“Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:4
PRAYER: Oh precious Father, thank you for being “on duty” for us 24/7. Sometimes as mothers, it seems like we are up all night. Help us to remember that you are “up all night” every night…that you are constantly vigilant to love and care for us! Thank you so much! Help me to be courageous and able to care for my little one by day and by night.
THOUGHT: Songs will penetrate more deeply into the soul than almost any other form of communication. I can remember singing with my children at a nursing home where an aged woman could no longer speak, but when we began singing “Silent Night,” she lit up and sang too! Instill God’s Word in your children’s hearts through song; it will do them a lifetime of good, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
ACTIVITY: Here’s one more classic lullaby, “Brahm’s Lullaby.” There are many lyrical variations, although I used parts of some and added my own thoughts in this version:
“Lullaby, and good night, close your sleepy eyes tight,
With the Lord as our aid, we need never be afraid!
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed.
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed.
“Lullaby, and good night, in our Savior delight,
He our guardian will be; we can sleep peacefully.
Soft and warm is your bed, close your eyes, sleepy head.
Soft and warm is your bed, close your eyes, sleepy head.
“Lullaby and goodnight, may your dreams all be bright.
We can trust in God’ love and his watch care from above.
With our Father so near, we can sleep without fear.
With our Father so near, we can sleep without fear.”
“All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.”
1 Corinthians 16:20
PRAYER: Dear Holy God, thank you for all the affection you lavish on us. Thank you for calling us to be your children. Thank you for loving us and for instructing us to love one another. Help us to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. May we always share a delight in being with each other and be full of genuine affection and love.
THOUGHT: I had two “spiritual mothers” (mentors) who were sisters. They were just toddlers when their mother died giving birth to twins. Their father was a very godly but reserved man who never gave the girls any physical affection. The older sister became extremely affectionate, but the younger sister told me she never learned how to be warm until she had grandchildren who overwhelmed her with their hugs and kisses. Whether or not you were emotionally nurtured as a child, please start now by giving your baby lots of (strictly non-sexual) physical affection! Help her experience safe, healthy warmth. This will satisfy her emotional needs and protect her from inappropriate, sexual touch.
ACTIVITY: How about some practice at greeting one another with a “holy kiss.” It may be some time before Baby gives you an unmistakable kiss, but she will learn faster if you give her some opportunities to return the affection of kisses. Try making a smacking sound and see if you can get her to imitate it. Kiss her on the cheek, and then put your cheek against her mouth and see if she’ll kiss you. When your most loved and trusted friends and family members leave, be sure to kiss them goodbye, and give them the opportunity to exchange kisses with your daughter too. It won’t be long before she’ll be as excited as you are to see beloved company.
“O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.” Psalm 98:1
PRAYER: Dear LORD, you are amazing! Thank you for being our Almighty God who does marvelous things and is victorious over evil and sin. Thank you for having a “right hand” and a “holy arm,” and for giving us hands and arms. Please bless baby! As he learns to use his hands and arms, may he become strong both in body and in spirit. Please bless him with a deep determination to use his strength for good, the way you do!
THOUGHT: This is the stage where Baby will begin using his arms to balance himself while sitting, to reach out and grab, to pull himself around on the floor, and eventually struggle to a stand. Encourage his arm strength and dexterity by playing games that require him to coordinate his hands and arm movements.
ACTIVITY: It’s not too early to play with balls, although they can be pretty frustrating unless Baby is in a somewhat confined area so the ball can’t roll too far away. The ideal ball for a six-month-old is a ball with about a three-inch diameter that doesn’t roll too fast, such as a softball or tennis ball, although a spare basketball, volleyball, or soccer ball can also work. In a pinch, even an empty oatmeal box or margarine container works, as Aaron proved! Anything that rolls when touched or pushed makes for some great ball-handling practice for our budding athlete!
“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for being our shield and protector. Please bless Baby by keeping him tucked safely under the shelter of your wings. Please keep us all from straying away from you and your tender, loving care!
THOUGHT: Every new game is another strand in the fabric of happiness that bonds you with Baby. Have you been enjoying the perennial favorite, “peek-a-boo” yet?
