101 Reasons My Toddler Had a Tantrum… Today

posted by Andrea | 03/2/2015
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As many of you know, Nora has always been somewhat of a high-maintenance child. She is super cute, smart, funny, and creative. But with her sensory issues, overly anxious personality, and overall “touchy” disposition, it doesn’t take much to push her over the edge.

Add in the fact that she’s right in the middle of the “terrible threes” and it’s not a huge surprise that we experience many MANY tantrums on a daily basis. I do think some of them are triggered by her sensory issues… but I have a feeling MOST of them are pretty normal “3-year-old issues”.

Last week, we had one particularly rough day… and when Dave got home from school, I felt like I could immediately crawl into bed and sleep all night long. It was just SO frustrating and exhausting to deal with toddler tantrums throughout the day.

I’m sure MANY of you can (or could) relate at one point in your life!

That night, after the kids were in bed, I felt the need to channel my frustration somehow. The only thing I could think of was making a list (you know I love my lists) of every little thing that caused her to have a tantrum that day. After I was finished, I realized it was actually a pretty hilarious list — and I figured it might make a somewhat humorous blog post.

So without further adieu, here are 101 Nora had a tantrum (yes, all in one day).

101 reasons my toddler had a tantrum today

101 Reasons My Toddler Had a Tantrum… Today

    1. Because I put her back in bed when she woke up at 5:00am
    2. Because she apparently still wasn’t tired at 6:00am (so we got up)
    3. Because she peed through her pajama pants and it didn’t feel good
    4. Because I made her change her pee-soaked pants
    5. Because I made her wash her hands after going to the bathroom
    6. Because I turned on the warm water to wash hands and she “doesn’t like that water”
    7. Because her hands got cold after washing them with the cold water
    8. Because her socks didn’t feel right
    9. Because her robe was turned inside out and she couldn’t get it on
    10. Because she couldn’t find her slippers
    11. Because she was SOOOOOOO hungry
    12. Because 2 of the grapes I gave her were “mashy”
    13. Because 1 waffle wasn’t enough
    14. Because I wouldn’t give her a marshmallow after breakfast
    15. Because she drank all her water and was still thirsty
    16. Because she dragged her sleeve through some of the syrup from her waffle
    17. Because we changed the syrup-stained shirt
    18. Because I needed to brush her hair and it apparently was “ouchy”
    19. Because I put a ponytail in her hair to keep it out of her face
    20. Because she noticed a microscopic cut on her finger
    21. Because the Band Aid I put on the microscopic cut didn’t feel right
    22. Because the Band Aid she took off the cut (after I told her not to) wouldn’t stick when she tried to put it on again
    23. Because Simon was now awake and he was playing with some of her toys
    24. Because she lost the cap to one of her dry erase markers so it dried up


      yes, it’s only about 8:00am at this point

    25. Because we couldn’t go upstairs to play until we picked up the living room
    26. Because I wouldn’t pick everything up for her
    27. Because Simon had to come upstairs with us and couldn’t just stay in his crib
    28. Because it wasn’t Sunday and we couldn’t eat cinnamon rolls
    29. Because Dad was gone at work all day
    30. Because she didn’t have enough pillows for all her dolls to have their very own
    31. Because she couldn’t find her tiny duck finger puppet
    32. Because Simon touched her favorite flashlight
    33. Because she couldn’t build as tall of a block tower as she wanted to
    34. Because her cut finger was REALLY REALLY REALLY hurting
    35. Because I gave her a timeout for slamming a door (which I’ve asked her not to do repeatedly)
    36. Because I asked her to say, “sorry for slamming the door” and she just didn’t have any ‘sorrys’ left to say
    37. Because I said she shouldn’t run with her Princess Elsa high heel shoes on
    38. Because she fell while running with her Princess Elsa high heel shoes on
    39. Because I asked her to stop picking her nose
    40. Because I wiped her nose
    41. Because it wasn’t lunch time yet and I still wouldn’t let her have any marshmallows (I did say she could have a banana)
    42. Because her play cash register wasn’t working properly
    43. Because I had to go downstairs to put Simon down for a nap (this literally takes me 5-7 minutes)
    44. Because I finally said “no” to her request for “one more book” after 45 minutes straight of reading
    45. Because she couldn’t decide which of her TWO coloring books to color out of and my suggestions were no good
    46. Because she couldn’t find the exact right color of crayons to use for her picture
    47. Because I wouldn’t let her get in Simon’s crib (while he was still sleeping)
    48. Because she was SOOOOO hungry for lunch
    49. Because I made her go to the bathroom before lunch
    50. Because I made her wash her hands (again) after going to the bathroom
    51. Because her shirt sleeves got a little wet while washing her hands


      lunch time… finally!

