Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

strange toddler behavior

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 58 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • December 3, 2006
  • 05:25 AM

My 22 month old daughter has been going through spells over the last few months that I thought were boughts of constipation- now I am not so sure. She will lay down on her side in an almost fetal position (a little straighter), cross her ankles, tense her leg muscles, put her hands between her knees, grunts, and seems out of breath. She works up a sweat and can do this for a long time (sometimes an hour). She can stop at will. If I leave the room- she jumps up to follow (as always). It would happen once or twice a week, and I thought it was constipation until she did it right after a bm the other day. Now I just don't know. Then I thought seizures? But she can stop when she wants and it only happens at home that I know of. Please let me know if you have seen anything like this. Thanks!

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58 Replies:

  • She might be in some way stimulating herself; masturbating. Many children do this, she is only young so wouldn't be hiding this activity as she wouldn't be aware that it isn't the sort of thing to do in public or just at home when you are around.If you suspect she is trying to stimulate herself, whatever you do dont get angry with her or she will end up with a complex. Just get her to do something else. If the problem persists you might have to wait till she is old enough to understand that such behavior is best keep behind closed doors when she is in bed and no one is around. Difficult thing to tackle I agree. Bit like explaining that picking ones nose shoudn't be done in front of everyone.If she isn't doing it anywhere else it may be a sign of boredom. Distract her with some cake making or finger painting or something she really likes doing, most kids love getting their hands into paint and gooey stuff.All the best. Constipation would be easier.Agape,searchingsam.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 3, 2006
    • 00:09 PM
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  • I was babysitting a friends 15 month old daughter and she was doing something similiar to what your daughter does. I called her mom and asked her if she was struggling with going to the bathroom. She said no it was her way of relaxing when she is tired.??? Sounded odd to me. She was over at my house a couple of weeks ago and her daughter started doing it again. She said it had been a few months since she had done that.(She's been doing it since she was a baby) They have come to realize she does that when she is teething. Your daughter is probably getting her 2 year molars in and that is her way of dealing with the pain. Hope this helps.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 6, 2006
    • 06:25 AM
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  • My oldest son once had a terrible poblem when my Husband was in the gulf war. He was doing the same as your Daughter. I took him to the Doctor who had me take him to cunseling. Still it got no better. He was having regular bowl movements through it all. I kept taking him back for months to the same medical octor. Finally I told him I wanted him to exray my son's abdomen. My poor son was full up into is ribs of bm. That is what was wrong with him. I felt so bad for him. We found this out after six months of all of this suffering beleiving this doctor that my son was upset due to his father being away in the gulf war. He finally got the help he needed.He finally got cleaned out and was fine. I would find out from the doctor what to use to clean her bowels out. It sure is woorth a tr and would not hurt her any to try it. After that I put alot more fiber in his diet and bought wheat bread insead of white.I also started to buy bran cereal and made muffins with it. He loved them and STAYED cleaned out if yu know what I mean...HA,HA!!! Have a nice day~
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 8, 2006
    • 00:07 AM
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  • Hi there,I was wondering if your son had regular bm?My little girl has been doing strange laying down thing since about nine months old. She is now over 2 years old and still doing it but very often now. She lays down and her legs out like a frog. We went to doctor several times and first they said constipation but then she would do it have normal BM. Then was told it could be a way a dealing with teething. I do not want to just let it go and miss something that might be wrong. I tell het to get up and she with most of the time but she also get really upset if i do not let her lay down in that position. She wont say what is wrong. I ask if her tummy hurts and she does not say. Sometimes she wants to lay down for about 45 min. I just do not know if I should let it go and not make a big deal or if something is really wrong.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 13, 2007
    • 07:34 PM
    • 0
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  • My 18 mo. old has almost the EXACT behavior that you describe however, we have been observing the "episodes," as we've termed them, since she was 12 mos. Sometimes they last up to three hours! Our daughter is also sweaty and out of breath during and after. She has had constipation issues in the past, however I feel we have this under control today. Our pediatrician is treating us for constipation however, I am not so sure the issue isn't neurological. She can sometimes have up to 5 per day. It is VERY exhausting to watch. She appears to be in pain with labored breathing. My husband and I continually try to convince her to stop and ask her where it is hurting (with a favorite toy or changing the environment). Any advice you can offer is welcome! We are thinking we need to consult a neurologist, did you?
