thanks giving

When this one was less than an hour old  — fierce and feral and very much there, immediately —  I was filled with hopes that had no words. I looked at her and loved her, instantly.

But let’s face it, those first days with a newborn are tough. I’m not talking about our time in the ICU, which is still crystalline in my mind, all that brittle fear and trying to breathe for her. I mean everyday life with a newborn. Hours without being able to eat, enduring the horrifying sound of crying in the car seat for the entire ride, days without a shower — those days are a blue-hour memory for me now. There’s a part of me that’s nostalgic for the simplicity of it. Or maybe that’s just my brain preparing me for another new kid somewhere in the next year. (More hopes without words.)

However, most of me isn’t one bit nostalgic. These days, Lu and I hold hands as we skip through puddles after I pick her up from preschool. As we drive along, she points out words on buildings — “Color, Mama! They have color!” And then I turn my head to see the word color on a hair salon as we drive through the intersection — and sings her ABCs with such gusto that I have a hard time not laughing. The other day, she danced at a Caspar Babypants concert here on Vashon, jumping and spinning and doing some weird little dance with her hands as she walked backwards into the darkness with entire confidence.

Those newborn days, when she was all reflex and little grunts, feel like another lifetime now.

She’s a great kid. But it’s not all easy. People, I don’t know why anyone talks about the terrible twos. Three? That’s something else. Three is determination + command of language + pushing all the boundaries because she realizes she’s a separate person = one exhausted mama sometimes. This evening, she turned all her toys out of their brightly colored plastic boxes, just because she could, and then walked away. Crayons were strewn on the floor. Books lay open on the couch. There were clothes made sodden by the rain by the door, wet paint on the table, and a little puddle in the hallway. That was five minutes’ worth of work. In the midst of this, she asked for pasta for dinner. When I told her we were out of pasta, how about some soup instead, she simply and firmly kept asking for pasta.

When does the age of reason kick in?

Now I know why I had the word breathe tattooed on me. It’s for three.

And then she looked up at me as I stood in the kitchen and says, “May I cook with you, Mama?” That may I that comes out of her with nearly every sentence these days, even deep in the night when she asks for a cup of water, it gets me every time. Every puddle and clutter, small battle and exhaustion? It fades away when I see that face asking so kindly. So I dragged a chair over to the kitchen counter. We pulled down some dried gluten-free lasagna noodles and broke them up together. (We figured out a way to have pasta for dinner.) I chopped up some of the meatloaf leftover from Danny’s late-night dinner the other night, then I taught Lu how to grate the chunk of white cheddar left in the fridge. Putting my hand over hers, guiding it slowly over the grater, and stopping it when the cheese grew too thin to grate anymore — this was such a small act. But doing this made me forget the clutter on the floor, the load of laundry to be done. We cooked together.

Lu pointed to the olive oil with lemon in it, the balsamic vinegar. I let her pour some onto the “pasta” dish, then I tossed in the meatloaf and the cheese.

And then we ate together, talking about her day: playing with Cisco, drawing turkeys, talking about Daddy’s new hours at the restaurant and how sad we both are we aren’t seeing him as much now, the sound of the rain. (“Mama, the rain is pounding outside! Listen to it go!”) There I was, having dinner with my daughter.

She asked to climb up into my lap, snuggled her head into my chest, and promptly fell asleep.

That’s why she had been so ornery earlier in the evening. Poor tuckered kid.

I tucked her into bed then stood watching her sleep for a moment.

When I was a kid, my parents took a bunch of Polaroids of me and my brother sleeping. At the time, I was sort of horrified. Why? My mouth was open, my arm flung out, a dozen books on the bed next to me. Who wanted a picture of that?

Now, I wish I could take a photograph of her sleeping every night.

She’s so damned big. Three. Man, I can’t believe she’s three.

* * *

Here will be my Thanksgiving this year. There will be a turkey we bought from a farmer on Vashon, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with creamy butter, shredded brussels sprouts in brown butter with bacon, dinner rolls, stuffing, gravy, and three kinds of pies. We will certainly eat well.

