170. A Quiet Place to Rest
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11
PRAYER: Ah, blessed Shepherd, please take us as lambs in your flock, gather us into your arms, carry us in your bosom, and lead us ever so gently. Truly we are among those who are “with young.” Lift Baby up in your everlasting arms and carry her. Waking and sleeping, may she find the comfort of your love surrounding her, and when she awakens, may she rest content in seeing your face. Help me be the “skin on” face of God, arms of God, and love of God to help her understand your love and provision.
THOUGHT: Strange as it sounds, some cemeteries make very pleasant places for excursions. The quiet roads through a cemetery are usually almost devoid of traffic. (In fact, when I was a girl, cemeteries were considered the perfect place for student drivers to practice “because you can’t kill anybody if you accidentally drive off the road!”) Cemeteries are usually as attractive as well kept parks and often a great deal less littered…it just isn’t the type of place for beer bashes! There is lots of room for exploring with few things that are dangerous and practically nothing that can hurt a baby, although of course, Baby should never be left unattended in any public setting. ACTIVITY: Have you considered an outing to your local cemetery? If you plan an outing with a friend, the two of you might enjoy looking at the tombstones to find last names you recognize (perhaps even ancestors of your baby), imagine what the people might have been like, or discover who is the oldest person “in residence.” If it’s warm and sunny, there are probably places where you could spread a blanket and enjoy a short rest or a picnic.
171. Experimental Studies
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the world of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Dear Master, Lord of Heaven and Earth, our teacher and guide, thank you for giving us minds. Thank you for Baby’s mind! Help me to be intentional and creative in helping Baby’s mind develop and improve. Please lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. May we as a family be “innocent concerning evil,” “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” full of wonder and awe over your marvelous creation, and full of energy to understand your world and become wise understudies of you, the great Master! May we study hard to be approved by you as workmen in your vineyard, shepherds of your sheep, builders in your kingdom, members of your visible body here on earth…faithful in whatever you call us to do. May we have confidence as we follow you, trusting your Holy Spirit to guide us into understanding your precious Word so that we can discern truth from error and choose right over wrong!
THOUGHT: As in all areas, children don’t need expensive toys, but they do need variety.
ACTIVITY: To keep Baby in the tub and not trying to get out, he needs a number of interesting toys with which to experiment. Sometime when you’re looking for a new toy, how about trying several water balloons filled with a little water as well as several that are filled with air? A popped balloon can be a deadly choker, so you should only play this game with vigilant supervision, removing any balloons that pop, but you can play submarine, submarine warfare, airborne attack, battle ships, and all sorts of war games or just plain capture, push, pull, float, sink, and lob games with the balloons.
172. Rolling Games
“I turned myself to consider wisdom, and madness, and folly…Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.” Ecclesiastes 2:12A, 13 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Dear Omniscient God, thank you for being the all-knowing one. May we learn to reverence you. May we have tender hearts that learn to turn away from evil…to recognize and confess our sins very quickly. Thank you for your marvelous grace and provision for us, so that when we repent, you forgive us and turn us back to you.
THOUGHT: About this age, Baby will want to learn how to roll over at will, and you can help! Aaron and Carleen discovered “rolling practice” on their bed worked well. They would press down on the mattress to make a little valley that Baby could roll into easily!
ACTIVITY: If Baby is on his tummy and you want to encourage him to roll over onto his back, try attaching a string to an interesting-looking toy and dangling it in front of Baby’s face near his right arm but just out of his reach. When he starts to reach for it, lift it very slowly into the air (by the string) and over his back, so that it eventually goes out of view. See if he turns his body to try to grab it. If his left arm is down by his side, it will make it easier for him to roll over. Never roll Baby over without first making sure his arm is down and won’t be strained by the changing position, but if Baby is trying to roll over and just can’t make it, help him along a few times so that he gets the feel of it. Do you know this children’s song? You can use rolling motions to make it more captivating:
“Rolled away, rolled away, rolled away! Every burden of my heart rolled away!
Every sin had to go, ‘neath the crimson flow—Hallelujah!
Rolled away, rolled away, rolled away! Every burden of my heart rolled away!”
173. Asleep in Arms but Awake in Bed…Oh, No!
“He who handles a matter wisely shall find good:
and he who trusts in the LORD, happy is he.” Proverbs 16:20
PRAYER: Ah, Lord God, the Almighty, all-powerful one! How is it that you never have to slumber or sleep? Thank you for being available to us at all times. Thank you that you never leave us or forsake us. Help us as a family to find the happiness that comes from handling matters wisely and trusting in you. May we live in the knowledge of your presence and sleep content in the rest of your constant care. Help us to entrust ourselves, our spouses, and each of our children to your care, knowing that only you can provide the security, counsel, and guidance that we need.
