205. Caring and Sharing
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.” Ecclesiastes 4:9
PRAYER: Dear heavenly father, I know that you explained to us from the beginning of your Bible that it isn’t good for man to be alone. Even you are a mysterious, holy trinity—three in one—a little like the three leaves on a clover. Thank you for setting the solitary in families. Thank you for making all who believe in Christ into an incredible family of God…brothers and sisters. Thank you that in Christ there is no distinction between male or female, poor or rich, black or blue or white. In Christ, we are all equal in position, in goodness, in favor, in blessing. We all sit with you in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so may we learn to be kind here on earth! Bless us, dear Lord! Help us to experience the reality of the unity you desire for your children. May we remember that “ if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Bind us together, Lord, in a threefold cord of love within our family, with others, and with you.
THOUGHT: At moments when you’re at odds with Baby (or your husband or other loved ones), ask the Lord for supernatural grace to resolve your problems. Keep in mind that two are definitely better than one, even though it’s tough to stick together!
ACTIVITY: If Baby’s toy collection is getting to be old hat for him, consider arranging a toy exchange with a trusted and healthy friend. Try exchanging X number of washable toys (not Baby’s very favorites, of course) for a given period of time, maybe one or two weeks. If you both return the toys in good condition (while taking responsibility for sanitizing your own toys after they’re returned), then you might have a good thing going that could be tried again on occasion. Books and music are also good for sharing.
206. Arm’s Reach and Harm’s Way
“The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever: Do not forsake the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Dear patient Father, thank you for your everlasting mercy! Thank you for not giving up on me even though I’m often grabby and want whatever I see around me…even if it’s not mine, and even if it wouldn’t be good for me! I am so much like Baby! Bless us both, dear Father. Help me to be patient in training Baby and patient when he makes messes and cries because he can’t have something he shouldn’t have. Help me to learn more about my own selfishness and immaturity as I work with Baby. Please help Baby to trust and obey me when I tell him “no!”…and please help me to trust and obey you when you tell me “no!” May both Baby and I mature in goodness and godliness.
THOUGHT: On this day in Aaron’s infancy, he snagged a mop head out of an aisle while we were shopping, and that night he grabbed a whole box of Q-tips and dumped them in the toilet before I even knew he had them! Once Baby starts to grab, try to keep harmful temptations out of arm’s reach and harm’s way, at least until he learns to respect “no.”
ACTIVITY: Grabby, grabby! It might be time for a squeeze toy that lets out an exuberant squeak when squeezed! Toys designed for cats and dogs but indestructible and safe for babies are fun, although toy stores that cater to babies will have lots of options too. Our kids had a rubber porcupine squeeze toy that survived all seven children and never seemed to lose appeal due to its extremely bumpy surface. Keep giving Baby interesting tactile opportunities…but keep to the middle of the aisles when you’re shopping, or you may end up with lots more items than you want in your cart (or on the floor)!
207. Imitating Sounds and Rhythms
“My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.” Deuteronomy 32:2
PRAYER: Dear God Almighty, who has his way in the storm and in the whirlwind, you are omnipotent. You can make the terrifying thunder roll and the lightening flash, but you can also calm the storm “so that the waves thereof are still.” Please bless us, dear God, with a mighty revelation of your truth through your word. May I experience you as a covert from the storm and the rain but still soak in your doctrines like gentle showers on the grass. Help me to teach Baby your truths day in and day out by living a life of integrity and goodness and showering her with love like “small rain upon the tender herb.” And, may she learn goodness by imitating me, even as I attempt to imitate you.
THOUGHT: Ah, the Golden Age of Imitation, that marvelous advent that every eager professor-parent awaits with great expectation. Now you can begin to have a field day with making expressions and verbalizations that Baby will imitate, catapulting her into the world of language and music. Go for it! But, be careful! Remember that you have a little student who will imitate everything, including language, actions, and even attitudes.
ACTIVITY: Often babies will start to show signs of natural rhythm as well as the ability to imitate during the sixth and seventh months. Visit a music store if you have time. For very little you can buy “shaker eggs” that make a pleasant sound when shaken. For nothing, you can load an empty dish soap bottle with several clothespins or other large but light objects that make interesting sounds when shaken together. Be sure to reseal the top and secure it with duct tape. Voilà! Baby’s first musical instrument.
208. Drummer Boy
“Better is a handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.” Ecclesiastes 4:6
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you that Jesus was both a “man of sorrows and aquainted with grief,” but also the Prince of Peace. How wonderful that in the midst of tears, crying, and grief, we can have peace in our spirits! Please bless us with a home filled with peace and quiet joy despite living in a world filled with strife and conflict.
THOUGHT: Having a peaceful spirit can make you more tolerant of noise. Don’t be afraid to allow your children to be exuberant! Let Baby make some good, old-fashioned noise sometimes too. Allowing Baby to develop a sense of rhythm and an ear for music is a great gift and will provide many wonderfully creative experiences for him!
