"The parents' challenge is to establish a home environment that encourages the development of concentration from the child's infancy and that supports flow experiences for all family members. Such a home reflects the complexity of life."
When we're inside we spend our time in the playroom. It's my favourite room in the house. It's beautiful and sunny with big windows, a skylight and a Northerly aspect. Most of Bear's toys are kept here. The piano is here. It's the centre of our house. There are doors leading out to the yard, Bear's bedroom, the bathroom, the laundry and the carport. I've made some changes to make a special place for Fox to join us in this space.
It is a challenge balancing the needs of the 2 boys in the same area. Bear needs freedom, independence and lots of movement. Fox needs safety, calm and predictability. On the one hand I want to allow Bear plenty of access to his little brother but on the other I need to protect the little guy from Bear's clumsy and enthusiastic affection. I think the only way to have them share the space at the moment is with constant, diligent supervision. This is how the space is arranged so far:
A Floor-bed and Mirror
During the day Fox spends a lot of his time on a floor-bed. It is a thin cot-sized mattress tucked away in a corner. Bear brings his toys to work on the black and white rug so it's very close to the action. Fox is still asleep most of the time so he sleeps here covered by a small crocheted blanket. When he is awake he is happy for short periods looking at himself in the mirror or watching and listening to us play on the mat. Most of the time he is happier being held when he is awake.
I am trying to teach Bear that this is a quiet, gentle area. He is welcome on the bed and he is allowed to touch Fox gently. He's starting to get the idea. He often comes and lies next to Fox, or brings toys over for him, of pats his belly.
A Changing Area
I'm using the top of a chest of drawers as a change table. The drawers are stocked with nappies, wipes and all his clothes. All the drawers have child-proof latches to keep Bear from rummaging through them and emptying them out!
Bear sometimes carries his little chair over to us and stands on it so he can participate. He likes to pull out a baby wipe and help wipe Fox. Or take a cottonbud, dip it in water and clean Fox. I love it when he does these things. It reminds me how closely he watches the things I do because he imitates them so carefully.
An area for feeding
There is a comfortable couch next to the play area that faces out the window. Through the window I can usually see the goats grazing and the chickens wandering around. There is a high table next to the couch where I can sit my hot drink out of reach of little hands. On the floor next to the couch is a basket of books for Bear that are rotated weekly. It is perfect for us all to cuddle up together and read a book while I breastfeed Fox or it's close enough to the rug for Bear to chat to me while he works.
I have a few mobiles for Fox but I haven't put a hook in the wall to hang them yet. Hopefully I'll get them up sometime this week because I think he is already developmentally ready for them. I would also love to make a black and white quilt for Fox to lie on for tummy time. I'm not sure when I'll find time to do that but I can dream...
My name is Vicky I am wife to Ranger and mum to two boys - Bear (2) and Fox (8 months). Somehow I stumbled across Montessori and now my goal is to raise and educate my children with a Montessori philosophy in country NSW Australia.