22 answers

Son Tensing Up

Hello. In the past week, my 9 1/2 month old son has started (out of no where) doing this tensing, strange thing.
The first time I noticed, he was sitting on the floor and a cartoon came on, he looked like he got super excited over it, clenched his fist, jaw, and arms (pretty much total upper body). It was only for a second or two. He was also overtired, so I thought maybe that had something to do with it.
Then in the last few days, he's done it here and there, whether excited about a toy or cartoon, or mad about getting changed, etc. etc. So it's not just when he's in a specific mood.
He is teething (has been for months now), so we thought maybe this new habit was due to the pain of teething.
I'm getting a little nervous about it, not knowing why he's doing it.
Have any of you experienced the same type thing?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all so so much for all the comments. I feel so much better now, knowing that so many of you have seen/dealt with the same thing.
Two teeth just popped through on the bottom, and one seems to be on it's way on top. Since the bottom two popped through (last week), he has only done his "crazy baby" tensing up thing a couple times. So I'm wondering if dealing with the pain of teething, on top of not knowing how to show his emmotions, brought this on to some extent.
I'll still bring it up to his pediatrician, just incase she has any concerns. But I'm much more at ease with it now, compared to when it first started...
Thank you all!
Take care.
-J.

Featured Answers

Hi, J.!

My 1 year old son does this. We affectionately call this "crazy baby," as in "Duncan is doing crazy baby." Duncan does this when he gets excited and sometimes when he is mad or frustrated. He has no other way to express these emotions as he has not begun talking yet and those are really big feelings for his little body. My 2 year old nephew used to do this too but has pretty much grown out of it as he learns to verbalize what he's feeling.

In other words....really nothing to worry about.

S.

My mother-in -law always joked about how my husband tensed up when he gets excited when he was a baby/child. He STILL does it and he's 29 years old. It's a little quirk that he has and I think it's actually cute. If you notice no other strange behavior, it may just be the way he exhibits excitement, frustration etc...
goodluck

More Answers

Hi, J.!

My 1 year old son does this. We affectionately call this "crazy baby," as in "Duncan is doing crazy baby." Duncan does this when he gets excited and sometimes when he is mad or frustrated. He has no other way to express these emotions as he has not begun talking yet and those are really big feelings for his little body. My 2 year old nephew used to do this too but has pretty much grown out of it as he learns to verbalize what he's feeling.

In other words....really nothing to worry about.

S.

Wow, that sounds just like something my 21/2 year old does. He clenches his entire uper body(arms, fists, etc.,), opens his mouth and shakes. He has been doing this since he was at least 1. My daycare lady was concerned(she thought it might be a sort of siezure), but he actually did it in front of his doctor one time and he just said it is a behavorial thing(and to just ignore it) and that he will grow out of it eventually, but he couldn't tell me when. I am still waiting although he has been doing less lately, so we will see. You may want to bring it to his doctor at your next visit just to ease your mind. Good Luck!

Hi J.,
My son, (just turned 2yrs.), experienced this same thing this past summer, so he was about 18 months. I was really worried about it. Then one day I was reading some papers from the Dr. office and read that this may be a side effect from a vaccination. He had recently recieved a vaccination when I noticed this behavior. It stopped a few days later.
Hope everything works out.

My mother-in -law always joked about how my husband tensed up when he gets excited when he was a baby/child. He STILL does it and he's 29 years old. It's a little quirk that he has and I think it's actually cute. If you notice no other strange behavior, it may just be the way he exhibits excitement, frustration etc...
goodluck

Hi J.,

My daughter has been doing the same thing too. She is 8 months old. I started seeing this about 3 weeks ago (when her first tooth starting popping through). It mostly happened when she was excited. My husband and I worried about it (me a bit more than him:), but it has seemed to subside the past week or so. I have no idea what it could be. We worried it was a tick of some sort. If you get any good info, I would love yo hear it.

Jess

My daughter (15 months) does the same thing and has been doing it since about the same age as your son. I can tell you that my daughter is super hyper and very active, never stays still for a second. I think this quick little jolt gets some of her adrenaline out. Honestly, I have no clue why she does it, but for all this time it has not impacted her development or anything else, if anything she is advanced for her age. if you are worried, i would ask the doctor and never encourage him by laughing or mimicing his actions when doing this (like my boyfiend does to my daughter cause he thinks it's hysterical).

My son does it too. and has been for some time. He is now 2 yrs old. I hate it but the doc says it is normal and is a way for him to show excitment. Someday when he has a better understanding of his feelings and learns different ways to show emotion besides crying/laughing and clenching, he will stop doing this. I also think it is a boy thing. No worries though. It looks funny but is normal!

