't a question of her not being smart. She's very smart, especially when it comes to taking things apart, putting them together, and puzzles in general. At 14 months, she had one word "daw" which mean "dog." Mama and dada were confused until nearly 2. She did require tubes at 26 months (plus adenoids/tonsils out).

No question that her lack of communication meant more frustration in temperament. Around 17.5 months, she was very pushy and we've worked on that. She's pretty good at school, but no slouch either. Pity the kid who messes with her b/c she doesn't take anything sitting down. ;)

I know that it is tempting to let kids watch TV, but the reason that doctors say not to let kids watch TV until age 2 is because it is associated with ADHD. The developing mind really isn't ready for the edits and cuts on TV. It is also overstimulating and has been shown to be associated with poor sleep patterns. Perhaps consider turning it off until she is 2 adjusted.

Best wishes.

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Sorry for the jumbled mess! It's 2 AM :D

Maconrad- I figured that was the case. Thank you for sharing your story. Sounds like your son is really doing well. The unknown is what scares me the most, the not knowing if I'm doing the right thing for her in the long run.

1220Mum- The way I see it is bilingualism isn't a choice, because ASL will be used at home and English will be used outside the home. I think a lot of parents avoid using their native language for fear of kids not excelling in English but at home that's not even a choice for us.
That's great that your son is doing so well with ASL, you should learn more and encourage more from him! A lot of schools offer it now as a foreign language and he could have a foundation in it.
There's nothing wrong with a family who isn't fluent in ASL to talk while signing. I say no for our situation because you lose the grammar of ASL and that's something difficult to come back from. I will sign 1 word and voice it at the same time but nothing more than 1 word. I only do it to get her attention so she will look at my face while I sign. I'm having trouble determining if she's able to follow more than one word sentences right now, and that makes it hard to establish rules. Thank you for your story, I hope he continues with the ASL.
We only started doing tv to help her calm down while she took her bottle or ate. She became overwhelmed with eye contact and easily distracted so tv kept her in 1 place to take the full bottle. Her eating issues are serious and this became a last resort, unfortunately. It pains me to think it's hurting her in other ways.
I think part of her eye contact issue is her torticolis hurts her to look up. I will have to try that tapping the bridge of my nose thing.
I just don't think her therapists respect ASL and they think we should talk with it because they don't see it as a language as rich and diverse as any other.
Thank you for understanding and for your story because it definitely makes me feel a little at ease. I don't think I responded to everything, but I did read everything. Thanks again.

loveall6ofthem- It's a struggle not really knowing where she is because some things, cognitively, she is great on, but others seemed delayed. I find it hard to tell if it's her delayed or acting out. Thanks for the support.

Katek- She's been tested multiple times, which is why we know about the fluid. She can hear a pin drop, literally. She hears the crunch of a bag even over other noises. She has yet to display any signs of diminished hearing. I am however, always watching out for it and she gets tested every 6 months.
I have learned the art of pointing out stuff on the page and signing it and then I read the book again by talking to her about the page. This is something I recently started and it has helped a tiny bit. I will try letting her pick the pages herself, which she might like cause she likes to flip the pages. I need more touchy feely books because she does like those, but because of the fur and everything I don't want to buy used or borrow from the library with all the germs, and they are really expensive.
I'm hoping she won't need tubes, but I will if need be.
I put above why we started offering up tv. It was just the one thing we could find that helped her eat. I don't let her watch anything on regular tv with commercials. I only allow her to watch Sesame, the Wiggles (cause she likes music), Pajanimals, Ebbee baby, First signs (baby einstein) and 1 full ASL video that is a Deaf woman telling the princess and the pea story. I only let her watch these cause they are slow and simple and she adores puppets. I feel terribly guilty about it and I really worry it will mess her up but I chose that over not eating. I'm trying to wean her off of tv the last couple of days and I will continue to do so. I know the feeding clinic is going to offer tv as a reward for eating though :/ I hate having to choose the lesser evil all the time, it's really stressful.
Thank you for your story. It's relieving to hear full term kids can be like this with books.

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I can remember us trying the TV once when our son wasn't eating. It didn't work for him.

One more thought. As some people mentioned, sensory issues can trigger behavioral issues. Some kids are sensory avoiders (my son hates loud sounds). Other kids are sensory seekers. Some people have found brushing techniques that help sensory seekers. If you google brushing techniques and sensory, you'll see a series of links that appear on the topic. The brushing techniques are sometimes called "body brushing." Some parents have found the compression exercises can also be used to make kids relax.

RE: The problem is I want to discipline with explaining why we don't do that, then redirect, but it doesn't work because of my 2nd problem.

In my experience, there's really very little effective discipline one can do when the child is under 2 (adjusted for preemies). That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to redirect and shouldn't tell the child no. But I wouldn't go into explanations b/c the child's attention span isn't going to absorb that information yet. It's important to create boundaries for kids but it does often go in one ear and out the other prior to age 2.

Also keep in mind that kids are often most ill-behaved around those whom they feel safe. Her ignoring you could very well be your daughter simply testing boundaries. And this boundary testing doesn't stop as kids get older. But hopefully, by age 4 (adjusted), you'll at least be able to have a sensible conversation about the transgressions.

