“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man who trusts in him.”
Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Dear Father, how thankful we are that we can “taste and see that the LORD is good” from earliest infancy until we join with you in glory. We are never too young or old to feast on your goodness! Please give us wisdom to know just when and how to introduce solid foods into Baby’s life. We want to protect him from every possible harm, but we don’t want to restrict him unnecessarily. Please guide us in knowing the right balance between protection and freedom, which will challenge us for the rest of our lives!
THOUGHT: The current theory is to continue “breastfeeding only” until six months to help babies avoid allergies. In all child-rearing issues: study widely, pray for wisdom, seek counsel from your authorities, and then do what you believe is best for your child.
ACTIVITY: Before Baby can enjoy the real meal deal, he has to learn how to swallow. Babies choke very easily, and aspirating food is dangerous. Start with a little watery rice cereal in a tiny, baby-sized teaspoon that can slip easily into his mouth. When Baby sucks the breast or bottle, milk squirts down his throat as he sucks, and he almost instinctively develops a rhythm of sucking and breathing. Mashed food must be swallowed, but if you start with something that can almost be sucked down, it’s an easier transition. And, don’t forget to have good equipment! A plastic bib with a trough at the bottom will keep all manner of torrential downpours and evil goo from totally engulfing Baby and yet another set of clean clothes. Also, a highchair with a safety strap to help keep Baby upright and in his chair will make feeding a much simpler, safer, cleaner, and pleasant experience.
“She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.” Proverbs 31:21
PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for warm clothes and homes on cold winter days. Help us as a family to be compassionate and share with those around us who are in need, even as the virtuous woman extended her hands to the poor. Thank you also for all the great things you do that we cannot truly comprehend or imitate. We do not understand how you balance the clouds and make the treasures of the snow and hail, but we thank you all the wonders of your nature! You are perfect in knowledge, and we declare with Job: “With God is terrible majesty. Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice.” Dear Lord, our prayer for Baby today is that you will teach us how to protect him in every type of weather…cold or hot! Keep him safe from harm and fill him with an awe of your mighty power and majesty. May he always seek to please you, be thrilled by your amazing displays in nature’s grandeur, and find deep comfort and peace in the beauty of the magnificent earth you created for us.
THOUGHT: Freezing air can actually damage a child’s lungs, and Baby should never be exposed to freezing temperatures without heavy protection.
ACTIVITY: If you need to go out in super cold weather, make sure Baby is bundled up extremely well with just his eyes peeking out of the wraps. If he’ll let you, put a blanket right over his entire head and face when you make the transitions from your vehicle into stores. If the weather’s really bad, think twice about whether or not you need whatever it is. Chances are it can wait for a few days. If not, take great precautions to keep Baby safe. (This was obviously written when it was winter [years ago]; now it’s summer, and hence the picture of my grandson with shades on!)
“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” 2 Timothy 2:5
PRAYER: Dear Glorious King of Kings, we are reporting for duty today! Help us to teach our children all the truths that we have learned from the Bible and from those faithful teachers who have passed down your wisdom to us. Give us grace to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Help us to keep ourselves from the entanglements of this world so that we may be free to please our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. May we always strive lawfully for mastery over evil and for good, so that someday we will be crowned, hearing your “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
THOUGHT: If Baby is really curious and assertive—even if you aren’t—encourage him! Curiosity about good things is a good thing, although curiosity about things that are physically or morally harmful should be curbed, as we are taught in Romans 16:19, “I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” Have confidence in the Bible as God’s handbook on how to live, and include in all your decisions a prayerful study of what God’s Word has to say on any issue, or on the higher principles that can be used to sort through specific issues.
ACTIVITY: When Baby is curious and trying 150% to get want he wants, and what he wants is a good thing, help him and give him lots of approval! Try to give him a new “toy” (or safe household item) to explore every day. Rotate his treasures so that he has a few old standbys for comfort but something new to work on and explore too. If you even have a dozen little toys, but rotate them one at a time over the course of a few days, that will keep up his interest and feed his seemingly insatiable curiosity!
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105
PRAYER: Dear God who is my hiding place and shield, your hands have made Baby and me. You have fashioned us to be exactly the way you want us. Every tooth that comes in is by design, and every illness and deformity is also by your decree. We hope in your word, Lord, which is settled forever in heaven. The entrance of your words shed light on every subject and give understanding to the simple. Lord, give us understanding and may we always delight in your word. King David was a man after your own heart, and yet he suffered terribly. Still, he hoped in your word at all times, and that sustained him. Bless Baby, dear Lord; make him to have a heart that is “after your own heart.” May he come to believe as we do in the truths that David wrote in Psalm 119: “I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.”
