15. Heads Up! “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;and the King of glory shall come in.”
PRAYER: Dear King of Glory, we lift up our heads and turn our eyes to you! Come in through the doors of our hearts and fill us with your glory, goodness, and grace.
THOUGHT: By now Baby may be trying to lift up her wobbly head and look around. You can help Baby learn to support the weight of her own head by holding her on your lap, supporting her head with your hands, and very gradually relaxing your grip until you sense that she can’t hold her head up anymore and it will bob if you let go. Give her lots of smiling encouragements, and look right at her the whole time.
ACTIVITY: Here is another activity to help strengthen Baby’s neck and back muscles: Practice “sit ups” with her by placing her on a large towel on the bed. Holding the top edges of the towel near Baby’s head, with Baby cupped in the towel like a cradle, slowly lift Baby’s body (waist up), gently moving up and down as if Baby were doing sit-ups. This gives Baby a little practice at using her neck and back muscles, because she will naturally adjust to the movements and may try to go toward you on her own. Smile reassuringly, and make sure no activity session lasts more than a few minutes.
- Eye Problems“Let your eyes look straight ahead, and let your eyelids look right before you.”
Proverbs 4:25 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Dear LORD, thank you for being the God who sees us and cares for us. Help us to be pure in heart, so that we may see you too: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” May we always look straight ahead, our eyes waiting on you, keeping you as center of our attention!
THOUGHT: The cross-eyed stage occurs when Baby is learning about depth perception and coordination. It doesn’t last very long and is perfectly normal. On the other hand, a lid that hangs too low is a serious problem that could result in blindness in that eye and should be discussed with your pediatrician as soon as possible. Also, a “lazy eye” that turns in consistently even after the cross-eyed stage is over needs medical intervention.
ACTIVITY: Probably Baby’s favorite view is you, so lie with your face just one foot away from him (maybe on your bed) and talk to him. Then, slowly move about a foot further away and lie there until you can tell he has refocused and is looking at you. Try singing to him. Then, move another foot farther away, and so on, always giving Baby some reassuring vocal encouragements and ample time to reorient visually. Finally, try moving back towards Baby. When you get very close again, pet his head and caress his cheeks, verbalizing your delight in him!
- Greeting the Grandparents “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”
PRAYER: Dear Father, who is our crown and glory, thank you that you are a God who “sets the solitary in families,” and “brings out those which are bound with chains” (Psalm 68:6). Lord, keep us from ever being so selfish that our family is destroyed and we become like “the rebellious” who “dwell in a dry land.” We are so grateful for our family! Please help us as a family to honor our parents. May we respect and cherish all who are our elders and love and protect all you are younger. Please help Baby to learn to honor her elders, and may we always be worthy of her honor. May we be freed from any chains of sin, and may we live lives of submission to you so that we always experience joyful communion within our home.
THOUGHT: Interaction with loving people is absolutely essential for healthy social and emotional growth, and who is any more likely to love Baby than her parents and grandparents?
ACTIVITY: Have your parents had a chance to bond with Baby? Experiencing the support of family is crucially important, because infants thrive on love and attention. If your parents haven’t visited yet, be sure to invite them to come as soon as possible and skype with them often if you can! If you have no doting parents available, consider adopting an older couple as surrogate grandparents.
18. Serving God “Yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God.”
2 Chronicles 30:8
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for making yourself known to us, so that we can call you “our God.” May we always be faithful to enter into your sanctuary—your church—and find joy in serving you there, joining with others in worship, fellowship, and ministry.
THOUGHT: If Baby hasn’t been to church yet, but he has been in public places, don’t be afraid to start. Remember, Jesus was at the temple when he was only eight days old! A clean, well-staffed nursery is probably less risky than the general public. Ask your doctor’s advice, pray about it, and be aware that it’s amazingly easy to get out of a good habit…more so than you’d ever suspect.