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 23, 2008
    • 09:09 PM
    • 0
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  • My daughter does the same thing!!! Ever since she was born she would cross her legs and tense up her entire body. She gets really sweaty and red in the face. I got a call from her daycare and they asked if I would come down and speak to them about this issue. Apprently, she is starting to do this more frequently and even climbing up on tables, chairs, and even kids! If you try to make her stop, she gets so angry! I called my doctor and he asked that I video tape her doing this and bring it in so he can evaluate the issue. I was originally told that it was a “soothing” act and nothing more. I have a gut feeling that there is something more to it. I am relieved that she is not the only one. I just wished I had some answers to why!:confused:
    JMarks 3 Replies
    • October 15, 2008
    • 07:53 PM
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  • my daughter is doing the same thing.. she breaks out into a sweat and if you tell her to stop or try to make her stop she sometimes does stop and sometimes throws a tantrum.. i need help too in finding out what's wrong.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 18, 2008
    • 06:05 AM
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  • My daughter, now 22 mo. is still doing the same odd behaviors. However lately, I'm seeing it a little less frequently. An average day for her to be doing this fetal position, heavy breathing behavior is upon waking, both at nap time (40 min) and in the morning, in the evening before bed (15 min) and usually once during the day (20 min - 2 hrs). She takes Mirilax everyday and we have added a probiotic reccommended by our Chiropractor. The Chiro. visits are twice each week and I believe (possibly) this is the reason for the change. :-) We continue to strictly watch her diet. She eats foods high in soluable fiber first and then small amts of dairy and white flour seem to be more tolerable. She eats mostly, fruits, vege's and meat. Pasta, cheese and certain breads she rarely (never) eats. BM's are happening regularly now, once per day. She no longer cries everytime she has a BM. Hope this helps and I'd appreciate any advice that has worked for someone else. I too am worried something is going undiagnosed. Our pediatrician no longer wants to see us for these "episodes". This is so frustrating and scary. Our EEG came back normal. :-)
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 2, 2008
    • 04:50 PM
    • 0
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  • I went to the doctor AGAIN for this issue and AGAIN they told me she is just soothing or “simulating” herself. I know it has nothing to do with her bowls, because she goes frequently without any trouble. I am a little less worried about her episodes now because she does them less, just right before she takes a nap. Now when I try to “Distract” her she stops with no fuss. So, I think the doctor’s are correct. She has found an odd way of soothing herself. When she finally got attached to her “blankie” she now cuddles up with that instead of crunching herself into the fetal position and huffing and puffing for thirty minutes. I still keep an eye on her, but I think she is growing out of it. Thank Goodness!!;)
    JMarks 3 Replies
    • December 3, 2008
    • 03:18 PM
    • 0
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  • Can I ask how old your daughter is? I'm so glad she's growing out of it. :-) I pray for that with our situation too, because the doctors will not do anything else for us and I like you, am beginning to think it has nothing to do with her bowels. Her high fiber diet does not produce consistent results for less episodes. It's nice to know we are not alone, thank you so very much!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 3, 2008
    • 04:04 PM
    • 0
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  • She will be two in February and now she only does it at bedtime. She goes right to sleep afterwards. We found a way to get her to stop her little episodes. We tickle her until she can’t help but to stop doing what she is doing and giggle. :p
    JMarks 3 Replies
    • December 19, 2008
    • 07:43 PM
    • 0
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  • My daughter, now 22 mo. is still doing the same odd behaviors. However lately, I'm seeing it a little less frequently. An average day for her to be doing this fetal position, heavy breathing behavior is upon waking, both at nap time (40 min) and in the morning, in the evening before bed (15 min) and usually once during the day (20 min - 2 hrs). She takes Mirilax everyday and we have added a probiotic reccommended by our Chiropractor. The Chiro. visits are twice each week and I believe (possibly) this is the reason for the change. :-) We continue to strictly watch her diet. She eats foods high in soluable fiber first and then small amts of dairy and white flour seem to be more tolerable. She eats mostly, fruits, vege's and meat. Pasta, cheese and certain breads she rarely (never) eats. BM's are happening regularly now, once per day. She no longer cries everytime she has a BM. Hope this helps and I'd appreciate any advice that has worked for someone else. I too am worried something is going undiagnosed. Our pediatrician no longer wants to see us for these "episodes". This is so frustrating and scary. Our EEG came back normal. :-) go to a different doctor who cares..
