“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” Proverbs 3:25-26
PRAYER: What a great and mighty God you are, Holy Father. We see how the children of Israel were afraid of you when you made the mountain smoke and the thunder roar. And yet, Moses was able to commune with you as friend to friend until his face shone. Please bless us, Lord, with such a deep love and faith in you that we are not afraid of “sudden fears” but rather look to you with radiant faces, knowing you’ll help us.
THOUGHT: Although babies are usually afraid of loud noises until they understand them, most children adjust to the sounds of household appliances after a few months, and it’s amazing how young a baby will want to “help.” They seem programmed from birth to imitate. Before Aaron was a year old, he wanted to help run the washing machine and dryer, wash dishes, clean walls, sweep, vacuum… whatever he saw me do. “Dan the Man” had a passion for vacuum cleaners and wanted to “zapuggy” (“the plug;” he wanted to plug the vacuum in and run it) from the time he could walk and talk!
ACTIVITY: If you have the money, this might be a perfect time to invest in a few pieces of imitation equipment, such as a vacuum push toy that makes a popping sound as it’s pushed along or an imitation lawnmower. Sometimes a child will learn to walk more quickly with something to push—like a baby shopping cart, or a stroller (with the brake slightly depressed), or even a chair on a rug that slides easily across the kitchen floor. Have you got something light enough but safe for Baby to push around while he practices learning to walk? If not, a warm hand or two is always the best anyway!
“There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” Luke 12:2
PRAYER: Dear Father or Lights, thank you for your Holy Spirit, who searches our hearts. Please open my eyes so that I will confess and forsake all evil. Please train my mind to focus on you. Don’t let me stray into idle daydreaming about anything that isn’t a legitimate part of my life, remembering that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”
THOUGHT: Teaching Baby to recognize repeat patterns is a good thing. Once Baby gets sophisticated with peek-a-boo, here’s another game that will help her improve her memory and teach her more about anticipation.
ACTIVITY: Teach Baby to anticipate which hand will hold the prized food by picking up some small tasty treat off the tray in front of her with your right hand, then putting both your hands behind your back briefly. Bring them back out in front, but fisted, so that she can’t see which hand holds the snack (cheerio, banana, etc.). If she doesn’t know what to do, open both hands flat and let her take her prize. Repeat the procedure enough times until she learns to anticipate that the prize will be in your right hand. Once she’s got that down, try it with the left hand until she learns to make the change and open the left hand first. On another occasion, once she’s learned that the hand that picks up the cheerio holds it, you can vary the game by changing the prize or alternating hands, even behind your back. The important thing to remember is to establish a pattern and repeat it until she figures it out. Don’t just randomly change each time. Be sure to give her lots of cheering and clapping each time she succeeds in solving the mystery!
“O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.” Psalm 47:1
PRAYER: Father, thank you for giving us hands. Please bless Baby. Help him to become coordinated and able. May we use our hands to bring glory and joy to you.
THOUGHT: At this stage, Aaron loved to play a game of throwing a washcloth off his highchair tray for us to retrieve. At the time, Dad and I thought it was funny and would laugh, which would reinforce his behavior. However, resist the temptation to encourage any kind of a throwing game that you might not enjoy on a routine basis. ACTIVITY: Perhaps a better game would be to start working with Baby at ball. Sit opposite him on the floor with your legs open in a wide V (to make it easier to catch the ball). Use a ball that is big enough for him to grasp easily (like a four-to-six inch diameter plastic ball from the grocery store). If both parents are available, demonstrate several rounds of having Dad and Mom rolling the ball back and forth between each other. You can also try demonstrating the game by having Dad say, “Roll the ball to Daddy,” after he’s rolled it to Mama, and visa versa, so Baby also gets to hear the command and can begin to get some idea of what “Roll the ball” means. Then, gently roll the ball so it lands between Baby’s legs right in front of him. After he’s had a chance to check it out, say, “Roll the ball to Mama (or Daddy)!” If he still doesn’t have a clue what to do, reach over and help him roll it, saying, “Good!” Quickly send it back to him and see if you can get him to push it or throw it back to you. If he doesn’t want to give up the ball, and the game just seems to frustrate him, then wait a couple of weeks and try again. If you make it fun and give him lots of approval, it won’t take many tryouts before he’ll make the team.
“The darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” Psalm 139:11-12
PRAYER: Dear Father of Lights, thank you that even when it’s gloomy outside, there is no darkness dwelling in you. Thank you that you are the essence of light. Thank you that your vision is even better than infrared! The darkness and the light are both alike to you! You can see through anything. Please help us to be children of light, to love the light, to come to the light and walk in the light.
