Sunday, December 15, 2013

Teaching Grace and Courtesy to a Toddler: Our Homemade Manners Book

     In lieu of a totally Christmas focused unit during this season, I opted to embark on a big grace and courtesy push prior to visiting family.  In line with the Dr. Montessori's idea that young children have a strong need for order in their environment (most often notable by a clean and neat space), social graces and acceptable behavior provide young children with clear standards by which to interact with others. These social courtesies also enhance the respectful atmosphere found in Montessori classrooms.  In our house, we have used three methods to teach grace and courtesy: modeling, role playing, and finding examples in books.
Knock on a closed door. (Important for visiting family!)

    Up to this point, we have primarily modeled social graces for Q-ball.  According to Dr. Montessori, this is the most influential way to teach grace and courtesy.  We say please, thank you, and excuse me.  And, we model behaviors like gently opening and closing doors, greeting others, waiting in line, placing our napkins in our laps, expressing concern when someone is upset or hurt, and expressing admiration for other people's work.  Even without any previous prompts or instruction these phrases and behaviors have occasionally slipped into Q-ball's habits (the latter more than the former.)

   Recent holidays provided opportunities for grace and courtesy role-playing. Given that Q-ball's current favorite method of play is pretending, these activities have been a huge hit. Before starting the role- playing activity, I modeled the exact phrases and actions for Q-ball. For Halloween, we practiced how to greet and thank people while trick-or-treating.  Q-ball loved this so much that she actually still asks to play!  And, for Thanksgiving, we held several tea parties to learn basic table manners as well as practical life skills like napkin folding, table setting, and flower arranging.
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

   I've done several posts on books as they are always a favorite in our house.  When I plan a new unit or when Q-ball expresses interest in a new topic, my first stop is always our library's online catalog. Our manners unit was no different, and I checked out every age appropriate book I could find.  Sadly, I wasn't overly impressed with the selection.  Q-ball did enjoy the books, but I was a little more critical. I found many were a little too broad (I don't expect her to master manners from all aspects of life at this point) or too silly (many books were a bit tongue and cheek, making light of bad manners, but this may be a little abstract for a toddler just learning the appropriate social expectations.)
Q-ball enjoying her very own Big Book of Manners

    However, some good did come out of not being able to find a great manners, book, as we decided to make our own! Q-ball was very excited to be in her own "Big Manner's Book" after reading so many others.
Here's what we did:
  1.  Introduced basic social graces through Model, Role-play, Read (see above!): again and again and again and again and again
  2. Make a list of our most important manners: I guided Q-ball through this activity.  I asked her to recall our role-playing activities and what phrases or actions we use in certain situations.  We also went page by page through her manners books, and she identified selected manners using the pictures as cues.  We came up with a list of 12 manners.
  3. Take pictures! I tried to take pictures of Q-ball preforming the action or stating the phrase as it was actually happening.  This was pretty easy to do for table manners and cleaning up, but some pictures (like covering your mouth when you sneeze) had to be posed.  But, posing made Q-ball more excited to see the final book, so it worked out well.
  4. Make a photo book.  I used an online program for our local drugstore, so we'd be able to pick the book up together for more immediate toddler gratification.  This process was a little arduous for Q-ball, so I did this and let Q-ball see the product preview.
  5. Pick-up your photo book and read!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Our Montessori Non-Nursery

I love, love, love looking at pictures of Montessori nurseries on blogs.  While pregnant with TRex, I dreamed of having such a beautiful nursery. There was one significant setback, however: our apartment is one room shy of a nursery for a baby.  So, I've tried to recreate some of the best aspects of Montessori nurseries with a mobile, temporary twist.  Here's what we do...

1) Mirror in Q-ball's room- This is key for any Montessori baby, so we had to ensure TRex had a mirror. Our toddler's bedroom is an ideal location. Q-ball was excited about its installation as she, of course, sees the mirror as primarily hers and is able to use it for dressing, fixing her hair, and watching herself jump on the bed.  And, while I'm working with Q-ball in her room, TRex is able to hang out in the corner and enjoy the mirror.

