I have entered the territory of “guest poster” and I’m so excited! My good friend and mommy blogger over at Busy at Home let me post a story about a project Ryann organized. Head over to Busy at Home to read my post and also check out Susan’s other posts as they are never less than inspiring.
Stay tuned for a post about Ryann’s toy room makeover as well. Yet another major project organized by a three-year-old. I will show you guys what we did and what I learned about interior designing with a preschooler later this week.
We got out our Easter decorations a couple weeks ago and Ryann has been obsessed with Peter Rabbit Easter Egg Hunt, a book she got last year. It’s a pop-up book with the cutest scenes and some interactive elements that really keep her attention.
After many times through the book she decided we MUST have a decoration like the one hanging in the house in this picture.
So I said let’s do it! I rummaged through my scrapbooking supplies and pulled out papers, a hole punch and yarn. I don’t scrapbook, we just use the papers and stickers for impromptu craft projects like this one. I find there are all sorts of things you can use those cute patterns and bows for and if you get everything on clearance it’s really a bargain compared to most craft supplies.
I made a template egg out of some heavy paper. (Please excuse the shoddy camera work, I was using my phone as I didn’t plan this project in advance at all!)
Then we traced and cut out eggs on many different patterned papers. There was really no theme, just whatever looked cute.
I love how focused she looks tracing and cutting the paper in these pictures. She is actually quite good at both and I was surprised how much all her eggs looked like eggs.
When we had a selection of eggs I tied them on to a long piece of yarn, equal width apart. Ryann thought it was really funny to “sneak” a hole-punched scrap piece on there.
Here is the finished project in her play room. We recently painted and decorated this room in a very Montessori way but you’ll have to check out my blog for more information about how we did it!
It was a really cute project and I’m glad Ryann came up with it! It’s the kind of project that when you look at the end result you just feel yourself getting good, crafty mom points. Like you are just so fun and spontaneous and you have everything together.
Unless you were actually there for all these parts:
Then you would know why all the eggs on the finished garland are mine and that the real reason Ryann’s hands are in all the pictures is because she didn’t want me to take any. Isn’t it funny how the blog format can make everything look so idyllic?
Ah well. The new Easter decoration was well worth all the fit throwing.
The Wall Street Journal wrote a great article about Montessori. I’m sure you’ve seen it by now, but I love this article. It doesn’t give any misinformation about the method, discuss pros and cons of traditional school or other education methods. Instead it simply says: These creative people all had similar education, is there something worth looking at here?
In a desperate attempt to make any food more palatable to my 3-year-old connoisseur, I often send her with fun lunches. Due to my inability to plan ahead, this more often than not includes such quick and easy things as cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Her fruits and veggies are carefully separated with silicone cupcake liners shaped like butterflies. And I have a bunch more ideas I plan to break out as the school year unfolds.
There are things I can’t make palatable thrown in there too of course. Like edamame, which can send her into hysterics if she notices it’s there, or pretzel rods (I keep trying though!). Or sometimes I have to pack an unplanned extra lunch one week and end up throwing together anything and hope she’ll eat it.
One day when came to school to pick Ryann up the head teacher said, “I wish someone would pack butterfly sandwiches in my lunch!” To which I said, “Aren’t they cool? Ryann picked out the shape” but for some reason inside I cringed. I suddenly became acutely aware that I was one of those working moms who overcompensates for not being home with an adorable lunch. In that moment I didn’t feel judged by her teacher, but I felt this weight of the realization that while I felt like I wasn’t overcompensating, maybe I was. And even if that wasn’t what I was doing, maybe other people saw it that way and was that the way I wanted to be seen?
Then I read this lovely post about showing your kids you love them over at Simple Kids that put me back in the proper perspective. One of the many ways Kara listed to show your child you love them (rather than just saying it over and over) was to write notes in their lunch box. I realized that as the mom of a pre-reader, my love note WAS the lunch. A lunch packed with care means so much more than just lunch. Of course Ryann’s teacher was just expressing how good it feels to have someone pack you something you will enjoy, just for you. Apparently Ryann showed everyone in the classroom her butterfly pb&j that day. It meant a lot to her. And it means a lot to me to be able to make her day special.
I’ve said before that our morning routine could use some work. Ryann is hard to wake, and then getting through all the steps on the way out the door can take forever. Our whole routine is rushed and parent-led, which is unproductive and frustrating for us both.
I recently started getting out all the things Ryann needs to make her own cereal, before she wakes up. This way, I can go get her before I’m finished getting ready myself and she has more time to leisurely make and eat her breakfast while I have more time to leisurely put myself together. It’s so wonderfully child- and mommy-friendly.