THOUGHT: Do you have trouble getting Baby into his crib after he’s fallen asleep in your arms? The current theory is to place Baby always on his back to sleep. Carleen says the slogan is “Back to sleep!” ACTIVITY: If Baby tends to wake and cry when you put him down, make sure all the sensory stimuli continue to be as similar as possible, including smells, lighting, sound, motion, and temperature. If you’re singing, continue singing for a few minutes so he still hears your voice. (They say hearing is the last sensory stimulus to go before losing consciousness.) If it’s a very cold night, wrap him in blankets in your arms, so that when you lay him down, he’s still surrounded by warmth instead of hitting a cold sheet. You can cover him with additional covers later to make up for the loss of your body heat. Also, if you’ve been patting him gently in your arms before putting him down, then continue patting him for a bit just so he continues to sense your presence. And, pray, pray, pray!!
174. Baby Turnovers
“Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”
1 Thessalonians 1:9
PRAYER: Dear Holy God, Lord of all creation, Thank you for the first commandment that you have given us: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Truly, there is none like you. You are love, you are light, you are truth, you are good; you are life; you embody all that is bright and beautiful! You are to be desired above gold and silver…above diamonds and precious stones. You are more majestic than the mountains. Your love is more unfathomable than the oceans. Your power is greater than all the armies in the world, and truly one day, you will destroy evil with the flaming sword that comes out of your mouth of truth! Turn us, Lord, from any idol that would deceive us!
THOUGHT: Bless Baby, Lord! Keep him as the apple of your eye, and may he learn to keep you as the apple of his eye as he grows! May our singular passion in life be to love you with all our hearts, and minds, and souls, and strength, and through loving you, learn to serve you—the living and true God—by loving others as we love ourselves.
ACTIVITY: Here’s another rolling game to enjoy with Baby. Try singing the following little folk tune to Baby while he’s on her back (or stomach) before turning him over: “A penny for a spool of thread, a penny for a needle. That’s the way the money goes! Pop goes the weasel!” If Baby’s on his back, while you sing the first part, clap Baby’s hands together. Then while you’re singing “That’s the way the money goes…” place him one arm down by his side in the best position for him if he were going to roll himself over. Give him a second to try, but if he doesn’t roll himself over, when you say, “Pop!” give Baby a gentle push over, and then give him a nuzzle and a kiss.
175. The Constant Challenge of Moving Forward
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24
PRAYER: Dear Father, we bring to you our earnest desire to “strive to enter in at the strait gate.” We understand that the strait gate that leads to heaven is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the door, and it is only by faith in him that we can enter in. We also understand that once we have entered into the strait gate, we also need to walk along the straight path to keep out of trouble! We acknowledge that one of Satan’s most deadly devices of late seems to be intimating that God loves us regardless of what we do and therefore he doesn’t care what we do. As parents, it is easy to understand how wrong this is. We love our child, but we long for him to be good, knowing that by choosing good over evil he pleases you (and us), and we all enjoy a more peaceful, happy life! Bless Baby with parents who know how to chasten out of love, to approve and rebuke, to comfort and challenge, to guide with both the rod and the staff, and who model the love of Christ as they attempt to bring their children up motivated by the love of God.
THOUGHT: If you have exhausted the supply of interesting baby toys from your favorite store, don’t forget the resource of doggy toys from a dollar store. A colorful rubber dog bone or prickly rubber porcupine were a couple of Aaron’s favorites, but there are many unusual designs out there that are every bit as fascinating for babies as dogs. ACTIVITY: It might be time to invest in a couple more intriguing, colorful toys to tempt baby into crawling. Always try to have an old toy for Baby to play with that’s within his reach as well as a newer toy that is a few inches out of reach to keep him moving forward.
176. Watching and Listening
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with my eye.” Psalm 32:8 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Abba, Father, we lift our eyes to you. Help us to keep looking up at your face, watching for your guidance like a maid waiting on her master. May we be so tuned to you that you can guide us with your eye: May we know what you want even before you speak to us because we’ve been studying your countenance and looking into your eyes! Thank you for desiring for us to grow, to do well, to flourish, to succeed, to become a vessel fit for use…a beautiful masterpiece reflecting your creative, redemptive design.
THOUGHT: Instructional play is a great thing, but make sure Baby is always enjoying it. Aaron seemed to have an insatiable appetite for being entertained and stimulated to learn, but some of the other children occupied themselves much more readily and enjoyed more independence and time alone. My personal theory is that much of the best learning is creative, plain-old fun geared to stimulate natural curiosity, with or without assistance from the parents. ACTIVITY: For quiet times when Baby needs some independent development, have you thought about wind chimes? If you don’t have any, you might consider buying a set (second-hand stores and eBay work too!) to place somewhere that Baby can occasionally hear when the wind blows gently. There are wonderful wind chimes available made from shells, bamboo, metal, glass, etc., and they come in many unique colors and designs. So, if you live where a wind chime in a window could catch Baby’s eye while she’s in her crib or while she’s sitting in her highchair or playpen, consider buying one. It would make a grand addition to a summery home.