Monday, March 28, 2011

Question of the Week - Signs of a Regression

Because my daughter goes through those periods of disequilibrium on a quarterly basis (instead of the half-year basis it says in all the books), sometimes it feels like we are constantly dealing with developmental regressions. Which is, of course, frustrating. It can feel like every time we see progress, we back slide in development.

I know this isn't true, though. Not all progress is lost. Not by a long shot. I would say it's actually 3 or 4 steps forward, 1 step back. (Maybe sometimes it's 2 steps back.) And what's really neat about the quarterly developmental cycles is that we get to see the Pumpkin make developmental progress earlier than most her age.

But since we got through these regressions a lot, and now with two kids, we are getting really good at knowing the signs.

The Pumpkin's top 10 signs that she's going through a developmental regression are:
10. She wants help with things she used to want to do herself, like washing her hands.
9. She insists she can't do something she could before and needs us to do it for her, like putting on her shoes.
8. She says she's "scared" of things that she hasn't mentioned in a while, like dark rooms or "biting snakes" and sharks in her room.
7. She goes through a phase of separation anxiety, from school drop-offs to needing us to wait for her so we can go downstairs together.
6. Her ability to concentrate goes out the window, and she flits from one thing to another without putting anything away.
5. Any impulse control she had developed is pretty much gone, with her grabbing things from the counter and doing things she shouldn't like pushing her brother which totally drive us crazy.
4. She has difficulty "listening to her body" when she is hungry or thirsty or has to go potty, resulting in some meltdowns and pee pee in her underpants.
3. She has potty regressions, including emptying her bladder at 3:00 AM in our bed while she slept like a rock through it--until we finally were able to wake her up and she and I had a middle-of-the-night shower while Londo did middle-of-the-night laundry and bed change.
2. There are unreasonable, unforeseen tantrums and meltdowns over things that normally wouldn't be a big deal, like not wanting to wear jeans or even pants even though it's cold outside.

And the number 1 sign that my daughter is going through a developmental regression...

...

...

1. Trouble Sleeping! (Even more than usual, that is.) It all just gets worse than usual, from not being settling down prior to bed, to a long time falling asleep, to being wide awake in the middle of the night or really early in the wee hours of the morning.

Yes, I'm sure you all guessed it. It's pretty obvious. The good news is that it shouldn't last much longer, and at least she is somewhat more able to reason and think things through than she was for any of the previous regressions.

Here's an example of that: When she peed in our bed at 3:00 AM and was so hard to wake, I thought for sure that she would flip out when she finally woke up and I took her into the shower. I thought there would for sure be one of those middle-of-the-night crazy tantrums that we used to go through, especially trying to get her to shower. But no, once she woke up and we explained what happened, I whisked her into the bathroom without her making even a peep. I hurriedly got us both undressed and started warming up the shower.

As I started to usher her into the shower, she balked for a second. Oh, no. Here we go, I thought. But you'll never guess what she did: She reached over for some bath toys and then got in the shower with them and me. No complaining, not upset at all. We even had a fun and quick shower. When we got out and she went to brush her teeth, I had to explain that it was still the middle of the night and we needed to go back to sleep. And she said, "Oh, right." And we did.

So this week's Question of the Week is:
What are the signs your kid(s) displays when they are going through a regression?

My son is still so young (21 months) that his signs are pretty average for toddlers, I think. He needs more help falling asleep. He wakes up in the night, usually just once a night for a few nights in a row. He gets extra clingy to me. He gets extra fussy, especially at the Witching Hour(s) before and after dinner.

What about your kids? Do you get typical signs of clingy-ness and fussiness? Have any fun tantrums or night wakings? Have you figured out any patterns or timing to the regressions? Do share, because I know we all go through it!