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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Monkeys, Apples, and Diapers, Oh My!

October 15, 2009 at 11:51 am (Announcements, Vignettes) (, , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Lauren

Well, I think it’s about time I posted something.  So here’s what’s been going on in this Scott home (and hopefully this will give you an idea of why I haven’t posted much lately!!!).

Elijah is 2  1/2 months old now!  The sweet little boy is growing strong!  🙂  We had a “reunion” with our birthing class last weekend since all of the babies have been born now (Elijah being the youngest).  One of the other moms made onesies with each baby’s name on it!  So cute!  Gives me ideas…

Elijah is the youngest, so he's on the end!

Elijah is the youngest, so he's on the end!

With Papa

With Papa

With Momma

With Momma

We had a bit of excitement yesterday.  I did tons of laundry and the drier sounded horrible.  Nathaniel said we shouldn’t run another load through it until he had a chance to look at it and fix it.  But at the time that decision was made, a load of diapers was already going in the washer!  So, we improvised…

Living Room Clothes Line!

Living Room Clothes Line

I had another little oddity yesterday…I finally decided to do some baking, making Dutch Apple Bread since we had some apples to use up.  Well, here’s what I wrote on my Facebook status:

Well, the apple bread flopped. Or should I say slopped? It tested done, but that was only because instead of being “too wet” in the middle, it was nothing but wet! I need to check that oven temperature…Anyway, I scooped the batter off …of the kitchen table and back into the bread shell that I put back into the loaf pan–and back into the oven it all goes! We’ll see if it’s salvageable.

It was indeed salvageable, but it didn’t look so pretty.  We ate almost half of it last night anyway!  We didn’t slice it though–it would have fallen apart if we did!

Yum.

Yum.

And here’s a picture of our little monkey today.  🙂

IMG_4246

Grace and Peace!

laurens-sig

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Announcing Elijah Chapman Scott!

August 2, 2009 at 7:39 am (Announcements) (, , , , , )

Here he is:  the newest member of the family!  He was born August 1st at 1:35 AM and weighed 7 lbs 9 oz.  He’s a sweetie.   The Lord was gracious to show himself strong through a few intimidating complications and baby and Momma are doing great!

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Elijah Chapman Scott

August 1, 2009

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The Elijah Syndrome

January 15, 2009 at 6:14 am (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

elijah-syndromeI woke up one morning recently to realize I was suffering from the Elijah Syndrome. And had been for months. Some might simply label this malady as depression, but the cause and effects of this form of anti-climactic depression so perfectly mirror that ancient prophet’s symptoms that I’m forced to adopt his name and look to his story for a solution.

Do me a favor and take a quick look at First Kings 18-19. The setting is the kingdom of Israel, during the despicable reign of King Ahab and his witch-of-a-wife, Jezebel. With a bounty on his head for predicting a lengthy drought, the prophet Elijah sends a message to the king, telling him to meet him on the top of Mount Caramel for a show-down-between Yahweh and Baal. There, 450 priests of Baal dance and scream and cut themselves in worship to a false deity who leaves them unanswered. Elijah builds an altar, cuts up the meat, pours gallons of water over the whole sacrifice and offers this prayer: “Answer me, O Yahweh, answer me that this people may know that Thou, O Yahweh, art God.” In a flash of heat and light, fire falls from heaven and consumes the sacrifice, the altar and even the trench of water surrounding it. In a burst of spontaneous worship, the people shout “Yahweh is God!” and put to death the false priests of Baal. In a final climax Elijah announces the coming rain and, overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit, outruns the king’s chariot. Just like that. Victory after victory. Miracle after miracle. God’s power displayed to and in and through Elijah.

You know what Elijah did next?

He fled into the wilderness, threw himself down under a juniper tree and begged to die.

I completely understand why Elijah reacted the way he did. I’ve done the same thing over and over again. Recently it was in response to circumstances in a relationship. I’d spent midnight hours on my face on the floor of my room weeping and praying for two very specific things. Unlikely things. Practical things. But things that I felt certain would clearly demonstrate God’s hand. Then, just like that, both came true, leaving me overwhelmed, shaking and amazed.

In Elijah’s story, it’s easy to overlook the subtle cause of his depression. God had just displayed His power and shown Himself to be true. The next day, what had changed? Nothing. That was the very core of Elijah’s despair. Nothing changed. Elijah had hoped for national revival. Instead, he received a death threat from the queen. In spite of the theatrics God had thrown, the people had turned hard-hearted back to their own ways.

