Monday, 16 April 2018

Observations of a Montessori Five Month Old

Last Monday I shared some thoughts on why I think protecting concentration in infants is crucial, and partnered with this post, I wanted to share some of my observations of Ignatius.

Because I observe him. A lot.

If you follow me on Instagram you know I post quite a few covert videos of him playing with his mobile or grasping, currently. And these videos are only a small portion of the time I watch him.

I just find him so fascinating.

Despite having three children under three, and being told constantly that I must have my hands full, I find my days pretty manageable. Part of that is due to how well our environment is prepared for Ignatius.

He will be five months old in a week and is just entering a whole new level of development. I thought it might be fun and helpful to share some observations of him and his spaces. For a post on how we prepared these spaces for him in preparation for his arrival go here.

Following His Cues

One of my primary philosophies when it comes to caring for my babies is to follow their cues. I am always a little taken off guard when someone asks me if they can get the baby when he is fussing.

Of course you can!

Ignatius' schedule is his own, and it is different every day.

If he is hungry, I feed him.
If he is tired, I lay him down for a sleep.
If he seems really alert, I give him work.
If he seems lonely, we snuggle him or he goes in his inclined chair (or right on the floor) near us.
If he is fussy and playing strange with someone else, I take him back.
If he is completely out of sorts, he goes for a swing.

Following his cues, in line with the Montessori philosophy, is all about respecting his needs, his inner guide, and allowing him to be his own unique person.

Ignatius' Work; Yes, the Baby Has Work Too

Ignatius primarily "works" in either of his two movement areas or under his play gym.

As the term movement area suggests, it is important for Ignatius to have the ability to freely move his body, as this gross motor work is the most important for him at this time. This is why this area is simply a blanket spread on the floor, giving him plenty of room to swing his arms, kick his feet, practice turning his body around, and rolling over.

His movement area, right in our living room, is where I rotate different mobiles for him to work with. This is also where he will look at pictures, his mirror, and work with different grasping toys.

He has started working with tactile mobiles, or different toys I will attach to his mobile hanger, and is very determined to get his hands working - especially with the interlocking rings. They make a beautiful sound when he bats at them and are really easy for him to grasp.

One of my favorite things is to watch him peacefully drift off to sleep while working. Such as the other day while laying under the ribbon mobile. His eyes would flutter shut, a content little smile on his face, and flutter open again every few minutes as if he could not bear to look away.

Right in on the Action

Now that Ignatius is a little older, I will lay him where his brothers are playing. He gets so excited he actually moves himself from all the kicking.

It is important for Ignatius to spend time right in the noise and activity of our family, to give him a sense of his belonging, his acceptance, and to let him observe us.

As babies learn from this opportunity to observe, this is important work for him.

When we are reading and singing, Ignatius is right there with us. When we have meals, he sits in his inclined seat either on the table or right near my chair. And often, when I am nursing, his brothers are right there, kissing him, distracting him, and loving him up.

Not Making Sleep A Big Thing

Ignatius will often work so hard at his mobiles that he puts himself to sleep, as I mentioned above.

For this reason, he is able to sleep anywhere, regardless of noise. I usually will just cover him with blanket and let him stay where he falls asleep.

For naps where I deliberately put him down, he goes in the swing or in my bed. He is really skilled at putting himself to sleep if I lay him down awake, which I think is, in part, due to all the times he has tuckered himself out working with his mobiles.

At nighttime, he now sleeps on a crib mattress on the floor in our room. It is nothing fancy, just the mattress and the sheet placed in a safe, uncluttered area of our room. When he is moving, we will be moving Benedict into Jerome's room and letting Ignatius have his own completely baby-proofed room.

Most of all, we treat sleep as the natural process that it is.

Ignatius, as with all of my babies, sleeps when he is tired, and this means we do not put a lot of pressure on long bedtime routines, schedules and the like. As long as he is well fed, has a clean diaper, and has had enough awake time, sleep comes pretty naturally.

So there we have it.

A few of the ways Ignatius fits right into the life of our home with his own work, his own schedule, his own important identity in our family unit.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. And if you are interested in following along in our daily adventures, follow us on Instagram where I post daily.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer

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