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • December 20, 2008
    • 06:08 PM
    • 0
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  • my daughter does something very similar.. she is almost 3 now... but ever since she was able to pull up she would stand propped against objects and cross her legs tight.. she sweats and acts like she gets frustrated about it. we constantly try to ask her why she does it and she just completly ignores us like she's in a trance. her doctor told me that she does it just because she wants to because he could see her stop and walk across the room normally at will. but it really worries me.. it looks painful.. but this seems the closest to anything like it i've found yet.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • My daughter started her "meditating" exercise at the age of 3 months old. She would cross her legs, clasp her hands and bring them to her face. She would then close her eyes and bring up her legs (almost like when you are doing ab exercises) and bring them down again and up again. This would last for 1 minute or less. She is now 19 months old. She continues to do so. On some days she does it alot. She now does it when she is sitting in her high chair. She works up a sweat when she does this. BM's are normal. Dr. said nothing to worry about since she is fine when she stops. If my husband and I stop her "meditating" sometimes she gets very mad and starts to cry, other times if I show her a toy or give her the remote control she will stop like nothing and play with the object. She does it when we are in public, in a restaurant or in her stroller. No one knows what this is. At first it was cute, now it is a bit worrisome. None of my girlfriends kids or other fsmily members have witnessed or heard of such behavior. My daughter's diet is 90% organic, takes her vitamins and she is an extremely active child. She started walking when she was 9 months & 3 weeks old. Very physical child. Very social as well. Her language skills lack though. She started saying mama at the age of 10 months and now at 19 months old she only has 3 words to her vocabulary. Very interested in books and coloring. I'm confused and worried
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am been dealing with this same thing with my daughter for 10 years. I have been to four Pediatricians and they really are not helpful. They all just give the easy answer instead of searching for an answer. When my daughter was I would say six months it started with on her back with a strange look on her face, like in pain, and would be pulling on her shirt as tight as she could. When she was a little over a year she would be on her stomach with one leg underneath the other, tighting her body. This happened especially when she would drawn, etc. She looked very uncomfortable and the way her legs were I thought it looked like it would hurt after awhile. The first diagnosis was she is just comfortable that way. Very frustrating because I have been around plenty of children growing up and I knew this was not right. It is amazing how a doctor who is being paid to find a solution just dismisses it. When she got a little older, I tried to ask her why she felt like she had to lay like that, does it hurt, how does it feel, etc? As toddlers they are still young and confused to really understand their problem, but I spent many nights with her crying because the feeling would not go away and she felt like she had to cross her legs. I heard from another doctor that she is stimulating herself like some other people mentioned in other comments, and I really do not think that is the problem. Again, another easy answer for the doctors. And she will grow out of it? Now since she has been in school, she is embarrased because she cannot sit normally like the other kids in the class and other kids ask her why she is sitting with her knees crossed and the teachers, of course, what you to sit straight. Not easy! Okay now that she is 10, it is a little easier to get a real answer to why she does this, and for some reason, she cannot write unless she is sitting with one leg behind the other, she cannot sit with her legs straight out. She is a straight A student, so that is good news!I do have some good news is that she is doing this leg crossing/tighting way less than when she was a toodler. Now I believe it is limited to when she is doing her homework and sitting in school like she said. When she was young, she would be doing this in the middle of the living room and anywhere. It is a very strange thing to have and not very common, but I feel blessed this is all she has and not what some other families have to deal with. I wish these doctors would do a little research into this problem because I don't think that a six month baby has the urge to stimulate themselves, etc.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Okay, so did your children grow out of this? I have a 22-month old doing the exact same thing described here. I'm interested to know whether some of you who posted awhile back have kids who stopped doing this eventually. Thanks!