I’ll be eating in a warm house full of food with my family, whom I love. Andy will play the banjo. Dana will tend to the dogs and read. Elliott will play with Lucy and show her the toys in Grandma and Granddad’s Amazing Toy Cupboard. I’ll hug my parents often. There will be board games, a crackling fire, and ridiculous jokes.

We don’t know if Danny will be able to join us for the dinner. He probably has to work at the restaurant this year. We’ll raise a glass of sparkling cider to him, then send him photographs on the phone. I’ll come home with Lu asleep in the car, bring her in (shielding her head from the rain with my jacket), and tuck her in. Then Danny and I will sit on the couch together, maybe with my feet in his lap. There will be cold turkey sandwiches with cranberry chutney, along with conversations late into the evening, catching up from the day.

And then, before bed, we’ll go into Lu’s room, holding hands, and watch her sleep for a moment.

This is my thanks giving.

 

 

94 comments on “thanks giving

  1. Julie

    Sigh. Mine is six! They just get more and more astounding every day. And out there. And honest. Mine (W) cooks too, and mixes potions, and experiments in the kitchen. I love it.

    Your post Thanksgiving sounds as wonderful as the dinner itself. Enjoy.

  2. JaxRD

    Amen.A beautiful thanks giving!

    Also. Three is why we should pay daycare providers better (having been one to a class of 10 3 year olds and making 8 whole dollars an hour…)

  3. Katie F.

    3 is such a challenging age. My sweet daughter is just a few weeks older then Lu. It is a struggle but it melts away with there little sweet words and caring touches. Beautiful post and happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Leanne Merritt

    Those are the precious moments that go by way too fast! I was also a preschool teacher with a class of 20 three and four year olds. It was the most tiring job I have had yet and that was 17 years ago! Thank you for sharing that. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the ones you love!

  5. Dawn

    I’ve always thought 3 was much more difficult than 2–every time I come across it. In fact, as I travel for work I can pick them out, but only once in a while for the tantrums. They’re so interested in EVERYTHING! The have the words to formulate questions, so they do. Pure. Education. For these young citizens of our world.

    A while ago, you inspired me to begin cooking again. Only gluten free this time. I’d pushed it to the side at my separation and subsequent divorce. I’m no gourmet but I enjoy it. When I’m home, I’m often cooking. Today from noon was thawing and roasting a turkey, cooking Yukon gold potatoes and mashing them, making the fixins’ for gravy and gf dressing tomorrow. We’ll add fresh green beans, a sage cranberry dish, a pumpkin pie and a gf cherry cobbler when we gather to eat together. Whichever day that will be. My sister is ill and in the hospital. So, I’m ready to give my family the gift of food whenever it works out (thank goodness for a freezer!)/

    So congrats are in order? Good for you!

  6. Jean Layton

    Three is…so much fun they do it all again at 13. Or at least that is how it feels around our house now.
    the pushing back, and drawing near. the fun of cooking together and the expert criticism of every thing that bothers them.
    hold her close, take the pictures.
    Sorry to hear that your family will be separated for part of the day, I remember far too many like that in my past.
    Fortunately, you know Danny will be happy making joy in the belly for all those lucky folks at the restaurant. And Lu will be performing her magic on the rest of the family.
    Have a great Thanksgiving.

  7. elizabeyta

    Mine is 25. She made me a grandmother 8 days ago. I still remember 3. Three is no and why with reason!!!!! “Why Momma????” I do mean all the punctuation. She decided to dive off the deep end eyes wide open as a teenager and in many ways 3 was still harder.

    So in fewer words, I understand. There is so much to be thankful for but it is not always simple. Blessings on the day.

  8. laura

    {{{{sssiiiigggghhhhh}}}}} or maybe just a big, long breath.…
    i love, love thanksgiving and will be spending it with a new, fabulous family this year(though i’ll miss mine terribly!) and by~the~way.…my littlest just turned four and is strong and tough and determined and there is still almost zero reasoning in sight. good luck and have lots ‘o fun!!!

  9. Melissa @ Dyno-mom

    I came over from Cheeseslave’s FB page. I was so happy to read this. I have ten children and there are many magical experiences with the children, ALL of the children, but too many moments I take for granted. Thanks for the reminder!