 2) A Mobile Mobile- With the lack of a nursery and the lack of any additional space in our apartment (see more posts on adapting Montessori for a small space here and here), we knew that we needed to create a mobile that was not permanent.  My crafty husband and helpful toddler worked together to build a mobile mobile. They used suggestions from here and here.  Our mobiles are from Bella's Casa- TRex loves them!  As you can see in the pictures, we move the mobile wherever there's space at the time.
In one corner of the living room.

In the dining room.

In the other corner of the living room.

 3) High-Contrast Pictures- Given infants still developing eyesight, they are drawn to high-contrast colors, namely black and white. According to Montessorian theory, looking at black and white pictures develops visual discrimination.  Many of the nurseries I envy have beautiful framed black and white pictures hanging a the infant's eye level.  Key features of our non-nursery are cardstock black and white pictures (also from Bella's Casa).  I can set these up wherever I happen to set TRex down.
In the bathroom while I shower.

In the laundry room/kitchen during diaper washing.

Do you have a mobile Montessori practice?  How have you adapted Montessori ideas to fit your home?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Our Montessori Pumpkin Unit

Before I seemed to realize it, Q-ball now over the 2.5 year hump, and quickly approaching 3 years old!  Toddlers who attend a traditional Montessori Children's House start as early as 18 months!  Thus, it is time for me to start to ensure their is direction in our learning. When following other blogs and even when reading books on the Montessori principle, it can be easy to get caught up fun activities to do, especially for toddlers and pre-schoolers.  So, I decided to reach back into the basics of my education education and start from the standards.

Here's our Montessori unit overview, based upon the Montessori standards from Montessori Compass and our state's pre-school standards.  For those familiar with various curriculum planning methods, I'm using the Understanding by Design method here. From this unit plan, I developed specific lesson plans that follow the same format. If any are a smashing success or maybe a dismal failure, I'll share as well!

Our first sensory box!

Established Goals:

From Montessori Compass

  • Holds crayon as demonstrated
  • Holds paintbrush as demonstrated
  • Demonstrates understanding of item’s position: top, bottom, high, low, etc.
  • Is able to understand basic ideas of day and night
  • Conversation pictures: answers specific questions about pictures
  • Works to complete a picture with pattern blocks with assistance
  • Independently works sorts items by size puzzle by size
  • One-to-one association activities

From State Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum Standards

  • Child takes care of and manages classroom materials. 
  • Child uses category labels to understand how the words/objects relate to each other. 
  • Child engages in prereading and reading related activities. 
  • Child retells or re enacts a story after it is read aloud. 
  • Child uses  information  learned from  books by  describing,  relating,  categorizing, or  comparing and  contrasting
  • Child counts 110 items, with one count per item.
  • Child identifies and describes the characteristics of organisms.
  • Child describes life cycles of organisms. 
  • Child demonstrates an  understanding that  others have  perspectives and  feelings that are  different from her  own


  • All living organisms have a life cycle.
  • Books can describe both real-life experiences and make-believe stories.
  • We can re-enact events in books.
  • We can re-create images.
  • A single number is associated with a single quantity.
  • Every object has characteristics that distinguish it from another object.
  • Some objects share similarities.
  • Individuals are responsible for maintaining their own tools and space.
  • There is a proper way to use writing utensils.
  • Objects or symbols can represent holidays or a time of year.
  • Day and night have different purposes and characteristics.

Essential Questions:

  • How does a pumpkin develop?
  • How can pumpkins be the same?  How can they be different?
  • How can you determine quantity?
  • How can you tell it’s Halloween time?
  • How can you tell it’s nighttime?
  • How can you tell it’s daytime?
  • How can you determine if a story in a book can happen in real-life or if it is make-believe?
  • How can you take care of your own materials and space?

Learning Objectives:


  • Define the parts of a pumpkin.
  • Identify the elements of a pumpkin’s lifecycle. 
  • Identify colors, sizes, shapes. 
  • Define location words. 
  • Count from one to five.
  • Identify features of Halloween.
  • Identify features of night time. 
  • Identify features of day time. 


