Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Infancy - our adaptations

Most families that want to start Montessori from the earliest ages, know about the book Montessori from the Start. I have mixed feelings, personally; but it is a good place to start! Just know that what you do probably won't match exactly!

Our family's differences:
  • attached
  • family bed
  • self-weaned nursing
  • we moved a lot in his first year of life
Montessori is not opposed to any of these modes of parenting. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

We had a Nojo sling - and LOVED it. I picked up a crying baby, or sang to him, or rubbed his back or tummy. He had lots and lots of floor time, but he needed to be close to people and their warmth.

I did this with all of my daycare children. I kept them close until they were comfortable venturing further away. And they did become comfortable quickly because they knew I was a solid presence and my home was for them to explore. We do this with Montessori children of all ages - above infancy and toddlerhood it is a normalization thing and a responsibility thing - both on the part of the child. In infancy and toddlerhood, it is a trust thing on the part of the child.

Family Bed
We had a mattress on the floor - but we shared it. This really worked great for so many reasons. During my pregnancy I found it easier to get out of bed with the mattress on the floor (roll over onto hands and knees and get up from there) versus trying to sit up then stand up out of a higher bed when I visited family.

When he was born and had some jaundice, we had to bring home a bili-blanket (it looks like a spaceship landing in your bedroom at 2 am when you're sleep-deprived), so this sat on the floor and was hooked up to him just fine - no dangling cords or fanagling lay-outs - we just set it up and away the jaundice went!

By being on the floor with him I was aware of drafts or anything that could be potentially harmful. I also could have him with me without fear of him falling off.

I was still in college when he was born (3 weeks before final exams!), so the whole attachment and family bed just *worked* - we were together and I could be studying, getting more sleep when he's right next to me at night (night-nursing), etc. Somewhere there's a photo of us taking one of my final exams together....

Note on the weaning: there are two definitions of weaning and we should recognize them when we start to compare "modes of weaning".
  1. completely done with nursing or bottle (think North America)
  2. first bite of non-nursing/formula (think Great Britain)
These definitions sure change some of the arguments on both sides, huh?

My son self-weaned (definition #1) sometime before he turned 3. Even by then, he would go a day or two or longer between nursings. We just kept this totally low-key, just as with the attachment section above.

Moving a lot worked to our advantage. I knew there were going to be at least 3 moves in the first year and I told my family as they planned all the gizmos and gadgets they were going to get for the new baby, "I am not going to be a moving furniture store!" It still took some coaxing but the message finally got through.

What I found useful:
  • stroller with removable infant seat - strong and sturdy, thus gifted to a new family later
  • umbrella stroller - for some reason we still have this in the closet even though he's far too old ???
  • pack and play (not by choice, but it did come in handy when I was required to have it by daycare laws) --- if I have another child, we won't be using this item
  • tiltable booster seat with detachable tray (latch to a regular chair or set on the floor or on a restaurant seat, etc. This worked great until he outgrew it (over age 4) - well worth the investment and takes up so much less space than a huge high chair)
  • boppy pillow (I still use this as a pillow for myself!)
  • cloth diaper pail and cloth diapers/wipes - all items have been re-purposed elsewhere since then
  • bouncer (not by choice; could have done without; found it useful at rare times though - would not use again for another baby)
  • lots of blankets! Can't have too many blankets! 
  • toddler: we had a toilet seat that was installed onto the regular seat - the adults would have to lift it up to use the regular seat; but the lid closed over it. Really nice! 
  • 2 stools (one for the toilet, one for the bathroom sink)
  • swingable baby gate - top of the stairs in one house we stayed
We moved 6 official times that first year; no, we moved 6 official times in the first 10 1/2 months not counting 7 weeks of constant traveling. 

At 10 1/2 months we were finally in the home we would stay for another year and a half. It was at this home, my next post describes. 

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