- Music and Patience Appreciation“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32:17
PRAYER: Dear Lord, Please keep me from ever making Baby suffer needlessly! Give me great discernment to understand the difference between his immature behaviors that need training, and his true needs that require compassionate care. Please bless me with wisdom and patience to bring up Baby in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Thank you for the assurance that the work of righteousness will indeed be peace for Baby, and that the effect of righteousness will be quietness and assurance forever. May Baby be blessed with a long life of righteous living and quiet confidence in you!
THOUGHT: By the time Aaron was this age, I used to complain that his attention span was only forty-five seconds, and I just didn’t know enough one-minute routines to keep him occupied. (This was a major motivation for me to write a book for you!) Many babies will be more than happy to commandeer almost all of Mom’s attention while awake, but mothers have too many other responsibilities to be able to provide for their infant’s desire for companionship and entertainment indefinitely.
ACTIVITY: It is fair, reasonable, and healthy for Baby to be required to entertain himself for a little while now and again, and it is absolutely essential for the mother’s long-term sanity! So, don’t feel guilty if Baby is full, clean, dry, warm, safe and secure from all alarms, has been loved up, entertained, and has a toy in hand but still pitches a fit when you turn your back to wash dishes or need to lie down for a half-hour nap. These are the perfect times for “music appreciation.” Give Baby a wide exposure to fine music!
- Take a Time Out for Sickness“Thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.” Psalm 71:5
PRAYER: Father, we are in awe that you know the number of hairs on our head and are aware of even the tiniest sparrow when it falls. We acknowledge you as “the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” How we’re looking forward to the blessed hope of your return, and we wait with great expectation for your glorious reappearance when all the world will be made right…when there will be no more tears or sorrow or sickness or death. Dear Lord, please shield Baby from illness, and when she is ill, please heal her quickly and completely. You are truly our only hope, O Lord GOD. You are our trust from our youth. Bless Baby, Lord. May she live a long and happy life, and may she be able to say all along her way, “Thou art my trust from my youth.”
THOUGHT: How do you make any forward progress when your baby gets unexpectedly sick? Cuddly carriers where Baby can be held close to your chest are great (if you have the back for it). They also make carriers for the front so the baby can face in or out, and papoose-style carriers for the back so the baby can face toward you, etc. Experiment and find something that fits your body. This is probably the easiest way of keeping Baby upright so she can breathe and feel secure when she’s sick but you need to work.
ACTIVITY: Obviously, the best “activity” for a sick baby is for you to take a “time out” and cancel or defer as many of your plans as possible. Hold Baby, rock her, sing softly to her, let her nurse as needed and explore your face with her hands…just let her feel your quiet love. A sick baby needs nurturing, peace, security, and rest as much as possible.
- Frightening Fevers“Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” James 5:14-15
PRAYER: Dear matchless Savior who is the health of our countenance, and our God, why should we be so terribly frightened and anxious when Baby is ill? Forgive us for being so frail! You say to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to let our requests be made known to you. Father, give us the grace to do so!
THOUGHT: Sometimes the best activity is a call to the doctor or even take a trip to the emergency room. Illnesses are very scary to every parent, but even a simple cold can be extremely frightening to a young mother…and to a young baby as well! If your baby loses his appetite, seems lethargic, has a fever, or exhibits any other symptom that could signal a serious health problem, call your doctor immediately! Don’t be afraid your pediatrician will think you’re stupid. Even a common cold can be serious for an infant if it isn’t treated properly. Better a doting parent than a dead baby. Never take a chance.
ACTIVITY: If Baby isn’t too lethargic but just wants to sit on your lap, try entertaining him by dangling various toys (one at a time) on a string right in front of him while you’re holding him on your lap. He can practice trying to grab at toys without much effort, or at least he might find the various visuals interesting. Also, always remember that music is very soothing. Even if the New York Metropolitan Opera hasn’t presented you with a contract, sing to Baby. Your voice will comfort him, so lull him with gentle lullabies.
- Appreciating Those Who Help Us“Blessed be…the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
PRAYER: Dear God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for being the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. We are so grateful for who you are! Thank you that you reveal yourself to us as a father. Thank you for allowing us to be parents. It gives us a tiny inkling about the fellowship of your sufferings when we understand your father’s heart and all that Christ endured for love of us. Help us to always trust you completely and be compassionate comforters for others who are struggling. And Lord, thank you for every time you heal our Baby! Truly, you are the Great Physician!