  • Uses a crayon or pencil to trace a line and color a picture.
  • Uses a paintbrush to decorate a pumpkin.
  • Completes a pattern puzzle with assistance.
  • Describe various pumpkins.
  • Describes a pumpkin’s lifecycle.
  • Sort items by size.
  • Retell a story.
  • Re-enact events in a story.
  • Compare and contrast items.
  • Use one-to-one association when counting from one to five.
  • Describe the events that take place on Halloween.
  • Cleans up materials when project is complete.
  • Demonstrates care when reading books.
  • Demonstrate concepts of print.
  • Student uses visual cues to identify feelings.

Performance Tasks:

Summative Assessment:

Part 1:
We will visit a pumpkin patch to select our Halloween pumpkins.  While there, you will do the following:

  • When possible, identify elements of the pumpkin life cycle.
  • Describe the pumpkins you see, to include location.
  • Compare and contrast pumpkins.
  • Place pumpkins in order according to size.
  • Describe why you selected the pumpkin you did.

Part 2:
We will decorate our pumpkins.  During this process, you will complete the following tasks:

  • Re-create actions from the book How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?
  • Count pumpkin seeds using the one-to-one association method.
  • Use a paintbrush to decorate your pumpkin.

Part 3:
We will go trick-or-treating.  During and after this event, you will do the following:

  • Identify Halloween items.
  • Describe our activities.


Describe our pumpkin activities.  Explain what you liked and what you did not like. Describe what you would like to do again in the future, and if you would do anything differently.

Key Criteria:

  • Accuracy of information.
  • Participation.

Other Evidence:

  • Completion of pattern puzzle
  • Completion of Connect the dot activities
  • Read-aloud involvement
  • Ability to follow directions
  • Ability to maintain workspace

Learning Plan-

1.      Day 1- Read Pick a Perfect Pumpkin  and How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? Introduce final assessment, which mirrors activities in both books.

2.      Day 1- Trip to grocery store to see and feel pumpkins.

3.      Day 2- Complete connect the dots activities.  

4.      Day 3- Complete pattern puzzle.

5.      Day 4- Re-read books for more involved student input based upon current experiences. Elaborate on plans/wish for final assessment activity.
6.      Day 5- Complete one-to-one association activity.

7.      Day 6- Read Halloween books. Go on a walk to identify Halloween related terms at decorated houses. E

8.      Day 7- Introduce pumpkin lifecycle cards.

9.      Day 8- Free play with all materials presented.  Extra materials like coloring sheets and gourds are available for exploration.

10.  Day 9-10 Final assessment.

11.  Day 11- Verbal retelling of assessment events.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Watch Them Grow...

This is my first update post that covers both of our kiddos.  I'll morph this overtime, but for now, I'm just going to do a little write up about where the kids seem to be right now.

Q-ball reading to a napping T-Rex.

   It goes without saying that bringing a new person into the house is quite a change for all involved, but, overall, we are adjusting.  Bedtime and nighttime is the probably the most difficult time to juggle.  Q-ball's bedtime routine can take up to 2 hours, and when she is actually falling asleep, she is rather adamant about having Mama with her. A hungry newborn, of course, does not understand this.  During the night, Q-ball typically wakes up between 1-3 times at night and, again, demands that Mama help her go potty and go back to sleep. And, as a toddler, she does not understand why the new baby needs to eat at 3 am, and why Daddy has to put her back to sleep.  So, we are working through these issues.
  Q-ball has had a few meltdowns that are uncharacteristic for her. But, she seems to really love her new brother, and has never expressed anger towards him.  She seems a little more comfortable now that she knows that she can still nurse after T-Rex. But, she is annoyed that we respond immediately to T-Rex's cries, but we encourage Q-ball to use words vs. tears and screams.
   Fortunately for us (and him!), T-Rex is a really easy going guy. He will happily lay  alone under his mobile or next to the mirror for extended periods (about 10 minutes in baby time).  And, as of this moment, he does seem to enjoy his sleep, but he is still trying to figure out how to fall asleep. And, we excitedly get lots of spontaneous smiles.  We are working on elimination communication, and I'll have more specific updates on that later, but we now typically have at least one catch a day.  Which, I consider a success given that we are only doing it part-time.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Watch THEM Grow...

