Watering plants is a favorite here these days. We own a landscaping company, so plants are a huge part of our life. I seem to collect a new plant every week, so this gives her a very meaningful way to contribute to the work in our house. I love how she has started holding the watering can with two hands! This ZZ plant is my very favorite plant for the kids. It has lovely leaves for dusting and, while it likes to be dry, has been doing very well with her watering attention. •
Because it’s in the background of the video, I feel like I should also mention that we do have a small potty in our living room. It is a long walk from our living room to our bathroom, so I put the potty in the living room to increase her success rate. Now at 16 months she is out of diapers during the day, except for long car trips. More about toilet learning soon, if anyone is interested.
I love watching what Marley does with the work on her shelves. Today she pulled out body part cards and baby. She would point to a body part on her baby and then would grab the corresponding card and press it to her body, all while trying to say the word. I love that this realistic and anatomically correct baby doll gives her so many opportunities to learn and practice new language. I can tell she is just soaking in all of the words because she was said “ahm” (arm) over and over in her sleep last night. I was not surprised at all when this was the first work she chose this morning! 😉
Playing “Can you give me...” is one of my favorite ways to use language objects with young toddlers. This game is a great way to use the second step of the three part language lesson at home. I gave her the names of the fruits and vegetables a few days ago (introduction is the first part of the three part language lesson.) Today, I reintroduced each object and then asked her to pass them to me (recognition is the second part of the three part lesson.) I love how she tries to say some of the words as we go. I don’t put pressure on her to say the names, but give her plenty of opportunities to try out the new words. Later, when she can say the words, I will ask “what is this?” (recall is the third part of the three part lesson.) This game is a fun way to learn new words for a young toddler who is trying out new words every day!
I’m starting of 2019 by taking a fresh look at some of my children’s spaces. As they grow, sometimes I realize that their set up no longer works for their growing abilities and needs to be updated. Camden’s closet was my first project this year. I added a bigger chair and made room so that he could use the mirror on the side of the wardrobe to check how he looks. I hung one of his favorite pictures of himself and a lovely painting of the Seattle skyline. He likes to chose what shirt he wears, but doesn’t seem to care much about which pants he wears so I assemble outfits and hang them. I made a capsule wardrobe for him this year with five outfits so that we can make it through the week if laundry doesn’t happen as often as I would like. Socks and underwear are on the top shelf, PJs on the second, hats on the third and a small bin on the bottom shelf for a hamper. He is much more likely to take his dirty clothes to the washer when the bin is full, so switching to a smaller size has been very helpful. This space is working much better for him! Now I’m off to work on Marley’s closet... Stay tuned! I will be posting pictures of all of our spaces as they get updated.
Happy New Year! This year I hope to see as many moments like this as I can. At 16 months, Marley’s absolutely loves to open the nesting dolls. She is starting to match the heads to the corresponding bodies, too. As she gets older, she will start to nest them. I love materials like this, that grow with the child!
This is by far the coolest toy Camden received for his fourth birthday. We don’t have any toys with batteries in our house and when asked what he wanted for his birthday he said “A battery toy!” Well, this seemed like the perfect solution for a little boy who loves to build (and a mama who wants to avoid battery operated toys.) He is learning to build circuits by reading a map and is now able to trace the flow of electrons. He is learning so much and is having a blast. (This is Snap Circuits for Beginners, available on Amazon.)
Today having the right doctor made all of the difference. Camden woke up this morning coughing non-stop. When it was clear that he was only getting worse, I made an urgent appointment with our family doctor. Camden needed a deep nasal swab to rule out pertussis (yes, he has been vaccinated against it and his vaccines are up to date. As a scientist, I strongly support vaccinations.) After explaining the procedure to him, our doctor told him that it would be uncomfortable and would probably hurt. Camden had a fever and was already exhausted from coughing all morning. He collapsed in tears and begged me to just take him home. I explained that we needed do the swab to make sure he had the right medicine to make the coughing stop and told him that it was ok to feel scared. And then we waited until he was ready, we let him cry and sit with his emotions. There was no pressure from anyone in the room to hurry the procedure along. After about five minutes, he sat up, wiped his tears and said “Okay, I’m ready to be brave.” He sat still and let her do the swab. It’s moments like these that my heart feels so proud it could burst. He is learning that he can do things that are hard for him and that he is brave. It is easy to see how a moment like this could be rushed. I could have easily held his arms down while the doctor quickly did the swab, but what would that have taught him? I’m so unbelievably glad we have a doctor who respects my children and is willing to spend extra time to put their emotional health into the equation. Tonight before he went to sleep, he asked me to tell him the story about how brave he was at the doctor. I got to tell him a wonderful story about a brave little boy. It’s not always easy to find the right doctor to work with, but it is so worth the effort. He’s now sleeping peacefully, hopefully he is much better tomorrow. (Picture from a healthy checkup this summer, where our doctor showed Marley exactly what he was going to do by first using her very willing brother as an example. 💕)
I’m not sure it can’t get any cuter than feeding the dogs in Christmas jammies and pigtails! She’s been helping me feed the dogs since she could walk and now, at 15 months, she is able to pour the food into the bowls independently. She always makes sure each piece that spills gets put into a bowl, even though the dogs would never leave a piece of food behind. I love giving her tasks that help her contribute to our family. She is so proud (and I am too)! 🎄
Tiny pigtails and and matching work. 😍
Here is Marley’s space at 15 months! Camden goes to school for three hours each morning, but it is a 30 minute commute. It wound up that we were spending a huge amount of time in the car each day, so I decided to rent a teeny tiny office space (8x10) across the street from his school so that Marley could have some time to work and a place to nap. Our little nest is serving as a Montessori space for Marley and a sewing room for me. It is one of my very favorite places in the world! Right now, Marley’s shelf is full of gorgeous handmade wooden toys from @heirloomkids. Her favorites right now are the depth discrimination cylinder blocks and the size discrimination peg toy. They are absolutely beautifully made (and would make perfect Christmas gifts!) She is also working on stacking triangles with the triangle stacker. Check out the second picture for how I present these materials. The work is so much more attractive when the puzzles are incomplete. Notice I only put out a few pieces of the triangle. I observed that she was totally ignoring the stack of six, but is having so much fun with just three pieces. I will add the other pieces down the road. I hung a wreath at her height so she can enjoy the beauty of the season and smell that wonderful evergreen smell. I also managed to find a small forward facing book shelf so that she can see the covers of the books to help her choose. Our lovely infant shelf is from @sprout_kids and is the perfect working height for her right now (use code INMOTION for 10% off your first order over $95). I can’t wait to share more of this space later, it is amazing what can be done with such a small space!