ACTIVITY: Peek-a-boo is a great game for Baby! Not only will she learn very quickly and naturally to pull a cloth off her own head, she will also learn to pull a cloth off your head as well. Start with asking, “Where is Baby?” and put the cloth over her head so that her eyes are covered too. She will just naturally pull it off. When she does, say, “Peek-a-boo!” excitedly and clap. After she’s got that trick down, then put the cloth over your head and say, “Where is Mama?” Lean close enough to her so that she can easily reach up and grab the cloth. Reward her with a big smile and more excited clapping! (Tie your hair back if it’s long and you don’t want it accidentally pulled.) Another variation is to put the cloth over a doll or stuffed animal’s head and say, “Peek-a….” waiting for Baby to pull off the cover. When she does, say “Boo!” and tickle her or clap. If she’s really good at imitating, you can try the game by covering her eyes with your hands and letting her pull them away, or covering your own eyes with your hands and then taking them off quickly, saying “Peek-a-boo!” At some point, Baby will be able to put her hands over her own eyes and pull them off again too, long before she’ll be able to say “Peek-a-boo!”
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” Revelation 19:11
PRAYER: Dear Father, what an amazing picture of Jesus we see in this verse. Thank you that our Savior and Lord is faithful and true. Thank you that we can count on him to always do the right things, and that even in judgment and war he is completely righteous. Oh dear Lord, please give Baby and me wise and unwavering hearts to walk in the ways of faith and truth. May we always desire to be like Jesus and walk in his steps!
THOUGHT: Although Baby can be completely happy at home most of the time, outings are very expanding for Baby and well worth the effort. I spent a lot of time trying to make sure my kids’ needs were met, but I quickly realized that many of the activities were also very beneficial for me. Trips to museums and adventures in nature are truly refreshing and often truly educational for the parent as well as the child! ACTIVITY: Outings to world-class museums and parks are wonderful, and a six-month-old will take in an amazing amount of information as well as enjoying the whole experience. Aaron learned a huge amount from studying the paintings on the walls of the Detroit Institute of Art and the exhibits at Detroit’s Museum of Natural History, which were just three blocks from our campus apartment. On the other hand, an outing to any neighborhood museum or park can be a grand adventure. Have you checked your local Chamber of Commerce for information on what is free in your area? Almost every community has a surprising number of opportunities for learning and pleasure. Reach out with all four hands—yours and Baby’s—to embrace the wealth of life around you!
“It is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor that he takes under the sun all the days of his life, which God gives him.”
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Provider, thank you for creating us with the capacity to eat and drink…to work hard and enjoy life. Please bless Baby with a stout heart to work hard, a quick mind to learn well, and a cheerful soul to enjoy life!
THOUGHT: If you enjoy working with Baby now, she’ll enjoy working with you later!ACTIVITY: Learning to drink out of a cup without spilling is a real challenge, and we found it helpful to let Aaron practice with a cup in the bathtub until he got the hang of drinking and figured out the physics of falling liquids. After Baby’s cup is empty, let her practice putting a spoon in the cup or a bowl and taking it out. If she can’t figure it out, show her. Remember to be patient with Baby’s experimenting and practicing. Try to keep in mind that the largest part of what makes her throw toys and dump solutions is simple curiosity. “What will happen if…” The second most likely reason is simply the learning curve needed to develop motor coordination. If you can say, “Oh, no!” and look disappointed without losing your temper, that is probably the best way to cue Baby that her action was not on your “approved” list. I really tried to understand Aaron’s motives (which bordered on impossible) and give him the benefit of the doubt. Empathize with accidents, instruct where curiosity is driving the behavior, and be slow to scold, saving that only for times when you are convinced the behavior was direct and intentional disobedience. At all times, be careful to retain your composure as much as possible, because some children actually delight in upsetting their parents.
“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:3
PRAYER: Precious Savior, fill my mouth with songs of praise! May my life exalt you in such a way that Baby and others learn to revere you and trust in you!
THOUGHT: Do you have an old purse or cloth bag that you aren’t using anymore? This can make a perfect “Surprise Package” to fill with new items for Baby to explore.
ACTIVITY: Maybe after breakfast while you’re cleaning up the kitchen you can plop down your surprise bag and see if he can figure out how to get at the toy inside, or you can use the purse in his car seat for diversion while you’re traveling. You might have to show him how to open it the first few times, and he might drop the purse and lose it before he can get the surprise out unless you can keep it within easy reach by securing it somehow. What are some good items to tuck into a surprise bag? Toys that are made for babies are your best bet, but kitchen supplies can work as long as you keep a watchful eye on Baby. A plastic baby bottle, a pacifier or teething ring, a clean, non-toxic, empty container (such as an old dish detergent bottle that has been completely emptied and cleaned), a wooden spoon, a plastic bowl, a rubber ball, etc. Use your imagination, but also use your head! Only you really know what is going to be good for your Baby, and if you have any doubts, don’t just assume “it’ll be okay.” If you’re not sure, sit with Baby and play with him while he explores. See what he does and how he handles new experiences. Some babies are coordinated and seem almost intuitively able to handle certain objects safely long before others can.