  10. Janna W

    You and Danny are doing it right. It shows in stories of Lu. Enjoy your midnight hour together. Xo from the bay.

  11. Archer

    I savored every word of this post! I especially loved your little flickr tour of Everyday Life with a Newborn! So true re: not being able to eat… It makes my heart smile when you talk about Lucy and your life. Thank you for sharing your thanks giving.

  12. gaile

    With regrets we never met in person before I moved to Portland, and hopes that we will someday in the future. Your post is lovely and I adore that picture of your beloved daughter reading Bon Appetit. I have loved your blog since I found it first when I went gluten free, and have enjoyed watching your life evolve and change. I’m thankful for you, and the internest that brought you to us, and the courage and hope you display, inspiring us to do the same, and reach for the stars. Wishing you, Danny, and Lu a lovely holiday.

  13. MovingToBainbridge

    I will spend the day traveling, loaded down with GF snacks, traveling(include. a 3.5 hour layover) to see MY baby girl graduate USAF Basic Military Training. Watch her sleep whenever you can!

  14. Siri

    So beautifully written, and very wise words. I’m smiling and tearing up at the same time. Children are amazing, and remebering to breathe and really appreciate all that they are makes life great.

    I’m also thankful for having found your site, reading your posts was really uplifting when I was struggling to adjust to my new gluten free life. It is not a struggle anymore, but I have kept reading since — thank you for sharing! I wish you a wonderful holiday :)

  15. Bodi

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Shauna!

    It is especially nice to be able to cook and/or bake with the little ones … Mine are all getting entirely too big to be the proper size for children now (to borrow from Sandra Boynton), but they still help with dinner and love to help with baking …

    Especially now that we’re baking again. Hafta say, we owe that, at least in part, to you. Thank-you for that, btw.

    As they get older, they can do more, and before you know it, they’re making dinner for the family! That’s exactly what our 11 year old did one night last week; he made dinner with only a little help (mostly by way of direction and a small amount of chopping) from me.

    He made a Pot Roast. Not a bad start for a first meal … his older siblings started with things like Macaroni and Cheese, or Fried Rice, LOL!

    Of course, the youngest has been the family’s self-appointed “Salad Chef” for the past 18 months or so …

    Love it. Embrace it. Photograph it (as I know you will!). Enjoy.

  16. claire

    oh lady, what a beautiful post. i know all too well where you are coming from and what you say resonates here.

    you make me homesick.

    have a fabulous Thanksgiving! we give thanks for friends like you, Dan and Lu (and the babe who hope will come your way soon).

    xxx

  17. speck

    love the alaskan xtra toughs in the background of the photo. best wellies ever. does your good taste ever end? sending love from one dry footed woman to another.

    –s

  18. Beth R.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours Shauna. I have two ornery teens now, but I still vividly remember three, and I tell all my friends with toddlers who complain about the terrible twos that they haven’t seen anything yet. I feel three was far worse.. but four, oh four. Four was my most favorite age. At four they come into their own as a person and you can put three far behind. Hold out until four and it will all be worth it. Your blog has saved me these past few months as I’ve had to struggle to add my gluten issues to my daughters soy and nut allergies, so this year I am adding you and the Chef to the list of things I am thankful for.

  19. Larissa

    Three is definitely harder than two. I have said many times that the “terrible twos” is a mean joke on parents who havent seen three yet. Bjt they are also so perfect, so besutiful, so, so, so beautiful. I have many thanks givings, my children, my family, my home, my life. Thank you for all you do, too. We are as always using many of your recipes for our thanksgiving dinner. You are loved and appreciated.

  20. merry jennifer

    Three is so very challenging. I’m still not sure why two gets such a bad rap when three is clearly the one to watch out for.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Shauna. Hugs to you and Danny (and congrats!) and Lu.

