The time from 3 to 3 1/2 was very difficult with my DD1. So far it hasn't been so hard with my other two, but with DD1, that was a time when she was melting down at least three or four times a day, over things that seemed very insignificant to us, and the meltdowns would last literally until she was collapsing with exhaustion.
It helped me a lot to remember that she owned her own emotions. It wasn't my fault she was screaming. It wasn't my job to stop the screaming. Only she could stop, when she made up her mind that she was ready to stop. My job was to stay calm, and not get caught up in her emotional outburst-- to be a rock that the waves could wash over, so to speak. To show her that no matter how out-of-control her behavior and emotions became, that I loved her unconditionally.
Often, the tantrums arose out of her inability to understand and accept the unavoidable limits of life-- that I couldn't in fact make the rain stop just because she wanted it stopped, that I couldn't make a popped balloon come back to life, I couldn't make her brother and sister not exist just because she was tired of them, or that nobody could make a toy do something it wasn't designed to do. She learned a lot from the experience-- for example, she learned that no matter how hard she screamed, some things just couldn't be changed. It's a hard, hard lesson, but one that every child must learn.
What I would do, when I saw one coming, was to sit quietly nearby, close enough that she could find me if she needed me. I wouldn't try to get directly involved in helping her stop, though, because that just infuriated her and frustrated me and led to me getting caught up in the drama. I would get busy doing something else, something quiet like reading a magazine or folding laundry, and just wait, very calmly. Sometimes I'd wait a long, long time. When she was finished, I'd be a shoulder to cry on, and we'd talk through what happened. Often she wanted to sleep when the tantrum was over, or lie in bed for awhile. If she got aggressive with me-- hitting, etc.-- I'd quietly walk out of the room.
It gets better. Slowly, over the next few years, the capacity for logical reasoning develops, and some more sophisticated language and more sophisticated emotional control develop, and it gets much easier.
me , he , my three , , and -- and the one we lost