Recently, my 19-month-old daughter has been having a "new" kind of tantrum. Before, she'd have tantrums (some yelling, crying, lying on the floor) when frustrated (e.g., if told no or had something taken away). These make sense to me as typical toddler behavior.
However, in the past week she's begun a different behavior. She will seemingly out of the blue just start crying, screaming, and writhing on the floor. Nothing identifiable sets this off. She's inconsolable during this time, and doesn't respond to questions she will ordinarily answer (e.g., does your tummy hurt? do you want something to eat? want mommy to hold you?). She will ask to be held then fight to be put down. Nothing soothes her. These episodes can last about 10 minutes, and then she'll just recover and be back to normal. In between, she's playful, funny, energetic, and her typical self. Her development has been absolutely normal thus far. She's smart, verbal, playful, social, and generally good, though I would describe her as having a strong personality.
No fever or other signs of illness, though she did just get over the stomach flu a week ago. There has been a bit of upheaval in the family lately -- we've moved twice in 6 months, both parents are a bit stressed. She's been having some trouble sleeping (night and day), so is certainly tired and we're working hard to resolve that.
Is this normal behavior? A sign of psychological distress? Physical illness? Should we worry? Our own pediatrician didn't have any idea what to think.
The combination of the upheaval/stress you mentioned and her recent illness would certainly result in some compromised functioning, at the very least in a more fragile and vulnerable state. In a child so young, even relatively minor strains (such as a small frustration, a physical pain, tiredness) can result in the sort of disorganized behavior you described. Try to keep her routines as consistent as possible and, when she's having on of these tanturms, let it subside before trying to engage with her. She'll likely return to her baseline state as the family stress relaxes and as she is fully back to her normal good health. It's likely not a cause for any serious worry, though.
When my son was jsut about 1 yr. old we sold the house we were in and moved into an apt. while another house was being built. He was a colicky baby (over 3 months), but by the time he was 6 months old up until we had moved he had been sleeping thru the night(down by 6:00) with 2 naps a day.
The first night at the apt. he screamed when we put him to bed. This lasted the entire time we were in the apartment which was over 4 months. It was sooooo awful. He didnt want to come in bed with us. We were back to driving him around in the car (like when he was an infant).
My point to this story is I do beleive that young children are very much affected by change and any change in their routine.
It sounds like your daughter is simply having a reaction to change and change in routine.
I did find out in short time my son was developmentally delayed. This doesnt sound like the case with your daughter. But my son was smart enough to figure out "Hey wait a minute this isnt right, I dont like this"
Once you stay put somewhere for a while she will adjust and the meltdowns im sure will subside.
When we got into our house my son adjusted with no time. He is 4 now and still sleeps GREAT!
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