    52. Because she only wanted pickles and Cheetos for lunch
    53. Because she couldn’t finish her lunch but still wanted a cookie… and I told her no cookie unless she finished her lunch
    54. Because she realized she forgot to wear her bib after she was finished eating her lunch
    55. Because it hurt her cut when I wiped her hands after lunch
    56. Because I had to go to a Dr. appointment after lunch
    57. Because I came home from the Dr. appointment which meant Nana went home
    58. Because she was SOOOOO hungry for a snack
    59. Because I apparently didn’t give her the right ratio of goldfish crackers to pretzels for her snack
    60. Because she drank all her water… again
    61. Because she was too warm
    62. Because I asked her not to mix all the PlayDoh colors
    63. Because she couldn’t find her PlayDoh rolling pin
    64. Because a delivery person dropped off a package and she didn’t recognize him
    65. Because I wouldn’t open the package immediately once it arrived
    66. Because Dave came home from school and was ready to play with her (obviously, I can see why this upset her)
    67. Because Dave was going to play with Simon too
    68. Because I wouldn’t give her another snack right before dinner
    69. Because I cooked dinner without her
    70. Because Dave wouldn’t let her feed Simon
    71. Because we had to pick up before dinner


      dinner time at last

    72. Because she didn’t want a smoothie with her dinner
    73. Because she drank her smoothie and we wouldn’t give her more until she ate some of her other food
    74. Because she realized there were frozen blueberries in her smoothie and she apparently only likes frozen blueberries “out of her smoothie”
    75. Because she couldn’t eat her eggs and only had room for a cookie
    76. Because we didn’t give her a cookie
    77. Because we asked her to stop trying to “help” Simon walk
    78. Because she was pretending to be a bunny and was stuck at the top of the stairs and I wouldn’t go up there to carry her down
    79. Because we let her watch Curious George but it wasn’t the right episode
    80. Because it was time to clean up the toys
    81. Because she didn’t want to take a shower
    82. Because (after I explained tonight was not a “shower night”) she DID want to take a shower
    83. Because her usual pajama pants were in the laundry (filled with pee) and she had to wear different pants
    84. Because I had to take her ponytail out and brush her hair before going to bed
    85. Because she wanted Dave to read the book completely out of chronological order (they are reading her first chapter book, a little every night)
    86. Because she couldn’t decide on a bedtime snack
    87. Because she didn’t want to brush her teeth
    88. Because she didn’t want to wash her hands
    89. Because her cut finger still really hurt
    90. Because we were all out of the tiny Band Aids for her finger


      early bed time tonight!

    91. Because she didn’t want to go to bed
    92. Because she was so tired she couldn’t sleep
    93. Because she couldn’t get comfy in her bed
    94. Because her pillow wasn’t in the perfect spot
    95. Because Annie the doll didn’t have the right blanket
    96. Because the next day still wasn’t Sunday
    97. Because Dave had to go to school the next day
    98. Because the book we were going to read had a rip in it
    99. Because I wouldn’t read more than 1 book (we always only read 1 book in her bed)
    100. Because I wouldn’t leave her bedroom light on all night long (she has 2 nightlights)
    101. Because her door wasn’t open to the exact right angle and it was too dark in her room

So there you have it — a day in the life of my three-year-old! 

Obviously, this was a really bad day for us… but many of these tantrums do happen every single day (specifically washing her hands and snacks!) Some are more mild tantrums, while others are full-blown, crying-on-the-floor tantrums.

I will say that we still ended the night on a good note with a kiss goodnight and saying “I love you” before I went downstairs and crashed on the couch for a bit.

For the record, I would say Nora is generally quite fun to be around — and she regularly has us doubled over laughing. We’ve just been experiencing a bit of a rough patch lately… I can only imagine what the teen years will bring!

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77 comments

  1. Nicole Livingstone

    10/07/2016

    Hi Andrea

    Thank you so much for opening us up to your family and thoughts. I especially appreciate your posts about Nora’s sensitivities as this is my daughter to a tee. As a family we make thoughtful decisions that support her, but lately she has started school which has proven to be difficult beyond imagination. Small little things ‘set her off’ from struggling with the school uniform to what is in her lunch box or being too close to other class members. I hate to see her so upset as she is beautiful child and a joy to be with. Being able to read about similar situations really helps to not feel alone (or a failure – mother guilt is always there) and feel supported in some way.
    Thank you for your honest, lovely blog
    Nicole

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You’re welcome Nicole!
    We are thrilled that Nora has worked through many of these sensory issue — but we still “struggle” with clothing, food, and personal space pretty much every day! Nora seems to really enjoy school, which I am so thankful for.
    have you ever looked into therapy for your daughter? They might be able to help her overcome some of her sensory “issues” and lead more of a normal school life.

    [Reply]

  2. Ellen

    03/29/2015

    Thank you. I really needed to know I’m not alone in getting frustrated and almost wanting to kill someone (I love them, but they make me crazy). And this post managed to make me laugh and cry, because it does sound stupid when you’re reading it but at the same time it’s so true.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — you’re definitely not alone 🙂

    [Reply]

  3. Suzanne

    03/15/2015

    I have a 3 year old and can totally identify with your list!

