How Montessori changed my life ... or at least my mornings.

For as long as Finn has been taking regular morning naps, I have run a daily marathon. The second those sweet eyes finally shut, I would oh-so-gently tiptoe out the door, avoiding the squeak in the floorboard, and then literally sprint through the house: showering, tooth-brushing, dressing, cleaning up, throwing in laundry, etc. It was comic, yes, but exhausting. I always held out hope that I'd get to check email and scan the headlines, but this rarely happened before he woke up. (Maybe I should have focused on trying to lengthen his naps but I never had much luck with that ...)  

Thanks to the alternate universe of mommy-blogging, enter Montessori. (Specifically, thanks to Marcy at Life is Good and Meg at Sew Liberated (who just had her own Finn!), both Montesssori-trained teachers, now SAHMs, who occasionally post explicitly Monetssori stuff, and who got me reading Tim Seldin's How to Raise an Amazing Child and Polk's and Jessen's Montessori From the Start.)  

It's not that I'm by any means a "Montessorian"--my knowledge is limited and new, and I'm not really all that concerned about following any method perfectly.  But reading Montessori theory has given me confidence to nurture the interest that Finn shows in imitating everything we do, and it's given us practical tips in how to do so. 

So now, instead of rushing around to do everything myself, I wait for Finn to wake up and we tackle the chores together. The only thing I do during the nap is shower. After that, I sit with a cuppa and read emails and headlines in peace, and that 15 minutes or so of quiet lets me feel caught up with myself and the world and makes a huge difference in the rest of my day. 

 After he wakes, we spend the next hour or so working on all those chores I used to race through. I know, I know ... a 15-month-old? Doing chores? It's not that we're trying to raise a super-kid, and it's not that we're into slave labor. It's just that he, without any prompting from us, kept grabbing cloths and trying to wipe off any and every surface in the house, and kept grabbing the broom and trying to sweep.  So we're teaching him, very gently and with no pressure, how to actually do these things correctly, mainly by doing it the same way ourselves, over and over (ie, wiping the table from left to right each time we do it). He studies what we do, and over time, you can tell that he's getting it.

Really, though, it's less about teaching and more about just finding ways that he can be involved in as many household activities as possible. Believe me, this whole thing surprises us everyday. Oh, and just in case you think this sounds kind of cruel, he is way more engaged and interested in these activites than he is with most of his toys. Apart from physical things, like pushing his walker-cart or climbing up a slide, standing at the kitchen counter and doing dishes or dinner prep holds his attention longer than anything else.  

Since this is already so long, I'll wait until tomorrow to post what all we do, and how we've adapted things so he can help. But just to tide you over, here's a couple of pictures I took of Finn today, washing greens with me. (full disclosure: he fell off that step-stool just minutes after these pictures were taken. He's climbed up and down it safely gobs of times, I promise ... ) step stool

washing greens

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