    marysmom 1 Replies
    • November 5, 2009
    • 05:39 PM
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  • My daughter just turned 17 months old. She started to have this strange behavior as most of you described since she was 3 months old. However, I strongly believe her "exercising" has nothing to do with pleasing herself instead it has to do with insecurity and discomfort. Here are some of my thoughts and personal experience that I would like to share.During my pregnancy, I was under tremendous physical and emotional stress from work. I wasn't entirely eating and sleeping properly until I had to rush back to Canada from France at 32 weeks. Although I had one month to rest, I was restless for some reason. She was born exactly one month early.After I breastfed for two months, I stopped right away, left her with my parents and returned to France for work. According to my parents, she was constantly crying and sleepless with her head turned side ways as if she was reaching for my breast. For more than a week, she tried to cross her legs and seemed to exhibit a pushing motion so her mouth can reach the blanket to suck on. Although this action eventually stopped, her strange behavior began weeks later.I left her at my parents until she was 15 months old. In between I visited her twice. My parents told me her "exercising" has been on and off but strangely, much often during my visits. We never know why she has been doing it. We thought she might have constipation but she had a regular and normal bowel movement - at least twice a day. Besides this, she eats only organic/home-grown vegetables, oats, brown rice, etc; she started eating salmon at about 14 months old, no meat yet. We also thought perhaps it's diaper rush itchiness, or a genital infection. We searched for medical advise, books ... but no luck. My father is a retired gynecologist, even he himself has never heard of such a case. He only mentioned her behavior does seem like the fetal position. I guiltily cried because I left her. I decided to take two years off so I can be her mother.I stayed a whole month at my parents for her to get to know me. Her behavior gradually decreased, then I brought her back to Paris. She reunited with my husband and I for almost two months now. She hasn't have much of the "exercising" until a week ago and that's the time she get a cold. Everyday she has episode especially before nap/bedtime. I begin to worry, so I try to be sensitive with her feeling and her needs.From my observations and when I think back to the past experienced, I realize that her strange behavior is really just a simple habit (like sucking one's thumb, sucking on sooters, curling hair, touching comfy items ...) for her security when she is confused, scared, uncomfortable, etc. She doesn't have any other habits to comfort her, apart from cuddling stuffed animal to sleep with but it can be any. Since everything for her is happening for the first time, plus she has a limited way of telling or expressing her thoughts and feelings, I can only imagine how difficult and frustrated it is not knowing what that is and what's going on. For instant, she shows "exercising" in crowded department stores (now I avoid to go) but not in spacious shopping malls, as well as grocery stores... wherever there aren't a lot of children around (so I make her walk in the grocery store instead of sitting in the stroller. At first she walked by me, now she begins to take interest on what's on the shelves). I believe my daughter developed her own habit for comfort and this habit cannot changed overnight. I remembered when I get frustrated with her "exercising," she does it more and harder. Lately, I played with her by saying 1-2-3-4, 2-2-3-4 when she is doing it (not to encourage the action, it's to support her feeling), she laughed then sat up to play. Sometime, I thought her legs must ache from doing so much exercise. I would massage them only while she is doing it. Most of time, her legs relax then she stopped. I really think there is no medicine cure for this because it's not a disease or sickness. Only be patient meanwhile get to observe what bothers them, know what they feel and understand their feelings in order to find solution.I apologized for such long post but I hope this is somewhat helpful.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 24, 2009
    • 01:11 AM
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  • Wow i found others who have this problem too. I ams so desperate to find out what it is.Since my daughter was a few months old would get on all fours (like crawling) cross her legs at the ankles then she would have a spasm from her abdomen move up the trunk of her body whilst go very red in the face and sweating profusely. She arms are in front of her and go quite ridgid.She is now 19 months old and still doing it about 6 / 7 times a day anything from few minutes to a hours or so each time. Lately she seems to be breathing differently too almost like panting and also grunts too sometimes.She always goes to sleep doing this never falls asleep normally but will also do it when playing with toys or sitting on the sofa with me etc.We have had a EEG and MRI that have both come back clear. She is developing and meeting all her milestones and is actually quite bright for her age imo.I just dont see how this can be a comfort thing. Her face is contorted and she looks in pain. Her body is working so hard with the spasms and breathing and she sweats to the point where she soaks her clothes.Has anyone else had any updates?
