September 25, 2014
September 16, 2014
Ruthie has always been a little helper, mimicking the daily tasks I do around the house which most often is less than helpful, but I allow her to contribute in whatever way she knows how and here's what i've noticed: She is independent and confident and at 19 months, capable. That was probably the most valuable lesson I learned as a Montessori teacher - that children, no matter how young, are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. I've also learned to be patient because when we are talking about toddler's or preschoolers, patience is a must. I fold the laundry, she throws it into her own pile, but you know what? To her, she's helping and how can I take the feeling of being a helper and accomplishment away from her? Things may take twice as long and end up messier before cleaner but I think ( I hope) I'm setting her up to be a responsible, confident little human.
Some of my favorite ways to get her involved around the house /
Laundry. She absolutely loves helping put the clothes into the wash machine and changing them over into the dryer. Same when the cycle is finished and it's time to put the clothes in the hamper to carry up for folding. It's an easy task for even the smallest toddler.
Wet spills. They happen often with kids and instead of getting upset or aggravated, because we all know they aren't trying to spill on purpose (well not all the time anyways,) I simply tell her that it's okay- spills happen but now it's time to clean it up. Give her a dish towel and let her wipe up her own mess. Of course you might have to go back and clean it up a bit after, but allowing your child to deal with the consequences and responsibility of their own actions is invaluable.
Dusting. Feather duster or rag, it doesn't really matter and it is one of the ways they can help that won't create more work for you in the end. No harm in letting your little one wipe surfaces with a dry cloth so why not?
Dishwasher loading. Ru is a pro at putting our dirtied utensils in the dishwasher basket. She wants to play in the dishwasher when it's open anyways so why not get them involved in a productive way instead?
Clean up. Kind of a no brainer but so often I'll see kids destroy a room and think nothing of cleaning it up when they are finished. I have not figured this one out completely yet but I do make Ruthie clean up at least 2 or 3 toys when we finish playing in a particular area or room. I want her to know that it's important to keep her environment tidy and beautiful and to respect her things.
September 11, 2014
Always a super fun sensory activity is the Montessori mystery bag. Because Ru is so little, I chose five simple to identify objects that she is familiar with. 1. A toy train 2. Dinosaur 3. spoon 4. ball 5. block. The purpose is for your child to identify objects simply by using their sense of touch. To start, I asked Ruthie to find each object one by one, using her eyes and hands. Then I told her it was mama's turn and went through doing the same thing, except I showed her how I was only using my hands, keeping my eyes closed. I still had her interest so I put all the items back in the bag and encouraged her to try finding the train with just her hands. (That was a bit tricky but she sure loved trying.) Once she can master these five objects, I'll switch them out for new ones and as she gets older, I'll put in different types of fabrics, shapes and shells or rocks.
Next week I'm planning to share a few idea's for how to get your toddler to help around the house. Gosh, this age is fun!
September 10, 2014
It has been so fun for me, putting together a little Montessori playroom in our third floor loft space. I think because I am not going back to teaching this year my desire to set up a little classroom is especially strong. (I've have been waiting until Ru was able to actually do some things other than stick a toy in her mouth. Hooray!) She is at this stage right now - in Montessori terms - a sensitive period for language and I am trying to really help her take off. She is speaking in 3 word 'sentences' and knows the word for almost every single thing around her. Witnessing her language develop has been one of my favorite things about mama hood. So, I thought it was time for her to have an actual learning environment, instead of just play. (Although at this age they do learn by playing - it's just the teacher in me)
On her shelves now : wooden hammer and ball work / basket of shapes for sorting / abacus for color recognition and counting / montessori baric tablets ( a bit advanced but she likes to sort them) / books / farm puzzle / transfer work with pom pom balls into cup / color cards / shape cards
It's a little bit more colorful than I'd like and all the furniture is mismatched but that's okay. For now I am using what we've got and plan to order some things from the How We Montessori Shop and Alisons montessori, where I used to order a lot of things for my classroom. I also wanted to share a super easy and fun toddler sensorial activity with you guys....tomorrow!
