Toddlers: they’re adorable, grubby little creatures full of sweet hugs one minute, and kicking, thrashing balls of anger the next. Tantrums can hit suddenly, their origin mysterious and confusing.
Here are some reasons why your toddler might be losing it today:
1. They have to pee.
2. They have wet pants.
3. You asked them to put on pants, any pants.
4. They are afraid of the toilet/flush/automatic flush/banging their head on the toilet paper roll/a crocodile emerging from the toilet thanks to your tween neighbor.
5. You lost their recently-found gray rock, the one that looks, to the untrained eye, exactly like the other 5000 gray rocks in the park, but which in toddler world is perfect, unique, and irreplaceable.
6. An item of clothing has buttons/does not have buttons or has stripes/does not have stripes or has an owl/does not have an owl or has purple/does not have purple on it.
7. The above, but in relation to your clothing.
8. You are wearing your hair in a ponytail.
9. You tried to help them put on shoes.
10. You moved a sharp knife, book of matches, container of bleach, or your phone out of their reach.
11. Their older brother took their favorite fire truck away.
12. They have a big brother.
13. They didn’t want a big brother.
14. They want an imaginary unicorn friend named Sir Mister Whiskers and you refuse to go to the toy store and buy one for them.
15. The weather is “itchy.”
16. You didn’t follow directions when they demanded you act like a frog, by belching and hopping past the produce section.
17. You did act like a frog, but you didn’t belch and hop for 10 straight minutes.
18. You refused to give them candy.
19. You took their candy away.
20. They used their super-powered nose to smell candy that exists somewhere in a five mile radius and is not in their possession.
21. They finally discovered that the ice cream truck is not a music truck, as you told them, but a dispenser of frozen deliciousness that passes their house every single day and never, ever stops.
22. It’s time for a meal.
23. You served anything for dinner other than their current favorite. No, not oranges – those were last week’s favorite.
24. You gave them the yogurt with the baby on it.
25. Their favorite cup, plate, doll, yoga mat, or piece of dirt is dirty.
26. It’s nap time.
27. They just woke up from their nap.
28. They are in the car, near a car, getting on a plane, across from a boat, or in close proximity to anything with an internal combustion engine.
29. You said the word pony without delivering a real, live pony.
30. They saw a “stuffed guy,” aka a mascot, theme park character, or Easter Bunny supposedly designed to entertain children but only effective if “entertain” means turning toddlers into screaming, sobbing balls of fear.
31. The dog (or you) ate their cookie.
32. It’s bedtime.
No matter what the reason, odds are high that a tantrum will hit eventually, likely when you least expect it – especially if you’re in a public place.