  21. Patricia

    As an expat wife, I have rarely had the joy of spending the holidays with my family. I can do Christmas without them, no problem. So much excitement and I don’t care much for “things” anymore anyway. But Thanksgiving hurts without them. It is a physical pain. So I always make my mother’s famous pumpkin pie for myself (no one else in my immediate family will even touch it). It is a lot of work for one person, but it connects me to them. I sit and watch the parade on t.v. by myself. How can I have raised two boys who don’t like to watch parades? I cook and I pray that maybe next year …

    I hug my two boys. At 12 and 8 they are not as receptive as they used to be. But on Thanksgiving, I think they know. And they hug me back.

  22. Jennifer

    Beautiful post, beautiful little one. Mine are 9 and, yes, 3. Ah, 2. I love and miss 2 sometimes, when my little miss stamps her foot and howls “NO!!” and refuses to be denied. On the other hand, she is singing and talking nonstop and can say “I yuv you” so sweetly.

    My little one was two months premature. When I read about Lu’s difficult first year, I can understand, a little, how you felt. Just thankful that she’s still here and amazed that this little spitfire could have started out so delicate and precarious. Thanks be to God for that fighting spirit that makes 3 a bit of a trial now.

  23. Stephanie

    Oh boy, can I relate! The twos were a breeze compared to three. Your daughter and mine are just days apart. Initially frustrated by trying to cook with her, I ran head first into cooking WITH her and we have such a better time of it. With a little extra attention to safety, she does a great job adding spices to our fish curry and mixing things up. I find she eats a wider variety, too when we cook (or grow) it ourselves. And to see that come through in her imaginary play is so rewarding. Happy thanksgiving!

  24. Karen

    I know the threes are trying. But since all my children are all grown now, I would give just about anything to have one of those days back.When you are having a particularly trying day, just remember time is fleeting,and cherish everyone of those days,no matter how much you want to lock yourself in the bathroom.

  25. Diana Maltz

    This is my first time reading your blog and I enjoyed it! Your story about your young daughter reminded me of my twin boys. And though they are grown men, I still remember with fondness those toddler years! (Trust me, they drove me insane many times — haha!)

    I look forward to reading more of your great stories and trying out your recipes!

  26. Jennifer Ginter

    Yes, yes, yes! I’ve been saying this for 3 1/2 years, since my first child turned three. Two was a breeze, a lark, a year of merriment and joy compared to the determination and ferocity of my sweet boy once he turned three. We did survive it of course and are now lurching about in the swirling tornado that is our three year old daughter. I’m quite sure Lu and my Zo would destroy/rule the world together if they ever met! That agonizing contrast of stubborn willfulness and sudden, overwhelming sweetness takes my breath away multiple times a day. (I’m considering just scrawling “breathe” on my arm with a Sharpie this morning, maybe it’ll help?!? :) Here’s to surviving this momentous year and having the clarity to recognize all the beautiful moments, while remaining strong enough to give our little women the discipline and guidance they need. Happy Thanksgiving!

  27. Cheryl Arkison

    When my oldest was three I realized that the reason they look so amazingly gorgeous when they sleep is because when we go in to kill them at night, after the horrible day, we are forced to stop, hold our breath, and remember how beautiful they are.

    Enjoy your holiday and congratulations on the adoption news. We have many friends going through that process as well right now.

  28. Lisa

    Mine is 3 as well and that discovery of independence will be the death of me, for sure. But every time I pass out shortly after she does each night I am thankful for the joy she brings me. I wouldn’t want her any less independent or any less dependent. She’s perfect, fits and discoveries and all. She is what I’ve been thankful for every year since I had her.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate.

  29. CL

    Reading your words magnified how grateful I feel for my own children, family and life. Tears of gratitude welled up in my eyes. Thank YOU for sharing your story.

  30. Suze

    Beautiful, Shauna! I laughed and cried at the same time! For the challenge you have now, and for my two little ones, grown up and gone now. Kids are so hard and so good, and I so affirm you for your appreciation of that. I remember feeling that same awe at watching my children sleep and loving them more than my heart could hold.

  31. Sirena

    Shauna, thanks for sharing! I too give thanks for your site, your sharing, and your beautiful daughter. I’ll keep you guys among the list of everyday enjoyments I give thanks for tomorrow when we celebrate with our families — the list is just longer and longer every year, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy Thanksgiving guys!