THOUGHT: My sister used to say the only man she adored besides her husband was her child’s pediatrician. A wise and compassionate doctor is a huge blessing. Do you have a pediatrician that you trust? If not, make it a priority to ask around and study up until you hear repeated good stories about someone, and then try to get that doctor for your child. Don’t wait until there’s a crisis. You need to have someone you can count on in a crisis!
ACTIVITY: If you trust and respect your pediatrician, consider writing a brief note telling your doctor how much you appreciate his care for Baby, being as specific as you can. Your doctor will cherish the card, and he will be especially happy to help you the next time you need to call for advice! As Mark Twain said, “A man can go a whole month on a good compliment.” May we gratefully acknowledge those who help us.
- How to Make the Medicine Go Down Without a Spoonful of Sugar“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Psalm 101:3
PRAYER: Dear Sun of Righteousness who arises with healing in your wings, thank you for all the healing you did while you were here on earth, and for all the healing you have already accomplished in our lives and in Baby’s life. Thank you for all the medicines—both old and new—that are available to us. We pray that you would bless and keep Baby in good health…physically to be sure, but most importantly spiritually! Help us to be wise in our acquisition of just the right medicines to meet Baby’s needs when they arise, and give Baby the grace to accept medicines from our hand. May she grow up to be discerning of what is good and what is bad, carefully accepting what is best for her, but soundly rejecting anything that would be bad for her!
THOUGHT: Some days your big activity is just going to be just getting medicine down an unwilling customer’s throat. When Baby’s old enough for solids, you can grind the pill to powder and put it in something sweet, like applesauce, but what can you do for your infant now?
ACTIVITY: The best way we found to get medicine down was by filling to the prescribed line the plastic eye dropper that came with the bottle, then placing it gently into Baby’s mouth close to one cheek while Baby was sitting in a half-reclining position as if she were going to nurse. That way the fluid is more likely to go down her throat rather then back out, but it’s less likely to choke her if she doesn’t recognize it as nourishment and voluntarily swallow.
- Introducing Books“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
PRAYER: Thank you, dear Father, for redeeming us to yourself and rescuing us from trouble! Thank you for all the times you’ve kept Baby safe…during the long months of pregnancy, through the trauma of birth, and now through these first critical weeks. In many countries, infant mortality rates are so high! Thank you that we live in a country where we enjoy ample clean water, nourishing food, warm clothing, a secure home, and fresh air. May we always be grateful for your countless blessings. May we be mindful to share our material blessings with those who are less fortunate. Help us to be aware of the needs of those around us and learn to love others in very practical ways.
THOUGHT: What’s a good activity for a day when Baby is still sick but on the mend and feeling social? Have you tried any books yet? There are two types of books that are pretty indestructible: the small, thick cardboard types, and the ones with plastic pages that don’t rip or dissolve in saliva (although they do wrinkle). Give Baby a chance to examine a few books and discover that books are worth a look (as well as a chew).
ACTIVITY: Perhaps my son Joel’s most cherished book was a small, plastic-covered photo album I made for him with simple photos in it. If you tape the picture slots closed, the pictures are fairly resistant to saliva. A picture book for Baby with photos of all his favorite people—Daddy, Mama, himself, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and close friends—can really be exciting for him. You might also include favorite food and clothing items, pets, your home, favored toys, or other things that Baby especially enjoys.
- An Interactive Game for Baby and Toddlers“He led them on safely, so that they feared not.” Psalm 78:53
PRAYER: Dear omnipresent Father, who watches over us by day and night, guarding us more tenderly than a shepherd defending his sheep, please keep Baby safe from instant death or any of the frightening syndromes that exist. Thank you for the knowledge “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Lord, we cling to that hope! We pray for Baby to live a long and healthy life, but we submit to your wisdom, resting in the knowledge that no matter what happens, you love our baby even more than we do. We surrender her again to you and entrust her to your loving care.
THOUGHT: There will be plenty of times when you and Baby are around other young children who are interested in interacting with your infant. Try engaging them in a game!
ACTIVITY “What’s This?” is a good game to involve eager toddlers with you child. Point to something on yourself such as hands, feet, arms, legs, chin, hair, shirt, pants, shoes, ears, fingers, toes, (but not eyes) and various colors or types of clothing, helping the toddler name the item, and then asking him to point to the same place on himself (if it exists…obviously some colors and clothing may not), and then allow the child to gently touch the same spot on Baby. This keeps Baby securely under your protective care but will satisfy both Baby and his buddy and give them some happy time “playing” together.