RE: "She seems to not want to learn, she wants to be in her own world doing her own thing."

She is probably learning quite a bit in her own world as long as she is doing things. Kids are natural scientists. When they throw things around, they are learning about objects and movement. When they dump applesauce on their head, they are learning about texture and gravity (as it slides down their faces). When they stack blocks, they are building up fine motor skills.

A lot of what you describe sounds pretty normal to me. But it is sometimes the case that the mom feels a certain level of intensity that doesn't come across in verbal descriptions. If you think that there's a different kind of intensity to what you are experiencing that you don't think is normal, bring it up with your child's ped. Sometimes a parent knows things that others can't yet see. Hopefully, it will turn out to be nothing.

By the way, two of our three kids are very independent. In the end, I suspect that their feistiness will serve them very well in the "real world." But it sure does make it difficult to parent such kids!

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Excellent responses. I don't think I can really add anything new, but your daughter reminded me of my daughter at this age. I immediately thought "sensory issues". With my daughter trying to enforce order this way did not prove effective. I think she felt that her wishes were not recognised because it was too early for her .Once I was able to forget about my own need for order a bit, I noticed that parents of other typical children her corrected age are much more relaxed (and the kids didn't have the trauma of premature birth). My boyfriend (who is a bit obsessive at cleaning) often joked that every parent should learn to be a bit of a "hippie" when it comes to children.
The OT said we should allow her to be messy at this age, as she obviously needed to experiment with different sensory input. What she did suggest was to try to provide different sensory input throughout the day (water, sand, confetti, cut straws, artificial fur, playing wih cotton balls (both moist/wet and dry) but to introduce it slowly (basically to pay attention that it is not too much for her). It was difficult and it took forever but it helped. I agree Waldorf may be very beneficial.
We would also try to eat at the same time she did or if she had already eaten we would bring her to table letting her watch us and ask her if she wanted to join us (offered her small bites). My daughter has always been very strong willed and still sometimes refuses to do what we tell her she must just to fight authority. She will be 3 end of March.
At this age (up to about 18 months corrected) it was still very typical that she focused on one thing/skill at a time. She did not listen to stories but enjoyed sensory books and occasionaly I had a hand/finger pupper for short comments. She didn't have the focus to listen to story books, but I did introduce them and just described the scenes for vocabulary. I agree with othes that it is still too early to tell regarding language development. We are monolingual but her vocabulary was quite poor at 14 months corrected. Today, it is one of her biggest strengths )tested above average in comparison with her chronological peers at 2 and a half). Good luck!

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Many good points above. I am also in agreement with the TV viewing but we do see on here that children have serious eating problems and TV is an anesthetic that may work. To offer another suggestion, you ~may~ want to try Mr. Rogers. There are about 30 episodes on I suggest this instead of cartoons (even PBS cartoons) that have no visual similarity to reality. Human babies are meant to look at and learn from real human faces (and human hands, as the signing video sounds good too.)

Even with Mr. Rogers being so slow-paced, it's still more stimulating than real life. So, in our house, we found that it caused more problems once it was turned off. The children would start pestering for it. When they started asking about it immediately upon waking, we stopped TV completely. There was a period of about 2 weeks when the pestering continued but it gradually dropped off and now the children find other things to do.

The most common TV alternative that I've heard Waldorf teachers make is to try the bath. If she is able to sit up and you can attend to her, does she like playing in the tub? Perhaps she would take a bottle in there if you were playing with water, such as pouring water in cups and things. It's a pleasant thing to watch and do, very calming. It helped our daughter a lot. I would bring laundry in to fold and other little chores, while she was in the tub. You do have to stay with her and keep a very close eye on her of course (even into older ages, as my 4 year old fell asleep once in the tub! He was fine but it was a reminder that we needed to be very close and looking in on him a lot.)

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My 28 weeker girl is now two- 26 months adjusted. She used to bang her head often when frustrated, she has cp so it happened often. Also eating is a chore at times. I used to listen to docs telling me no tv while eating but now we put the ipad in front of her and she watches peppa pig while eating happily. She still has consistency issues. She eats purees for meat veg and fruit while pasta seems to go down nice in stars, rings, pennette, macaroni. Speach pathologist is following her. Sensory issues that are resolving slowly. Her iq is 130. She speaks three languages. We constantly stimulate her in three languages in which we are fluent in. I grew up in quebec where you must speak french and english to work. It was just normal to do so. Like if you lived in switzerland. Not always easy for parents to do but the kids benefit. I believe that languages are learned in the family also by osmosis.... If you are signing your kid will pick it up. We use story books with stuff to scratch and feel. In the beginning she would arch her back and scream and make a fist when we put her hand on something. Now she seeks them out. It takes time i guess... Body brushing and compression seemed to help too. Also balls that are covered in nubby or tentacles or fur or soft bristles to roll over her skin. We used hospital scrub brushes, the ot said perfect texture. Before playing sometimes we brush the hands on both sides and her feet too. Good luck!

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