Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nora -- 4 months old


Where has the time gone? I blinked and Nora grew up. 

Nora is just a dream. Seriously, she makes me so happy just by being here. She has her crabby moments but overall she's just a happy, lovey baby. 




I'm a couple days late on this update so I could include her stats. Nora is 14 pounds even, and 24.25 inches (so slightly smaller than Henry was at this age.) She wears size 2 diapers, and mostly 3-6 month clothes, although some of her pants are still 0-3 months. She still has big blue eyes and light spikey hair. 



This month, Nora has decided to be awake. She went from 5-7 hour stretches a night to between 3-5 hours. She also is spending more and more time awake at night -- so she will get up but not go back to sleep for an hour or two after waking. Napping during the day is still pretty much the same -- mostly 40 minutes long three times a day and the occasional long nap. 





Nora is still exclusively breastfed. She is still a huge snacker that nurses pretty much every hour all day. She's stretched the length a little bit, but still pretty much nurses 14 or so times a day. 




With all that eating and {not} sleeping, Nora has been learning lots of skills. This month she started rolling belly-to-back and back-to-belly. She discovered her feet. Passes toys from one hand to the other. Blows raspberries. And sits if supported. 



Nora loves being sat up to watch the kids. Henry is her favorite person of all time. In fact, nothing makes Nora light up the way Henry can. She also loves her Montessori bell rattle, her owl lovie, sitting up in the Bumbo, and (oddly enough) playing with our shower curtain. 



She loves sucking on fabric and constantly a drooly mess from trying to eat her shirt. Speaking of eating, Girly is showing some serious interest in food. She loves to watch us eat and drool just pours from her mouth -- but she has a couple months before that's going to happen. 



I'm having a hard time thinking of too much that Nora really dislikes. We did learn that she is not a fan of driving in the dark and has screamed every time she's had to. And she really hates getting trapped on her belly when her arm (or a toy) make it hard to roll back to her back. She's also not much of a snuggler -- she much prefers to be held out. 




Every month with Nora I just feel so grateful that she gets to be here, even if it is hard to see her getting so big so quickly!




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Letter P -- Montessori Trays

Letter P trays! These were fun and reminded me how much a simple practical life tray can be enjoyed when just one more step is added. 

The first tray we did this week was wet pouring. But instead of just using pitchers, I added a funnel for the first time. This changed the process and the kids really had to concentrate on the amount of water they were pouring into a vase. 


This was by far Henry's favorite work this week. I often found him working on pouring and filing up vases.


The second tray this week was another practical life -- scooping peas. This time, however, I made it a two step process. Scoop peas from one pail into a pitcher, then pour pitcher into the second pail. Just that extra step kept Henry interested in the work when otherwise it would be a bit basic for him. 


The third tray this week was a letter sorting tray. Here the kids could sort pandas that were stamped with a p,q,b or d. This was quite a challenge for the kids. While I thought it was a fun way to start to reinforce the letters, Henry was not attracted to this and never chose it. 


Other things we did this week included: 

Patterning -- using wooden shapes, I created a few pattern sheets for the kids to follow. Henry never chose to do this either and I don't think it was all that popular during co-op either. 


Polishing -- this was a big hit this week! I included some wooden fruit {a pear and a peach}, q-tips, polish, and a cloth. The children could then polish the fruit. This was the first time I've done polishing with Henry or any of the kids and, boy, were those fruit clean by the end of the week!


Pig Sorting -- this was a tray from last year when we did the letter P. Here the kids had to sort the pigs into three sizes. The corn adds an extra sensory element that Henry and the other kids enjoy. 



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today I Remember

Today is October 15 -- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. 


Today, I remember. 

I remember the joy, the anxiety, the worry, the anticipation, the loss. These 4 babies are never far from my mind but today I will take time to think about each one and their story. While each pregnancy ended, none of them were the same. They each have their own story

Today, I grieve. 

I grieve for the babies that I never got to hold. I grieve for the unanswered questions. Were they boys or girls? Would they have a killer pout? Brown eyes? Easy births? Easy going or particular? I'll never get these answers on Earth. I don't get to hear their voices, to see them smile, to hug and kiss them.

Today, I celebrate 4 lives. 

I celebrate because for brief moments my children were on earth. They existed. And I believe they are waiting for me. They were not made up. They were some figment of my imagination, they were not just two lines on some test, or a chemical imbalance. They are my children.

If you have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss you are not alone. In fact, 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss. You are never alone. Today, I remember, grieve, and celebrate with you. Because your loss is real and your baby matters.

Throughout the day, 4 candles will burn in my house. One for each little life. And, I will remember, I will grieve, I will celebrate.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Montessori Letter O Tot School

Another week down at tot school! Letter O was not my favorite to put together, but I think it came out alright. 

The first tray was a combination of science, art, and practical life -- color mixing to make the color orange. I placed to small pitchers of water -- one yellow and one red on either side of a small cup. Then I included a 1 ml syringe. The children could then use only the syringe to suck up water and combine it to make the color orange in the small cup. 



This was by far Henry's favorite and the most used at co-op. I encouraged experimentation with the colors to make different shades. And I'm very proud to say that they pitchers were not spilled once the entire week.


The second tray was owl tracing. Here, I included a wooden owl shape, a few color pencils and paper. The kids could trace and decorate. It was actually a difficult task for many of them. Henry never attempted this tray, but that's not shocking since anything "art" is really not his favorite. But, I think I need to include more fine motor and writing trays, since this was a good challenge. 


The third tray was octopus counting. Here, I made little cards varying numbers of octopi. Then, included various number choices at the bottom of the cards. The kids could then place a glass bead on the appropriate number. This was another one that I never saw Henry choose this week. 



Other things we did this week included: 

Orange Owl Transfer: transferring Pom-poms between two glass owls with tweezers. This was a repeat from tot school letter O last year. I was shocked how much better Henry suddenly was at using tweezers than last time! 


Ocean 3-part Cards


Circling O objects: Here I made a sheet with a variety of objects and included some dry erase crayons. The children could then find the things that started with O and circle them. Henry did this quite a bit this week, but needed help recognizing less popular "o words" like oven and Oscar. 



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Monday, October 6, 2014

Montessori Co-Op FAQs

Montessori tot school co-op is back! I was so happy that the families that were involved in the co-op were interested in returning again this year! I've been getting a lot of questions about co-op and how it is run, so I wanted to answer the most frequently asked questions.


How many kids? 

Right now, we have 7 preschoolers between 3.5 and 4-years-old, and 5 of their siblings -- ranging from a couple months old to almost 2. This is put absolute maximum number of people. 

How do you handle siblings? 

We have a "baby room" where one of the moms watches all of the siblings. Last year, they were all in the room with us, but it has just gotten too crowded and hard to manage the babies and the older kids. 

We do have two toddler-age siblings and they will come and go into the classroom. They may not make it the whole hour, but there is work that they can do in a modified way. I leave it up to their moms to determine where they should be. The other three siblings {including Nora} are all babies and spend the whole time in the baby room. There are activities for them to do -- brought by another mom -- or they can just play. 

Where did you find participants? 

Right now, I've limited participants to my mom friends. I've known these women and kids since they were babies. Right now, enough of my moms group has wanted to participate that I've never searched outside of the group.


Are you always at your house?

Yes, we are always in our Montessori homeschool classroom.

How often do you meet? 

We meet once a week for 2 hours. 

How do the other families contribute? 

The other families rotate bringing either a craft or science project for the children to work on after we are done in the classroom. They also bring snack for all the kids and for the moms. I am also blessed that they are very generous in donating supplies and keeping their eyes out for trays, shelves, and the like. 

Also, each week one of the moms is responsible for watching over all of the younger siblings in the "baby room." They have also brought sensory bins and boards for the babies to use while we are working in the classroom. This way we can all focus on the older sibling in the classroom while the babies have fun.


Do you charge money to participate in the co-op?

No, I don't. 

What does a typical co-op morning look like? 

When people arrive to my house, I will have a toy or two out for the kids. They can wait and play for everyone to arrive. When everyone gets here, we go to the classroom as a group. 

I have each of the children sit in a circle while I explain the theme and present a couple trays. This is 5 minutes at most. After I'm done, I tell the children to get a mat and start work. They work for about an hour.

After the hour is up, we split the children into two groups to wash hands in our bathrooms. Then we meet up at the table. The children take turns passing out plates and napkins. They pour their own water and snack, and clear their own dishes. 

Once the table is clean, we do a craft or science project. When the children finish they can have free play time. During this time, the moms enjoy snack and socialize together. 

About 5 minutes before we gather the kids, sing a song and break the kids into two groups. The groups then work together to clean up toys before heading home.


What do the children work on? 

One hour is spent in the classroom working, one hour is spent doing a craft/science project, eating snack and some free play. The classroom has a variety of work for the children to choose from. Some of the work will stay the same all year, some will change after a month or two, and some changes weekly based on a theme. For more specifics about our theme, check out my tot school posts. 

Do the children actually work? 

Yes! By the end of our first year, I was amazed at how much work and concentration happened in the classroom. We had "normalization," with calm and quiet. We are only a few weeks into the year now, so we are working on getting back to that. I can't actually recall a time where someone completely refused to do anything while in the classroom {with the exception of Henry}. 


How does Henry react? 

To his credit, Henry is doing much better this year. But, when we first started co-op Henry was very reluctant to work when his friends were there. He did not like to share my attention with other children and just wanted to play with his friends. Last year, he often spent the entire class just watching others work. This year, he is watching some, but actually choosing work to do too. 


Have another question? Let me know in the comments, and I'll update the post!
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