Things I’ve Learned in the First Year

August 19, 2010 at 10:34 am (Announcements, Attitudes, Mommy-isms) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Lauren

That’s right.  Elijah turned a year old at the beginning of this month.  It’s hard to believe.  Nathaniel and I have been so blessed by this little gift from the Lord.  I feel as though I have grown up faster in the past year than in any other year of my life so far!  And we have been delighted to watch Elijah grow up to become an energetic little boy who is about to take off running (once he figures out walking for more than 5 or 10 steps at a time).

I really have learned a TON in this past year.  Some lessons have been delightful and funny.  Others have been very difficult and perspective-changing.  All in all, I am beginning to see how God uses little people to make us adults more like Christ.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Parenting is a lot harder than I thought!
  • Babies need lots of attention.  And lots of love.
  • My mood affects my son.  If I have a bad attitude, his behavior will reflect it.
  • Likewise, if I am inconsistent in training him, his behavior will reflect it.
  • When friends (seasoned mothers) tell you to cherish every moment with a newborn, because the time will fly by, they’re absolutely right.
  • Resting is a major responsibility of a woman who has just had a baby.
  • Maternal illness does seem to affect the bonding experience with baby.  😦  Especially when the mother’s illness prevents her from holding her baby comfortably, or from even changing his diaper.
  • God doesn’t give us babies for us—as though they exist to fulfill us emotionally or to complete our checklist “What I need to do and/or have to be a godly woman”.  God gives us babies to love and train in His ways, and to show us that we need much more training in His ways as well.  He gives us children so that we will be made more like Jesus.  And so that we can train them to love and be like Jesus.
  • Most baby toys are overrated.  A nine month old will be very happy with paper, an empty raisin can, and a joyful mama.
  • Cloth diapering is so much fun!  Really!  It is!
  • Making sure your baby takes regular naps is very important.  When I wasn’t diligent to provide structure and consistent nap times, Elijah wasn’t getting the sleep he needed and it affected him.
  • Nursing a baby for the entire first year really is a hard milestone to reach.  I wanted to give up so many times!  A supportive husband makes a big difference!
  • Once you hit the one-year mark and are still nursing and your pre-toddler becomes less and less interested and you can see that your nursing relationship may not last much longer…you wonder why you ever thought of giving up early.
  • But once your one-year-old gets sick for the first time and you get to nurse him almost twice as much as usual that day, you think that maybe we can make it to two years… (OK, so I learned that this week, not technically within the first year…can we call that a bonus lesson?)
  • Making your own baby food is not that big of a deal.
  • Getting outside each day is so so important.  The sun, the rain, the heat, the cold…all gifts from God in His time.  All to be enjoyed and shared with a baby.  (Going out in severe weather not recommended.)
  • There is much more involved in training and caring for a young infant than getting them to sleep through the night.  Seriously.  Try to avoid having the tunnel vision that I did.
  • If you didn’t have any “motherly instincts” before having a baby, you may not have too many of them once baby arrives.  SPEND TIME WITH BABIES BEFORE YOURS COMES ALONG!!!  I had almost no baby experience at all.  Praise the Lord we’ve survived!
  • To Train Up a Child is a very good book.  One I think I will be reading often over the next 20 years or so.
  • Kisses from a baby are about the sweetest things ever.
  • Infant potty training works.  It goes really well until you have a pre-toddler.  Then it all goes down the drain.  (At least we’re at an impasse right now…)  Puns intended.
  • Laziness and motherhood do not go together.  Don’t even try it.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding as a form of birth control does not work for everyone.  Not even for a month.
  • My husband is an amazing man.  I knew this already, but I get to see it in so many more ways now that he is a papa—and husband to a scatter-brained mama.
  • Natural childbirth is hard but good.  Wouldn’t do it any other way, as the Lord allows.
  • Vaccinating in the first year wasn’t necessary for Elijah.  No vaccines yet.  No sickness yet (until a stomach bug this week…then again, it may have been that I mixed asparagus in with his re-fried beans…).  I’m going to guess that breastfeeding is better than any vaccine.  (We may consider some vaccines in the future.  But we are very happy to have held off for the first year.)
  • When the doctor expresses concern over something, don’t panic.  Especially if the area of concern is something you lived through (very small baby according to weight gain charts, heart murmur, etc).  Ask questions.  Ask lots of questions.  And don’t worry—trust the Lord.  Most tests come back negative.  And many doctors who know you have insurance don’t hesitate to recommend testing any little deviance from “normal” or “average”.  Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t a liability issue.  Just ask lots of questions.
  • It would be nice to have had a good understanding of health insurance and/or cost of procedures and services before having a baby.
  • Elijah is a little boy.  He is all-boy.  He loves things on wheels, throwing things, banging things, rough housing with his Papa, making noises, army crawling, climbing, chasing…but he is still a baby, still needs to be held and nursed and soothed when he’s hurt.  I love the mix of independence and dependence.  So sweet.
  • Elijah was fully capable of understanding and disregarding our basic instruction “No” by 8 months old.  And he has been testing us to see if we really mean it ever since.  😉  Babies are clever.
  • Having someone (a sister-in-law, perhaps) to stay with you and help you around the house during the first week or two after giving birth is absolutely invaluable!  And especially while you are waiting for the drugs to kick in to bring your auto-immune disease under control so that you can actually function.
  • Rice cereal may not be the best first food for baby.  Elijah apparently could have used something with a lot more calories!
  • Boppy pillows are great.
  • You don’t need a crib or a changing table.  A pack-n-play that you got for $40 at a garage sale (thank You, Lord!) will do just fine—and it can be moved easily.
  • Hand-me-downs and second-hand are the way to go for baby clothes.  Of course, when you’re given new clothes, that is perfectly acceptable, too.
  • Elijah was 7 lbs. 9 oz. when he was born.  He is 18 lbs. 9 oz. at one year.  Not all babies triple their birth weight by one year.  And just because they don’t doesn’t mean they are unhealthy.  Guidelines are only suggested norms.  They do not take into account that every baby is different.  My little guy is little, but he is very healthy.  Looking at his parents, we shouldn’t expect him to be big!
  • I am way more disciplined and diligent now that I have a baby.  I wish I had been this productive before he came along!  Imagine what I could have accomplished!
  • I have no idea how working moms manage.  No idea.
  • I’ve had many moments where I feel as though I really love my son for the first time.  It just grows…
  • It’s difficult to accept a debilitating illness as a blessing from the Lord.  Especially when it seems to taint what is supposed to be one of the most incredible moments of your life.  But God is calling me to trust Him.  I know I did not have the right attitude when we found out I had gestational pemphigoid.  And I honestly don’t know that I ever really had the right attitude.  I of course pray that it will not return in future pregnancies (though that is likely to happen), but I can see now that the Lord had a purpose in it, and He may still be seeking to accomplish that purpose with the same tool in the future.  And I will desperately need His grace, His word, His love, His Spirit to endure whatever trials may come and to entrust myself to the faithful Creator in doing what is right–indeed He does all things well!