It's hard to believe that nearly 2 and a half weeks have passed since T-Rex has joined the family!  I thought I'd finally introduce him to the blogging world!  Brother and sister are getting along well.  Q-ball had a few normal adjustment issues, but is still clearly in awe of her little brother. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Mother's Role in Pretend Play

 This is the first post of a mult-post Science Friday series that discusses research about toddler pretend play.

   Throughout the past several months, Q-ball has been extremely active in pretend play.  Given that New Baby should arrive any hour or day, she has especially been focused on diapering, wearing, and strollering all of her stuffed animals the past few weeks.  I know that other toddlers begin this same fascination with pretend play at a similar time, so I wanted to look into the possible causes of and factors that contribute to pretend play. In this Science Friday post, I will look at the mother's role in fostering pretend play.  But, first, a definition of pretend play.  Most research in the topic follows the definition established by Catherine Garvey in her study of children's play, which is "play in which actions, objects, persons, places, and other aspects of the here-and-now are transformed or treated non-literally."
Pretending this is a real bear.
     Child development psychologist Jean Piaget believed that pretend play started spontaneously in each individual child, without any outside influence.  Given Piaget's profound influence on the subject of child development, many followed his belief, and it was not until recently that research has been done on the topic.  In contrast to Piaget's view, a growing body of evidence is now examining how interpersonal relationships contribute to a toddler's pretend play, especially that of the caregiver. 
     The study I examined for this post followed nine middle-class, college-educated families, primarily focusing on the mother and toddler for seven visits from ages 12 months to 48 months. The results, then, are biased towards this demographic, but were very clear in their results for this group. This, also, is the demographic of which I am a part, so the study is relevant to me. Still, the researchers state these findings are consistent with other studies done on the topic.  Here are some of the findings:
  • In all families, the mother was the first to initiate pretend play with her child at 12 months.  In only half of the cases was the child able to reciprocate any pretend play.  I thought this observation was especially fascinating as I would not have guessed that I had initiated pretend play with Q-ball as I strive to follow her lead. However, upon further reflection, I realize that I often employ techniques found within Playful Parenting and other play-focused books to ease the stress of transitions and can imagine that I once had us crawl to naptime like cats or some similar activity.
  • Mothers were also found to prompt pretend play, primarily by asking their child open-ended questions about their pretending.  (i.e.- What is your dog eating? Where is the train going? Why is the doll sad?)
  • By 24 months, the toddler is just as likely to initiate pretend play with the mother as he is with her.  No matter who initiates play, both mother and toddler seem to be equally responsive the other when it comes to reciprocating play. In this study, 24 months is deemed the most pivotal role in mother-toddler pretend play.  This observation is a little sad for me, as I'm already past this milestone for my first child!  And, she's still so young!
  • For a young toddler, a mother's active role in pretend play lengthens the play and encourages more activity.  At the ages of 24 months and 36 months, the length of pretend play when the mother is involved is nearly twice as long as episodes of solo pretend play.  Additionally, children were much more vocal when the mother was involved, in most cases parroting the mother's comments. 
  • However, by 48 months, children tend to be involved in pretend play for twice as long when they play alone than when they play with their mother. 
  • Between 36 and 48 months, children begin to seek out similarly aged playmates with which to pretend, leading to the decline in mother-toddler pretend play.
Does your toddler like pretend play?  Do you find this findings to be true in your household?  

Haight, W. and Miller, P.J. (1992). The development of everyday pretend play: A longitudinal study of mothers' participation. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 38(3). 331-349.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Prepared Environment in a Small Space

    This is the second post I'm doing that focuses on establishing a Montessori environment in a small space.  You can find the first post with ideas for how to store materials here.

    About nine months ago, we moved into an apartment that was about 30% smaller than our previous space.  Q-ball's previous exploration space (You can find some older pictures here.) was quite large and included lots of floor space and lots of shelves, our current living arrangement just does not allow for this sort of space. However, we work hard to ensure that Q-ball still has lots of options for exploration.  Here's what we've done.

1.  Find unique spaces for small shelving units.  As the high temperatures here have been over 100 for the past few weeks, we really didn't see the need for a fireplace.  So, Q-ball's primary prepared environment is a converted fireplace.

