DD#1 is two and is still needing us to help her get to sleep. She never really learned to self-soothe (probably our fault more than anything). She learned to use my arm as a lovey basically. She likes to snuggle up and hold my arm and pinch it... it's soothing to her. And I don't mind for the most part, but DH hates it (cause she can sometimes pinch hard... and he's a weeny) :) Anyway, we have to sit next to her bed at night while she falls asleep and she, of course, likes to pinch. Well DH has been telling her "Don't pinch, just hold my hand", to try and break her of the habit. I sometimes tell her this too if I'm trying to get her to bed, but mostly just because I think sometimes the act of pinching is keeping her awake, as it sometimes take a while for her to doze off.
Well today she was playing on her bed with her Elmo doll and she has him all tucked in and then tells him "Don't pinch, just hold my hand. Just hold my hand". :( How sad and pathetic!! It almost broke my heart. I know she needs to learn to self-soothe, but pinching is like her blanket or stuffed animal. She likes it, it calms her... and I feel like by telling her not to pinch we're basically saying "Sorry... I know this is how you relax and feel secure... but you can't do it anymore". I don't know... I know it's pry silly and she needs to find something else to help her sleep (any suggestions? She has all kinds of stuffed animals/books/blankets that we've tried to get her to "attach" to since she was a baby, but she hasn't really taken to anything as much as my arm!), I'm just feeling really sad about it for some reason... thinking of her telling Elmo "no pinching". I just worry what she must be thinking... and how she feels. I hope she's not being traumatized by us telling her she can't do this.
She's not going to be traumatized by you telling her not to pinch. For one thing, it hurts you and your DH. If she pinched some other kid or your DD2, or the cat/dog, you'd tell her not to do it so why let her do it to you? You are right that she does need to learn to self-soothe and put herself to sleep without you having to sit by her.
I recommend the following book - The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems - Sleeping, Feeding, and Behavior beyond the Basics from Infants to Toddlers by Tracey Hogg
It helped us set DD's sleep routine early on, but would probably be a big help for both of your DDs.
Holly (31) DH (37) DD (2.5 - born 11/16/07). Full-time working Mom, Wife, Library Board President, Chef, Chauffer, Maid, Toy Assembler and Repair Technician, and Chief Boo-Boo Kisser.
My DS sits on my lap and pinches my arm when he gets sleepy- it's how I know he's ready for bed. It's also how I know when I need to clip his nails:-)
If he pinches too hard, I say ouch to him and he asks if it hurts me and I say yes and he does it a little gentler!
One day he was really tired at daycare and I think he may have been coming down with a cold and he sat on one of his teacher's laps and pinched her arms- she thought it was cute- she was so happy that he is such a cuddler and wnated to cuddle with her- I loved that shee loves my son so much.
I just wanted you to know that your DD isn't the only one who does it.
I don't think she's traumatized by your DH or you telling her not to do it if it hurts him- she does have to learn that she can't hurt other people for her own enjoyment.
But I'm generally opposed to hard and fast rules that say that kids HAVE to do this or that to learn to do things the right way. At some point, which will seem way too soon to you, she will go off to bed on her own without so much as a goodnight or a hug and kiss and you and DH will long for the pinches!
If it really doesn't bother you as much as DH, I don't think its the end of the world if she does this- I don'think it''ll ruin her for life.
How many teenagers are there in the world who are still in diapers, still have a paci and need to be rocked to sleep? I think parents should spend more time enjoying and appreciating their kids baby and toddler -hood rather than pushing them through to independence. The world can be a cruel place and kids should be prepared for not having their every whim granted, I just don't think it all has to happen at 2.
Chiming in to say I have a pinchy girl, too! DD just turned 2 and still nurses, and if she nurses when she's really tired she'll often pinch. I can understand that pang of sadness you felt when your DD told Elmo not to pinch, but if you're redirecting her to other activities that she finds soothing, I think you'll be fine.
And I wouldn't worry about the self-soothing, either. We're co-sleepers, and with DD we've cycled through nursing to sleep, rocking to sleep and now lying down with her until she falls asleep. I'm assuming the next step will be doing what you're doing - sitting with her as she falls asleep in her own bed. There are a lot of child development experts who think teaching babies and young children to feel secure in this way actually helps them to be better self-soothers in the long run. It supposedly teaches them that sleep is a pleasant state to enter and remain in rather than a time of anxiety. I agree with VicsEandJ also. When you're DD is a teenager, this will all be a distant memory - so enjoy your sweet, snuggly, pinchy toddler while you have her!
Thanks ladies. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one dealing with a pinching toddler. :) Like I say, it really doesn't bother me too much except that sometimes she will lay there and pinch instead of sleeping. Like she will be just be zoning out and staring and thinking... and pinching. I do think she tends to go to sleep faster if she's just holding our hand... but I also know she LOVES to pinch! It's cute at bedtime because I will read her a story and lie next to her and she will snuggle up to me with her head next to mine and hold onto my arm and pinch and you can just feel how happy and cozy she is. So it IS really hard to tell he no. And she is only barely two, still just a baby in some ways. When she was telling her Elmo "no pinching" I felt like a horrible mommy. I really hope we can work her through this and find some way that she still feels secure while she sleeps. And honestly, if we could find a lovey for her, I feel like she wouldn't wake up crying in the night (because we're not there) because she'd have her comfort next to her still... just at a loss as to what might work for her. I think she needs something that she can either pinch or use her fingers to do something. I don't know.
But anyway... I do enjoy her and the snuggle time. :) It's just trying sometimes when I have to spend my whole evening trying to get her to sleep and that we have to get up in the middle of the night because she's woken up and can't get back to sleep. But again... glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has an LO that finds pinching soothing. :)
Totally lurking here - I think this thread is so sweet. Anyway, my DD (who is now 4) does a lot of this kind of play in her bed - I kind of see it as her way of processing what happens to her during the day. Like, after her first swim lesson at the pool she came home and spent some time in bed before nap teaching her Elmo and Curious George how to swim. (Right down to the words the instructor and I used tin the pool.) When she had an allergic reaction and needed Benedryl, she gave medicine to her Curious George the next day in bed...she does it quite often. I think it is really sweet, and kind of a nice way to see what is going on in that crazy head of hers.
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