ACTIVITY: How about some “piano lessons?” Or, if you don’t have a piano, give that baby some drumsticks…literally! If you aren’t inclined to provide professional drumsticks for your budding musician, you can always use two wooden spoons and let him beat on the rim of her highchair tray. Or, if you’ve really got noise tolerance, let her beat on an overturned cake pan or cookie sheet. Another simple percussion instrument is a wooden block. If you have two, teach how him how to clap the blocks together in his hands or set one on top of his tray and teach him to make a sound by hitting it with the one being held in his hand. Two blocks can be used to begin teaching him how to stack also. See if he can learn to stack one block on top of the other one. If you have a wide-mouth plastic container with a top, teach him to put the blocks into the container, pop on the lid (you’ll have to do that), and shake the bottle. Musical instruments abound!
209. Diversions While Diapering
“And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.” Jeremiah 32:33
PRAYER: Dear Lord, do I keep trying to roll over when you change me out of my dirty diapers? Am I just like the Israelites in Jeremiah, or just like Baby? Please help me to lie still and allow you to clean me up when I get dirty, and please give me the patience and ability to work with Baby when he keeps rolling over or trying to get away when I need to change his diaper or get him dressed!
THOUGHT: There’s a lot of truth to the saying that the best defense is a good offense…
ACTIVITY: Try rigging your changing table with a device that provides Baby with a diverting toy to try to grab and play with while you change his diapers. Another trick is to place an interesting picture on the ceiling or wall where he might look. Also, consider keeping a music box that plays a particularly appealing tune right by the changing table so that a happy melody can be part of the freshening up experience. For your benefit as much as Baby’s, you might consider taping a Bible verse close to the changing table…one you can both read! You can recite it to Baby and “practice” memorizing together. If you’re animated and excited, he’ll like it too. Yet another idea (which can be used anywhere…seat backs during car trips, near the crib, etc.) is to make two very similar pictures to put on the wall to let Baby practice extra discrimination. Make the two pictures as identical as you can, but change something. It could be two balls, one red and one green, or two Easter eggs, one with stripes and one with checks, or two faces, one with an addition of a mustache and beard. Give Baby lots of things to keep him occupied!
210. After a Hard Day’s Night
“When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? And I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.” Job 7:4
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of sleep. Please bless both Baby and me with the gift of being good sleepers. When Baby is sick and isn’t sleeping well, please give me the grace to be kind and patient, and keep me at least alert enough so that Baby is safe any time he’s in my arms!
THOUGHT: Sometimes—perhaps most of the time—it’s really hard to get a good night’s sleep. On days when you and Baby are particularly tired, it can be very helpful to have a low-key day at home. But, if you’re restless and need to get out, trying finding a friend to join you on an adventure to some place beautiful that will lift your spirits.ACTIVITY: Having a friend to grow with is a good thing and really brightens up the day, especially after a hard day’s night of trying to take care of a crabby baby! If you haven’t developed a somewhat routine friendship with another young mom and her baby, look around for such a friend. Additionally, it is fun to plan some simple “field trips,” which can be done just with Baby, or with another dynamite mother/baby duo. If you haven’t been to a flower shop or plant nursery, consider stopping in. If it’s winter and you can, indulge in a flowering plant to brighten up your home, and then you will have a friendly plant to grow with too! Visiting a greenhouse can be as breathtaking as walking through a garden. Make sure Baby doesn’t grab or damage any of the plants, but give him some opportunities to smell the delightful fragrances and touch a texture or two with one chubby finger.
211. Standing Up
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15
PRAYER: Dear Holy God, as Baby learns to stand, help him to always stand up for what is right and good! Please bless us all with the ability to stand firm in our faith, trusting you in all things and at all times. THOUGHT: Learning to stand is a great milestone. Learning to stand for Truth is an even greater milestone for each of us! ACTIVITY: At this stage, Baby will love to practice standing: from lying on the floor, to sitting up, to a full stand. Have you ever tried “Bouncey-Bounce”? Hold Baby with your hands supporting him just under his arms. He can be “standing” on your lap or on the floor. Lift him just a tiny bit and let him down, saying, “Bouncey-bounce!” See if you can get him to bend his knees and try to jump a little in rhythm with you. Next, teach him to anticipate what you’re going to do by saying, “Bounce high” (while lifting him slightly off the ground), “Bounce low” (while pulling down a little to try to get him to bend her knees), “and up we go!” (while lifting him a foot or two into the air, as if he’s bouncing up on a trampoline). In a week or so, after he gets the hang of the game, see if you can get him to bounce up and down on his own just by saying, “Bouncey-bounce” and bouncing your own body a little. Practice with him at times when he’s standing and hanging on to the edge of the couch but without your support. Of course, if he really likes the game, after he bouncey-bounces for you, he’s going to want to you play bouncey-bounce with him so he can “fly” up in the air again. Playing with Mama is even more fun than showing off for her!