ACTIVITY: To love, honor, and serve God, consider committing to this practice DAILY:
Determine to follow Christ this day.
Ask God to guide you in all things.
Imbibe Christ through meditating on his Word.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength, and ask him for the grace to love your husband, your children, and others as you love yourself. The happiest people are those who are busy loving and ministering to others.
Yield! Determine to be a positive person and always say, “Yes!” to God. Consider the principles of faith, hope, and love in making decisions.
19. Outings“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.”
PRAYER: Dear Lord, we praise you for doing such great things for us. Thank you! Help me throughout this day to count my blessings and be filled with joy. Help me to be quick to share you with the world around me and the many who may not know about your love and goodness yet…especially Baby. May she learn from infancy that you are love, light, and life. Please fill our mouths with laughter, joy, and praise!
THOUGHT: Times of light-heartedness are incredibly important for us throughout life. Do all you can to encourage laughter and joy! By the way…are you and your spouse still finding time for fun? It’s easy to become so Baby-centered that your relationship with your mate is neglected, but it’s absolutely essential to everyone’s long-term welfare to keep the marriage healthy and sustained with times of rest, love, and joy.
ACTIVITY: How about an outing…even if it’s just to the grocery store to buy supplies together? Should a two-week-old be out shopping? If the weather is mild, it’s certainly stimulating for Baby’s little brain, but don’t make it so long that it’s too much for her little body. The sooner your family can resume normal activities, the happier you’ll all be! Practice moderation in all things, seek God’s guidance every day, and live life as fully as you can!
20. Befriending Neighbors“Do not forsake your own friend or our father’s friend, nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.”
PRAYER: Dear Father, whose merciful kindness is great towards us, thank you for the mercy and kindness of good neighbors too. Please help us to be good neighbors and to love our neighbors. Please help Baby to become a bridge to reach others for Christ.
THOUGHT: When you’re both feeling up to it, plan a brief visit with a neighbor, perhaps an elderly widow or a childless single person if there’s one near you. It’s never too early to begin a ministry of cheerful encouragement, and—to older folks especially—babies are like a breath of fresh air. If you have any left-over dessert from last night’s supper, your single neighbor might love a bite!
ACTIVITY: Here’s a little song by Harry Dixon Loes (1895-1965) to inspire goodness:
This little light of mine
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”
Other verses: Hide it under a bushel, NO! I’m gonna let it shine…
All around the neighborhood, I’m gonna let it shine…
Don’t let Satan pfft- it out! I’m gonna let it shine…
Let it shine ’til Jesus comes. I’m gonna let it shine…”
Also…can a two-week old enjoy blocks? Yes, if they are soft toy blocks that are about two or three-inch, cloth-covered, sponge cubes. Try holding them up one at a time within about a foot of Baby’s face and see if she can focus on them. Put one in his hand and let him try to grasp it. Take his index finger and let it rub gently across the surface of a block. Place some of the blocks in configurations close enough for Baby to see when he wakes.
21. Staring Intently“As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
PRAYER: Dear Father, we praise you for being righteous, good, and perfect. May I always be satisfied with your likeness, which is pure and altogether lovely! Help me to look into your holiness and become more and more like you, so that when Baby looks at me, he sees a beautiful reflection of your glory. I pray that Baby will become like you too, and that he will love and honor you all the days of his life.
THOUGHT: There is nothing more visually appealing to Baby than the faces of his mother and father, and your looks of love along with your tender care will start to build the foundation for his sense of wellbeing and security. When you notice him staring intently at you, study him too! Give him lots of smiles and encouraging coos. Talk to him when you feed him. Remind him often of how much you love him!
ACTIVITY: Try putting a framed picture close enough to the crib for Baby to observe—but not reach—when he wakes from his nap. I used to try to have something just a little different every day for my infant to study when he’d wake up: pictures, dolls, toys, or household items. If you have a stool about crib height, you can put an object on top of the stool just out of reach by Baby’s bed.