  32. Netty

    Hey Shauna! A friend of my who worked with Preschoolers recommended reading “The Magic Years.” Apparently it explains the child’s thinking during these years. :) Sounded pretty cool! Have a great Thanksgiving! Sounds like you will!

  33. Eileen

    Thanks for that photo, I laughed out loud. I can just feel her little spirit coming through that shot.
    I remember three (with all three of my now grown and gone kids) very well and I have to say with all the challenges it was one of my favorite stages. Of course that’s easy to say now that I’m on the other side of it all.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your family Shauna.

  34. Allison Wilson

    She is so very precious. Three is really the hardest though. I had to see a therapist when Julian was 3 because I hated him. He was just so awful, and I felt so ill-equipped to handle him. So I have so much understanding for anyone going through the Threes.

    Love love love to you and your sweet family.

  35. Chelsea

    Shauna,
    When you write about your daughter, I get choked up. It doesn’t matter whether you briefly mention a moment in which she spun in a circle in the sunlight singing, or whether you tell a longer story like this one. By the end, my throat catches and I find my eyes damp. No exception here. Holding hands with your husband while you look at your child sleeping. What joyful peace.
    Thank you.

  36. Danielle

    Shauna, thank you.
    You inspire me.
    I’ve been lurking for a while, but I really wanted to tell you today — thank you. You have inspired my writing and my cooking both. You’ve taught me how to feed my gluten-free friends and feed them well, and they love you for it. You’ve taught me to be patient and hope — to look around the corners expectantly and not become bitter because I might find my best friend for life any day now, just like you did. You’ve taught me to look forward to motherhood as a huge adventure and rich experience and a deep blessing, even on the days when there are puddles and scattered crayons and melt-downs. The joy you take in little moments and delicious details is beautiful — you are, in fact, a beautiful person in every way. So, once again, thank you. I wish you and your lovely family a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving.

  37. barbara

    happy thanksgiving!

    i am not a coeliac, but my son is, so i am slowly settling into a whole new (cooking & baking) — life. your website has been a great source of inspiration, thank you!

    and, oh, that’s a coop bag in the background!! — how ever did it find its way into your home?

    xx from switzerland, barbara

  38. Lynn Pawluk

    Happy Thanksgiving, Shauna, Danny and Lu. Beautiful post. You know what watching your kids while they’re sleeping is called, don’t you? Garping. Watch “The World According to Garp” — they do that in the movie. Used to do that with mine all the time. She’s 29 now and has a 5 year-old of her own. Have a wonderful day tomorrow — savor the time with your family. Time passes much too quickly. Love you, girl — be happy.

  39. Laura

    Yes! Three was far more challenging than two. Two is emotional, three is rational. They test limits, try to see how far they go. I loved that age because you can see they are thinking, and you can start planting seeds in their head.

    Enjoy every second, every hand holding moments, the good and the bad. They grow way too fast, my children are now 11 and 13, the magic is gone, the adolescence is making them super self centered, it is an amazing time of transformation and snuggle time is almost a thing of the past. It will come back, but I miss my little children, they are gone.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    The photo of Lulu reading a cooking magazine is funny, she is something that girl!

  40. lucegirl

    Hi Shauna —

    I am another first time poster. I started reading here for recipes and then for your thoughtful commentary on life and motherhood. I have 2 boys 6 and 3 and they are my life. As I was reading this post, I linked back to your breathe tatoo post and then back to your daughter’s traumatic start to life. This is all sadly very ironic for me today as my 5 month old nephew stopped breathing on Monday, and we coule not get him back. I am beyond devestasted, and I hate to muddy up this lovely post with this, but I just wanted to thank you for such inspiring words about how precious life and children are. They helped me immensely today.

  41. Nita

    Happy Thanksgiving, Shauna. I am thankful you give so much of yourself to us – your life, love, food. I love it all.

  42. 6512 and growing

    Shauna,
    I got here via a Facebook link. So glad I did.
    Motherhood is such an amazing journey, so exhausting and exhilarating, but it is for sure, those ordinary moments that I will miss most when my kids are grown.
    Blessings to you!

