- Spatial Orientation Practice“Him with whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.” Psalm 89:21
PRAYER: Dear Father, Thank you for bringing us to spiritual birth through faith in your son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank your for making us your inheritance…your “booty” and treasure. Amazing! May we always take joy in being so special to you! May you establish Baby’s hand and strengthen his tiny arms with your almighty arms! May he grow to be a man of God who struggles to see you, even as Baby will arch his back, crane his neck, and struggle to change his position or roll over so he can see us. Help us, as parents, learn to be imitators of you and model Christ so well that as Baby grows he will develop good habits simply by studying and reproducing our behaviors. May we always point Baby to the Way, the Truth, and the Life—to our beautiful Savior—who is the brightness of your glory and the express image of your person…and who will never pass away. Strengthen our arms, Lord, to do your will.
THOUGHT: The more Baby is able to move and reorient his position, the more games you can play that require him to initiate responses on his own.
ACTIVITY: When Baby’s awake and looking for fun, put him on a blanket on the floor and get right in front of his face. Smile and greet him with lots of enthusiasm. Then, get up on your hands and knees and move to the other side of him, so he has to turn his head or body in order to see you. If he doesn’t respond, make some kind of interesting, unusual sound, like a moo or a baa. Once he’s found you again, give him more enthusiastic greetings, and then scramble on your hands and knees to another position out of his line of sight. End the game with a final round of hugs and kisses!
- Giving Your Baby Gifts to Grow“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
PRAYER: Dear glorious LORD, thank you for being a God who gives gifts unto men. Thank you for your greatest gift: Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Thank you for telling us to “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you.” Thank you also for the precious gift you have given us in Baby. May he grow up to accept your covenant of forgiveness and love and receive the gift of eternal life.
THOUGHT: Most games can be played over and over, day after day. Baby will love the attention, challenge, affirmation, and exercise. Keep rotating options, and keep helping him practice his balance and coordination. These are gifts you can give your baby!
ACTIVITY: Here are some ideas for helping Baby learn balance: 1. Lean him against a sofa back with a small pillow or rolled up baby blanket propped under each arm. (Make sure you’re there to steady him so he doesn’t roll off the sofa!) 2. Place him in a swing or 3. A Johnny Jump Up. 4. Situate him on a baby “crawligator” or skateboard (with baby lying on his tummy, using his arms and legs to “crawl” before he can actually crawl on his own). Use as much care as a parent trying to teach a child how to ride a bike. 6. Set Baby on the floor or in the water with a small plastic inner tube or two around his middle (the variety that are used in swimming pools) or 7. Boppy pillows. Give him many options to help keep him standing or sitting upright so he can practice his balancing act!
- Increasing Peace“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day.” Psalm 91:5
PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive us for the times when we have failed to be as careful in caring for Baby as we should be. Help us to be vigilant and circumspect every day of our lives. Thank you for your mercy, too…for the times when there could have been an accident and there was not. Give us determination to always put safety before pleasure in all of our activities. May we always do our best, guided by our conscience, illuminated by your Holy Spirit, and resting on the remembrance of your loving kindness, so that we can bring up Baby with confidence and peace rather than anxiety about his safety.
THOUGHT: Seventy years ago, my father used to tuck my oldest brother into his crib when he was a baby and take my mother out for a walk around the block in the evening just to get her out of the house for a few minutes. Today I suspect the Children’s Protective Services would take your children away if you did that in America, although I’ve been in foreign countries within the last few years where children are left sleeping in prams outside stores while women shop! The disturbing reality is that even with the best of care, Baby could die while you’re sleeping peacefully in the room next to him. You certainly don’t want to take unnecessary risks, but you don’t want to be so paranoid that you can never leave Baby sleeping safely in her crib while you garden in the backyard for half an hour or scrub the basement floor. Today they have baby monitor systems, so that even if you’re in a different room you can hear Baby when he wakes up.
ACTIVITY: If you don’t have a baby monitor, consider saving up some money to buy one. It’s one of the most useful aids you’ll ever find to enhance Baby’s security while extending your freedom and peace of mind.
- Finger Play for Profit“Bind them [God’s commandments] upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.” Proverbs 7:3
PRAYER: Dear Father, how kind you are to give us your commandments, which teach us how to live lives filled with love, joy, peace, and contentment. Lord, may we keep your words and lay up your commandments in our hearts, so that we will obey them. May we keep your law as the apple of our eyes. May we bind your commandments on our fingers, and write them on the table of our heart. Bless Baby, dear Lord. Keep him as the apple of your eye, too. Write your commandments deep into the tender table of his heart. Turn his heart, hands, eyes, and ears from anything that would defile him. May his days be lived in peace and happiness because his eyes are stayed on you.
THOUGHT: My brother-in-law used to complain that his sister and I were feeding our children “puffed plastic,” but kids love cheerios, and I think they’re a reasonable snack choice for babies just learning how to eat finger foods.
