“Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.” Psalm 149:2
PRAYER: Dear God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for loving the world so much that you gave your uniquely begotten son, Jesus Christ, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life! Oh, Lord, please bless Baby. May he grow up understanding your great love for him, and may he respond by repenting of his sins and accepting your free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord!
THOUGHT: Perhaps the greatest blessing anyone can their child is teaching him that Jesus loves his and died so that he can be saved and have eternal life.
ACTIVITY: Try singing “Jesus Loves Me” to Baby using hand motions too:
“Jesus (point together up to the sky) loves me (point to Baby, gently tapping his chest), this I know (nod head up and down, rocking your whole body forward and backward; when Baby is able to imitate, see if you can’t get him to nod too), for the Bible tell me so (open hand and turn over as if you’re holding a book). Little ones to him belong (cross Baby’s arms over his chest and hug him with your arms around him, swinging gently side to side); they are weak but he is strong (lift up Baby’s arms and move them up and down a little as if you’re showing off his muscles). Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me! (Three times, nod, point up, and hug Baby with your arms around his arms crossed over his chest as you sing this.) The Bible tells me so.” (Open hands like holding Bible and then nod again, rocking back and forth.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren
to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
PRAYER: Dear Father, Jesus taught us that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Please bless my family and teach us how to truly worship you in spirit and in truth…in the innermost recesses of our hearts. I don’t even really understand what you mean when you say that “the spirit of man is the candle of the LORD,” but I know you do search the deep places of our souls, and I ask you to search us, try us, and purify us by your spirit. I also acknowledge that our lives—even that of my precious baby—are just like vapors that appear for a little while and then vanish away. Oh, Lord, please bless us so that the vapor of our lives is like a healing balm to those around us. May we all enjoy the eternal life of rebirth through your spirit into a new life of unity with you and one another that will never vanish away!
THOUGHT: Will you meditate with me today on the desire Jesus has for us to live in harmonious unity with one other and with God? Just as vapors from a humidifier mingle with the air to cleanse and moisten it, so may we be soothing influences in our family.
ACTIVITY: Do you have an air purifier or a vaporizer? Talk to your pediatrician about the advisability of either in your situation. A vaporizer is a great thing for adding moisture to the air, and in many circumstances it can make breathing easier for a sick baby. Some devices have the ability to add a bit of camphor into the air to open up the airways too. Check with your doctor to see if a vaporizer would be a good thing for Baby when he’s sick, or perhaps even during the winter months if you have forced air heat or your home is excessively dry.
“But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD.” Psalm 73:28
PRAYER: Precious God and Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for inviting us to come to you and find rest when we tired and stressed. Thank you for being our refuge, and for your everlasting arms. Help both Baby and me to be like very young children who have drawn near to you and are quiet and serene, trusting in the security of our heavenly Father’s loving arms.
THOUGHT: I’ve always thought a mother should welcome her children to her arms and lap at all times, but that the more secure the child is, the more he will want to hop down and explore the world around him.
ACTIVITY: Do you have a baby walker? Baby walkers have a seat suspended in the middle of a circular, wheeled vehicle that moves easily in all directions and usually has a tray for small toys as part of the “bumper” system to keep Baby safe from falling over or bumping into anything hard. Once Baby is sitting in the seat he can bounce up and down with his feet, which just touch the floor, and practice maneuvering in all directions, simulating the freedom of walking before he has the strength and coordination to be upright and mobile on his own. We inherited a walker from one of Dad’s cousins, and what a hit! For us, it was the perfect way to help our babies to keep upright, breathing easily, and entertained even when they had colds or weren’t feeling very spunky. Over the years, I’ve heard that there’ve been many accidents with walkers, though, so be sure to block off stairs and remove all dangerous appliances, dangling cords, breakable objects, choking hazards, inedible plants (etc.) from Baby’s reach before letting your little scooter loose.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, you are the blessed and good shepherd who gave your life for us. We are your people and the sheep of your pasture. How we long to follow closely, walking under the shelter of your arms! Don’t let us go astray. Please keep Baby and me from turning away from you and stubbornly trying to find our own way in life. Lead our family, gentle shepherd; how we need your tender care!
THOUGHT: I knew at least one healthy, bright eight-month-old who had not yet learned to roll and would cry if you put her on her tummy on the floor. She only wanted to sit. What if Baby seems intent on bypassing one of the normal steps in the process of growing up? Well, first of all, I wouldn’t worry, at least not for a long time. But, I would make an extra effort to develop games that use the skill you’re hoping Baby will learn.
