“And ye shall seek me, and find me,
when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
PRAYER: Oh God, you are the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity. Though we know you, yet we know so little about you! We worship you because you are infinite. Thank you that no matter how hard and long we try, we will never discover all there is to learn about you. Help us to seek you with all our hearts, and may we find out more and more about you daily as we meditate on your word and learn to walk in your spirit.
THOUGHT: Even though Baby may be off and crawling, he will still love games where he is held. Every once in a while when Baby comes to you, try rewarding him by swooping him up in your arms, giving him a big hug and kiss, and playing a little game with him. It will only take you a couple of minutes, but it will be just another opportunity for you to express love and interest in your child. If you’re super busy, try putting him down in front of some fascinating toys after you’re done.
ACTIVITY: Here’s one called Tick Tock. Hold Baby in front of you while you say: “Tick tock, tick tock, I’m a little cuckoo clock.” (Swing Baby back and forth in time with chanting.) “Tick tock, tick tock, now I’m striking one o’clock! (Continue swinging Baby in rhythm.) “Dong!” (Sound like a heavy clock tower chiming and lift Baby high up in the air.) This can be repeated with “two o’clock” and “three o’clock.” It is said that starting over with one o’clock is more effective at this age than actually going all the way to twelve o’clock, simply because babies can learn to discriminate up to three of anything but normally not more. After three, items just become a “bunch.” So, repeating “one, two, three” several times will teach Baby more than counting to ten.
“But whoever hearkens unto me shall dwell safely,
and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” Proverbs 1:33
PRAYER: Oh wise Counselor, teach us the ways of wisdom. Help us to be obedient to you. May my family dwell safely and be quiet from the fear of evil. I declare with Joshua of old, “As for me and for my house, we will serve the Lord!”
THOUGHT: Playing with Baby is an excellent way to begin a lifelong mentoring relationship. As Baby learns to enjoy activities and learning from you, he will all the more naturally turn to you for advice and wisdom later on. This is a huge responsibility and privilege, but rest assured that God very intentionally entrusted your little one to you!
ACTIVITY: Another car game that teaches memory and anticipation is using a puppet that appears over the seat. If Daddy is driving and you are sitting in front of Baby, bring a little hand puppet. When Baby gets fussy, call to him, “Baby!” and about three seconds later make the puppet appear over your right shoulder. Let the puppet talk to him for a minute or sing a little song and get his attention before disappearing. Then call, “Baby!” again, and have the puppet appear over your right shoulder after another three-second delay. Do this several times, and if you have a mirror on your visor, check to see if Baby starts looking over your right shoulder when he hears, “Baby!” even before the puppet appears. Once he has learned to anticipate where the puppet will appear, change, and let the puppet appear over your left shoulder, or over your head, or around the edge of the seat. Each time, let the puppet appear from the same place two or three times and see if Baby can learn to anticipate the future a little. (This game also works fine at home, but it just happens to be a good car trick, and car tricks are harder to come by!)
“The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.” Psalm 95:5
PRAYER: Father, thank you for making the sand along the seashore. Thank you for every building block on earth, from mountains to microscopic molecules of sea and sand.
THOUGHT: If you have a clean beach anywhere, sun-warmed sand makes a soothing, fascinating play area and has great potential for crawling, digging, rolling, shaping, and best of all: eating. Actually, I always worried that one of the kids would choke to death on sand, but they never did! Inevitably, Baby will experiment, and that means putting some sand in his mouth, but just say, “Yukky!” and make a face. Sand doesn’t taste good to Baby either, so usually one or two trials are enough to convince him that leaving sand off the picnic menu is okay. ACTIVITY: If you don’t have a beach handy, you can make a tiny sandbox in a dishpan and set Baby and sandbox outside on the grass for an afternoon adventure with you. Dirty sand can be harmful for Baby’s delicate lungs, so test your sand by stirring a spoonful in a glass of water. If the water remains cloudy, there’s too much dirt in it to be safe. If you don’t mind the cost and mess, a box of cornmeal can be substituted, although Baby may decide he likes the taste of this kind of “sand!” Sit with Baby and play with him. Run the sand through your fingers. Fill a cup with the sand and pour it out. Teach him the concepts of “fast” and “slow,” and work with him on the ideas of “full and “empty.” Add a little water and make some sandy-mud pies or build a drip castle or bucket-shaped mountain. If you have any little matchbox cars, build a roadway and run your cars on the “race track.” Dabbling in sand is a marvelous way to spend some creative playtime!