2.  Use nooks and crannies. Q-ball's writing/art table is in a small corner near natural lighting and her reading/music shelf fits perfectly next to our family media shelf.  

3. Use Large Baskets.  Baskets are a key feature of any Montessori design.  However, in our small space, I've found that larger baskets are critical as they can easily be placed on the floor for use and then shifted to another place depending on the activity and how many people are in the room at any given time.  We have a basket for stuffed animals, blocks, balls, and a train set.

 3. Squeeze items into their "true" location.  Q-ball's kitchen materials (with the exception of her knife) are always assecible in the bottom of our pantry, and Q-ball's set to bathe and care for her stuffed animals along with her personal makeup bag are under the bathroom sink.

Montessori Monday

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Watch Her Grow...

Showing off her kefir mustache.  She loves her kefir!
Interactions with Materials
  • Given that we are just one or two weeks away from Baby, we have been getting out some items to prepare.  Q-ball has loved placing her animals in the carseat, the co-sleeper, and the swing.  She's also loved washing diapers and clothes for the new baby.
  • Q-ball is training for her first race!  A 1/4 course for 0-5 year olds!  She is very excited and often will just start running, clearly focusing on pumping her arms.  She loves saying, "I'm going on a run like Daddy!" 
 Interactions with Others 
  • She is really trying to reach out and play with other children her age (most times...)  She typically likes to observe play for a long time before diving in.  At church a few weeks ago, all of the children started to run in circles following the service.  This was perhaps Q-ball's favorite activity to date, and since that week she has started running after church, working to try to get the attention of all of the other children.  She'll often get one or two followers, but not all of the kiddos.  
Critical Thinking
  • Q-ball continues to be deep into her imagination exploration.  As grandmas are on their way soon, it's important for them to stay on their toes to figure out if they are talking to the lifeguard, the engineer, the mailman, the gorilla, or Daddy.
  • She has really become a little comedian. Her current favorite jokes include: pulling out pajamas to wear during the day; telling me that she wants to go to the library, park, grocery store, etc. after we've just left or when she knows that we are going elsewhere; or, saying that she is ready to eat lunch and take a nap when she knows it's not time for these activities. 
Practical Life
  • We have finally become more formal with Q-ball's clean-up routine.  She has a "cleaning station" that she uses to spray and wipe up the counter after she eats a snack.
We are linking up with Vibrant Wanderings!  Check out what the other kiddos are up to! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to Store Toys in a Small Space

         I don't think I've ever been to a Montessori blog or site that shares posts about what is currently on the shelves in their home.  Every month or so, there are tons of new, awesome materials for the child to explore.  This certainly is one of the few things that causes the "keeping up with the Joneses" plague to strike me. I want to get everything I see! But, as I've started to collect materials, I've often wondered, where are all of the items that are out of rotation?  With the neatness and organization stressed within Dr. Montessori's philosophy, I have to assume all of the materials are neatly tucked away.

         But, I must confess, my out-of-rotation materials were a giant mess! We live in a smallish apartment with extra storage, so I ended up throwing things here and there.  In addition to looking terrible and taking up tons of space, it made material rotation time a huge headache.  So, I decided to re-organize. 

This is what everything looked like when I pulled things out of the closets:  AHHHH!

Here are the steps I took to clean up: 

Things were too out of hand to do a true "before" shot, but this is in the beginning stages.
  1. Throw away "Happy Meal Toys."  True, we've only gotten one happy meal for Q-ball (who subsequently lost the accompanying toy about 1 hour later somewhere in the car...), but we've gathered tons of small favorite-toys from birthday grab bags to awesome finds at the park. I got rid of pretty much all of these toys as they really aren't in line with any of the goals for our shelves.
  2. Group items by type.  My previous problem was when I was looking for a certain object, I didn't know where to start looking.  I'd tried labeling boxes, but as I was consistently rotating materials, the labels didn't do much good.  By grouping items by generic type (sensory, puzzles, blocks, music, bead activities, etc.), I can still label my boxes. 
  3. Package items individually, when possible.  Here, I grouped blocks in paper bags and reused boxes.  I have also seen people use the plastic, zipper bags that come with new sheet sets and mattress pads for this task- that way you can see inside!
  4. Label boxes.
  5. Find a place to stash. This step has been the toughest for me given our current storage limitations.  For larger items, I used large storage tubs.  For smaller items, I used a hanging shoe organizer and a larger hanging closet organizer.  