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 11, 2009
    • 05:04 PM
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  • This thread explains a lot of what my daughter does, who just turned 3 a few days ago. We have been to every specialist we could find, had a clean EEG. We have gone from thinking it was digestive, to mental to recreational. At one point after being told she was constipated she was put on Polyethylene Clycol 3350 and stopped doing it for several months. I thought we were in the clear and she was all good, well it just recently started again like it had never gone away. While sometimes sitting she will cross her right leg over her left and look very uncomfortable, breath differently, get tired, but still be alert and is able to leave the episode with the right distraction or motivation. She sometimes gets into it so badly he legs lock into position. It is scary, it sucks, I hate it as well I am sure you all do. No doctors have a right answer and they seem to say whatever the easy solution is at the moment. I am completely confused on what to do about it, but we are going to continue to find more doctors and keep trying different ones in the hopes we find one that cares or knows.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 14, 2009
    • 11:09 PM
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  • OMG. I can't believe I have found other people experiencing the same thing. My 2 year old has been doing this since she was 6 months old. She presses on her lower abdomen/pelvic area with her hands while her arms are very rigid and tense. She sweats and grunts and really seems to be uncomfortable or working on something. She does it on her back or on her stomach, and lately has been doing it standing upright against things. Now that she is 2 I can ask her if her tummy hurts - she says no, if her pee-pee hurts - she says no, if her butt hurts - she says no. She can pop out of it at any time, which is why I don't think it is seizures. We thought it was a milk allergy and her way of dealing with gas pains so we took out milk and dairy from her diet but she still does it. We thought it was due to constipation (she does struggle with that - we give her miralax) but she "pushes" even after she's had a bm. I have searched the web, been to countless doctors, had abdominal and pelvic ultrasounds which came back normal - no one has any clue as to why she does this. The one thing my husband and I did notice, however, is that she does it seemingly in response to different discomforts. For example, she was "pushing" a lot one morning and it turned out that she was very hungry. After she ate her breakfast she didn't do it again all day. Sometimes she will stop "pushing" if we give her gas drops. And sometimes she does stop doing it after she's been constipated and finally is able to have a bm. So that leads me to think that it is something she does in response to minor discomfort, whether it be teething, hunger, gas, being tired, etc. She does not seem to be in pain when she does it, and it does seem to soothe her in a way. It drives me crazy, however, not because I want her to stop, but because I want to be sure that there is no underlying problem that we are missing and not treating.I don't know if it has anything to do with it, but my daughter was born 10 weeks early and was under stress in my womb during her stay there. She was only 1 lb. 15 oz when she was born and spent 3 months in the NICU. She seems, to me, exceptionally bright and has had no other apparent effects of her prematurity. I'm at a loss as to her "pushing". But it is nice to hear other peoples' stories and know we are not alone in this.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 17, 2009
    • 07:41 PM
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