post edit note: I hope anyone who reads this blog is aware of how much I adore Lucy…I just want to remember that indeed, she is tough right now, (because I’m sure someday she’ll grow out of it and the memories will fade). Sometimes you just need to reflect on how much you have grown from the tough stuff. Lucy has been through all kinds of adjustments and changes over the summer and for the most part she has dealt with them beautifully (with some serious feistiness to help her through). I am so thankful for this girl and all she teaches me.

Some days I can NOT get enough of Lucy. I just want to eat her whole.

On those days I love everything about her. The way she cocks her head to the side and tells me (very exuberantly) her whole schpeal about how big she will be when she turns four on October 1st. The way she has to carry her purse in the crock of her arm at all times…even while seated on the toilet. The way she likes to give the sweetest hugs and kisses two times before she can got to sleep at night.

But on other days, hmmm, how shall I say it? My feelings aren’t quite so fond. One particular day last week left me wishing I could hand her over to the snooty lady at the store who shook her finger at me for letting her stand outside the door in the heat while I stood inside in the air conditioning waiting for her to finish her tantrum. (The tantrum was over the fact that she wanted us both to stand out in the heat for whatever reason…just one of her moods.) Some days I get so grumpy after she has whined all day long about what color plate she wants or which book to read or how she must line up all her “guys” in a particular order and then put them all back in her purse just so before we can go anywhere…

That girl is either hot or cold, I tell you.

I know practically every three-year-old is. I’ve had five of them.

But I will tell you that when she’s tough, she’s tougher than all four of the others put together on their worst day. Maybe it’s because her whine is just at the perfect pitch to send me over the top. Maybe it’s because her bad days make Dave crazy, which in turn make me lose it too. Maybe it’s because I’m supposed to learn more patience.

And patience is definitely what I’m learning. Some days I just want to plant a gold star right smack-dab in the middle of my forehead for how patient I have been with her. And other days my patience is just as short as that tiny straw on the camel’s back and I feel like I need to put myself in time-out for how I deal with things.

It all leads me to ponder on a few things: 1) is it just her personality that is really that feisty? 2) is it her syndrome that makes her so darn moody? 3) is it just that she is spoiled rotten?

I think the bad days are starting to get taken over by the good ones. The ones where she has me like putty in her chubby little hand. At least that’s what I keep telling Dave.

I sure hope I’m right.

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  1. well at least you're so honest!!!!!! I'm not even going to compare my bad days to yours but I have 2 dreamy placid easy going little kids and then we have our tillie who throws a tantrum over everything, needs to hold my hand throughout the house or sit right on top of me, hates strangers, loud noises and so it goes on. We have lots of tillie tantrums and there are days I'd like to put her outside for a while! thank you for your honesty as we can all relate to bad days but thank goodness for the good days!


  2. I do think we all have those days!! Today was my no patience day when my potty trained 3 year old pooped her pants 2 times. Normally I could have been patient but this has happened for the last couple of days and today was the limit. I know I am supposed to handle these situations better and then I always feel guilty for not being better.

  3. My first one was like this and he doesn't have any syndrome though I have taken him to a few Dr.s hoping they would diagnoss him with something to explain why he is the way he is. I had 2 others after him and they were a breeze compared to him. She is three! Hopefully, she will outgrow most of the things that send you over the edge. You might even miss some of those things when she does because it is what makes her who she is.

  4. I seriously have to thank you for your honesty! I have an almost 8, yes 8, year old that is hot and cold. I call her Jekyl and Hyde because she is so back and forth. Hers has a lot to do with food (give it to her on a strict schedule, we're okay, miss is by minutes and we lose until we can calm her down and get her to recognize she needs to eat, then we are back to normal) and I have approached it with our pediatrician and she has said that she is probably hypoglycemic (forget the blood tests) but has also suggested she go to the bathroom on a regular basis (can't remember the explanation for that one). We didn't figure this all out until she was about 4 1/2 (doesn't say much for us) and I am thankful we put the food connection there, even though there are other things as well. This morning was particularly difficult and trying to sit on the pew at church and see the other girls her age reading, or listening or whatever, and she is getting ready to go into a meltdown because she refused breakfast, I lost it, took all 3 into a classroom and bawled my eyes out. So I would like to think that your post was for me today. So thank you!!!!

  5. Yeah I have a daughter that lived up to the Nursery Rhyme "There was a little girl, that had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid." She is now 21 and I am sad to see her leave for college again. She was my first girl so everything after her was a piece of cake. Yeah I had to pull over once and set her on the sidewalk because I was at that breaking point. All the other kids in the car started to cry because they thought I was going to leave her, then I had to laugh. Hang in there!!!!

  6. Oh you're so awesome for being honest. I know exactly how you feel! Our 8 yr old is the same way. When my husband is around, he is calm, sweet, doesn't hardly throw a fit. When he is gone, Jaiden gets really stressed out and demands the tv, whines, begs for stuff and is less than thrilled if he can't have it his way. His days are getting better, but sometimes I feel like I'm on pins and needles around him, never knowing if he is going to be hot or cold. I think my husband's schedule throws him off (kids with autism hardly like their schedule changed) and my husband works for long periods of time and then is off for a bit. SO, I understand and will keep you guys in my prayers!