    Montessori Monday

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Watch Her Grow...

This Week's Focus: Practical Life
Sporting her new sunglasses

She loves the bars and rings the most!

Interactions with Materials
  • We are still spending lots of time outside, despite highs that are over 100.  At parks, Q-ball can spend nearly an hour swinging. She likes to switch swings every few minutes, and desperately wishes that another child will come swing with her.  But, she has also enjoyed hanging and climbing, practicing her new moves from tumble class.
  • She has also returned to her old love of reading, while we'd certainly never abandoned reading, we had very few days where we were sit and read for 20-40 minutes. Now, she's loving doing this again.  Maybe it's the heat!
Interactions with Others 
  • She is typically excited to meet new people nowadays.  She even shared a huge hug with another girl in her tumble class, leaving them both on the floor.
Critical Thinking
  • It's amazing to me what Q-ball notices and remembers.  When we are driving, she'll tell me which direction to go, and she'll tell me where I could turn if I want to go to the library or the grocery.  
Practical Life
  • After much work, she has become quite proficient at putting on her shoes.  It's also helped that we did buy the next size shoes, but these are still a bit too big and fall off at times. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Placenta Encapsulation III: Breastfeeding Help

This is the third post of this Science Friday series which explores placentophagia- the act of eating the placenta after birth. While this can take several forms for humans, one of the most common is through placenta encapsulation. This post analyzes several theories that have been proposed as the cause of placentophagia.  Check out the other posts here.

       The placenta plays an invaluable role in breastfeeding. Indeed, in all cases of lactation, whether placentophagia is involved or not, it is the birth of the placenta that initiates the body’s production of milk.   This afterbirth triggers the productions of hormones that start the production of breast milk.  (Lieberman, 2011) In Traditional Chinese Medicine, placentophagia is used to foster the mother and baby’s breastfeeding relationship by increasing the mother’s milk supply.  Recent studies have sustained this belief by demonstrating the placenta’s power in increasing milk supply. 
                Using mothers with whom doctors anticipated breastfeeding difficulties, researchers at Charles University in Prague, demonstrated that consuming the placenta increased milk production.  In this study, 210 mothers who had recently given birth consumed dried placenta within a period of two days.  Some mothers completed treatment immediately following delivery, while one mother waited two months to start treatment.  No mother experienced any negative symptoms, to include stomach pains or nausea.  In fact, some mothers enjoyed the taste!  Over 30% of mothers saw an increase of one ounce of milk in one feeding, and nearly 56% saw an increase of at least .7 ounces in one feeding.  The finding indicate that these early successes in breastfeeding continued, and many of the women in the study breastfed for many months.
                While these results are clearly a boon for mothers who want to breastfeed, the researchers findings do not immediately demonstrate what about placenta causes an increase in milk production.  Knowing that placenta is a high source of quality protein, the researchers gave another group of woman beef in a form identical to that of the placenta.  However, only one-third of these women experienced an increase in milk production, far less than the group that consumed placenta, leading the researchers to agree that the protein is not the source of the milk increase.  Using urine tests that measure progesterone and other hormones in postpartum women, the researchers currently believe that the hormones in placenta are the primary cause of increases in milk supply. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Watch Her Grow...

This Week's Focus: Practical Life
Q-ball helping with laundry.  She decided to also hang up the shirt she had been wearing.

