“And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat…” Isaiah 4:6
PRAYER: Oh Father, thank you for Jesus, who is the true light of the world and the Sun of Righteousness! Thank you for the warmth of the sun in the summer…and in the winter! The world would become a frozen ball and all of us stiff as icicles if the sun stopped shining. Thank you for protecting us from many storms, but also for being our protection through the storms you allow. May Baby and I always find our refuge in you!
THOUGHT: My children all seemed to be the “outdoor variety.” Maybe that’s because their parents always loved to be outside. Whatever! Whether or not you love being outside in God’s great out of doors, be sure to give Baby many chances to experience the weather in positive ways, so she can figure out for herself whether she likes the weather. ACTIVITY: If the weather conditions aren’t too threatening with lightening or miserably cold, consider taking Baby out when there’s some precipitation to see what it’s all about. If it’s warm and just a little drizzly, you might not even need an umbrella. Let Baby feel the mist and raindrops. Catch them in your hands and let them fall on your face. Tell Baby “all about it!” Take her back inside and let her feel water from the tap, maybe misting her hands or sprinkling drops on her arms the way she would have experienced rain outside. In winter, when there are big fluffy snowflakes falling gently, try bundling up Baby and taking her out to try to catch some flakes as they drift down from the sky, and let Baby lick them. Touch the snowy bushes and marvel at the beauty of God’s creative genius. Maybe after you’re back inside, you could celebrate with a cup of warm cocoa and a brief time of praise and thanksgiving!
“Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.” Psalm 36:6
PRAYER: Oh Father, the Bible declares that you are the Lord of glory, the Lord of Hosts…the Lord of All! Your righteousness is like the great mountains and extends to the sky! Truly, you preserve man and beast, and your mercy extends to thousands of generations of those who love you and keep your commandments! I pray that you would bless Baby with a long, honorable life of bringing glory to God and enjoying him forever, and may all the generations of our family continue in the heritage of faith and grace, loving you and keeping your commandments.
THOUGHT: Have you invested in the Mother Goose rhymes, or The Christian Mother Goose books? I preferred the poems that had been modified to teach spiritual truths and God’s commandments, but both the originals and the updated, Christian versions are worth the investment. Check out your local library or online resources!
ACTIVITY: Most nursery rhymes are cute just the way they are, but don’t be afraid to rephrase them to express your sentiments and worldview! For example, here’s a little poem that I altered to suit my fancy:
Hey Diddle Diddle
“Hey diddle, diddle, while Mom tried to fiddle,” (Pretend to fiddle on a violin.)
“Daddy jumped over the moon!”
(While you look on in amazement, make a wide arc over your head with your hand.)
“The little Babe laughed to see such a sight,”
(Hold stomach and pretend to chuckle very loudly.)
“And the dish ran away with the spoon.”
(Put hands up to cheeks, drop mouth open, and look astonished.)
“Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with food convenient for me.” Proverbs 30:8
PRAYER: Oh God, please help us to always “abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” as you admonish us in Romans 12:9. Grant us lives of faithful goodness!
THOUGHT: Test Baby on the concept of “one and two.” Find a set of objects from your home have at least two identical members, such as: dominoes (back, unspotted side), spoons, butter knifes, plastic containers, canned goods, shoes, socks, diapers, envelopes, blocks, napkins, raisins, cheerios, bite-sized shredded wheats or crackers, pieces of cheese, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc. (Matching animals from a Noah’s Ark set work great!)
ACTIVITY: Put all your treasures by twos in a sack, and place Baby in his high chair, sitting so he can see what you’re doing. Fish out one set of objects and put one of them on the tray of his high chair, explaining the name of the object and then the fact that there is “one.” For example: “Spoon! One spoon.” Then, quickly set down the second member of the set, saying: “Spoons. Two spoons!” Pick up the first spoon and say, “One spoon!” Then, pick up the other spoon in your other hand and hold them up while explaining, “Two spoons!” At that point, you could take a minute and let him play with the spoons, or you could each take a spoon and play with it, pretend to eat, or whatever. After a minute of play, set the spoons aside and fish out your next set of two, while creating an atmosphere of excitement or suspense, like, “What else do you suppose we can find?” If you do this in the afternoon around snack time, you could end with the edible objects and share a tiny tea party at the end, including “two cups” of water or milk!
“Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, he had no understanding?” Isaiah 29:16
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for being our creator. I acknowledge that you are the potter and I am the clay. How I long for you to take Baby and me and mold us into a “vessels fit for use” in my master’s house. Help us to be soft and pliable under your hands, so that we are easily shaped. Give us grace to withstand the trials that you permit to fire us, and make our spirits strong and beautiful.
THOUGHT: The creative genius of God is so evident in his spiritual formation of our spirits as well as in all the arts. Although it will be a long time before Baby has enough eye-hand coordination for creating visual art, he can appreciate and practice musical arts already! Give him a wonderfully varied experience in listening to gorgeous music and many opportunities to experiment with simple musical instruments.
