“The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:19
PRAYER: Oh Jehovah-Tsidkenu, truly you are the Lord, our righteousness! Please give us strength to do what is right and climb every mountain for you!
THOUGHT: Baby may be ready for some lessons in safely climbing staircases. Going up is dangerous but intuitive. If Baby hasn’t already frightened you by trying to climb stairs, be proactive and start lessons!ACTIVITY: If she hasn’t started already, sometime between now and when she’s a year old, try tempting Baby into learning how to climb stairs by placing a toy up one step higher on the staircase than she can reach and see if she’ll climb a step to get it. Once she’s good at going up, she needs to learn the harder skill of how to go down. To get down safely, she has to turn around on her tummy and back down, feeling for a firm footing on the step below her. This is really complicated, but you can help by placing her on her tummy at the top of the stairs and then gently helping her turn around, scooting her a few inches slowly backward until you can place her foot on the first stair down. Also, if you can persuade her to stop after she’s climbed a few stairs (which didn’t happen with Aaron, who was always a man on a mission and wanted to climb straight to the top once he started…so what’s new?), you can coax her to try to reverse the process and come down. Again, you can help her feel her way with her feet, and if you stay right behind her, encouraging her and helping her feel secure (perhaps even with a hand gently on her back), it won’t take long before she’s got the feel of climbing both up and down.
“Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.” Isaiah 55:2 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Dear blessed and holy ruler, our commander, you are El-Olam, the everlasting God! You know what is good for us and what is bad. Teach us to discern good and evil and always choose good. Please bless Baby with discernment too, and protect him from his own curiosity. Keep our entire family away from every form of self-destruction.
THOUGHT: I can remember most of my kids grinning at my dismay over a mouthful of masticated dirt oozing down their chins. Furthermore, I can remember liking the taste of dirt myself, and I can remember secretly sucking on pebbles! It seems crazy to me now, but I only confess to clarify that not everything that is bad for Baby will taste bad to Baby. I remember with fresh horror the day I found Aaron guzzling down the tail end of a beer someone had discarded in a public park, and I remember catching Joel as a toddler trying to scrape bubble gum off a laundromat floor.ACTIVITY: Be sure to teach Baby the meaning of the word “Yukky.” Well, you may have a different name you want to use, but find a word that means, “That’s no good for you! Don’t eat that!” and use it every time you see Baby attempting to dine on inedible cuisine. Wrinkle up your nose as if it is really awful stuff, and shake your head back and forth. Don’t be too quick to take his prize away unless you think Baby is actually in danger of choking or being poisoned, but always remove what is truly harmful.
“Let him turn away from evil and do good.” 1 Peter 3:11 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Father God, you are a consuming fire, but we also know that for us you are a refining fire, and every time we get burned, you’re trying to train us to turn away from evil and do good. May we learn our lessons as quickly and painlessly as possible!
THOUGHT: I’ll never forget Michael helping me unload glass for recycling. While I was gingerly placing the bottles into the bin so they wouldn’t break, little Commando Michael was gleefully launching them like nuclear warheads, exploding in victorious triumph over every nerve-jangling crash! So, you can just imagine Aaron’s delight when he discovered that the small lever on a toilet could cause such a stirring commode-tion! Meantime, you might consider turning your toilet paper rolls around so they unroll from the back. Babies develop a fascination for patting the toilet paper roll with a downward stroke (which will only help wind it up better if it unrolls by having to pull down from the back rather than the front), so if you don’t want T.P. unwound all over the bathroom floor and pulled like a fire hose down the hallway…it might be time to adjust your program for obtaining T.P.ACTIVITY: Try practicing the names of body parts in front of the mirror, both yours and Baby’s: eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands. Try dangling a lightweight bracelet or rubber band on one of your ears and let Baby take it off. Then, dangle the same object on one of his ears and see if he can figure out how to get it off. Let him watch himself munching an apple or cracker in front of the mirror while you comment on how delicious it tastes. It might be time to add “yummy.” “Yummy” and “yukky” sound pretty similar, but if you illustrate with good facial expressions each time, Baby will quickly learn to distinguish them.
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?…Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands.” Psalm 8:3-4,6
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for the Star out of Jacob, our Lord Jesus Christ! May he always be the guiding star of our lives. Thank you that he is the bright and morning star, the first and the last, the beginning and the end… and that he will come again one day to take us home to be with him forever! Please bless Baby, dear Father. May he grow up to be strong, sweet, and full of faith and goodness. Help me to train him up in the way he should go, and may he stay close to you throughout his life.
THOUGHT: The 277th day in Aaron’s life was July Fourth. What a grand day to celebrate! Hasn’t the Lord given us an amazing world to explore and enjoy? Be sure to take advantage of the “freebies” in your community, such as parades for holidays and concerts in the park in the summer. Call your Chamber of Commerce for a schedule and try to enjoy some of the seasonal happy happenings in your area.