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7
PRAYER: Oh Great God, we bow before you, acknowledging you as our Lord, Savior, and Master! Thank you that you are all these things as well as our tender, merciful father and friend! Thank you that you have time for us and room on your lap anytime of the day or night. Help me to be inspired by your availability, and help me to be open to Baby’s needs for fellowship and fun.
THOUGHT: Children can spend seemingly endless hours playing with their parents without ever appearing the least bit bored! However, parents sometimes run out of bright ideas for games. Try keeping a list of the games that Baby really enjoys.
ACTIVITY: Don’t forget the very simple children’s favorite, “I’m a Little Teapot.”It’s great fun, although Baby may have to be a little older to really catch on and imitate the motions with you:
“I’m a little tea pot, short and stout”
(Stand with your hands on your hips swaying back and forth)
“Here is my handle”
(Left arm out while leaning to left and then back to position on hip)
“And here is my spout!”
(Lean to right, extending right arm into position like a spout pointing down)
“When I get all steamed up, here me SHOUT!”
(Cup both hands over mouth while shouting “SHOUT!”)
“So tip me over and pour me out!”
(Lean to left and then way over to right)
“Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.” Psalms 89:26
PRAYER: Dear God above, thank you for being my God, my father, and the rock of my salvation. Please bless Baby, dear Lord, and give him faith to believe in you so that he will become your child too, just as soon as he’s old enough to understand who Jesus is and how he lived and died to save us from our sins. Help us to be quick to repent when we sin and quick to trust you to deliver us from every dangerous situation. We adore you, Lord! Thank you for being such a great father to us!
THOUGHT: Playing with Mama is the staff of life for Baby’s soul, but playing with Daddy is like eating cake! Since my husband was in medical school and residency during my first four kids’ early years, he had to study long hours after supper, but he always tried to find a little time to play. Also, once my firstborn got big enough to figure out where his father was studying, he’d crawl right off to the bedroom to fetch him, singing a little to himself as he went. As Alan and Aaron proved, if the father will spend a little time playing with his son every day, he will be richly rewarded by having a son who really loves him!ACTIVITY: A big, empty box turned on its side is an awesome toy at this age. Call your local grocery, furniture, or appliance store, and usually you can track down someone who will be happy to save a big box for you. (If you have to fold it down to get it home, you can reconstruct it later). At this stage, you don’t even have to decorate, but if you want to, draw some faces or make a mural, or you can cut out some windows and decorate it like a barn or house.
- Becoming More Skillful in Handling Things
“Every one that uses milk is not skillful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe.” Hebrews 5:13
PRAYER: Dear Father, I am not as skillful in handling the Word of God as I would like to be. Please inspire me to a deeper study of your word, and help me to trust in the rightness of the Bible in the midst of a culture that runs so contrary to your truths. As it declares in Psalm 7:9, you are “the righteous God.” Please try my heart and establish justice in me. Help me to lead Baby into the paths of righteousness for your name’s sake.
THOUGHT: Buying jars of baby food is very convenient, but if you have the time and energy to make your own, you can just grind up supper and save any leftovers in small plastic containers for breakfast or lunch the next day. Be sure whenever you warm up food to test a tiny bit on the palm-side of your wrist. Mother fingers are too tough to make adequate thermometers for food, bottle, or bath, but the inside of the wrist is tender and a better indicator of what will be pleasingly warm for Baby (always think warm, never hot!).
ACTIVITY: While Baby is waiting for his supper, here is a great game: Take a silk scarf or piece of brightly colored cloth and stick it in an empty tissue box. Set the box in front of Baby. If he doesn’t figure out what to do, demonstrate by pulling the scarf out and then stuffing it back in. This game can also be done by stuffing the scarf into an empty waxed paper or plastic wrap tube (although Baby won’t be able to stuff it back in). Stuff most of the scarf into the tube, leaving just a tiny bit hanging out for Baby to grab and pull!