I have a stepson that does/did the same thing. He's been in my life since he was 4 and will be 10 in April and has slowly outgrew this behavior. When he gets excited about something he will bend one or both arms up almost behind his head and tense up for a second or two. Depending on how excited he is he will do this once or several times. Anything from his favorite dinner, to a bithday present, to winning at a video game, or stopping over for a visit at a favorite relative's house will trigger it. I asked my husband about it early on in our relationship and he told me its something that he has always done. At soon to be 10 yrs he now only does this when he is very excited about something and cannot put it into words. I can think of only twice in the last year that I've seen him do this. I also have a 2yr old son who on occasion I seen do this 'tensing up' but not at the extreme his brother has. So I think it may be a family trait.

J.,

Congratulations on your beautiful baby. I'm sure he is all the more precious because of your journey to have him. Don't worry mama. Babies do funny things. Most of my 5 children have done this at times. Of course, if you are seriously worried you can always ask the pediatrician. This may be the first of many funny little quirky things he does!

D.

My daughter is almost 10 months old and she does it when she's excited too... I think it is just them being excited and not being able to show it in a way we do. She also does it when she's trying really hard to reach or do something she can't do... I wouldn't worry too much!

J.,

My son too did a similar thing when he was about 10 months old. After he did it several times I was frantic and called the pediatrician. I had captured a little bit of what I had been seeing with my camera (short video). The dr. wanted to see him right away. She couldn't see anything but said what I was describing COULD possible be seizures and recommended that I see a pediatric neurologist and to take him for an EEG. I took my son and the dr. pretty much laughed at me. My son was very advanced with his mobility skills (standing up, putting shapes in containers, opening and closing things, having control of his fingers, ect.). She explained that there was nothing wrong with my son. At that age, babies get frustrated because they can't express themselves. In time I found this to be true. I guess you could say he outgrew it.

A friend of a friend also had a similar experience with her then 11 month old son. It turned out he had bad allergies (environmental).

Either way, it never hurts to contact your pediatrician. Mine trusted that I knew something was off even though she didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

My daugheter did that too. I wouldn't worry into it too much. She is now 3 yrs old and no longer does it.

I encourage you to track this behavior. If it becomes more frequent, does not change over the next few weeks, or your son's eyes are looking off to one side and he is not responding to you definitely consult with your pediatrician. It is probably normal development, but it is good to take note of odd changes in your child's behavior. If it is one-sided (just left or right side tensing) notify your physician immediately. The fact that your son is still developing muscles in preparation to walk, crawl, climb, etc probably explains the tensing.

My son did the same thing! It was really strange, and of course I was worried about all kinds of things, but he pretty much stopped the same as he started.....

My daughter did it...everyone would ask "what is she doing?" w/ a look of concern. It turned out to be nothing. My son does it once in a while (10 months old).

I think he perfectly normal and you have nothing to worry about. We all have to deal with stress somehow, whether it is the good or bad kind.

Hi, J.. First thing I would do is track the times your sweet child shows these odd signs - ie. time, temperament,routine, anything that might contribute. Once you have a 'chart' of when, where, how these signs are presenting, your doctor will be more easily able to help decide what, if anything, is going on. I personally would rather be told there's nothing wrong than to wait and later get whammed by something unexpected. Also, tracking helps YOU to learn more about your baby. Best wishes.

I completely forgot about my son doing that when he was your baby's age (14 years ago, but as soon as I read your description, I reminded my husband and he smiled at the memory. We used to call it Ninja Boy when he did that. He'd ball up his little fists, and his arms would be rigid and he'd grit his teeth and even shake a bit. We now believe it was his way of comforting himself when overstimulated. Hope this helps!

K. Davis

My Nephew has done the same thing for the past 2 years. My sister-in-law took him to the doctors and they said it wasn't anything to worry about. When he was a baby he would tense up whenever we went to change him or if there was a lound noise and it just kind of continued.. I wouldnt worry to much about it but if its concerning you then I would take him to the doctors and talk to them about it . Maybe they Can suggest something. Sorry if this wasnt to much help

Hello there,
my niece used to do this, too, and we took to calling it the 'monster'...she would even do it on command as she got older, but eventually she grew out of it. If he's not hurting himself or anybody else, just relax and let him get it out of his system.

My son had seizures at birth. They looked like he was crunching and clenching his fists. I would bring him straight to the pediatrician and maybe even video tape so you can show a doctor in case he doesn't do this at the time of the visit. We set up our video and just put my son in the swing and on the floor so the video would catch the episodes when they happened.

May be nothing but I'd check it out.

Good luck.

My son does this all the time. He's 14 months now, but it started around 8 or 9 months. The doctor and other moms told me it's because he's frustrated. He wants to do or say something that he can't. Kids experiment with sounds, movements, etc. they find odd things soothing (banging head against crib). If you're really worried, ask your doctor, but we've just found it to be one of those odd things he does. I've also heard boys are more prone to it than girls.

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