Any other young moms out there?  What has the Lord been teaching you?

*Any opinions shared on medical issues (vaccines, testing, etc) are not intended to tell you what you ought to do.  They are simply my own musings over my own experience (as is most of this list).  Use your best judgment to care for your own baby.

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Life.

May 5, 2010 at 10:21 am (Announcements) (, , , , , , , , , , )

So, I’m sure some of you have noticed that some things on our blog have been put on hold.  It took us quite a while to get around to announcing the winner of the purity ring giveaway, and we haven’t posted anything since then.  Why, you might ask?

Life.

It happens.  We haven’t put blogging on hold for any determined purpose–no intentional “taking a break”.  Just living life in the real world and dealing with our own struggles and relationships and dirty diapers and crazy circumstances and successes and failures and repeated plumbing problems and sick loved ones and baby play dates and and and…

Life is full of joys and sorrows, ease and trials.  And we’ve had our fair share lately.  It’s been good.  And we just haven’t been blogging.

That said, our minds are always churning with ideas, so we can’t stay away forever.  So no worries, we’ll get back into it…maybe sooner, maybe later.  In the mean time, may Yahweh bless you and keep you, and may He make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you and give you peace–as you seek His heart.

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An update of Baby Scott

July 29, 2009 at 10:05 am (Announcements) (, , , , , )

We’d scheduled me (Abigail) for a visit to Nathaniel and Lauren this week, in hopes that the baby would come a little early so I could be here for the birth.  It looks like our hopes will be fulfilled, though not quite in the way we’d anticipated.  Below is an excerpt from an update e-mail Lauren sent out to family:

This week has been a bit crazy.  I developed a nasty rash on my belly button about two weeks ago.  Only about 4 or 5 days ago I noticed some red, itchy bumps developing on my inner thighs.  I thought it was related to shaving.  But they spread and are now red, itchy welts/blisters.  And the bumps have covered my legs, the tops of my hands, and my forearms.  They’re continuing to spread to my upper arms, belly, and feet.  We thought it was a pregnancy related thing called PUPP, but our doctor, who we saw both yesterday and today, was concerned and at our appointment today said she thinks it’s Gestational Pemphigoid which is a pregnancy-related autoimmune disease. I’ve  done some reading online and I think she’s right.   Basically the placenta causes the mother’s immune system to attack her own skin leaving itching, blistering burns.

