Toddlers: Guest Post Part 1

My guest blogger, Mariana, is a dear friend and my personal Montessori guru.  Last week I told you a little about her (which you can find here), and asked you to submit some questions you’d like answered.  We had a fantastic response and decided to tackle a big one first!  Although this question pertains to a toddler classroom, I found so many helpful tips in Mariana’s answer as a mother of a three year old.  As I read her response,  I heard myself saying, “ohhhhhhh” and “that makes so much sense now!”  So, whether you’re a Montessori teacher, a parent homeschooling your child or someone just trying to understand the way toddlers work, this post is for you.IMG_9812

I have a question regarding running a Montessori inspired toddler room. There are 10 toddlers and 2 teachers, sometimes only 1 when nappy changes, etc. need to be done, in the room. The children range in age from 14 months to 2 1/2 years. We would really appreciate some tips on setting up a room which meet the needs of all the children? We are unfortunately not in a position to have both indoor and outdoor environments open. 
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Our Need for Beauty

This week I took a much need trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit one of my dearest friends and see my younger sister.  It has been way too long since I’ve been surrounded by such breathtaking beauty.  This visit was rejuvenating and relaxing in the best way.  Maria Montessori wrote about the need for beauty and order in the environment and I truly believe that it aids in developing inner peace.

I started the trip (with my 5 1/2 month old in tow) in Oregon with my childhood friend and felt so at ease in her beautiful home.  The way she and her husband decorated, organized and set up their house is so refreshing.  Every item has a purpose and place;  it was like being in an adult Montessori environment.  Their sweet son is thriving because of their thoughtful planning and purposeful parenting.  We spent a lot of time outside: hiking, picnicking on the porch and walking the trials surrounding their house.  There’s something so magical about the way a trail looks framed by giant, moss covered trees.  I drank in my surroundings and quenched my unknown thirst for nature and beauty.

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Confessions of a Second Time Mom

I thought I was prepared.  I talked to my daughter about her new baby brother and bought her books about being a big sister.  I read articles about including my firstborn in everything from diaper changes to laundry.  I even talked to friends with more than one child about what life was going to look like with two.  I was so focused on getting her ready for her new role as big sister, I didn’t even think about my new role.  No one prepared me for the guilt.

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After we settled in at home and all of the relatives left, reality hit me…hard.  I found myself snapping at my daughter, feeling irritated and on edge.  I guess I could easily blame sleep deprivation or hormones, but it was something else.  We had  sweet moments and I loved our new family of four, but somehow any small request rubbed me the wrong way.  I often felt annoyed helping my daughter with things I knew she could do herself.  What kind of mom was I?Then it dawned on me.  I resented her for taking me away from my new little bundle.  When my daughter was born, I had all the time in the world to sleep when she napped, sit on the ground and watch her during tummy time or rock her while singing a lullaby.  Now I found myself juggling diaper changes, snack time, a screaming infant, a toddler needing toilet help, making dinner, multiple naps and keeping my house clean(ish).  I was craving more one on one time with my baby boy and she was constantly interrupting.  I thought I was giving her plenty of attention, but never stopped to think that she might be craving some one on one time from me. Continue reading