If anyone is keeping track you know that this post is a bit late. I’m learning that sometimes life with an infant is just like that. Your days, weeks and months are hard to predict, and just when you think you can, they learn a new behavior or pick up a new habit and the whole schedule shifts. Thankfully, there’s little chance of being bored. Even more thankfully there are lots of lessons to still learn. So here are some of the ones I learned during my little one’s fourth month:
Laughter is good for the soul – I know this isn’t exactly a new lesson (see Proverbs 17:22). However, there is nothing quite like the first time your child knowingly and consciously gives you a big belly laugh. All of a day’s troubles can seem to momentarily disappear as you watch their face light up. If you can get them to do this repeatedly, several times in a row – that’s a huge bonus. In the hustle and bustle of things we can forget the joy that comes from a good laugh and we can be quick to dismiss those moments of simple joy. It’s important to cherish them when they come. Sometimes they will be few and far between which makes them all the more precious and sweet.
Pray over the little things – It’s probably not uncommon for new parents to spend a lot of time in prayer. There are so many unknowns with raising a little life. When they are young, it’s hard to tell if you are doing a good job since their cries can mean anything from “I’m tired” to “I’m in pain.” to “I am just having a rough day and this is the only way I know to express it. Personally, I found myself spending time in prayer over my little girl’s future but didn’t dedicate enough time to praying over those seemingly “insignificant” things that can rock a new mom’s day. God cares about the birds of the air and the lilies of the field (Mt. 6:25-30); He certainly cares about whether my little one is learning to nap. I need to seek His wisdom and help in all things – not just the ones that seem readily obvious are outside of my control.
Be careful what you say – Having two nieces is often a great reminder that I need to be careful with my words; I don’t want to say anything that I wouldn’t want them repeating. However, my four-month old has taught me that this vigilance should happen a lot sooner. We have sung songs to her since before she was born and after she arrived it was how we spent a considerable part of her awake time. As we have done so, she has learned to “stand” when we say that word (she holds onto our hands, of course, but the effort to stand when she hears the word is all hers). Already she’s picking up on things that are going on around her and learning to respond accordingly. My words should reflect the kind of heart that I want my child to have – a heart that is pleasing to God.
Say “yes” to help – I’ve written before about the blessing of helping hands, but it bears repeating. People who are willing to do things for you are gifts to be treasured. It’s easy to think that you should have things together – after all, your child is four months old already! But, as already mentioned, things are constantly changing and when you think that you have a handle on things, that’s just about the time that you can get knocked off your feet. I think it’s also important to realize that there’s likely a spiritual element at play here. Not only are we to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2) but Satan would probably like few things better than to make us feel alone, discouraged and without support. When people offer to help – take it. When they don’t offer and you need it – say so. And make sure you are relying on the Helper. Being a parent is too big of a job to do it in your own strength.
Tricks of the Trade - Some things you don’t ever learn until you are a mom. Here are some I’ve learned:
a) Get a mobile that runs on batteries – not a wind-up one. Trust me – when your child has woken up for the umpteenth time because their wind-up mobile ran out just as they were falling asleep, you will thank me.
b) Sunshine is a great stain remover. If onsies, blankets, burp cloths, etc. get soiled (and they will), hang them in the sun. This worked better than any chemical compound I found.
c) If your child adopts a “lovey” or you want them to, get two of them. If one gets dirty (or worse yet, lost!) they can still have their precious security blanket to cling to.