Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

I Recorded Everything That Made My Toddlers Cry For 1 Week, & It Was An Emotional Journey

Ad failed to load

Trying to figure out what sets off a tantrum can be tedious. Sometimes, I can figure out the reasoning behind a tantrum immediately: if my kids have gone too long without eating, if they're not getting enough sleep, if the dog licked their faces. In these situations, I am pretty good at stopping a full-on meltdown. But other times, I am completely lost, like the time my 2 ½-year-old threw a fit because I'd put the strawberries next to the watermelon on her plate, or when my 4-year-old could not deal with the thought of the dogs belonging to all of us as a family and not solely being her dogs.

To figure out exactly what causes my kids to throw tantrums, I decided to spend a week recording everything that makes my toddlers throw tantrums, an experiment that was loosely inspired by the Tumblr blog Reasons My Son Is Crying. Almost immediately, I realized I'd have to step up my problem-solving game.

Reason #1: My 4-year-old’s glider plane got stuck on the roof.

On the first day, the girls were playing with two little glider planes they'd received in a birthday party gift bag when one flew directly onto the roof. My little one said she would go get it, but her older sister said, “No one will ever be able to get it, ever!” and ran inside the house. It was very dramatic and I had to ask her to breathe while I explained that sometimes, balls, kites and little planes end up on the roof, but maybe a big gust of wind would push it off the roof one day. "Maybe the neighborhood cat will help us out and nudge the plane off the roof," I told her. This worked, because she started to laugh and she forgot all about the plane.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

Reason #2: She wants to be a real cat.

My older daughter is obsessed with cats, and she's always trying to be one. She really wants a cat, but since I’m allergic to cats there is no way that we are getting her one. We gave her a stuffed cat (Dreamy from Disney's Sleeping Beauty) and we let her pet any neighborhood cat that comes into our yard, but recently she’d been dressing as a cat and asking us to call her Rosie. I have no freaking idea why.

Ad failed to load

This week, she decided she wanted to be a real cat. When I told her she was a human and not a cat, she was not having it. I told her she could pretend to be a cat, and we could pet her and treat her like a cat sometimes, but nope. I could not solve this one, so I just let her calm down on her own.

Reason #3: She stepped on my foot.

It was close to bedtime, and everything was setting off my oldest daughter. At one point, she stepped on my foot and she started crying because she thought I was mad at her. Even after I told her I wasn’t, she just kept saying that I was. I promised her there was no way I was going to be mad at her for accidentally stepping on my foot, but she was so upset. All I could do was tell her I wasn't mad and give her a hug, but she didn’t believe me, which made me feel horrible.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

Reason #4: My youngest was upset that her sister was not sharing her new erasers, and my oldest was mad that she had to share her erasers

When it comes to teaching my girls how to share, there is no way to make them both happy. As an only child, I struggle with teaching them to share, because I've always believed that some things should belong to just you. For instance, my daughter just purchased new donut-shaped erasers for school, and the youngest wanted them.

Ad failed to load
Reason #7: We didn’t let her put her fork by her eye.

Personally, I don’t believe my daughter should have to share her school supplies, since they are hers and hers alone, but she wanted to use her little sister’s ice cream erasers, so I figured it should go both ways. That did not make either of them happy, and eventually, they had to take a break from the erasers and play with something else just so I could get the crying to stop.

Reason #5: The little one wanted to come down from her high chair, after she had just explicitly asked me to put her in the high chair.

OK, what? Seriously, why would she cry the second I give her what she wants?

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

Reason #6: She wanted more food, but "different food."

My little one was not eating her dinner of chicken and cucumbers. She refused to eat, and when we told her there was no way she was getting something different, she had a meltdown and started to throw her food. Of course, we ended up giving her chicken nuggets, since we didn’t want her to go to bed hungry, but I was not happy about it.

Ad failed to load
My daughter had specifically asked for a turkey and cheese sandwich, but then she refused to eat it because she thought it was "scary."

Reason #7: We didn’t let her put her fork by her eye.

For some reason, my little one wanted to rub the fork prongs close to her eye. (Seriously, why do toddlers love to shove things up their nose or place sharp things by their eyes?). We told her to get the fork away from her eye, and when she didn’t, I took it away from her. Judging by the sound of her screams, the neighbors probably thought I was torturing her, but nope — I was just trying to prevent her from gouging her own eye out.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

Reason #8: We took away her archery set after she told her sister that she was going to hit her in the face.

