Is it possible to have a family mealtime with a baby? Read on as I proudly present my daughter-in-law, Abby Fleming, guest posting about their times around the table!
I had to laugh as my friends were interrupted, yet again, from their dinner by their 18 month old daughter insistently holding out a hand to each of them. Patiently, they put down their forks, joined hands, and bowed their heads as their daughter pretended to say a prayer in which the only word I could distinguish was AMEN! I laughed, but I was impressed and inspired.
This morning, my husband buckled our 9 month old daughter, Anna, into her high chair as I poured the juice. Then, we sat down together to do one of her favorite things... eat!
Before we started, my husband and I joined hands and each held a hand out to Anna. After 4 months of this, she is starting to get the hang of it. She looks at our hands for a second, then slaps one small hand in each of ours and holds on tight. Her Daddy says a prayer, short but sweet, and then she knows it is time to eat.
We take turns feeding her and eating ourselves. We talk and laugh, both with each other and with her. All three of us enjoy this time together, and I like to think that Anna is learning a lot here, not just about food. Babies thrive on stability and consistent routines, like breakfast together with Mommy and Daddy every morning. I think it helps her understand what it means to be a family, relaxed around the table, just being together. I hope that, even at this age, she is learning about God's love as it flows through us and to her. Sure, that can happen anytime throughout the day, but it is easy to get caught up in diaper changes, work, cleaning, you fill in the blank, and at the end of the day, I can realize that I have not just sat down and shown my little girl that I love her. Carving out mealtimes as set aside for that purpose makes a big difference to me.
We are also teaching her how to pray simply by doing it. At 9 months, Anna is already in the habit of praying before eating. Some adults never reach that stage. And, I must confess, that I am so looking forward to the day that my meal is interrupted by her insistently holding out her hand to pray with me yet again.
Abby Fleming graduated from Emmaus Bible College with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Biblical Studies. Also at Emmaus, she met and married Daniel Fleming. They have been married almost 6 years now and have a beautiful 9 month old daughter, Anna. After the birth of their daughter, Abby made the decision, with Daniel's approval, to quit her job in education and work instead as a full time Mommy. Currently, Abby and her husband are living in the Chicago area as he pursues further education.
Do you have a short, upbeat story about one of your family mealtimes? Would you like to see it published? I am looking for mealtime stories to post. If you are interested please read my guidelines carefully and then send me your submission here for review.