Things to Do before Baby Arrives

I read recently that before my first child arrives (this March) I should make sure to do the following.
Find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...

1. Methods of discipline.

2. Lack of patience.

3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.

4. Allowing their children to run wild.

5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.
With that in mind, I decided I should think twice before I weigh in with my two cents on this news article which says spanking does more harm than good. But suffice it to say, my two cents are, “Hey, I turned out okay, spank you very much!” I seem to recall Proverbs has a word or two about this also.

One more thing….Make sure to read the full list of things to do before baby arrives, even if you’ve got kids. This is hilarious. My husband and I are looking to borrow some goats for Lesson #10. Let us know if you have a few to spare.

(Image © 123Webs)


Well... yeah. My husband and I lived on a sailboat for eight years. When I became pregnant for the first time while living in NZ (yes, we sailed there from North America), we had no plans to move off the boat or back to the US. We now live in a house in Idaho with two children....! Becoming a parent makes me think of Matthew 10:39, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Our old life faded away once we became parents and we got a whole new life. Life isn't over, it's just rather different - for us at least. As the kids get older, we're able to introduce our kids to pieces of our old life. We now own a 22' sailboat and take the kids lake sailing, but haven't yet attempted a mountain bike ride with them yet. ;) // I've heard that Martin Luther wrote after he was married and became a parent, that marriage and family life is the true place of character development rather than the religious life of the celibate orders. I haven't read it myself, but it would be interesting to find and discuss...
Well, maybe. Although they tell me it's kind of important to find a guy first. :-) Truthfully, I've always wanted kids, and still do. But it's pretty depressing and discouraging the way a lot of people talk about them -- like your whole life is completely over the minute the kid emerges from the womb.
Hey Gina, is there a verdict yet? Yea or nay to marriage and children? Inquiring minds want to know... =)
The Ghost of Rolley Past wrote: "you can scold LeeQuod" No, they can't; I perfected the art of looking balefully repentant-unto-death at a very young age. Even Gina seems to have fallen for it. "for conjuring my spirit" Oh, we're playing rummy? Djinn!!
I don’t know what this has to do with anything, but as that has never stopped me in the past, let me share a true story that somehow came to mind, and then afterwards you can scold LeeQuod for conjuring my spirit. // Many years ago my family and I were enjoying a barbecue at the house of some friends. As we took our seats around the table and bowed our heads in silence for the blessing, someone scooted their chair, creating a sound not unlike that produced by a whoopee cushion. That was bad enough, but to make the evening perfect, our 4-year-old daughter blurted out, “was that a daddy noise?” // So you see, it’s in the Haggard genes to sound off first and later weigh the consequences.
Try 2 (count 'em - 2) beagles (on or off leash - doesn't matter) for step 10.
Becky, I couldn't agree more that "[children] can also give us a picture of what our Heavenly Father puts up with from us." When my son was an infant, he often screamed and kicked while I was changing his poopy diaper. There I was trying to get him clean and he was angry, screaming and kicking at me; in an enlightened moment, my thoughts went heavenward, "Is this what I do to You?" // Even in the ickiest of childhood, bodily messes there are rewards to be found. When my son was three, one night I had to comfort and clean puke and poop off him, his bedding, and his carpet several times. (Parenting in the early years is good servanthood training!) Putting the poor little guy back to bed the third time, the sweetest, most grateful little voice said, "Thank you, mommy..." If hearts can swell, then mine did at that moment.
I kind-of skimmed the NYT article, but it seems to me it (or more to the point, the study it was reporting on) was focusing not on spanking in general but spanking very young children. We are a very pro-spanking family and believe that used appropriately it is part of Biblically-based parenting. However, I would agree with the premise that there is a point, variable with each child, before which spanking wouldn't be appropriate. If my child can't even walk yet, I have a hard time thinking of any scenario in which it would be appropriate to pull off the diaper and pull out the paddle.
While the list is funny I do find it kind of negative. There is very little in life that will compare with feeling little arms hug your neck or hearing the laughter of children. They can also give us a picture of what our Heavenly Father puts up with from us. He gets more from us than "the look" as we do as we please!
