An Art Area
I've rearranged Bear's furniture in the playroom to include a more inspiring art area. I put out different art supplies each week for him to explore freely. This week connector pens and a white board - both have been very popular.
Just a side note about his table and chairs: this beautiful set was handmade on request by a man in Molong (a little town about an hour on the Sydney side of Dubbo). You can track him down through the Molong Yarn Market along with all sorts of other handmade treasures. They were given to Bear for his 1st birthday by his grandparents. The chairs are still a little high for him but they are very heavy so almost impossible for him to tip over when climbing on and off. We love them!
An art area would be incomplete without somewhere special to display his creations.
A Desk Lamp
A recent source of frustration for me was Bear constantly asking me to turn the lights on and off. He can't reach the switches but they fascinate him. That gave me an idea! I moved the desk lamp to his table where he can get to it whenever he likes. The switch is easy for him to operate. He can turn it on and off to his heart's content without plunging the room into darkness and driving the rest of us crazy.
A Tissue Box and Rubbish Bin
To remedy Bear's frequently runny nose I put a tissue box where Bear can reach it. He helps himself to tissues and attempts to wipe his own nose. He also enthusiastically looks out for other rubbish he can put in his bin.
He went through the first box of tissues very quickly. New tissue. Wipe nose. Scrunch. Toss. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It took a lot of restraint and positive self talk ("They're only tissues", "They cost 75c a box", "They're compostable", "It's good practice for him") to stop me snatching the box from him and putting it out of his reach. Thankfully his enthusiasm has since settled down. Now he gets a tissue for himself when needs one and just a few other times per day for fun!
Another basic Montessori concept that I've finally got around to doing for Bear - Hooks at child height! As usual I can't believe I didn't do it sooner.
Bear loves screws and screwdrivers so he was very keen to help me install 3 shiny new hooks on our side table.
I hung up his hat, backpack and nappy bag and immediately he was intrigued. He was fascinated as I demonstrated lifting the hoops over the hook very carefully with 2 hands. He watched me take them off then put them back. Then it was his turn and I have to say I was mesmerised for half an hour watching him work it out.
He loves being able to get his hat for himself. He runs off to get it when we're going outside. He has even started putting his hat on himself. I had no idea he was able to do that. I had always just done it for him. I am constantly underestimating him!
Since hooks seemed to be so much fun I also moved our key hooks down to his height. Same concept but practices different coordination. However definitely not as much fun as being able to do useful things for yourself like get your own hat!
Lately our mornings have been starting like this:
I don't know what the problem was exactly.
The tantrums triggered me to give some thought to how we do breakfast. I've made some changes that require Bear to be more independent. We haven't had any tantrums since. This is how we do breakfast now:
Why didn't I do this sooner?!
I can't believe the difference this has made to our mornings. We have acknowledged Bear's ability to do simple things for himself and provided just the right level of challenge. We have gone from an hour of chaos followed by an hour of grumpy hungry toddler to peace.
This isn't going to be the solution forever. What next? Making toast? Spreading butter? Making smoothies? I'll keep you posted.
I have found cooking with Bear very difficult. This has been for a number of reasons:
I continue to persevere because I am convinced that this is something that Bear and I can both benefit from. I have found lots of inspiration from itty bitty love and how we montessori.
Things I have found have helped:
The best things about cooking with Bear:
In the photos:
I was making herb dumplings for dinner at the kitchen counter. I set two mixing bowls and a spoon on Bear's table - one bowl had flour in it. He came and sat down right away to get cooking. He started by scooping the flour from one bowl to the other and back again. When he started to tire of scooping I gave him a herb shaker - that was a big hit! At first it was half full of some herbs. When they were all used up he brought me the shaker to ask for some more. I refilled it over and over with lentils and split peas.
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.