THOUGHT: What can you do on a stormy day when you can’t get outside and you and Baby both have cabin fever? It’s always such a relief when Baby will amuse himself for a little while and give you some space to either work or relax. Here are two ideas for objects to put in Baby’s hands to help occupy him:
ACTIVITY: Pushing a chair around the kitchen floor is a good game. If you don’t want the floor scratched, tie old rags or pieces of felt to the bottom with rubber bands. If you’re going to be sitting anywhere for a few minutes with Baby in a playpen beside you, how about investing in a another musical instrument? Have you seen a “rain stick”? It’s a long piece of wood (or plastic) with tiny seeds or beads sealed inside that make a soft rattling sound almost like rain falling when the stick is turned from end to end. Once Baby gets the hang of how to turn the stick upside down, he may be fascinated by making it “rain” for a long time. It also makes a great diversion when you have to be inside in spring due to inclement weather. Then, you can have rain inside and out!
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” Hebrews 5:12
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for your great patience with us as we struggle to walk in the Spirit. May we learn to be consistent in goodness. Forgive us when we start to stray away, and draw us back to yourself. Please help me to be patient with Baby too, as he struggles to grow up. Help me to encourage him continually toward maturity.
THOUGHT: Most of us find that life has a “two steps forward, one step back” rhythm, so why should we be surprised when Baby reverts back to an earlier stage for a while? Remember pregnancy? For most mothers, morning sickness came and went, but not all at once. I can remember thinking, “Whew! That’s all past me,” and then in a few days I’d feel sick again. But, maybe not as sick, and probably not for as long. So it is with our spiritual life in Christ, and so it is with Baby! We make progress, and then we regress. The happy reality for most of us is that we keep trying and growing. May we extend patience to our little one as he struggles to grow up, just as our Lord does for us. ACTIVITY: Try a “give and take” imitation game that might encourage Baby to be willing to eat real food if he’s reverted to just wanting to nurse. Try playing with two empty cups, one for you and one for him. Pretend to drink out of the cup and see if you can get him to pretend to drink out of his. If he does, ask him if he’d like some water and pour a little bit in each of your cups. Drink some and smack your lips. “Yummy!” See if he will do the same. This can be done with bits of food on plates as well.
“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” Isaiah 45:3
PRAYER: Oh Father, help me to be as persistent in seeking you as Baby is in seeking me! Help me to appreciate Baby’s desire for constant companionship. May I be able to meet his needs and learn from him more about hungering and thirsting for You.
THOUGHT: When Baby starts getting clever about going around doors, you can set up all sorts of fun “obstacle courses” with you hiding behind or peeking over to encourage Baby to find a way around.
ACTIVITY: You can bring Baby into the bathroom and hop in the (empty) tub, closing the curtain part way. See if Baby will come over and pull at the curtain or scoot down to the end of the tub so he can see around it. Drape a beach towel or sheet over one end of the kitchen table and crawl behind it. Push one end of the couch or chair away from the wall and crawl behind it. Open a closet door part way and disappear behind it. Set up a stack of couch cushions between you and Baby and peek over the top. Set up a row of kitchen chairs and sit behind them where Baby can see you. See if he can figure out how to crawl around them to reach you. Be sure to always give Baby lots of hugs and kisses when he succeeds, and let him know everything’s for fun! If anything frustrates him so much that he quits trying to figure out how to get to you or starts to cry, come to him and show him how to do it. Be sure he always feels loved and ultimately successful in finding you. Remember, success at this stage for both of you is simply sharing fun and affection while you learn about each other and the world around you.
“I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God…my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. Deliver me…” Psalm 69:3,13-14
PRAYER: Oh Father, I know that you are the Great Physician and the divine healer. There is healing in your name and shelter under your wings. I pray that you would save us and heal us from all our infirmities of body, soul, and spirit.
THOUGHT: When Baby’s sick, it’s an ideal time to spend more of your activity time in quiet lap play where Baby’s main job is to absorb information rather than provide physical responses…much like we prefer reading or watching videos rather than vacuuming when we’re sick!
ACTIVITY: Do you have any pop-up books yet? When you turn a page in a pop-up book, something three-dimensional emerges for extra visual and tactile enjoyment, much to Baby’s surprise and delight. In experiments, researchers have found that even eight-month-old babies definitely take in material from simple books. Furthermore, psychologists have found that reading a story three or more times during a one-day period makes children very familiar with the vocabulary and sound sequences, and the theory is that repeated reading of simple books can speed up a child’s rate of vocabulary acquisition as much as 70% (Baby Minds). So, don’t be afraid to reread those same old stories, and don’t be afraid to check out “something old and something new” when you borrow books from the library. Ten times through may bore you, but not Baby!