  7. Thank you for writing this!!!! Just what I needed to read. I know you try to keep it real… and this was really real! My daughter has always been this way. She has some special issues also and I have a hard time figuring out how much that plays into things… just as life is getting easier for her my TWINS turned three. Good gracious I don't know how I'm going to make it through the year!

    Thanks again for being so human and such an honest, reflective mome 🙂

  8. I have a three year old little boy. I have wonder the same exact thing because he is either this sweet amazing little boy who just takes my breath away, or he is impossible. There is not much of an in between I wonder if I spoiled him too much, or if it's because of his condition (he was born with hydrocephalus). Thank you for your honesty, because you seem like such an amazing mother, I'm just glad I'm not alone!

  9. Ah three — I wish it was better with Janie at age 8. But you sure made me feel better about walking off and leaving her home alone while I went to church today because I would not negotiate the tantrum involved around what she wanted in return for getting in the car to leave. I sat there all three hours worried sick about having left her — and would have gotten a finger wagging myself, I'm sure. Wouldn't kill that strength for the world, though. She's going to need it, I keep telling myself.

  10. That sounds like my life with my 8 year old. He is my oldest and my hardest. I often think Heavenly Father quickly gave me my next three all at once because if I had waited until Seth was three to have any more we might have stopped with just the one.

    It's a good thing the good moments are so good.

  11. I often wonder when Tate's bad days are related to his age or to his disabilities. Either way, I am doing my best, like you to make the good days out weight the bad. I too have stood in the airconditioned store while Tate stood outside screaming like a crazy person. I would have given him away that very second. Thank goodness, those days are passed for the most part and I can usually love him all day long. So been there with you!!! i always look around for security cameras to make sure I won't end up on the news.

  12. I enjoy reading your blog so much. I ask you however to please never refer to adoption with a cavalier attitude. It is like a slap in the face those of us who have adopted and have dealt with the very seriousness of it. I know you probably didn't mean to be offensive but really now, would you place your Lucy for adoption? Would you make an adoption plan for her and have her removed from the family she loves so much? If not, please don't refer to it as something you would consider. Your blog is read and admired by so many, I'm sure that you would not want to hurt others with your words.

  13. (Thanks, Cathy. I have to say, that one caught me a little off guard as well.)

    As for the rest of the post, one of my kids is the same way. And I'm sad to report he is now 14! I keep thinking to myself, "hurry up and learn whatever it is you're supposed to learn from this one! I can't take anymore!" And then he has a span of really good days, or an especially great moment, and I feel guilty for some of those hair-pulling feelings I have about him. I have no answers. I just keep trying. Sometimes it's all a mother can do. 🙂 Lucy is lucky to have you.

  14. I figure if we can get the hard ones raised (and I've had hard ones too) without causing bodily harm, we're in the celestial kingdom for sure! They're our ticket in!

  15. I can sooo sympathise with you!! Im a mum of 3 from Perth Australia and I really enjoy your blog. I also have a 3 year old who is hard work on particular days!!!!! We have the colour plate issue too it drives me to despair but it also spreads to her clothes and shoes also. It is my youngest too so i figure she is very strong willed as well as being spoilt!!!! Thank goodness for some good days!!!!


  16. I just wrote a post about feeling like I suck as a Mom…must be a common thing, huh? I love the fact that you waited in the air conditioning until she was done…that is soooooo something that I would do!

  17. Handing over, gosh that sounded for the moment not forever. And it was due to the lady butting in.

    Some kids have issues that are very obvious to strangers another kids don't. I can't blame her for her losing it and trying to control her environment. Recent trips, school starting and the schedule changing, in addition to her own set of challenges with her health issue.

  18. My son, Joel, had similar personality "issues". Especially when he was about 3. Everyone had a theory about why (including that he might have autism or aspergers). I am glad to report that he's 6 now and doesn't have either. It's 8am and he's currently downstairs cleaning my toy room without being asked. He has a strong personality, no doubt. It still rears its ugly head in grocery stores sometimes. When he is bad–what out! When he is good, he's the best kid I have hands down.

  19. Shawni-
    I think with sometimes with the youngest child it's not so much spoiling it's just that they get so much attention and love, but also on the other hand, they are expected to go-go-go…in the car, here and there, just because the older kids you know? They have to be flexible in a way they we don't give them credit for, and sometimes they become a little controlling over tiny things…just to feel like they have a little power in the family?
    I don't know either…but darn, she's cute.

  20. Your little Lucy sounds so much like my little Holly. Some days are just too much it seems to handle when she screams at the top of her lungs and other days she is the sweetest thing. I often have the same questions…is she spoiled rotten, have I done this?…or is this a stage? (I'm hoping!). Either way, I try to tell myself that I will never have these days back and though it's tough to appreciate some moments, I try to smile knowing how lucky and blessed I am. I'm still working on patience! Thanks for helping all of us moms know that we are not going through things alone.