  43. Christine

    What a beautiful post! I hope that you Danny and Lu have a wonderful holiday. Lots of love and happiness.

  44. Julie Melin

    my dear cyber friend hug Lu and Danny at every tun and make those memories. My Godson graduates from High School this comming May and I could swear he was just born. Thank you for sharing your life with us who are your online family. I wish you a day filled with love and breathing moments.

  45. joanne

    what a wonderful post. You’re making everlasting memories for your Lu. That is beautiful. She will one day look back and be greatful for what you made today. Happy Thanksgiving.

  46. Sue Tart

    Hi Shauna,
    It is such a joy to read posts like this. I want to print them all out, and put them in a book to read when I am having a sad day. Thank You

  47. harsi

    I hope today is as just as warm and wonderful as you imagined it.

    You got me thinking of my dear neighbors who have a 3-year-old of their own. They’ve expressed such similar sentiments to me. Their boy is a never-ending source of wonder and love… and he is at the same time challenging and beyond exhausting. I wanted to say thank you for the Caspar Babypants mention. I was somehow unaware of this awesomeness! Now, I find myself hopelessly addicted to this song.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rRpcSN1F0g

    (And, no, I don’t have kids of my own. That’s right… I’m just a grown-up that never stopped appreciating good simple songs. *grin*)

    I was also thrilled to discover that he and his wife have written several books! I think I just found the perfect Christmas gift for my favorite little toddler:

  48. Kiki

    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Just today, I was having a conversation with the host of my Thanksgiving dinner and we talked exactly about the rough newborn period. We both had children in ICU too. I do wish that I could go back in time, for just one week, to different times in my children’s lives. It goes by SO fast! I love how you surrendered to the moment with Lu! That moment will never come again and you did the right thing! Now you have a beautiful memory from that moment. Embracing life! You are one great mom! Lu and all the other children you will have are very fortunate!

  49. Karla

    The photo of your little one with the magazine in hand makes me start my day off with a huge smile. Thanks for that.

    And…the one a few posts back of the light shining through the dishes you put off washing is still with me. It’s like Vermeer light! You have an abundance of talent, dear Shauna.

  50. Karen

    Ahhh, Shauna.

    I love the way you love being a mother. Three is my favorite age — and anyone who has ever had a three year old gasps when they hear that. But, it’s true. I even really liked my own kid at 3!!!

    I wanted to say Thank YOU this year, for all your hard work and dedication to this site. I’ve been gluten free for about six months now … and have only recently garnered the courage to try my hand at baking. I LOVE to bake. But I HATE to take the time, expense, etc on something that I’m not sure will turn out edible.
    I’ve tried several gluten free brands of cookies, crackers, breads etc and all I can say is, perhaps I have a delicate palate (ha ha). I do not find most of them to be remotely “good”. Maybe I too clearly remember the taste of the “real” thing.
    As we draw further into Fall and Winter, I miss baking. I miss muffins and cookies and banana bread. I miss the smell of them throughout the house.
    YOU inspired me to begin again. You gave me the tools and information necessary to feel it was completely possible. And on Thanksgiving day, YOU gave me my favorite cookie back — gluten free and impossible to tell the difference.
    I took them to dinner and no one knew — they thought I baked them for everyone else!
    I know it might seem an insignificant thing, to make cookies, but being able to convert that recipe into something not just edible but amazing — it is a blessing.
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  51. Emily

    Dear Gluten-Free Girl,

    I am writing a college paper about gluten-free bloggers. I would love to get some insight from you about your blog. Such as, why you started your blog? Do you write because you have celiac disease or for other reasons? I would love to her from you. If there is a more direct way to go about this, I would love to know.

    Thank you,
    Emily

  52. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Isn’t it amazing what happens in such a short period of time… how much changes? I’m watching my niece grow and grow… in size and in personality. It’s pretty remarkable.