My youngest daughter has a Merida bow and arrow inspired by the movie Brave, and I had to take the bow and arrow away after she threatened to hit her sister and the dogs with it. This was after I told her that if she said that again, I’d take the toy away from her, and there was no way I was going to wait until she hit one of them in the face.

Ad failed to load

My little one is all about testing boundaries these days, so I believe that when it comes to disciplining her, follow-through is important .I explained to her that I had to take it away from her, since she was not listening to my words. She was not happy and ended up throwing a little fit.

Reason #9: The food was too scary.

My daughter had specifically asked for a turkey and cheese sandwich, but then she refused to eat it because she thought it was "scary." Of course, I offered her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead, because I wanted her to eat, but "scary"? Turkey and cheese? Really?

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

Reason #10: Her sister stepped on her foot.

My older girl was upset that her younger sister had stepped on her foot, because she thought she had done it on purpose and wanted an apology. (To be clear, her sister was barefoot and she was wearing shoes, so there's no way in hell that it possibly could have hurt.) The little one was upset that she had to apologize. I told them they both needed to work it out themselves.

Ad failed to load
I was almost ready to start throwing a tantrum of my own.

Reason #11: My daughter's friend was not at the gym and she wanted to stay until she arrived.

My daughter is apparently friends with a little girl at the gym day care, but when we went this week, she was not there. My husband and I tried to explain that maybe her friend was on vacation and that was the reason she was not there, but my daughter pouted and cried, “I want to see her today and I don’t want to leave.” Sorry, but there’s no way I’m sticking around the gym waiting for a little girl (who I’ve never seen, by the way) to show up.

Ad failed to load

I tried to explain that her friend might be there next week, but honestly, how do you convince a toddler to patiently wait until next week to see her friend? There’s no way she would accept that. By the third time I tried to explain that there was no way of knowing if/when her friend was coming to the gym, I was ready to start throwing a tantrum of my own.

Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

Reason #12: She did not want to swim with us because she feels we are giving her a swim lesson.

Both of our girls are in swim lessons, and they have a love/hate relationship with them: they enjoy the free time in the pool, but they dislike the one-on-one instruction in the morning, because it requires them to put their faces in the water. They'll do it with their teacher, but they won't do it with us. So when we were playing in the pool and I made my daughter put on a Puddle Jumper, she was having none of it, because she thought I was trying to give her a swim lesson. I tried to compromise by letting them swim half the time with a Puddle Jumper and the other half without, but she was still suspicious that I was conspiring to give her a swim lesson.

Ad failed to load
I realized something important: I will never have a solution for every meltdown and tantrum, so I shouldn't pretend that there is one.

Reason #13: She broke my glasses.

My 2-year-old loves to play dress-up as much as her older sister does, but she isn’t the best at not using items I deem off-limits. This weekend, she put on my sunglasses and dropped them. I told her to give them to me since she wasn’t supposed to have them in the first place, and she was not having it. She clenched the glasses in her little hand and told me I was being naughty. There’s no way to compromise in a situation where set boundaries have already been crossed, so I just took them away from her.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

The Results

After recording the myriad reasons why my daughters throw tantrums, I realized something important: I will never have a solution for every meltdown and tantrum, so I shouldn't pretend that there is one. Sometimes, I have to accept that I cannot provide a rational answer or compromise that will make my girls happy, because they are behaving irrationally — and that's OK, because after all, they're toddlers, so they're not expected to be rational in the first place.

Ad failed to load

This experiment also helped me realize how quickly I need to think on my feet and lean on humor and distraction whenever possible. Every time I tried to distract them with a joke, it worked and they started to settle down. This is a great tactic, because I'd much rather hear my girls laugh than cry, but I also understand that they're not going to stop throwing tantrums for no reason anytime soon. It's all part of growing up.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Things That *Will* Go Wrong Every Time You Plan A Kid-Free Night

The last time my husband and I went out to dinner alone was… actually, I can’t remember. But I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen a movie in a theater in the last year. Before we had children we used to go out all the time. But even with …
By Liza Wyles

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack