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On Annabelle

Found a book on the stairs on her way down to breakfast. Stopped to read. That's my girl.

Found a book on the stairs on her way down to breakfast. Stopped to read. That’s my girl.

You guys. Annabelle. She is too much right now. The older she gets, the more fully she engages with the world around her and the more her brilliance shines through. She’s 4 and 4 months already, even though it seems like we were just celebrating her birthday last week. She’s doing ballet and yoga and she’s reading and writing and painting and planning to become president, which I don’t doubt for a second she could do.

The girl has a seriously magnetic personality. Off the top of my head, I can think of three little girls we know with beloved baby dolls they’ve named Annabelle, and I don’t make a habit of going around asking children what they name their baby dolls, so there could be more. Our Annabelle talks with everyone, and she makes an impression. She’s so eager to meet and communicate with everyone that I find myself reminding her frequently not to literally knock people over with her enthusiasm. Sometimes she gives hugs that make you feel like a few of your bones might crack, and she always has something to say. Continue reading

Elliot at nearly two

DSC_0727editSo much has changed with Elliot since I wrote a proper update. So much. Physically, he has grown in seemingly every direction, as have his luscious curls. Of course he feels like a giant to me especially, in contrast to the tiny baby I hold in my arms for so much of my day, but everyone is commenting on how big he has gotten, so I know it’s not just me. He runs, jumps, gallops, and climbs everywhere and generally follows in the footsteps of all the big kids surrounding him. He has definitely become fiercely independent as well, adopting, “I do it,” as his mantra. It seems as though he has figured out how to do so many things almost overnight, too. He’s mostly dressing himself, needing help with shirts much of the time, but handling pants and “unders” on his own. He’s getting pretty good with his shoes, too, but that part is sometimes made difficult by his deliciously chubby feet. I was expecting a potty regression as part of the adjustment to his new sister, but he has actually continued on his quest for independence in that area, too. He wears a diaper at bedtime and naptime, but is otherwise in underwear and taking himself to the bathroom with few accidents. Continue reading

Cutlery Options for Montessori Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Montessori Cutlery Options

Annabelle and Elliot’s silverware drawer

I’ve sort of put myself on maternity leave from the computer, but I have been reading and communicating on mobile quite a bit, as I’m putting in quite a bit of time pacing with or nursing a nearly asleep newborn. This has meant lots of conversing in various Montessori groups. Yesterday, someone raised a question about silverware in the group: Bringing up Montessori Infants and Toddlers and many of us chimed in to make suggestions.

I have said before that we Montessori guides often become curators of beautiful collections of small objects, delighting over bits and pieces discovered for use in the classroom. Some of us take this role more seriously than others. In honesty, though, I can frame this any way I like, but a couple of decades from now one of my children might be putting me on the modern-day equivalent of hoarders after they open a cabinet in my house and find themselves buried under a pile of miniature pitchers, tiny bowls of various kinds and, well, cutlery. Reading the comment thread about silverware yesterday, I realized I could put my collection to good use, as we own all of the various options that were suggested. I snapped a side-by-side comparison picture for those considering their options and a few moms found this helpful, so I thought I’d grab some better photos and drop them here in the blogosphere for easy reference. Continue reading

Nora’s Birth Story

She’s here!

nora newbornWe  were working in the outdoor classroom, when I noticed that the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been feeling for weeks seemed to have given way to the familiar sort I had in early labor with Annabelle and Elliot. Not only did I feel them in my belly, but they wrapped around my lower back, squeezing more so than simply tightening. I was afraid to believe I was really in labor, lest I be disappointed when I sat down and the contractions stopped, so I continued on as usual. School ended and I panicked a bit when Andrew indicated that he planned to leave immediately to take Annabelle to lunch. I wasn’t ready to say I was in labor, but I was pretty sure I was and I was overwhelmed by the idea of being left at home alone with a cranky Elliot and a back yard full of large items to be put away. I’m sure Andrew was confused as to why I was cross over the idea of a father-daughter lunch date, but he kindly helped me put everything from outside away and get Elliot inside for lunch. It was then I told him I might be in labor, so he should be ready. He and Annabelle went off to lunch and Elliot and I had a bite to eat before heading to bed for a nap. Continue reading

Backyard Montessori: Our Outdoor Classroom

I’m nearly 39 weeks pregnant, with an energy level on the low side and the knowledge that every day could be our last day of school. While most of the children in our little school are pretty resilient, I wanted to make sure we had an official end to the school year for those who are especially sensitive to routine and might be really thrown to wake up and hear, “Miss Melissa had her baby, so there’s no school today. You’ll see your friends in September!” What I decided to do was to continue as usual until I reached 38 weeks, and then to have an official last work time together and a simple picnic to mark the end of the school year. Then, those who wanted to keep coming would be more than welcome to do so until baby-time, but I wanted to change it up a bit – both to make things obviously different from the school year routine, and to give myself a bit less cleaning work in the evenings during this busy time, I decided the solution was to have outdoor school.

For many weeks now, I’ve been pinning ideas, gathering supplies, and making plans for our “outdoor classroom,” and today was our first official day of it (well, Friday was supposed to be, but it was pouring rain!). It was awesome. Everyone seemed to enjoy it so much that I’m seriously considering making it a regular thing in the late Spring (and perhaps early fall, too), when there is so much to discover outdoors and the weather is so delightful. I thought I’d share some photos of our set-up with you. It took me about 15 minutes to get everything outside and ready this morning, and about the same to put it back in for the day, so it’s really not any more time intensive than prepping the indoor classroom in the morning, and there is no vacuuming, mopping, or dusting waiting for me – a beautiful thing! Continue reading

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