September 9, 2014
The last of our Montana photo's taken with something other than an iPhone. I didn't edit these really at all so just overlook that and enjoy how freaking gorgeous Montana is. Because, come on. It's insane. Can't wait to get back! If you are interested in taking a peek at part 1, here ya go!
September 8, 2014
I have not left my child overnight yet, she still nurses a couple times a day (judge if you must but know she will not nurse forever and hey, it doesn't affect you :) and we are in the same room almost every moment. But here's the thing - she's happy and thriving and wonderful. She's fine when I need to leave her with a sitter, she explores on her own at the playground and loves other kids, has never met a stranger and is willing to say hi to every single person she encounters. So I guess I wonder why society makes you feel like you should want to leave your kid overnight somewhere, or stop nursing at the 12 month mark, or drop your kid off at daycare or playgroup a couple days a week. All of those things are great - if you want a night away, or are sick of nursing (or can't) or have to work and your kid needs childcare- I get it and know that being with a kid every second of the day is not everyone's cup of tea and if you are able to recognize that in yourself you are doing what's best for your child and will ultimately be a better mom, but what I'm saying is that because I choose to (and more importantly, want to) be with my child so much, I am lumped into a category of parents who need to give their children more space. I know a time will come when she wants nothing to do with me - no matter how attached we are now, she will become a preteen one day and it will happen.
But for now, as the mother of a 19 month old, being attached feels right and good and like I'm setting the foundation for her to be a confident little thing when the time comes for her to be on her own.
Does anyone else feel like this?
September 5, 2014
/ she loves her trike and that darn floatie suit (although she has never actually worn it in water!)
/ just woke up from a nap in the ergo on mama in the mountains of montana. gosh, i love her.
September 4, 2014
Last Sunday I turned 30. I remember when I was in my early 20's thinking 30 seemed so old. I'm sure that's how it will be when I turn 40 too - I'll say, 'gosh remember when I was 30 and 40 seemed so old?' I don't know, I guess aging is just that way. You have this idea of what a certain number will feel like, and then you get there and it doesn't feel different, or odd or old at all. You just feel like you still. Whether I feel different or not is not really the point. The point is that 30 does mean something, at least to me it does. My 20's, although I was never a wild one, were about finding my rhythm and figuring out who I wanted to be. I lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, married at 25, bought our first house at 26 and became a mother at 28. So much happened in those years of figuring out, learning, exploring and understanding who I am more. I am grateful that I had all that time to really, truly explore - other cities, other countries, and myself.
Now here I am. 30, a wife, a mother, a small business owner. I've never felt more full or sure of myself and I think it's because I allowed myself most of my 20's to figure it out. Some of those years were hard. Really hard. But when I reflect on how I lived for that decade, I am proud of myself. Sometimes I needed a lot of help and other times I pushed through and conquered on my own.
I didn't think this would be a post about motherhood but when you are a mother, almost everything is about you in that role (at least for me it is,) and as I think about being 30 and the years that follow, I feel content (which is a rare feeling for me.) I'm not anxious or worried or scared because as i've grown, life has gotten better and better. Aging is something i've come to love because now it means I get to watch my children grow too.
I do not have any specific goals this coming year except to continue to grow. In all those roles I fill - a wife, a mother, a small business owner. I want to be intentional in my relationships - more attentive to my husband, less distracted with my daughter and to push myself creatively in the work that I do.
I've been in my 30's now for 4 days and I have to say, 30 is pretty dang sweet :)
September 3, 2014
Hello! Gosh, I've been away from this space for a long while it seems. We were in Montana all of last week and I wanted to share some photo's from our trip. Have you been to Montana? Holy beautiful. We spent two days at Glacier National Park then traveled a few hours west to a very (very) small town to spend the remainder of the week with Nick's uncle on his ranch. Minus the fact that our girl slept very little, it was an incredible trip. We hiked, kayaked, threw lots (and lots) of rocks into the river, explored every inch of land Ru's legs would allow and marveled at how unbelievably stunning the Montana landscape is. We are excited to go back, probably when Ru is a tad older :)
While in MT, I celebrated my 30th birthday and of course I have some thoughts on that and I'll be playing catch up on the 52 portrait project, plus we've got loads more Montana photos. Lots to come in the coming week!