“I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.”
PRAYER: Dear Father, how patient and kind you are with us! Thank you that we can be “confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). You love us, and you will keep working in us. Please bless Baby! Pour out your spirit on her tiny life. Fill her with your love, and teach her from her earliest days to love and trust you in everything. Thank you for teaching us the way of wisdom and leading us in right paths. Help me to teach Baby how to walk by faith as I respond to Micah 6:8, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Help me to “fly along” in the ways of goodness and grace!
THOUGHT: We have found a multitude of uses for an eraser board. Not only are they good for racing cars down the backside, they are good for practicing artwork with toddlers, and they’re great for holding all the pieces of a puzzle that you’re trying to put together or keeping legos or other small toys “on the building site.”
ACTIVITY: Toys with wheels are exhilarating for boys and girls. In fact, my girlfriend Brenda used to have a pit pass to record the Nascar Races in Daytona, so racing can definitely be fun for everyone! One easy way to make a very exciting track for a toy car is by leaning a piece of cardboard or the back side of an eraser board against a footstool at an angle so that Baby can set the car at the top and let it zip down the board and off onto the floor. If you have two cars, you could hold races, but at this age, it will probably be exciting enough just to watch the car zip down to the floor over and over and over!
“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.”
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for having so many, many different roles in my life! Thank you for being a consuming fire to try me and refine me. You are the holy purifier, but you are also the water of life to quench my thirsty soul. You are my shepherd, my king, my intercessor and priest. You are my father who nurtures, trains, and loves me, and you are a brother who walks with me and carries me when I become exhausted. You are my heavenly bridegroom and husband. You are my holy spirit to guide and comfort. You are my rock, my shelter, and my refuge! Your thoughts toward me are too wonderful and too many to be able to understand them all! Thank you for being all things wise and wonderful! Help me to be a wise and wonderful mother to Baby too; may I reflect your love by day and by night!
THOUGHT: Call your local chamber of commerce for information on what’s available for water play. In fact, make friends with the folks at your local chamber of commerce. They are usually brimming over with information about all that is fun, interesting, educational, and often free in your area! ACTIVITY: Water play is one of those perennial favorites that never grows old. Of course the dearest and best is probably a daily play in a clean, warm tub, but if the weather’s hot, be sure to find some cool water outdoors and make use of it! If you have a lawn sprinkler and swim suits, you can create your own water park for Baby. Or, perhaps there’s a public park with a swimming pool or a lake where you can swim. Enjoy!
“Yes, you shall see your children’s children, and peace upon Israel.”
PRAYER: Dear father, you are the Ancient of Days, from everlasting to everlasting. You are the self-existent one who was here before the universe came into existence, and you will remain after all the stars have burned out. You tell us in Deuteronomy 5 that show mercy to thousands of those who love you and keep your commandments. Oh, Lord, I pray that you will bless Baby and me. May we see our children’s children! May we see your hand of mercy protect and keep Israel. May you bless Israel—and all the world—with your heavenly peace.
THOUGHT: One of my favorite children’s books of poetry is Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. It’s probably not too early to get a copy and start reading to your little one! The book is filled with cheerful thoughts such as, “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” That is true. It is also true that the world is full of insecurities and difficult circumstances for Baby, so he will need lots of comfort along the way. Ultimately, our happiness comes from knowing that God is with us and will carry us through this life and up to heaven.
ACTIVITY: Singing songs to Baby is such an uplifting, comforting thing to do. Here’s a traditional Scottish folk song from our Armstrong homeland that is sure to delight Baby and distract him…even from sore gums when he’s teething:
“My bonnie lies over the ocean” (Rock Baby to right);
“My bonnie lies over the sea” (Rock to left);
“My bonnie lies over the ocean” (Rock Baby backwards);
“Oh bring back my bonnie to me!” (Hug Baby)
“Bring back, bring back, Oh bring back my Baby to me, to me!”
(Rock back & forth)
“Bring back, bring back, Oh bring back my Baby to me, to me!”
(Give a hug and a kiss)
“A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you.” John 13:34
PRAYER: Oh, Father, how you love us! Thank you for loving us even when we were “dead in trespasses and sins.” Thank you Christ’s sacrificial death! Thank you for your clear promise in Romans 10 that if we repent of our sins and take Christ as our savior, we will be saved. Please bless Baby with faith! May we both trust you as our savior, love you above all else, and learn to love each other the way you love us!
THOUGHT: There are a multitude of uses for a tube. If you can afford the time, next time you’re shopping, stop by a plumbing store and pick up a piece of plastic pipe with two end caps. (If you’re busy, the heavy cardboard tube inside a roll of saran wrap or even a toilet paper roll tube works almost as well, although they aren’t as versatile, can’t be washed, and won’t last long.)