ACTIVITY: If Baby is starting to eat “people food” and is reaching for things with his fingers, it may be time to let him practice nabbing a few bits of puffed rice or cheerios off his highchair tray while he waits for supper. Cheerios are easy to grab and dissolve so quickly that the risk of choking is minimal. A few cheerios go a long way toward keeping Baby entertained and busy when he’s hungry and you’re not quite prepared to feed him yet. I eventually started carrying a re-closeable plastic bag of cheerios in the diaper bag whenever we went out so I’d always have a little emergency store of something to keep Baby busy and hopeful about the prospects of food being in his future!
Sixth Month153. Contentment with our Great God
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:11
PRAYER: Dear Father, it is so true that we are happy when we endure testing. We acknowledge the fact that we have experienced your tender mercy and know that you are full of pity. Your forgiveness is marvelous and your love beyond anything we can understand. Help us to grow in our ability to love and forgive others as fully and freely as you do us. Bless Baby, dear Father. Grant her a patient and contented heart. Help her to trust us even as we trust you. Help her to rest in our care, and help us to rest in your care.
THOUGHT: We have so much to be thankful for; may we always reflect on God’s goodness and be grateful! Thank God for his tenderness and mercy. Be grateful for Baby’s growth, her smiles, the joy she is, how busy she is and all she’s learning…etc!
ACTIVITY: Here’s a great activity, but it must always be done with supervision so Baby doesn’t choke herself. Tie a balloon on a string and attach it to Baby’s arm so that it moves whenever she does. If you can, get a helium balloon. Later in the day (after that game has lost its appeal), try tying the balloon to Baby’s foot while she’s on her back and let her enjoy making it bob. She may get clever enough to pull on the string and get the balloon close to her mouth! Finally, the balloon on the string can be attached to her high chair while she waits for supper. At that point, if she hasn’t figured out how to pull on the string to get the balloon, you might show her how to wheel in her prize so she can pat it.
- Cleaning Fingernails and Ears“Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalm 51:2
PRAYER: Ah, Father, how good it is to be all clean and fresh! Thank you for warm water, showers and tubs, privacy, soft towels, and clean clothes. Thank you for washing machines and dryers. Some infants in third world countries are cleaned by a scrubbing with cold ashes left over from the household fire pit. What a privilege to be able to be clean and free from contagious skin diseases! Lord, please bless Baby, and as I wash him up, help me remember to pray for him to be cleansed and freed from the disease of sin in his soul as well. Keep our spiritual fingernails short so that we don’t scratch each other or injure ourselves! Give us clean, open ears to hear, and cleanse us—inside and out.
THOUGHT: One friend, Stephanie Johnson, clips her babies’ nails while they’re asleep. That’s probably the best idea yet if Baby is a sound sleeper!
ACTIVITY: Clipping nails and washing ears are important aspects of cleaning. They make special baby scissors with blunt tips, but it’s still hard to keep Baby’s fingers stable. If you press the finger pad down and out of the way a little as you cut, it helps, but be extremely careful and don’t trim anything but the white part of the nail, or you’ll draw blood. With the ears, it’s said that nothing smaller than a baseball should go into the ear canal. :) Ear canals are self-cleaning, and to put anything into the canal to clean it out could just force the wax in deeper or possibly damage the eardrum. Just wash the external ear with a warm washcloth and call it good. If Baby likes to pull on his ear but doesn’t seem to be in distress, don’t worry. He’s probably just exploring! While you work, tell him what you’re doing, saying, “ear” or “finger nail” and showing him that you have ears too!
- Focus on the Feet
“The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:16
PRAYER: Dear mighty God who shakes the whole world and even the heavens above with your voice, whose voice is like the sound of a thundering waterfall and a roaring lion, thank you for your awesome power. Thank you that the most powerful force in the universe is good…it is the light side, not the dark side! You are light and love and good, and everything you do is perfect, true, and righteous altogether! Truly, you are our hope and our strength. Bless Baby! May he learn to walk and talk and run and play. May he grow up to be whole, healthy, happy…and most of all—to honor you in all he does!
THOUGHT: “They” say that toddlers learn to walk more quickly without shoes on, because they are able to feel sensation and learn balance better without having to negotiate the extra weight and clumsiness of shoes. Obviously, shoes are helpful when a child is walking a lot, particularly on uneven, rough, or public places (or during intemperate weather), but bare feet are great for the initial learning process.
ACTIVITY: Foot games: 1. Set Baby on your lap and take his little feet in your hands. Gently pat the soles of his feet together while you engage him with this little rhyme: “Shoe a little horsey, shoe a little mare; don’t let Baby’s feet go bare!” 2.“Target Practice.” When Baby’s on his back, take a tin pan and hold it close to his feet where he’ll accidentally kick it. When he hears the sound, he will probably try kicking harder in order to hear the sound again. You can also try this with a pillow or a teddy bear.