Montessori Baby

The author, trained as a Montessori primary teacher (AMI), documents and analyzes her efforts to raise a "Montessori" baby.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Source for Activities

Here's a great source I found for Montessori can purchase the albums, take the entire course, or just view the table of contents and go it on your own.

Diapering / Toilet Learning

So we're reaching that stage where a) diapering is not Alex's favorite thing to do and b) Alex has been showing signs of readiness for toilet learning.

On difficult changes....

One tactic that has worked well for us is to have an audience for diaper changes. My son loves stuffed animals, plastic dinosaurs, the animals from his farm...if he's playing with them at the time, they come with us to watch him get changed. This has worked well for putting on coats, shoes, etc.

Another strategy that seems to work well is letting him choose a place to get changed or choose a book to read while being changed (we change standing up, so I put the book on the closed toilet seat and comment on the pages while I work).

I would rather involve him in the process, but he is just not interested sometimes, so we try to be creative. Sometimes nothing works or I'm not patient enough to try different things, so I scoop him up and just do it.

On toilet learning...

Around 20 months, Alex began to show signs of readiness to use the toilet. I don't quite remember any more what led me to thing he was ready - maybe dry diapers? interest in sitting on his toilet? During changes, I would invite him to go on the toilet and he would do so fact, it seemed as though he was holding it in order to go on the toilet (except poop - which is still very much a private, diaper-oriented venture).

When we returned from our holiday travels, we invested in some padded underwear and tried a week diaper-free (except at night). It was great at first...we would regularly invite him to use the toilet and he would go...but then it all turned sour. Alex became very interested in peeing everywhere it was possible to pee. In fact, he got so good at holding and releasing that he could hit seven or eight spots in one go. I know the toilet learning articles suggest calmly involving your child in the cleaning up process, but this was more than I could handle patiently!

So for a while we just went straight back to diapers with occasional invitations to use the toilet (which he refused). Now that some time has passed, we offer an invitation - do you want to pee in the toilet or in your diaper? We remind him that these are the places where we pee. I worry about him feeling ashamed if he makes a mistake, but at the same time think it needs to be clear that these are the (only) places where pee belongs. He now does a mix of peeing in the toilet and in his diaper. Until he shows consistent interest in using the toilet exclusively, I think we'll avoid switching to underwear.

I would love to hear other experiences or tips!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sleep: Age 2

Sleep is such a huge issue for parents of young children and has been a hotly contested issue in our household, so I feel compelled to begin a new wave of updates with an update on our sleep situation.

We have now graduated from a crib mattress on the floor to a full mattress, mainly because it is larger and more comfortable and accommodates both an adult and a child. Though the transition was not difficult at all, I wish we had done this from the beginning for our own sakes! Nursing would have been much more comfortable without my feet hanging off the end of the bed!

We have removed the gate from Alex's door. I guess we reached a point where we felt confident he would come find us at night rather than wander, so we decided this was an appropriate way to offer him independence to get what he needed at night (namely, snuggles).

We now have a consistent bedtime routine with a flexible start and "end" point. When Alex shows signs of tiredness, we put on pj's and watch two scenes from the Sound of Music. He brushes teeth, gives kisses, and reads one or two books with us before lights out. Jeff and I have different approaches to what happens from there...he usually sings until Alex is asleep, while I do a soft, guided imagery ("Let's think about when we were in the woods today. We parked the car in the parking lot...") leading to instructions about how to get to sleep ("Now we'll close our eyes and breath slowly..."). I try to guide him about 85% of the way to sleep and then say goodnight and leave the room. It usually works pretty well.

More often than not, Alex comes and finds us at around 2-3am. Usually I notice him climbing into our bed, but I hardly ever wake all the way up. Around 6:15am, he climbs out of bed, tells me "Mama wake up!" and goes out into the kitchen to pour his cereal. Since I still have to get the milk for him (he can't open the fridge), I stumble along a few minutes behind. Thank goodness for automatic coffee makers.

Alex still naps about 2 hours per day, and we don't worry to much about how he gets to sleep for nap. Yesterday, he fell asleep on Jeff's shoulder as Jeff was talking with a contractor about our bathroom! He sleeps in his bed and comes to find us when he wakes up.

What I love about our current system is that we are continuing to gently move toward sleep independence while still getting a full night's sleep. There are no tears and no late-night battles. What I don't love are cold toddler feet and the early morning squirm! But I imagine I'll even miss them when they're gone...