    I was definitely a rotten child when I was 3. I bit my sister, threw temper tantrums, disobeyed my parents constantly. Yes, I can only imagine how rough it is being the caregiver of a 3 year old. But, as you mentioned, there are such joys that come with being the parent of this little one. How that must bring a smile to your face.

    Happy Thanksgiving (a little late, I know)! Stay strong, my dear… Breathe. :-)

  53. Bonnie

    I can’t believe what I’ve just read. After my four-year old has just passed out from exhaustion after a grueling day together. At 4:45 in the afternoon. All of my three kids had different “hard” years. But these days, “four” is wiping me out. But she is my last babe, and I’ve had some experience now knowing that this too shall pass, and that when I go down to check on her, I’ll also stand there a bit, watching her sleep, and my heart will ache.
    Thanks for the lovely post at just the right time.

  54. kathleen

    During my son’s 3rd year, he coined the phrase, “May you please…” and it has never left him and he’s 9! Three is such a joy if you have the time to be patient and creative enough to put together lots of choices to solve conflicts. So much fun!

  55. molly

    this is as honest an ode to the travails of parenting and love letter to a child that i’ve read in a long, long time.

    three is hard.
    three is good.
    why do these two insist on walking hand in hand?

    happy thanksgiving to you, shauna.

    oh, and off a sample of one (so far)? i think the age of reason kicks in around nine. only six years to go :)

    xo,
    m

  56. Sarah

    What an amazing photo! My son is 3 as well, and boy is it exhausting. But with my daughter, with the glaring exception of sleeping, 4 was a vast improvement. So I am hoping this spring bring somes relief when he turns 4. But what a sleeping angel. If you were to look in my phone you would see many sleeping pics.

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  57. betty c

    Beautiful post. I’m currently pregnant with my first and I don’t think my tears right now are entirely hormone-based… I was making an apple pie for Thanksgiving and all of a sudden I realized that someday soon I can teach my little one how to make pie just like my mama taught me and her mama taught her. Those are my fondest memories as a kid, being in the kitchen and “helping”. I don’t think I’ll ever feel prepared for the newborn years, or the toddler years, or teens… and I mean prepared either for the most trying moments OR the most heart-wrenchingly sweet. But I know I can at least always find peace in the kitchen, like you and Lu do. Cheers!

  58. Steph

    Beautiful. Thank you again. I love your energy and positivity. It has inspired me as I was determined to help my bf (who was diagnosed with Coeliac a few weeks ago) to see there was still plenty of good foods he could eat.

    As for children and the terrible twos and threes, when I was young, my mother’s best friend was a psychologist who specialised in children and their development. I remember her telling my mother about my younger sisters that the terrible twos and threes are healthy… When I was bit older I asked her why. She explained to me that it’s an important stage where the child starts recognising and asserting their independence. They test how far they can exert their own will. It helps them develop a sense of self separate from others. Without that time, trying as it is, they would never become self-reliant and independent as adults. Children who don’t go through terrible twos or threes grow up with dependent personalities.

    I thought I’d share that, as though the tantrums can be awful, they do have a silver lining :)

    1. shauna

      I love this, Steph. And i definitely agree. As trying as something might be in the moment, I certainly don’t want to raise a young woman who does whatever she is told!

  59. Caryn

    It’s amazing how sometimes when I’m reading your words, I feel as if they are just what my own soul would like to express — and so I let out a sigh and an amen at the end of this post. Thank you for writing about real, important things that so many of us readers can identify with and find comfort and encouragement in. …A side note — I hope you have found a good way to archive your blog posts so years down the road your precious daughter can have a read back through her richly blessed childhood.

  60. Lorna

    Thank you for this lovely post. My daughter’s 9 months old, and won’t sleep, we’re stumbling around in a haze most of the time. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I waited ten long, sad years for her, that it nearly didn’t happen — at 42, we were ready to give up hope. She really is the absolute light of my life. Your blog is an absolute joy — and so are the recipes. Thank you again. Lx

    1. shauna

      Oh, I feel your pain on the sleeplessness part. Lu didn’t sleep for years, especially after her surgery. But it does end. Now she sleeps a solid 12 hours a night, something I never thought possible. Enjoy what you can and be good to yourself.