ACTIVITY: How about investing in a couple of musical instruments to occupy Baby’s attention once he’s learned to get something to his mouth (like a spoon) that isn’t strictly food in itself? A plastic kazoo is a great beginning wind instrument, and a plastic harmonica (maybe after the kazoo is mastered) can also be a lot of fun. Demonstrate how the kazoo works, and then practice blowing with Baby until he gets the hang of blowing into the kazoo to make a sound. If he really takes off on the kazoo, you might play the harmonica while he plays the kazoo. Of course, he may want to change instruments often, but as long as neither or you are sick or gooey from eating, who cares?
“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt,
that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6
PRAYER: Oh Father, thank you for your wonderful graciousness to us! Help us to know just how to respond to others, always using your grace salted by wisdom.
ACTIVITY: Gather three of Baby’s most favorite small toys, such as a doll, a car, a ball, or a rubber duck. Sit so you are facing Baby on the floor and the toys are all behind your back or in a paper bag beside you. First start with your “Where is?” game. Ask, “Where is Mama’s ear?” and see if you can get Baby to touch your ear. “Where is Baby’s ear?” etc. “Eye?” “Nose?” “Mouth?” etc. Then, pull out the first toy and say, “Duckie!” Hold it up and ask, “Where is Duckie?” If he points to or touches Duckie, great, but if he tries to grab the duck, move your hand before he can take it and say, “Would Baby like Duckie?” If the answer appears to be “Yes,” then say, “Baby may have Duckie!” and hand him the duck. Then ask, ”Where is Duckie?” If he holds up the rubber duck, say politely, “May I have the Duckie?” and put your hand out. If he gives you the rubber duck, say “Thank you!” and give him a big hug before setting Duckie aside and pulling out the second toy. Practice with all three toys until he understands how to respond to “Where is?” “May I have?” “Would you like?” and “You may have…” If he learns really fast, try it with all three items on the floor in front of him and ask, “Where is—(doll)” and see if he can pick up the right toy.
“Who can discover the face of his garment?
or…Who can open the doors of his face?” Job 41:13-14
PRAYER: Dear Father, Job was talking about a great dinosaur-like beast in this verse, but I love the idea of being able to understand one another by opening the doors of our faces. Please help me to understand Baby very well; may we share closeness and love.
THOUGHT: Once Baby can understand the fun of “Peek-a-boo” she can enjoy Contingency Games. These are games that teach Baby to anticipate what will come next and begin to understand the idea of action and consequence.
ACTIVITY: A couple of contingency games to try are:
- Put a towel or light cloth over your head and sit close enough for Baby to reach up and grab it off. Say “Peek-a…” and wait for Baby to grab off the towel. As he does, call out “BOO!” When he’s done, say, “I love YOU!” and give him a big kiss. Try it several times, and once Baby understands the routine, add a second contingency: say, “I love…” and wait for him to reach out to you or try to say “YOU” with you!
- Set Baby down somewhere where he can easily get up and chase after you. Say “Hide and Seek!” and take off, disappearing behind a door or around the corner of a room. When Baby gets close enough to see you, say, “You found me!” and give him a big hug. Then repeat the “Hide and Seek” and disappear again. Only play this three or four times, or you may frustrate Baby and wear him out! If Dad’s available, you could take turns with who hides and who finds, making Baby a team mate with either you or your husband.
“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:28
PRAYER: Dear Father, I am awed by the realization that you are the absolute authority in the universe, and yet you give your people the freedom to choose such dangerous things as good and evil. Please help me as a mother to resist the temptation to be a “control freak,” trying to always force Baby to be good. Please guide me in how to preach, warn, and teach Baby about all wisdom. May I allow him the freedom to grow and learn, and may your Holy Spirit work in him so that at last he stands “perfect in Christ Jesus.”
THOUGHT: It is not too early to start allowing Baby to have some freedom of choice. In fact, encouraging Baby to make choices will help him become confident and self-reliant. ACTIVITY: Think of some simple aspects of his life where he could make choices that you won’t mind and ask him for his preference. “Would you like to wear your red shirt or your blue shirt?” “Would you like rice cereal or oatmeal?” “Would you like apple or some banana?” “Would you like to play with your teddy bear or with your tiger?” Hold up both options when you ask and see if you can get Baby to point or reach for what he prefers. This can be an especially good way to introduce him quiet playtime alone. If you keep a special basket of quiet time toys tucked away and let him choose what special toy(s) to enjoy during his brief sessions of “independent study,” this will help give him a sense of “ownership” in the time. Rather than feeling punished for having to play alone for 5-10 minutes, Baby may look forward to some little times of planned exploration. (Oh, wouldn’t that be nice?)