    [Reply]

  4. Julia

    03/12/2015

    I could have written this post! I can completely relate. I have a son born the same week as Nora who makes the most incredible messes and a 5 yr old daughter with similar sensory issues as Nora and an 8 yr old daughter with a very strong will. This post describes most of my days. I often times find myself literally laughing out loud at the craziness and ridiculousness of alot of it. 

    [Reply]

  5. Elena

    03/08/2015

    Andrea, I cracked up reading this list! I seriously could’ve written this same list about my 9 year old daughter! She’s been this way since she was very little.

    My daughter is STRONG-WILLED and always wants to be in control. EVERYTHING becomes a battle. The smallest things are such a BIG DEAL to children like this.

    One book that has helped me better understand her was “Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child” by Robert Mackenzie. Maybe it’ll give you some insight as well.

    I love your blog and have loved getting to know you and your family through it. Nora is cute as a button and I know you’ve enjoyed every minute of being her Mom. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful list that so many of can relate to in our everyday lives 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the book reference Elena 🙂

    [Reply]

  6. Marisa

    03/03/2015

    Haha! I feel like Nora when I have PMS!

    [Reply]

  7. Cheryl

    03/03/2015

    Three was a very rough age for both of my girls. She will soon be more agreeable as she gets older. Hang in there!!

    [Reply]

  8. Kris

    03/03/2015

    oh my gosh! Here’s to Nora’s rough patch winding down. My youngest has sensory issues (along with other stuff) and we didn’t know this when he was Nora’s age. I still remember some rough rough patches and wanting to run away. I wish we had known because even though there are still rough patches (far less so take heart) I handle them much better becaue I recognize some things are just out of his control. He’s almost 10 and he’s come a long way. He still requires particular things for sleeping but now we tell him to make it how he wants if something isn’t right and go to sleep (doors open, night lights, stuffed animals a certain way, blankets a certain way etc). And, after years of waking far to early he actually sleeps past 7 am pretty much every day. I am not a morning person so this is huge for me.

    [Reply]

  9. Erin

    03/03/2015

    This post made me chuckle so loud. Both of my boys are grown now, but reflecting back tickeled me. Thank you for your blog, I rarely post comments but have been reading you daily for a little over a year. I love your insights and how completely real you are. You have helped me with so many things around my own home, I struggle with organizing. I really appreciate your approach to simplicity.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Erin 🙂
    So glad my blog has been helpful — sometimes I wondering if I’m just saying things people already know, so it’s really reassuring when I read comments like yours!

    [Reply]

  10. Deborah

    03/03/2015

    So funny to look back on! Not so funny at times when going through it! Good therapy to write it all out like this!

    And I do sympathize, Miss Nora! Some days I feel like this too!!!!!

    [Reply]

  11. Nicky

    03/03/2015

    Poor Nora – there is no where to hide, some days are just too tough.

    [Reply]

  12. Nicole

    03/02/2015

    Oh mama! I FEEL you. I’m on my 3rd three-year-old, and I swear, sometimes it seems they spend more time UNhappy than happy. As another commenter mentioned, it DOES pass. By about 4 1/2, things are usually considerably better. Hang in there!

    [Reply]

  13. Tara

    03/02/2015

    Oh girl! It’s nice to know we’re not alone isn’t it? Thanks for reminding me.

    When my 2.5 year old boy has days like that I’ve been known to eventually just cave and park him in front of the TV for a couple hours for the benefit of us all. Come afternoon and tantrum number bazillion I figure it’s better his brain cells rot from Octonauts than me packing him a bag and escorting him to the curb! LOL Of course I would never, but after awhile the mental and physical exhaustion of dealing with tantrums for every little thing make some pretty drastic things sound quite reasonable.

    Carry on mama! We’ll make it through and be all the more blessed for it I’m sure! 🙂

    [Reply]

  14. Diana

    03/02/2015

    We are having this stage too! I just died laughing over these. Thank you for sharing–1, so I know my child isn’t unusually strange and 2, for the good laugh about it all! 🙂

    Now I know how all those phrases I remember hearing my parents say became habits (“you don’t get everything you want,” “do it right away,” and “look in my eyes” being the most common around here… 🙂 ). Crazy kiddos!

    [Reply]

  15. heather

    03/02/2015

    Giant hugs to you. Our Zoe is a little less than a year older than Nora and has some of the same sensory issues. We recently moved out of the tantrum phase and just know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Being a sleep fighter only makes matters worse. The tantrums were always worse at night when we were all exhausted. A few nights I just broke down and cried from the fatigue and frustration. This is a highly effective way to stop a tantrum by the way

    [Reply]

  16. Stacey

    03/02/2015

    Thank you for this!! This post came just at the right time. I have a daughter who is almost three like Nora (plus another daughter who is 6) and we are having a similarly rough patch lately! i don’t remember struggling this much with my older one, but they do have different personalities and my 3 year old is much more sensitive. This post made me laugh and reassured me that I am not crazy 🙂
    I might make a similar list, with things like:
    1) because she wanted the snack her sister had (they were the same)
    2) because I told her not to feed her snack to the dog
    3) Because the dog ate her snack.

    [Reply]