My story was the same. I clearly saw God’s hand in the answer to my two prayers. But those for whom I prayed chose a different path. Nothing changed. And as they walked along life, oblivious to my despair, ignoring all that I had wept and prayed for, continuing as they always had, I fled into the wilderness and begged to die.

Praise the Lord, the story doesn’t end there. An angel appeared to Elijah as he sat dejected and ordered him to eat and drink and sent him off for a mountain-top experience. As he waited on the mountain, Yahweh came to Elijah and asked him, “What are you doing here?” Behold the prophet’s response: “I have been very zealous for You, but Your people have forsaken You and torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets and only I am left! And they want to kill me, too.” Yahweh’s next words, “Go out and stand before Me on the mountain.”

And behold! Yahweh was passing by! A hurricane wind was tearing up the mountain, sending boulders skipping like gravel. But Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind the ground shook and trembled, but Yahweh was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, thunder and lightening flashed and a huge flame of fire raged, but Yahweh was not in the fire. But after the fire had passed, a gentle wind began to blow and that’s when Elijah rose and wrapped himself in his cloak and stepped outside his cave. Yahweh asked him again, “What are you doing here?” His answer was the same. “I have been very zealous for You! But look what they’ve done!” Then Yahweh gave Elijah something else to do. And He told him of 7,000 faithful men.

What a lot of theatrics just for Yahweh to give Elijah another task. But the lesson Yahweh had for Elijah (and us!) was desperately important. God wasn’t in the theatrics. He wasn’t speaking through wind and thunder and fire. Did He cause them? Absolutely. What was the purpose? To get Elijah’s attention. So that He could talk to him. Had God demonstrated Himself on Mount Carmel? Absolutely. Whose fault was it that the people hadn’t listened?

In this question, my own heart was revealed to me. When God’s clear evidences were rejected, I dived into a pit of despair, feeling weighed down, guilty and responsible. Hadn’t I let God down terribly? He’d given me this project, and I’d failed it. Depressed, I let my spiritual health slide-just like Elijah quite eating and drinking, I let my personal Bible and prayer time slide into an abyss of things long gone. “Just let me be done,” I whined. But God had more work for me. As long as I live, Yahweh will have work for me to do.

The theatrics-that’s to get our attention. God clearly answers prayers for many purposes. My response to those answers should have been to fall on my face and worship and press on in confidence that Yahweh is God. He can tear up the mountains with a hurricane. He can shake the earth with an earthquake. He can send flashes of fire to consume the earth or even my sacrifices. Whatever pleases Him. But He speaks to me when I am quiet, in His presence and, most importantly, eating the food He’s provided. As I stand before Him, honest, humbled and without excuses, His word reveals to me what I am supposed to be doing. Simply obeying. And leaving the rest to God. I’m not responsible for results. God displays Himself and people respond. I am responsible for my response to Him. I am responsible to trust Him. To worship Him. To be with Him. To learn from Him. To obey Him. In my obedience, God is most glorified.

The nation of Israel had rejected obedience to Yahweh, but Yahweh was not out of ideas. Nor out of control. His next task for Elijah included anointing a new king and calling and training the next prophet. When Yahweh asked Elijah what he was doing, Elijah’s response was this: “I. They.” He, too, had overlooked God’s displays of power. “I tried so hard. It didn’t work. They didn’t listen.” Yes, Elijah. But did you see what God did? It wasn’t about Elijah and the people. It was about God. Yahweh wanted Elijah to refocus. Elijah served Yahweh. Not the people of Israel. Not his own plans or purposes. “I’ve still got 7,000 men.” Yahweh told him. “Now, quit moping, get up and do what comes next.”

Move on. That’s Yahweh’s order for me. He’s in control. He knows the eternal outcome. Keep seeking His glory. Find others who love Him and will obey Him and pour my heart and life into them. After every dramatic triumph, the deadly depression crouches at the door, waiting to devour. I must remember that the battle is not mine. That victory belongs to the Lord. The results are not up to me. I’m not God. Like a good soldier, I must fall back, regroup and be ready for further instructions-always knowing that the outcome is in the hands of the God of Elijah. The One true God.

Yahweh, He is God!

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