THOUGHT: Often infants start drooling and getting cranky around this age as they begin the painful teething process. Consider budgeting a few dollars every week for one new age-appropriate toy to help with Baby’s changing needs.
ACTIVITY: Sturdy, colorful, highly textured teething rings make a great investment. They not only relieve itchy, sore gums by providing a safe chewing surface, they are usually easy to hold and relatively inexpensive. If you haven’t bought any yet, invest in some. They’re almost indestructible, easy to clean, and are good for hours of play if they’re in your toy rotation. Just keep rotating those interesting toys!
“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted.” Isaiah. 66:13 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Dear God of all comfort, thank you for the things you provide to make us comfortable here on earth: food, shelter, home and family, occupation, and times of rest. Thank you that there is something even greater than toys and all the trappings of earthly pleasures: the true comfort that comes from knowing and loving you. Thank you even for the comfort of your rod to “spank” us when we’re going in the wrong direction, and for your staff to “hook us” and bring us back to you. We are comforted by your merciful correction to keep us on the path of life. Bless us, dear Lord; may we walk in your loving light and feel the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives every moment.
THOUGHT: Our children never had pacifiers, but they all had a favorite blanket. Aaron adopted my “Cupper” (cover) from my childhood, which eventually disintegrated due to old age and repeated launderings. In the end, nothing was left but a tangled mass of knots made from the satin-ribbon border, but he still loved it dearly! Be sure to give Baby a cuddly toy or “security blanket” to keep him feeling secure even in your absence, because Baby needs constant comfort, and a comforter is indeed a great comfort!
ACTIVITY: How about recording Baby’s favorite toys? What are the toys that comfort Baby? Do you always keep a few old standbys in his crib? Here’s a great tip from my niece Andrea: buy 3-4 identical receiving blankets to use as special comforters and rotate them so they wear out at the same rate, smell, and feel similar. Then, you always have a clean one for Baby to cuddle (even on laundry days), and if you lose one, it’s not tragic.
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”
PRAYER: Dear Father of Lights, thank you that you not only created light and declared it good, but you are light! Help us to let our lights shine like candles in the darkness. Lord, thank you for creating the sun to rule the day. Thank you how it glistens off the snow and makes the world look clean and bright. Thank you for how sunlight sparkles through raindrops. Thank you for the comfort from Oglala native-American lore that if there were no tears in our eyes, there would be no rainbows in our hearts. Truly, your goodness and plans are beyond our comprehension! We praise you and love you, for you are worthy of our worship!
THOUGHT: Like watching a fire dancing in the fireplace, watching the variations of a moving light is a curiosity that never seems to lose its attraction.
ACTIVITY: Do you have a small penlight or flashlight that you could use to attract Baby’s interest? At night, try holding Baby on your lap while you shine a light on the floor in front of him. (Never shine a light directly at Baby, since intense light can damage his eyes.) Watch to see if Baby can spot the light. Point to the light and see if you can get her to watch it. If he can see the spot of light, slowly move the light and see if you can get his eyes to follow it back and forth across the room, up the walls, across the ceiling, and back to the floor. If he likes this game, he might enjoy playing it for longer than you’d think, and it’s a great way to help her practice his visual tracking skills!
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16
PRAYER: Oh, Father, thank you for the wonderful privilege it is to be able to speak and sing and pray! Thank you for the Bible! As we read in the third chapter of Colossians, may we put on charity as if it were a royal robe for our body and a crown on our head. May the peace of God rule in our hearts and the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom. May we teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord!
THOUGHT: Do you like to sing? If you’re tone deaf and know it, “tell” the songs to Baby in a sing-songy sort of way. Baby will still love it and there will be no one else around to make sour faces or groan. If you aren’t tone deaf, then you can sing, and Baby will love to hear you sing to him! Other people may swoon over this or that famous singer, but I guarantee that Baby’s all-time favorite hit singer will be you!
ACTIVITY: Do you know any hymns? They make wonderful lullabies. There could be no better way to fall asleep then listening to your mother sing out wondrous truths and poetic reassurances of God’s perfections and love. Do you know any choruses or children’s songs? What a great way to keep Baby entertained while you dress him, feed him breakfast, or bundle him up for an outing. If you don’t know many songs, how about studying a hymnbook, downloading some lyrics off the net, or relearning some of those old songs you loved so much as a kid? Give your child some musical “heirlooms.”