Interactions with Materials
  • It seems like we didn't work with too many materials this week, somehow.  I think we spent lots of time outdoors and doing other out-of-the-house activities.  But, Q-ball's pretend play has expanded so that she now likes to take the roll of positions that she's read about or seen.  Typically, she plays a (train) engineer, but after a trip to the pool yesterday, she's been a lifeguard.  She walks around the house saying, "this engineer, this engineer, no, no, this engineer....." Over and over.  But, I we certainly know not to ask Q-ball to sit down to dinner.
Interactions with Others 
  • While it takes her a bit of time to warm up, Q-ball likes playing with similar aged kids at the park.  She'll laugh with them and frequently come and tell me that they are playing together. We clearly still need to work on how to talk to others to encourage them to want as, "Hey! Hey! Climb up here!" might not be overly welcoming.
 Practical Life
  • We have really been working on dressing ourselves this past week, and she's pretty much got it now.  It does take a bit of time, but she's typically happy to do it.  She talks through the steps as she dresses herself.  "Find the tag....put foot in hole...push through..."  She's also successfully put her sandals on now, but this is certainly not her favorite task, and she normally yells for me to do it for her.   

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Watch Her Grow...

This Week's Focus: Practical Life and Language
Making cookies (if you consider food that's sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free a cookie)

Interactions with Materials
  • This week we invested in some more Legos. They were a very big hit.  She loves building tall towers.  The set also includes some construction vehicles, and she loves driving them around the house.
  • She continues to pretend that items around the house are her dog, Roxy. Typically reusable bags or slightly deflated balloons.
Interactions with Others 
  • She continues to improve in her skills with playing with others.  She willingly allows older children to help her at the park if she has climbed up too high.  And, she actually loves taking turns on equipment at the park- she considers this "playing together."  She gets really excited if another child comes to join her on a slide as she'll get to "wait on line."
  • We recently changed churches, and she is doing pretty well staying in the nursery for 30-45 minutes.  Mainly because they have lots and lots of Goldfish.
Critical Thinking
  • She is developing initial concepts of time and future events. When we have to leave a park or a store, she often wants us to assure her that we'll be able to visit "another time" or "next time."  She'll even come up with ideas (like riding a choo-choo train) and ask to do it on "Friday" or "Saturday."
  • Q-ball is a big talker.  People are always shocked by how much she can say.  During some car rides, she'll talk for up to 20 minutes at a time, and she often dominates dinner conversations.  She's been using full, complex sentences for some time.  But, I still love to hear the phrases that she uses, although this week's "nope" is not my favorite.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Practical Life at 27 Months

I can't believe how quickly Q-ball is growing and how much she is now capable of doing on her own!  Although, it can still take a bit of patience on my part to give her the chances to do them  as it much faster when I do things.  And, it can take a bit of patience on her part as it's certainly easier for her if I do things.  

  • Q-ball picks out all of her clothes when directed.
  • Q-ball can easily take off her sandals and put them away in the closet.  We are working on learning to put them on. We can do it on occasion, but need some more practice.
  • She can put on and take off underwear and pants on her own, although Mama might need to straighten them at times. 
  • She needs a little help with shirts- she's typically able to remove shirts on her own, but needs a little help getting them on.
  • If we prepare her toothbrush, Q-ball can brush her teeth by herself, but Mama or Daddy helps at least once a day to make sure all bases are covered.
  • She is working on washing her hands on her own, but we need to get a better step stool- right now she can't completely reach the facets, which is a bit of a setback.
  • After over a year of struggles and tears, she has learned to tip her head back when we are rinsing shampoo out of her hair.  This is a relief!
  • Q-ball will occasionally clean-up materials on her own, but typically needs one or two reminders.  Some days, of course, we need lots of reminders and help, but by and large, things are returned to their shelves. 
  • Q-ball helps me load and unload the washing machine and dryer.
  • She places dirty clothes and dirty towels in the correct baskets.
  • She cleans up her spills with available towels.
  • She can carry her own plate, cup, and utensils to the table.  But, this is a something that has been really difficult for Mama to get into our routine- not because I don't trust her, but because we are juggling Daddy playtime, cleaning up materials, and hand-washing before dinner. I just need to do a better job of working it into the schedule.
Eating/Food Prep
  • Q-ball lost interest in using her fork and spoon for awhile, but in about the past two weeks has taken to using her fork again- typically with little issue.
  • She can cut veggies (carrots, celery, and a few others) on her own using a special knife.   
  • We just tried pouring water for the first time in a long while. Overall it went well, but after a few minutes of practice and some excitement about the event, we did need to use a bath towel instead of a dish towel. 

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