Tea time is a daily occurrence in our house this time of year. Camden was struggling to wake up from naps, so wanted to give him something that he could look forward to that would help him wake up. Now tea time has become an anchor in our day. He chooses the herbal tea for us to drink and makes the tea. We usually also have a little something sweet to eat and share stories about our day while we drink it. Marley has her own little tea cup that she adores. (She’s been using the same cup for three months now with out it breaking!) It was so much fun to share our favorite daily ritual with their great grandmother. 💕
I love how much my family has embraced Montessori. My almost 87 year old grandmother flew across the country by herself yesterday to visit our family and meet Marley. She brought Camden a very special gift- a Christmas tree hanging that she had quilted just for him. She brought tiny ornaments to sew on so that they could decorate the tree together and she could see Camden sewing in person. Not everyone is willing to hand a three year old a real sewing needle, so to have her create this project just for him was incredible. Such a thoughtful, meaningful gift that we will treasure through the years. My heart feels so full. ❤️
The sweetest little mushroom popped up in the woods today! Happy Halloween!!🍄
Now that Marley is 14 months, she is able to use her water station totally independently. She was having trouble putting the cup in the right spot, so I put a sticker down to show her where it goes and she has been flying solo ever since! 💦
I love coming across moments like this one. Reading together and soaking in the warm autumn day in their new chairs. 🍁
Teaching a 13 month old to use a water station is a very wet experience, but is absolutely worth it. The independence she has gained from being able to serve herself water is wonderful. When Camden was this age, I would only put as much water in the station as I was comfortable cleaning up. I’m doing things a bit differently this time because Camden is used to getting his own water and our set up is safer for young toddlers. First, the spout only releases water when pressure is applied, so it can’t get left open. We also have the water source on a water resistant crate from Ikea and have a bucket inside so most of the spilled water gets trapped in a bucket. There is some lovely industrial carpet on the ground so that our concrete floors don’t get dangerously slippery. Lastly, I have a sticker on the crate where the water glass goes so that she knows where to put it. We still wipe up spills but most of the water is controlled, which means I am able to have water in it all of the time. She is still learning to recognize when the glass is full so that it doesn’t overflow (and of course she likes to run it sometimes just for fun), but I can’t believe the progress she has made in the past few weeks. Now instead of asking me for water, she gets her own glass and starts the process herself. Small humans are so capable when we give them a chance!
I had one of those chats with Camden’s teacher yesterday that no parent really wants to have. He has been having a hard time moving his body carefully around other children and has been pushing when someone gets in his way. While it’s never fun to hear, I’m glad to know about it because it means we can start working on it at home too. Last night we had a conversation where we talked about solutions to the problem. First, I acknowledged his feelings by talking about how frustrating it can be when someone is in your way. Then I told him it was a problem because someone could get hurt and it is not respectful to his classmates. Then we worked on coming up with solutions. I wrote down all three of his ideas and we narrowed it down to one thing he could try the next day. Next time someone is in his way, he thought it might be a good idea to say “beep, beep!” This is not exactly the solution I would have come up with, but the important thing is that he is learning to think through these types of problems. I got a great report from his teacher today and when he got into the car he told me two stories about when he “beep, beeped” his friends without me even asking. We will work on saying excuse me sometime soon, but I am so proud of him for coming up with a solution and sticking with his idea. If you have a young child, you should absolutely read “How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen” by Joanna Faber and Julie King. This book is excellent and I use their ideas all day long! (Picture from our hike this weekend, which I think nicely shows all of that three year old boy energy 😉.)
We’ve been going on the same hike every October since we got married seven years ago. This photo is one of my favorite family traditions. I love, love, love seeing how much our little family has grown!
This little glimpse into his world at school is such a gift. Camden is in a Primary Montessori program five mornings a week. As a parent, it can feel like the classroom is a bit of a black box. Montessori schools don’t give daily reports like some preschools and it is sometimes a challenge to not know exactly what he is doing, especially for a Montessori junkie like me. I’ve learned a few tricks for helping him learn to talk about his day, like asking what a friend worked on that day and giving him details about what I did while he was at school. But mostly, I’ve learned that I can get an idea of what he is working on by observing him. The sound games he wants to play in the car every day, the folded napkins at our house and the sudden interest in Africa are all clues. I’m so proud of how much he has grown in the last month. This little boy has been working on big things. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
I absolutely love handmade clothes. The unique designs and love that gets poured into every piece makes them stand out from other clothes. I love knowing who makes our clothes. This beautiful coat was Marley’s first birthday present from my mother. I worked with Joan fro SwingCoat on Etsy to pick both the lining and the outer layer. I am beyond thrilled with how it turned out! It’s easy to move in and perfect for fall. And guess what? She makes adult coats too! #notsponsored