Montessori style

Recently, I’ve become interested in some of the Montessori ideas.   It appeals to me because it helps children reach for independence in a natural way and gives them the appropriate challenge for their age.  To be honest, I’ve kinda babied Leo a bit.  Before I became a mom, I was all “my kid is going to be doing any work that he’s physically capable of doing at that age”  And then I spoon fed Leo until he was 2.  Yeaaa….  He was slow to get it, but I spoon fed him from the start.  With Silvia, I let her feed herself almost from the start.  I said screw the mess, I don’t want to sit around spoon feeding 2 kids, so she’s gonna do it on her own.  And clean-up time is much longer than it was with Leo, but I can eat lunch with them or work on dishes while they eat.  Silvia can already get the spoon in her mouth pretty well; she just can’t get food on it first. 🙂

It took me some time to realize that I have to let Leo try at the work that I do even if it does take 10x longer and makes a bigger mess.  It will mean he’ll be a productive member of the family from an earlier age, and that is important to me.  I’m kind of an OCD perfectionist, so it was hard accepting this, but now I enjoy teaching Leo these new skills.  With 2 little ones, I can never keep up with the housework.  The sooner I can start delegating chores to the kids, the better.  This place will be a little cleaner someday…..I hope.

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Leo helping put silverware away

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Trying to copy daddy as he worked on the bike trailer

Anyway, I was already letting Leo “help” more around the house, but the Montessori ideas pertained more to the organization of Leo’s bedroom.  Montessori is all about having things within reach for kids and basically making the world that surrounds the kid “child-sized”.  We already had a couple book shelves within his reach, but he couldn’t reach his top dresser drawers.  So, to my delight all of his clothes fit in 3 plastic bins that were sitting in his closet looking tacky.  Now, he can access his clothes.   Also, I made a shoe box for him by cutting a cardboard box.  I now expect him to get his shoes and put them back in the box.  Since I moved the plastic bins that blocked his closet, the closet is now accessible to store and hide toys that will be rotated out.

Also, we’re going to put a few pegs up on the wall so Leo can hang his coat/jacket/hat up.  And we’ll finally be selling or getting rid of our crappy couch so we can move the recliner out of Leo’s room and have more space for storing toys in an attractive way rather than random stuff thrown in a bin.  Kids like to play with toys that are visible and set up attractively.

Leo is now finally out of his crib.  He never tried to climb out so I was planning on keeping him in there indefinitely….but the Montessori ideas try to give the child freedom, trust and new skills, so I thought it fitting to let him out of his cage.  I took apart his crib myself and put his mattress on the floor.  I made a big deal about his “new bed”.  He’s been doing so well in it.  He was definitely ready.  If he does try to come out of the room during nap time, I just tell him to go lay down and take a nap and he stays in his room.  At night, he may fuss a minute, but doesn’t even get out of his bed.  Most days he was still tired/grumpy after his nap and just sat on his bed and cried.  Today he woke up from his nap in a good mood and I didn’t hear him until I heard his door handle turning.  He walked out of his room happy.  I’m loving this change.

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This is what I saw the first nap he took on it.  It explains the dirty marks on the wall I found between the slots of his crib.  He must’ve liked to put his feet on the wall even through his crib.

Leo and Silvia have been peeing on the potty some lately.  Today, while Silvia was on the Bjorn potty, Leo put his bunny on the Ikea potty.  Leo and I were both saying “pssssss” trying to get Silvia (and the bunny) to go pee.  Later, Leo got into the box of wipes and wanted to wipe his bunny’s butt.  I showed him how to use an imaginary wipe instead.

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