Bless Your Baby: (Ideas for Baby’s Eleventh Month, Week 46)

Baby Playing with Toes316. The Amazing Gift of Love

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

PRAYER: Father, you are our almighty God…God over all, our Jehovah-Yahweh, the covenant-keeping God who saves us. I can’t fathom that you joy over infinitesimal me with singing…but thank you!! May I always rest in your love and joy over you too!

THOUGHT: My sister lamented that she couldn’t even find time to brush her teeth after her daughter was born. I identify! However, I believe all mothers need, as a bare minimum, at least 20 minutes a day to get cleaned up (providing for your own body), 20 minutes a day to have a quiet devotional time with the Lord (feeding your spirit), and 20 minutes a day for emotional uplift, either by exercising, reading, or pursuing some activity that makes you feel good about yourself and builds you up (feeding your soul). It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in twenty minutes of concentrated effort, and I suspect three 20-minute intervals over the course of the day—particularly during times when Baby is sleeping or has recently awakened and her needs have been met—might work wonders for a mother’s disposition without totally frustrating Baby. Remember, we are to love others “as we love ourselves,” so love yourself and take care of yourself as well as taking care of Baby. If she cries because she can’t have 100% of your attention whenever she’s awake, then she will have to learn a bit about patience, self-control, and sharing!

ACTIVITY: How about singing this precious song to Baby often:

Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World

“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world,
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in her sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world!”
(Clare Herbert Woolston, 1856-1927)

Merry-go-round24 (9)317. Merry-Go-Round and Get Out Before You Go Crazy!

“O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.”
Psalm 96:9

PRAYER: Oh, beautiful, holy LORD, I worship you today. May all the earth learn to fear you, love you, and worship you as you deserve. Truly, you are the Ancient of Days, the omnipotent Elohim, Jehovah-Gmolah—the God of judgment and vengeance. You are holy and demand holiness. Help us to worship you in the beauty of holiness.

THOUGHT: My best friend during the days of being “residents’ widows” together (both husbands were medical residents and seemed to be gone more than they were home) used to call me on the phone every once in a while and say, “Mrs. Armstrong, are you going crazy?” My response was generally, “Yes! Are you too?” Her solution was: “Then let’s take the kids and walk the mall!” In Ann Arbor, there was a beautiful mall with a water fountain and a lovely play area for children. I don’t ever remember actually doing any serious shopping on such occasions, but we sure had fun being together, and the kids loved having the freedom to play in a park-like setting even in the winter. I still feel very close to Susie, even though almost 40 years have passed. Take time for friends!

ACTIVITY: Outings are such fun. Of course the great out of doors and a public park may be the best place for an outing, but when the weather is inclement, consider taking your little one to a mall or museum to explore. If you have a close friend to share the experience with, that’s double the fun! Don’t be afraid to reach out. Your friends are probably “going crazy” too and would love a break! If you’re really feeling rich, go to some inexpensive lunch spot with a play area for babies as well as some tables where you and your friend can sip lattes and relax together. Take time to enjoy life. It travels fast!

Standing318. Communing and Climbing

“O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs,
let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice,
and thy countenance is comely.” Song of Solomon 2:14

PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I know Isaiah prophesied that Jesus was not compellingly handsome physically when he was on earth, but I believe with all my heart that there will never be a voice any more dear, nor a countenance any more appealing than that of my dear Savior. Please bless us, Lord. May we hear your voice and behold your beautiful glory. May we learn to commune with you in the secret places of the stairs.

THOUGHT: Do you have sweet communion with Baby every day, even if just for a few moments? Although both intimacy and efficiency are necessary for a smooth existence, value intimacy even more highly than efficiency!

ACTIVITY: Once Baby gets good at climbing, she might enjoy a series of “Climbing Traps” as I used to call them. Get some free boxes from a local grocery store (if you call ahead, they will usually save you some when they restock at night) and set them in various places around the house, secured to the floor with some books or a few bricks (whatever you have lying around that’s heavy and unbreakable). The ideal size is really not very big…maybe a foot high and 20” length and depth (give or take a few inches.) These boxes will provide lots of interest and challenge for Baby. They will serve as a maze when she’s crawling and a slalom course when she’s walking; they provide lots of convenient places to climb up and re-launch when she’s learning to walk; and if they’re sturdy enough (flaps interlaced and securely taped to make sure she doesn’t fall through and hit her face on a brick), she may even attempt to climb on them.

Bible Story Book Reading to Baby319. Treasuring the B-I-B-L-E

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8

PRAYER: Oh, Father, you are the wisdom of the ages. Thank you for giving us the Bible to teach us all your laws and ways. I know you have given us your word as a guidebook because you love us and want us to experience true joy and success. Please bless Baby and me with willing hearts to understand and obey you. Please help us to meditate day and night on your word, the Bible, and I pray that you would make our ways prosperous and very successful. May our lives bring glory to you and blessing to all around us.

THOUGHT: Make God’s Word your moral compass, and it will point you to the Truth.

