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The 5 Traits Moms Need to Survive (and Enjoy!) Toddlerhood

#1 - Curiosity

You can have many emotions and reactions when your child turns around, stomps his foot, and shouts "No!" after he's been asked to do something. But a desire to understand your toddler's knee-jerk negative reactions to every suggestion you make will turn such behavior into an interesting puzzle rather than an act of defiance.

By seeking info on what toddlers can grasp  -- which emotions and types of thinking their little brains can handle  -- chances are you'll find that your child's actions are just right for his age. So that kid who says no to everything isn't trying to make you angry, he's just experimenting with a powerful word.

Dana Pang of Haleiwa, Hawaii  -- a mom of two, ages 3 and 7  -- remembers her frustration during her older child's toddler years. When she couldn't figure out what was causing her little girl's tantrums, she took a step back and tried to be objective. Soon she noticed that her daughter was sensitive to minor physical discomfort  -- sometimes it was just the seam in her sock literally rubbing her the wrong way  -- especially when she was hungry. "I had to be a clue seeker and a detective," says Pang. It might take a great deal of patience to keep your cool as your tot flails his arms and legs in sudden protest of one of his favorite dinners. But when you finally determine what he's trying to tell you (he wanted to close the closet door himself), it'll help calm you both down.