Okay, last post on this book. In the first iteration of this post, there was just too much. So, for now, I'm just going to do subject headings, and expect a full post on each of these topics to roll out sometime in the near future. To read more about the book, and get a citation from amazon.com, read this post. To read Part II (my respectful beefs with the book), click here. Today, the practical application: what I'm going to change around our house and around my brain because of reading Montessori from the Start.
Conveyances are anything that holds the baby's weight without her having to use her strength to do it: swings, strollers, front carriers and wraps and slings, strollers, car seats, and probably other stuff that I've never even seen before. The Montessori verdict on these appears to be a no. They take away from the child's freedom of movement. Polk and Lillard, in fact, say that only a car seat is really necessary (and then only if you live somewhere where you have to drive to live), and that you should "think carefully" about what other conveyances you bring into your child's life.
Bottom line for us: we're keeping our swing, but trying to reduce our reliance on it. Slings/wraps/carriers don't seem to present such a problem to me. Obviously we have a car seat. We have a stroller but our use it pretty much limited to the time I'm exercising. I'm trying to get the baby more on the flat floor, so she has a chance to use all her muscles!
This one was a big no from La Leche League as well. Michael Olaf has an opinion that seems to match Polk and Lillard on this one: pacifiers that the baby can't control are a sort of "put a sock in it" overture. But we did it anyway. After being bound and determined that we would get breastfeeding figured out for good, and that Vicki Jo wouldn't get a pacifier no matter how much she wanted to suck, we gave her one after about ten days. I can literally see the relaxation flow into her body when I give it to her sometimes. Again, I'm trying to reduce her reliance on this one. I do realize that it's probably harder for a baby to form good speech patterns early on if she constantly has something in her mouth. And this varies by baby: some babies are not so into comfort sucking as she is.
This will be a big change for us. We are moving to a floor-bed once Vicki Jo starts sleeping by herself (someday!), and will need to entirely childproof her space (something we haven't done yet because she is still immobile), so that she can be in there playing independently without constantly needing an adult hawking over her. This means our crib is probably the single most expensive useless gift we've ever received! Oh well. We use it for a kind of changing table currently, and will just continue with that.
We have bought nary a toy for our baby. She has received so many gifts, we haven't had to. But with so many gifts comes a lack of control over what you bring into your child's environment. So, I've decided to pare down. This means giving many gifts away, but that's okay. After consulting with some Montessori teachers online, we will be starting over fresh with toys that are meant to go into a child's tiny hand: a rattle, a wooden teether, a grasper, wood and leather grasping beads, a bell and a hoop on a string tied to an elastic
All right already! We're going to start using them at home. Our sitter is not a fan, which I can understand, so we will definitely be doing a disposable/cloth combo, but we have the damn diapers, I just need to get off my lazy bum and start using them!
Okay, like I said - some fairly sweeping changes. But all in all, doable. One of my gripes about Montessori from the Start is that it seemed hard to me. Or maybe just a little idealistic. Or maybe just like it required a different kind of person. I found myself wishing I could start over - we could move into a new house, be more spare in our furnishings and possessions, and carefully select items for the baby over time. But that is just not how life works - at least, not our life together. So, for me, it's about letting go of some of that idealism as well.
If you're reading, and any of this makes sense, feel free to leave a comment!