Guitar. Finger picking..12.12.15.ACTIVITY: If you’ve got a piano or guitar and a music lover baby, try your little student with a first music lesson! How about putting Baby on your lap and teaching him how to use one chubby finger to press one key and make one note? If he can’t be talked out of simply banging with both hands, then it’s probably not time quite yet. But, if he likes the game of touching one key with one finger and making a sound, you can very quickly give him the idea that simple songs can be played on the piano. At a very early age (2-3), most of our kids enjoyed having me move their hands to the right spot to clunk out “Jesus Loves Me,” “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” and other simple tunes.

The B-I-B-L-E
“Oh! The B-I-B-L-E,
Yes that’s the book for me.
I stand alone on the word of God,
The B-I-B-L-E!” (Author Unknown)

Baby wrapped in bath towel320. A Bushel and a Peck of Kisses

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
Proverbs 8:17

PRAYER: Oh Father, thank you for loving me when there was no reason. I was hopelessly selfish and blind to your love. I didn’t honor you or even know you, and yet you knew me and gave me the greatest honor: you sent your Son to die for me so that I might live for love of you! Thank you for transforming my heart. Please keep transforming my heart, and please transform Baby’s heart too. May we live to love you!

THOUGHT: If you are affectionate and warm, it usually doesn’t take many months before Baby will be attempting to return the favor by hugging and kissing you too!

ACTIVITY: Have you tried to teach Baby to give you kisses yet? If not, try this: Get right in front of Baby’s face (just a foot or two away, or possibly holding her in your arms if she likes being held) where she can see you, and then purse your lips and make smacking sounds, like you’re kissing her, but don’t actually kiss her. Next, actually kiss her cheek, making the same smacking sound. Then, announce, “Mama kiss Baby!” and kiss her again. Finally, ask, “Baby kiss Mama?” and put your cheek against her mouth, making the same smacking sounds. See if you can get her to give you a kiss!

I Love You a Bushel and a Peck

I love you a bu              shel and a peck,
a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.
A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap,
A barrel and a heap and I’m talking in my sleep about you,
About you, ’cause I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck though you make my heart a wreck.
Make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess!
Make my life a mess, yes a mess of happiness,
‘Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your purdy neck I do!
(—Frank Loesser)

Kathi and Samuel321.Chastening out of Love

“The Lord will not cast off for ever; but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Lamentations 3:31-33

PRAYER: Oh, precious Father, thank you for the times when you chasten me. I just hate, hate, hate the pain of your rod, but I know by faith that you chasten me because you love me and want me to walk in purity and holiness. Please search my heart, show me my sins, help me to acknowledge them, repent, and try to make things right with those I’ve hurt, and then help me to heal up and recover from the pain. Please help me to be a faithful mother to Baby too, so that I’m willing to chasten him when he rebels, not out of anger because he’s at fault, but out of love, so that he will grow up to be wise and good.

THOUGHT: God communicates with us both in simple, obvious ways, and in mysterious ways that we have to ponder and sometimes grow into understanding.

ACTIVITY: This isn’t exactly a game to play for five minutes, but it’s something to think about and perhaps try to do especially today, and then to continue practicing whenever you have the time and energy in the future. It is the concept of using Double Speech. Now that Baby is beginning to understand language, it is important to communicate both with simple language that he may readily understand, and with more complete explanations that he may only understand in bits and pieces. For example, you might say, “Mommy and Baby go!” But, as you’re helping Baby get dressed and ready, you might explain, “We’re getting all ready to go out for a walk around the block!” (Or to church, a friend’s home, or whatever.)

Baby Peeking Through Door322. Seeking and Finding

“Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:40

PRAYER: Oh Holy Spirit, fill our lives and turn our hearts to God today and every day!

THOUGHT: It is our responsibility to seek the Lord, although God promises to make himself known to us if we will search for him with all our hearts. May we continue day by day to “draw near to God,” knowing that he will then draw near to us.

ACTIVITY: Here’s another version of Hide and Seek. Start with Baby on your lap. Have Daddy come and kiss Baby, then disappear somewhere out of sight. Put Baby down on the floor and let him search for Daddy (or help him look if he doesn’t understand). If he can’t find Daddy right away, let Daddy know, so he can call to Baby from his hiding spot. If Daddy’s not available, you can try the game yourself, just by setting Baby down on the floor, giving him a kiss, and running quickly away, saying, “Come find me!” playfully. If Baby just cries and doesn’t understand that it’s a game, then don’t frighten him by repeating the game until you have a third person who can help him learn how to play.

There are several songs about seeking the Lord that are simple and beautiful. Two of my favorites are “Seek Ye the Lord,” by Karen Lafferty, and “You Are my Hiding Place” by Michael James Ledner. Another lovely children’s chorus is this:

Seek Ye The Lord While He May Be Found

Seek ye the Lord while He may be found; call ye upon Him while He is near.
Seek ye the Lord while He may be found; call ye upon Him while He is near.
Then shall the righteousness; then shall the righteousness; then shall the righteousness
And the glory of the Lord (Glory of the Lord)
And the glory of the Lord (Glory of the Lord)
And the glory of the Lord (Glory of the Lord)
Be everywhere
The glory of the Lord shall be everywhere; the glory of the Lord shall be everywhere.
(—Cameroonian Kids Song)