Gina, parenthood is rewarding in the same way the Christian live is rewarding. From T.M. Moore's article "From the Couch to the Cross-Shaped Life" Jan. 19,2007: "Jesus saw baptism as a mandate for mission, a Rubicon of spiritual decision and direction intended to mark one out for contest and conquest in the name of the Lord. Those who have passed through the waters of baptism are on their way to the promised land. There’s no going back behind the water to Egypt; only forward, forward, ever forward, against every adversary, for the attaining of the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. // And Jesus is the prize. Not a happy life. Not good feelings, material prosperity, emotional or relational stability, or any combination of these." // ...contest and conquest... no going back... against every adversary... for the attaining of the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. // Marriage and parenthood are callings from God within the Christian life. He never said it would be easy, He only said it would be worth it. God has greatly disciplined/trained me within my role of discipliner/trainer of my children - an irony that is not lost on me. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11) John Rosemond makes the case in his book I recommended earlier, that since the social upheaval of the 60's, today's generation of parents are clueless as to what our task is. I was raised in California by mid-western parents. They were unconsciously influenced by the changing cultural paradigms all around them and didn't know how to fulfill the mantle of parental authority given to them by their creator. I know that as a parents, we are to teach our children to respect, honor and obey us so that as they mature into adulthood they will transfer respect, honor and obedience to God. For most of my parenting years (all whopping 7 of them!), I've been perplexed as to how to accomplish the above task. Having not truly learned to respect, honor and obey as a child, how was I to teach it to my children? How wonderful that we have a rescuing, redeeming, reclaiming God! Have I enjoyed learning that I have been basically irresponsible and disobedient? No. Do my children enjoy being corrected and trained by me? No. Do I truly *enjoy* having to discipline them to follow my authority? No. Do I enjoy the *benefits* of being disciplined and disciplining in turn? Yes, a thousand times, Yes! The road of following Jesus, accomplishing the tasks He sets before us, is often difficult and painful... and it's all worth it.
The authoritative collection of this genre can be found here, by searching for (or scrolling down until you find) "Things I've Learned from My Children": The rest of that web page has some good ones for parenting and other humor classics as well. (If Rolley was a fulltime itinerant pastor/teacher and author, he'd be Gayle Erwin.) And Gina, all the frustration, exhaustion and embarrassment are worth it when you get the first Mother's Day/Father's Day card containing a note with sincere and thoughtful thanks for raising them, or when the hug at the airport lasts a little longer than usual. It's **really** worth it when they get a note from someone younger than themselves, expressing thanks for being "Jesus with skin on" at some high school or college retreat. (Can you imagine this particular child reading Mommy's book about forgiveness, and deciding on his/her own to take up that cause as a life work?) But y'know, we *did* have to get all new fish fairly soon; kinda like they wore out quicker after all that caffeine...
That's it, I'm staying single and childless forever. Well, maybe not. (Well, possibly not.) But you know, sometimes parents can be a little . . . apocalyptic. I realize it's drudgery and a grind and exhausting and frustrating and horrendous and terrible -- and I've been there (at a friend's house) lying awake at one in the morning while a toddler romped around the house so loudly that earplugs plus pillows wouldn't keep out the sound -- but sometimes I'd kind of like to hear that it's all worth it, you know? Otherwise the scare tactics get, well, kind of scary. (Interesting how this kind of ties back to Catherine's post about the "dirty diapers" anti-teen-pregnancy campaign.) Between the "get married and have twelve babies the minute it becomes legal!" crowd, and the "prepare to lose all freedom, privacy, and comfort forever!" crowd, some of us can feel caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. // All that said, that blog post was HILARIOUS. And LeeQuod, I would've loved to see those fish.
What a HOOT! I just finished reading the "15 Steps Before Having Children" article. Wow, did I need that laugh after reading the first article. I think I like #10 best; for years I've gone to the store alone when my husband could be home with the kids. // Here's another lesson. Do each of the following spontaneously with your spouse: Go out to breakfast, Go for a long walk, Enjoy a romantic weekend away, Swim together in the ocean, Ride your favorite mountain bike trail. Once you've *spontaneously* enjoyed everything you do together as a couple, go home and sing a dirge for the impending loss of spontaneity in your marriage.