Because there is potential risk to the baby, (and a lot of unknowns because this is such a rare condition), she suggested we induce as soon as possible.  The soonest she can get us into the hospital is Thursday at 7am.  So that’s the plan.  In the mean time I’m on some powerful medications to help with the itching (which is pure torture) and suppress my immune system.

This is a real bummer in that it doesn’t fit nicely into our plans for a completely natural birth (but who said life unfolds according to our plans anyway??).  We trust that the Lord will accomplish His good purpose in this, and that He’ll take care of me and the baby.  I’m just thankful that this thing didn’t flare up earlier.  We’re quite blessed to be so close to my due date.  Perhaps the worst news is that this disease will likely affect future pregnancies.

But the Lord is in control!  We know that He is good and does good.  And hopefully we will have a baby by this weekend!

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Nearing the Finish Line

July 7, 2009 at 3:58 pm (Announcements) (, , , , , , )

If you’ve been reading Lauren’s posts and enjoying her perspective these days, perhaps you’d enjoy another perspective:  the view of her belly.   Lauren and Nathaniel were blessed with a free photo sitting in the mall the other day which resulted in some lovely images.

With July 4th past, the countdown shows Baby Scott due to make his appearance in less than a month!

Also upcoming in August: the long-awaited Purity articles you’ve asked for!  Actually, as we stewed over the topic, we found so much to cover that we plan to take the whole month of August just to focus on Purity–and it’s implications and rewards!  We hope to include a poll, some articles, our personal experiences and another “His Perspective” survey!  We hope to have lots of feedback because we’re still growing and learning, too!  We’re considering including a “carnival” (is that what it’s called when we link to other good purity articles?) and perhaps a question and answer post and we want your help and thoughts!  Please send us links to your favorite articles, suggest your favorite books (with your comments), flood us with scripture passages, thoughts, poems, convictions, testimonies, etc.  Purity seems to be forgotten in our world of lust and license and we want to hear as well as share encouraging stories!  Send your purity thoughts our way:  pearlsanddiamondsblog [at] gmail [dot] com

Blessings,

lauren-and-abigail-sig

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A Son in His Image…

March 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm (Announcements) (, , , )

Just thought ya’ll might like to know…

Lauren and Nathaniel are having a baby boy!  A boy to carry on the family name!  Hurrah!

In other news, we are moving a bit slowly–crazy things happen sometimes.  Forgive us!

Blessings,

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Why we haven’t been posting…

January 8, 2009 at 2:10 pm (Announcements) (, , , , , , , )

Behold a recent scene in our lives:

Location: The Guest room of Abigail’s house.

Time: Shortly before a friend’s wedding, at the beginning of December.

Enter Lauren and Abigail in deep conversation.

Lauren: *insert deep, spiritual content*–

Abigail (glancing around): Uh. Lauren? Cheerios? Why do you have Cheerios on the night stand?

Lauren: Cheerios?  Oh, yeah, I love Cheerios!

Abigail: Cheerios are really good for staving off morning sickness. You’re not dealing with morning sickness, are you?

Lauren (pouts, still trying to keep a secret): You’re not supposed to ask questions like that!

That’s Lauren’s excuse for not posting much lately. She’s been sick. Super sick with morning sickness. Which means her sister-in-law’s long-time dream of becoming SPINSTER AUNT ABIGAIL is finally about to be realized! Nathaniel and Lauren are expecting in August! Hooray!

Abigail hasn’t been posting much lately, either. Here’s her excuse: Her family is currently in the process of switching internet providers. It went something like this: they were offered DSL (as opposed to our slow air-card) and told it would be installed yesterday. So they canceled the air-card. Yesterday, the DSL provider called to let them know the corporate office has had some sort of difficulty–and may not get them hooked up for a month–at least! Abigail’s currently watching the glorious sunrise and posting this from her laptop in the parking lot of the local college!

Hopefully, things will get ironed out and we will soon be back up and running.

In the meanwhile, we’d encourage you to check out the archives.

And especially some of our earlier articles (if you haven’t read them):

Situational Modesty

Making First Impressions a First Priority

Sunday Best

Liberty and the Christian

What are You Waiting For?

Perceiving a Knight in a Windmill

Beheading Ye Olde Beast

True Religion

Consulting with Father

Wasted Emotion

And scribble down your Jesus Story to share with the rest of our readers!

Most importantly, rejoice in the Lord! Pray without ceasing. In everything, give thanks!

Blessings,

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