ACTIVITY: I would never intentionally try to make Baby aware of the sun, since directly staring at the sun can cause blindness, but if you have Baby out at night, see if you can get him to respond to the moon. He might be able to see it and point to it, although he probably won’t respond to stars yet. Here are a couple of poems to share on starry nights:
“I see the moon and the moon sees me!
God bless Baby, and God bless me.”
“Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight.
I wish I may, I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight.”
“Thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.” Psalm 27:9
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your constant care for us, more tender than a nursing mother’s care for her infant! Thank you for being our servant as well as our Lord! May I be a humble servant for my family as well as their authoritative mother!
THOUGHT: Only by God’s grace can we learn to lead by humble love and service.
ACTIVITY: Whether or not Baby has started waving yet, he might enjoy a windmill, which is a little toy that spins when it’s whisked through the air. You can teach him that there’s more than one way to skin this cat: the wind caused by vigorous arm movements, or the wind created by blowing. Let him try making the windmill spin by waving his arm first. Then, let him try the “hard” way. Blow gently on the windmill and make it go around, then blow very gently on Baby’s face so he feels the air. Blow on Baby’s hands and arm, and then see if you can get Baby to blow on you. (Be prepared for some fallout; babies are often very spitty when they try to blow.) If you have any wind chimes, blow gently on them, talking to Baby about the lovely sound that’s made by blowing. Invite Baby to blow on the wind chimes and see if he can make them tinkle. (You might hold his hands so he doesn’t break the chimes if his instinct is to grab and pull.) Then, try him some more on the windmill. He may get the hang of blowing, but you may have to help position the windmill so it will catch the air. If he’s not ready yet, make it spin for him a few times, and then put it away, trying again in a day or two. In a few weeks, if he hasn’t accidentally destroyed it first, he will become an old hand at zipping it through the air.
“Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” Isaiah 7:15
PRAYER: Father, thank you for the wondrous bread of God, Jesus, our bread of life!
THOUGHT: Learning to refuse evil and choose good is a life long process, but it all begins with having experiences with what is truly good so we know it exists!ACTIVITY: Here’s an activity to help reinforce the ideas of “yummy” and “yukky.” Start by arranging about six of Baby’s favorite foods to eat, just two are three bites of each, for example: raisins, cheerios, small pieces of apple, pear, banana, finger sandwiches, baby food, and a cup with milk or water. Then, on the other side of the table, arrange six items that should not be eaten, such as toys, a book, waste basket, garbage pail, a potted plant, a rock, and one of Baby’s shirts. Hold up the inedible items one at a time and say, “Yummy?” Then act like you’re considering eating it, but then conclude, “No! Yukky,” and make your disgusted, bad-smell expression and take it off the table. After you get done, start with the items on your lunch menu. Hold up a piece of apple and say, “Yummy? Then actually eat a bit, and exclaim, “Yes! Yummy!” and offer some to Baby. In between courses, ask about some of the “yukky” entrees on the floor (or even pick up a bit of lint or crumb) and see if you can get Baby to shake her head, “No!” When you’re all done eating the first round of “yummies,” go through some of the various offerings, and see if you can get Baby to shake her head or nod with you as you inspect the possibilities and offer her this or that. Baby might even be able to make silly faces the way you do.
“Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.”
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for carrying us in your strong arms that never tire! Renew my strength, dear Lord, so that I can take joy in caring for Baby today.
THOUGHT: God renews our strength for us as we pray and wait on Him.
ACTIVITY: “Birds, Bees, and Butterflies:” Start by squawking like a seagull. When you have Baby’s attention, start waving your arms slowly up and down as if you’re a sea gull riding on the wind. Pick him up with both hands, turning him around so that he faces outward, and then “fly” him all around the room, swooping and sailing like a bird. After you’ve put him down, start making a buzzing sound like a bee. Run quickly from place to place, buzzing and flapping little wings (arms with hands on hips), pausing here and there for a busy second and then moving on. At some point (once a little suspense has built), pause in front of Baby and pick him up, continuing your “honey hunt” in little busy, bouncy movements around the room, holding him tightly against your chest, his head facing out. After Baby has been deposited back at the beehive, reincarnate yourself as a butterfly. This time make flowing, gently exaggerated up and down movements almost as if you’re a ballet dancer, gracefully stopping here and there to inspect a “flower” (table, chair, etc.). After a few inspections, discover Baby as if he is a totally unexpected treasure! Hold him up high, his face toward you and looking over your shoulder. Swing him gently from side to side and practically float around the room, setting him momentarily on any handy items of furniture before moving on. When you’re tired, set him down where he has something else to distract him before you get too worn out!