Oh, well hello there Tantrum. I was wondering when I was going to meet you!
It is so very hard for a toddler to be told no. No jumping on the couch. No dumping your cereal bowl over. No throwing, hitting, biting. For most things, and most of the time, we're pretty good about redirecting and telling Elliot what he can do, instead of what he can't do. In those moments, tantrum averted! But there are those times, too, when he simply must just be told No. Then, watch out. Head shaking, arms flailing, usually a full-body drop to the ground and lots of screaming. Pretty textbook.
But what's interesting is watching Elliot process those tantrums later, after he's moved on and is no longer upset. It could be at any point in the day that he remembers, and often he wakes up from his nap he launches right into remembering a tantrum that he had earlier in the day. Reenacting it, he'll shake his head and arms back and forth, stick out his tongue and says, "ahahuaghgthsh, what's dat?" Then he looks at you for an answer. If one doesn't come right away he'll repeat his question, head and arms flailing back and forth, "ahshghchsugaaahh, what's dat?"
"Oh," you say to him. "That's when you were tantruming."
Then, each and every time, he responds to that by doing the sign for crying (a finger pointed to the eye and drawn down the cheek). And he says, "Cwhy."
"Yes, that's right Elliot. You got frustrated, had a tantrum, and then you cried."
This memory and reenactment happens over and over each day. He watches us so intently as we discuss it with him, often reenacting it ourselves. And it goes in the same order every time. Always ending with, "cwhy."