I can hardly type because I'm laughing so hard! Thanks!
Ugh! I could barely read to the end of the "Spanking detrimental to children" story. "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." (Prov. 22:15) We are all sinners in need of correction. God expects parents to correct their children and children to obey their parents: "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." (Eph. 6:1) This directive is spelled out clearly because obedience does not come naturally - how I with it did!!! I wonder what parenting would be like if humanity were not fallen from our original, created state. What a complete joy it would be to be sinless and enjoy sinless children. *sigh* Perhaps children are God's practical joke on a fallen humanity: "Okay all you sinful, willful people... here's some more sinful, willful children for you to raise up into responsible adults who know and love Me." Thank you God that you don't leave us condemned and stranded in our sinful state! // In the comments under the "spanking detrimental" story "mfenne34" summed up my thoughts well: "This is maybe the most absurd study that I have ever come across. There are so many other environmental factors that have to be considered when you look at low-income families. And what a stereotype of southern conservative Christians. I am actually offended by this. // I would love to know how many of the families involved in the study were two-parent families. How was the spanking administered? Was there follow-up with the child? There are just so many unanswered questions in this so-called "study." // My wife and I--who are you and live in the south and are conservative Christians--spank our 1 year old child when he directly and repeatedly disobeys what we say. When he is around other children--most often at church--others are amazed at how well he listens and at his pleasant demeanor. He has one of the best personalities of all the children in the nursery! // We spank him so that he knows his boundaries. When a child knows and understands their boundaries, that gives them freedom to live well inside of those boundaries. Of course, they are going to try to push the limit, and it is the parent's job to show them what is acceptable and what is not. This leads to confident children who are well-adjusted. // Spanking can be taken too far, and when it does, it will lead to what the results of the study have found. But only when it is taken too far. // The punishments that are suggested in this article seem asanine in my humble opinion. My one-year old will not respond at all to having desert taken away from him because he doesn't even get desert yet. Who is feeding their kids sweets at this age? Sounds like the reason that childhood obesity is running rampart in our country." // For an excellent Christian worldview book on child rearing read, "Family Building: The 5 Fundamentals of Effective Parenting," by John Rosemond. I wish I had started reading Mr. Rosemond's work years ago. BTW, the time for corrective discipline begins when your child gives you "The Look" before doing something you've clearly told them not to do; these Looks usually start happening between 18 months and 2 years old. "The Look" means, "I know I'm not supposed to do this, but I'm gonna anyway. Wonder if you'll do anything about it..." In other words, your authority and rules have just been challenged. Time to get off the couch and meet the challenge!!
Make a recording of someone stepping on a cat's tail, followed by the sound of a fire engine leaving the firehouse. Buy a boombox and take it plus the recording and a box of Cheerios with you to a restaurant. Insist on a table in the most crowded seating area. When you sit down, dump half the box of Cheerios around where you sit in the restaurant, mashing some into the seat and some into the carpet. Put the recording into the boombox and put the volume on max. Periodically during dinner, press "Play" on the boombox, stopping randomly after 2 or 3 minutes. For bonus points, repeat this procedure not in a restaurant, but on an airplane. // Buy a dozen books that are really interesting, ones you feel you *must* read. (Like, say, one on Rwanda.) Read the introduction for one, put it aside, and take a nap. Repeat for all the other books. Do not progress in any book past the first chapter. // Should I tell how fast tropical fish can swim if you feed them loose black tea, which closely resembles fish food and can be sprinkled the same way Mommy does it? Nah.
Congratulations. And...all 15 are true. I'm dealing with #5 in particular right now.
I read the full list, and all that came to mind was Barbara Streisand: "Memories light the corners of my mind...."

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