Isn’t it cute? I thought the napkin made it classier. Like you would want to sit down and eat your Cheerios if you had a napkin. Ryann won’t eat Cheerios even then; I’m not sure how she survived babyhood without Cheerios… but I digress.
Buying napkins for the dinner table reminded me of folding cloths, the cloths used in Montessori classrooms to practice folding. I’ve seen Ryann steal away washcloths and trace an imaginary line before folding them. It seemed like napkins would be an awesome thing to practice with, as well as spruce up the table.
However, there aren’t many usable options for folding cloths on the internet, I’ve found. They are all drab, expensive and not something you would wipe your mouth with. I assume because they are made for classrooms and not dining rooms. So I made my own with a sewing machine and cute napkins from Target. And I’m giving away four!
To enter, just leave a comment before Friday at midnight (EST). For an extra entry, “like” the Real Life Montessori page on Facebook and leave another comment saying you did. I’ll announce the winner on Saturday.
I’m not usually one for resolutions, but this year I just happen to be starting a few new things in January.
I work part time at a University and my schedule changes each semester. This spring will have Ryann eating lunch at school two days a week. In the fall she only packed a lunch on the day her dad picks her up from school and I’m sad to say I was not always on the ball. Most weeks I would have a moment of panic on Tuesday mornings trying to find something to pack in her lunch box that she would actually eat. We don’t eat a lot of packaged foods so it was a challenge coming up with something other than pb&j every week. Now with two lunches a week I feel I need to step up my game and get organized.
Enter, the bento!
I bought this Bento Box because I feel like the cute design will help sell the lunch to my picky eater, but it’s really not necessary. I have long been a fan of site like Just Bento and of Japanese culture (with three years of 日本語 under my belt, I should be!) so I have been looking forward to packing bentos for a very long time.
A bento, for those unfamiliar, is simply a boxed lunch. Not much different from a Western lunch other than the type of container and food, but I do believe the presentation of said food is generally considered more important in a bento. I plan on packing a combination of Japanese and American food choices and I hope it helps Ryann expand her palette. Once we receive Ryann’s bento box, I will post pictures of a few of her lunches.
Speaking of pictures, another one of my loves is photography and I’ve started a big photo project this year. A friend of mine has inspired me to do a 365. One photo every day for a year. You can check out my progress here if you would like to see a little more of everyday life in our house.
And finally, in 2011 I will be doing my first giveaway! Monday Tuesday I will be giving away items that follow the Montessori method but are used every day. It’s so lovely when giveaways fit a theme, isn’t it?
It’s definitely winter in our neck of the woods. Cold, snowy, icy winter. Even so, this is Ryann on the way to her winter concert the other day.
I guess she doesn’t mind the cold because that girl does not wear a coat.
She will wear a coat when she’s playing outside. But between the house and the car? Not going to happen. She gets hot in the car. And safely navigating a coat and her car seat is complicated business. I don’t blame her for choosing to be cold for a short amount of time to avoid the mess entirely.
Sometimes I feel invisible (or visible) pressure from others to make her wear a coat. And it makes me doubt her ability to make this decision. If it is cold, is it my responsibility to make sure she is warm? What do people think when they see her running around in a sweatshirt and me wearing a warm coat (carrying hers)? Is this bad parenting?
I realize there is a certain point where it could be dangerous, you don’t want to freeze your child over some silly coat issue. I always suggest she wear her coat, I remind her that I have it when we get in and out of the car. But is it my responsibility to make her wear it?
I was struggling with this the other day when I realized I was greatly overthinking it and so was anyone who looks at me sideways when she jumps out of the car.
Why would I be in control of her coat? Only she knows if she’s cold. I can think she’s cold. I can assume she’s cold based on temperature or how cold I am, but I don’t really know. And being cold is not some abstract concept with far-reaching consequences that children don’t understand, like eating your vegetables. It’s immediate. It’s right now. Even babies know if they are cold.
And what’s worse is if you don’t trust children to regulate their own body temperature, you’ve just turned something as simple as how warm they are into a battle of wills. Suddenly your child actually is cold, but doesn’t want to admit it because they only way he was able to practice any autonomy was after arguing about it for 10 minutes. Wearing a coat should never be about pride, it should be able being warm.
So Ryann doesn’t wear a coat when she doesn’t want to. Even if it’s really cold. Even if I feel weird seeing her without a coat on. I make sure she doesn’t freeze by dressing her warmly and prewarming the car on very cold days. But for the most part, she knows when she needs a coat. And I don’t spend half my morning arguing about something as silly as someone else’s body temperature.