ACTIVITY: Babies take a huge number of cues from their parents. If Baby seems to have no interest in learning how to roll over, or is having trouble learning how to roll, try putting Baby on the floor on his back or tummy, but get down on the floor on your back or tummy too. If you want Baby to roll over, gently roll him over. Or, if he really likes to sit up and doesn’t want to roll over, let him sit up while you lie down on the floor in front of him and roll over. Try rolling over and back. Roll away from him and toward him. Smile and say, “Whee!” like it’s really fun. Babies are great imitators, and they’ll usually want to do whatever they see you doing. If my firstborn, Aaron, didn’t like a certain food, I’d take a bite myself and say, “Umm! Yummy!” which often encouraged him to try again.
“I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” Psalm 143:6 (ESV)
PRAYER: Oh, Lord, thank you for your strong arms and outstretched hands which offer to save us and deliver us from evil. May we always cling to your strong right arm and set your face before us so that our spirits will be safe and unmoved by the struggles of life.
THOUGHT: What a precious day when Baby holds his arms out to you! Be sure to hold your arms out to him too, and let him know how much you love sharing affection! Appreciate the closeness and be thankful for his embrace, because it will seem like just the twinkling of an eye before Baby is grown, gone, and having a child of his own!
ACTIVITY: How about some songs to exercise Baby’s little arms? Set him on your lap and pretend you and he are paddling a canoe together from side to side while you sing, “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream.” Then, stop and clap his hands (in yours) together while you finish, “Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.” (Or, as I liked to sing the last line: “Life is full of dreams!”) Another rowing song, an old Afro-American spiritual, depicts the Archangel Michael bringing our souls across the “Jordan River” (death) to heaven:
“Michael, row your boat ashore, Hallelujah!
Michael, row your boat ashore, Hallelujah!
‘Da Jordan River is deep and wide, hallelujah.
I’ll meet my mama on da other side, hallelujah.
‘Da Jordan River is chilly and cold, hallelujah.
Chills the body, but not da soul, hallelujah.”
“God my maker, who giveth songs in the night…” Job 35:10
PRAYER: Oh dear God our maker, give us songs to sing in the night as well as in the daytime! Help us to praise you and rejoice in you regardless of our circumstances!
THOUGHT: Do you have a plentiful supply of lullabies to sing to Baby when you’re settling her down for sleep? I used to sing lots of hymns to the kids, and as they got older, they had favorites that they would request over and over again. Michael would always ask for, “When the Roll is Called Beyond ‘er” (“When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”).
ACTIVITY: One of the most nurturing things you can do for your daughter is serenade her with songs that reassure her with the truths of God’s Word. If you can’t sing yourself, there are wonderful resources out there such as Hidden in My Heart, “a lullaby journey through Scripture” produced by the Breakaway Music company. If you’re able to sing, one of the most beautiful lullabies I know is an old Welsh traditional song called:
“All Through the Night”
“Sleep my child, and peace attend thee, all through the night.
Angels watching ever round thee, all through the night.
Guardian angels God will lend thee, in thy slumbers close surround thee,
They will let no peril harm thee, all through the night.
“Soft the drowsy hours are creeping, all through the night;
They should of all fears disarm thee, all through the night.
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping, God his loving vigil keeping,
No forebodings should alarm thee, all through the night.”
“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:24
PRAYER: Dear glorious LORD, help us to know and understand that you are loving, just, and righteous in all you do. Thank you for delighting in good and not evil. Help us to find our constant joy and glory in you and your goodness!
THOUGHT: Playing with your baby is a way of helping him explore himself and his world. If each session is a short, happy time of playing together and bonding, these daily activities will simply open doors of possibility for your baby and increase his own creative exploration. They will inspire, not stifle, his progress, and you will be his cheerleader!
ACTIVITY: How about an exercise game of “toe touchers”? Find ways of increasing Baby’s awareness of his toes, such as letting him feel the splash of water. Indoors, try holding Baby on your lap so he’s lying on his back with his feet close to your stomach and his head resting on your knees. Take his little legs in your hands and gently bring them toward his face, saying “Touch your toes!” See if he will grab them with his hands. If he doesn’t understand the game, try to gently steer his toes in the direction of his hands and see if he will try to grab them. Then, after he’s had a chance to play with his toes, say, “Touch your mama!” and bring his feet back to resting on your stomach. Guard yourself so you don’t get kicked hard! You can also add to the game, saying “Lean to the left” as you move both his legs over to his left, and “Lean to the right,” moving both his legs to the right. “Stand up!” (Lift his legs until his bottom almost rises off your lap.) “Sit down!” (Gently buckle his knees toward his face.) “Fight, fight, fight!” (Move them back and forth very fast.)