  21. I have one who is much more strong willed than the others (though not on the same scale as Lucy. On those hard days I just have to keep telling myself how well his personality will serve him as an adult, as long as I can keep doing my part to teach him to focus his energies in the right direction. An honestly? It sounds like nothing will stop Lucy when she has her mind set on something which will be a great trait someday.

  22. I love how you keep it real here on your blog Shawni. I think most of us moms understand that at any given moment we may feel a little (or a lot) frustrated over our children's behavior. I have felt like you on many occasions and I think most of us know that because someone implies or jokes about handing our kids over or as a few friends of mine joke on facebook that they have a 3 year for sale…I think most of us can relate knowing that the intention isn't to REALLY do that but rather, it's a way to vent our frustration. I only say this because it's okay for you to vent. We all know you are a FANTASTIC mother and would never turn over any of your children. At the same time, it's absolutely perfect for you to share your moments of bliss with your family. Those moments that are beautiful and where yes, everything feels and looks like a Hallmark card. Because, there-in lies the balance for most of us. We have good days. We have bad days. And, even though bad days do sneak in once in awhile, aren't we all just so grateful and feeling blessed that most of our days are the good ones? I applaud you Shawni (and your family) for the good you are doing in sharing your lives with us. You have a great message to share with all of us…please don't dampen your light or be any less than you are because you don't want readers to feel bad. I think that all of us as readers will benefit greatly in looking at the big picture of any blog we read. Are we looking at that blog as a way to inspire and uplift us? Or are we looking for ways to validate ourselves or our situation? We will all benefit so much more if we take everything a lot less seriously (and literally) and just enjoy the beauty in our own lives and in the lives of those we come into contact with.

  23. I remember the days when it seemed like I had one nerve, and my boys were standing on it! But really, for me, I think the kids were always the same. It was just my ability to cope with them that changed from day to day.

  24. Shawni, your blog is smothering with love for Lucy. It's hard to miss! I love it. But it's sure okay to vent once in a while so you can feel like you aren't alone in the mothering challenges. That's the power of the online world, I'd have to say–knowing there's a veritable army of us dealing with similar situations. xo

  25. I am glad you took out the "put her up for adoption" comment, that stung a little :(. Shawni, my daughter is going through the same types of stuff and some days it is so so hard. Hang in there.

  26. I wish I had read your post pre-edit so I could have read what the hub-bub is about. This is your blog…don't write for others, write from your heart. ANYONE who reads this blog everyday KNOWS how your family feels about Lucy. You have a book and a foundation for her for goodness sake. People need to GET OVER expressions. My brother committed suicide. Do you know how many times a week I hear somone say I could just kill myself or something to that effect? It used to sting our family when we heard it but guess what… it is an EXPRESSION. Not meant to harm…just words. DON'T apologize!

  27. I love your honesty. My daughter just turned 4 (in June) and she can throw a tantrum up there with the best of them. She is strongwilled, knows her mind and holds her ground – which will be fabulous attributes later in life, but make living with her at this age very difficult at times. She also needs to have all her "ducks in a line" so to speak before we can do anything or go anywhere. So please don't feel like you're alone in this! I have had little old ladies at shops give me "the look" when I have left my daughter kicking and screaming in the middle of an aisle – I knew where she was, she was safe and wasn't causing an obstruction and I needed to get the essentials before going home (otherwise there would have been another tantrum). My son (who is nearly 2) is much more relaxed and a very cruisy kid. I love them both dearly but there are days when my daughter is a challenge.

  28. It is definitely a 3 year old thing. The last 2 weeks of June I cried myself to sleep every night because of my 3 year old daughter. But I prayed and prayed that when she turned 4 in July she would turn into my little angel again. I have to say PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED cause from the week she turned 4 she has been adorable again. I can count of one hand the little tantrums we have had to ride out. So I will keep my fingers crossed for you that October will be the month for you. I have however a 2 year old boy who has happily jumped into her role. This mother hood thing really does never end 🙂

  29. Those of us who have children with "special needs" completely understand when you have those days where you wonder if you will make it through. My 12 year old (Aspergers, ADD, and a stroke survivor) tries my patience at every turn. The temper tantrums can be emotionally and physically draining. He's a big, strong kid and I'm no longer able to physically restrain or move him when it becomes necessary. He's also the sweetest, most loving kid in my life. He'll defend those who suffer in injustice with no regard for the fact that he will also be in trouble. He has a way with animals, they love him when they don't love anyone else. The visuals in my head of a helpless 6 year old boy post stroke in the PICU skewer me with guilt every time the bad days hit and I wonder if I will make it through the day. Knowing that we all go through those days, no matter what our education, "status", etc., gives us all hope for better days. Thanks for making the rest of feel real.

  30. Shawni,
    for the record, I (obviously) read your pre-edit and your post-edit, and my only concern was with the vocabulary of adoption. As an adoptive mother and a mother of biological children, I "get" both sides. And, I can definitely relate to the feelings of wanting (and sometimes even *needing*) to hand off one of my precious angel children (wink, wink on that one…) If there is a mother out there that has NEVER felt that way, consider me jealous of you.
    No criticism here on your mothering, my friend. You are doing a fabulous job with ALL of your children.

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