ACTIVITY: A long plastic tube makes a great toy to play with at home or on the road. You can stuff a scarf in one end and pull it all the way through, or teach Baby how to stuff something thinner into the tube to force the scarf out the other end. You can roll up a piece of paper very tightly and insert it into the tube, then teach Baby how to use his fingers to pull the paper out (maybe!). You can treat the tube like a tunnel and race cars through it. You can put some plastic spoons inside, screw on the end caps (or tape the ends securely closed), and have a rhythm instrument. You can practice rolling it across the floor, both you and Baby pushing it ahead of yourselves with your hands while crawling on the floor together. You can close up one end, and then insert small toys or treats into the tube and have Baby experiment with how to turn it over so that the treats come tumbling out!
“Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land where you go to possess it.”
PRAYER: Dear Father, please protect Baby! Help me to train him to understand the world around him in such a way that he can navigate through life safely. May we both shun evil and danger, focusing our attention instead on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, edifying, virtuous, and praiseworthy, as we’re instructed in Philippians 4:8.
THOUGHT: About this stage, babies go on many “search and destroy” missions. Captain Michael (who is now a major in the army) used to be our “trash inspector,” and Daniel loved opening the toilet lid to swish a handy toothbrush in the bowl. This is a stage where children are becoming increasingly capable…climbing up and down stairs and on and off of beds, couches, and chairs…trying to open doors and cupboards. Every time you turn around, they’re into something new! They have the (in) “satiable curiosity” of Rudyard Kipling’s little elephant, and about as much sense! This stage requires constant vigilance, an ample dose of good humor, and the ability to correct with kindness. Keep a record of the crazy stuff they do; it’ll help you from going crazy!
ACTIVITY: “The best defense is a good offence.” Take time to teach your baby everything he can learn. It will actually protect him from harm. There are many types of “open” and “close” objects to learn about. Put something inside and see if you can teach Baby how to open some of these: plastic jar with a screw top lid; plastic container with a lid that pops on and off; matchbox that opens and closes by sliding the lid sideways; shoe box with a top that lifts off; hinged plastic box (lunch box) with a snap shut lid and release.
“Cast your bread upon the waters: for you shall find it after many days.”
PRAYER: Oh Father, your son is the both the Lion of tribe of Judah and the Lamb of God. Please bless Baby; may he grow to be as brave as a lion and as gentle as a lamb! Jesus has also been called the seed of a woman, the seed of Abraham, and the seed of David. He is also that incorruptible seed of God’s living word through whom we are born again. May the living word that is planted in our hearts spring up into everlasting life, making us like great oak trees of faith. May we sow spiritual seeds too, knowing someday we will reap the reward of seeing many others enjoying eternal life perhaps in part because we shared the seed of his Word with them.
THOUGHT: Many places will not allow you to feed animals, but I think it’s good for children to learn to be gentle and share with others, being compassionate towards all of God’s created beings even from infancy. I had a dear spiritual mentor who was a millionaire and yet carefully collected the breadcrumbs from the bottom of each bread sack she used and added it to the seed in her bird feeder. It is good for all of us to learn to share and be good stewards of everything the Lord gives us! ACTIVITY: A bird feeder in front of a picture window at your home would be one way of showing care, and such a feeder would doubtless be a great source of interest and delight to Baby! Also, many communities have petting zoos with baby goats or other animals that can be fed, or you may live near a lake or a city square where birds or fish are eager recipients of hand outs. Check with local authorities and find some opportunities for Baby to share a few tasty treats with some of God’s little creatures.
“The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.” Romans 10:8
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your word. May it be very close to my heart and in my mind at all times, so that it is truly a lamp to light my feet and guide into the paths of righteousness. Please grant me wisdom and grace not only to know and believe your word, but also please truly transform me by it, so that I will exhibit all the heavenly fruit of the spirit in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, humility, and self-control. May I “put off the old man” and his wicked deeds: not only the obvious ones like lust, envy, and wrath, but also the more “respectable sins” like irritability, whininess, selfishness, pride, gossip, bitterness, and resentment. Lord, please open my eyes, so that I can see you and be transformed by your glorious beauty into your likeness!
THOUGHT: One of the most profound ways in which you can bless your baby is by growing spiritually. As you become more like Christ, Baby will benefit from your increasing maturity, and hopefully she’ll be drawn to you, desiring to become like your savior too. What a blessing it is to have a godly mother! ACTIVITY: While Baby is still crawling but getting very good at it, try putting out things that roll on the floor in front of her that will encourage her to keep moving forward. If you find that balls get away too fast, try rolling balls outside on the grass, or in the house you can use unopened cans of soup, vegetables, coffee tins, or round oatmeal boxes, all of which make great toys to push and chase across the floor.