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Flora

Author: FLORA

I am a post-career SAHM (Stay-at-home mom), living in Bozeman Montana. I share stories and ideas from parenting with a Montessori and Positive Discipline inspired perspective. Also, I LOVE DIY projects and finding great ways to use thrift store or hand-made toys for my little ones.
Learn more about why I say I'm "Just" a stay-at-home mom.

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Recent Posts

Decide What you Will Do (To Motivate Children to Clean-up)

Today, I want to share how this tool can be very effective in motivating a toddler to clean up.  &#...

Using the awesome resources at your Library

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At our local library's children's area

At our local library’s children’s area

If you haven’t yet – I strongly recommend you check out your local library to see what kinds of activities and resources they have.  I just want to give a quick shout-out to the public libraries, because they have been an awesome source of enjoyment and learning for my 1-year-old.

The Bozeman Public library is where we spend at least 1 day a week (and sometimes 2-3).

Our favorites things about the library include:

  • Books and Babies (a song, story and play time with about 30 other kids and their parents).  I’ve seen this in a library in Seattle, too, so I think it’s in many libraries around the country.
  • Awesome toys in the children’s section of the library.  The best part is my son gets to play with a giant train set, a block set of about 100 blocks, and a giant collection of toy animals – BUT I don’t have to find some way to store them in our house! Double win!
  • He gets to socialize with other kids that are his age, younger and older.  Since he is with me all day, every day, he lights up like the sun every time he gets to be around other kids.  It’s a great space to get to be with other children without having to enroll in  a class.
  • Free parenting classes offered throughout the year by local experts.

The best part is that EVERYTHING at the library is FREE!  So, I hope you check yours out soon and that you enjoy it as much as we have.:-)

Children's library

Having a fun trip to the library with Grandma

Ways to keep my 1-year-old interested in reading

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My son has always loved books.  We have tried to encourage this from a very early age by having books be equal to toys.  We have books that work as toys in the bath tub (these are great!), books in his bedroom toy shelf, books in the play space of the living room, and even books in the car.

BUT…I noticed a few weeks ago that he just stopped gravitating towards the books.  This is what his reading area (in the living room) looked like.  I thought the set-up was cute, but I think it was too cluttered for him, and he couldn’t pull out the books very easily.

image“Maybe there are too many books”, I thought.  So I tried an experiment. I had seen a really cute Pinterest post on Montessori Themes that had a few books based on a theme, for the children to explore.  Then, those themes were rotated each week.  So, instead of having  a big variety of books, I divided the books into themes and put out just 1 theme (with only 4 books).  Here were some of the divisions:

Animal Themed books

Animal Themed books

Night-time Themed Books

Night-time Themed Books

Number books

Number books

Number books Montessori

I added numbers to the caterpillar book

Animal themed books

Animal themed books

And they were a hit!

image image

My son, gravitated to the reading area (unprompted) when he woke up from his nap. *Because of course I was only able to do this during nap time.:)

So, I totally encourage you to try this out.  I am storing the themes that are not in use  in a basket on our book shelf.

image image

We now rotate “themes” every 1-2 weeks and it’s working awesome to keep my 1-year-old interested in books!

Floor bed dropout

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confessions of a 1st time mom
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confessions of a 1st time momWell, I have a confession to make.  Yep. I am officially a floor bed dropout.  I learned about using a floored from Montessori, and believed in the theories behind it.

Here is what a Montessori-inspired bedroom, with a floor bed, looks like. Super adorable!

http://sewliberated.typepad.com/sew_liberated/2011/01/finnian-and-lachlans-studio.html

http://sewliberated.typepad.com/sew_liberated/2011/01/finnian-and-lachlans-studio.html

Mainly, the idea is that you:

1.  Have your toddler sleep on a bed that is just a mattress on the floor, with no crib.

2.  This is supposed to help the child to be able to mentally map out their environment more easily and develop independence as they should be able to get up on their own in the morning and play with toys for a while, rather than banging or yelling for parents.

3.  This is supposed to help a child learn boundaries in a more internalized form (ie. stay on the bed because they know that is where they will sleep best, not because they are trapped there).

Well…like I said, in theory this is fantastic.  In reality, however, it was totally not working.  My 16 month-old would fall off the bed in the middle of the night and scream until I came in and put him back on the bed. *Side note: This is strongly influenced by the fact that our child has been slow with large motor development and though he can walk already, he still can’t climb or crawl at all.  So, he really couldn’t get back on the bed when he wiggled off of it.  And, he recently started to be impossible to put down for an afternoon nap because he would push up onto his hands and roll off (to protest the nap), but still not be able to get back on the bed.  That lead to 1/2 hour or longer struggles to try to get him sleepy enough to stay on the bed. Argh! Exhausting.

So…yeah.  My 1st-time mom confession of the week is that I’m a floor bed drop out.  Sorry Montessori! I love you, but I just couldn’t do this one.  The crib’s back up.

These days are the greatest

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Since I have shared some of the really difficult days, I want to share some of the best days too. 🙂imageimage

Today we enjoyed one of the first days of spring, here in Montana. We got to play at a park with friends in the m orning, and then went to a duck pond and another playground in the afternoon. Lots of laughter and smiles filled the day, and my heart feels so full of gratitude for the fact that this is my life.

 

 

How 1-year-olds are the best teachers

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004A9053This week I have been noticing how my child has an amazing capacity to help me enjoy the present moment more than I ever have before.  So I want to just take a moment to say thanks for all he does.

1.  When I follow his lead, I am so much more present to the world around me.

Last weekend we were on a walk down our friend’s street and he started screeching. At first I thought it was a sad/angry tantrum, but as I looked at his face he was smiling. I was perplexed for a moment, and then I realized he was echoing the birds in the nearby trees. I hadn’t even tooned into their beautiful songs, and yet he was able to notice and start mimicking them.  What a wonderful thing to be stopped in my tracks to listen and “talk” with the birds.

2.  He helps me to notice things big and small.

There is nothing like having a 1-year-old to help you notice the tiniest things in life. I may notice a giant beautiful tree, but Chunky Monkey will stop with incredible curiosity to marvel at a tiny blade of grass.  He loves to explore every detail of gravel rocks, dirt, plants, etc.  I have never spent so much time noticing “tiny” things on the ground level, and I must say, I’ve been missing out!;)

3.  He helps me to treasure little moments in a spectacular way.

I have always loved buying myself a latte or having 1-on-1 time with a friend. But now, if I have a moment to myself to slowly savor one of those treats, I soak up every little second as if I was spending it with a celebrity. Similarly, there are such precious moments with my son. Hugs, kisses, and the word “momma” have never been sweater than when they come from this little 2 foot man.

So, I am just feeling especially greatful this week for the gifts this little man brings to my life. I am always thinking of ways to teach him, but at 1 year of age he is already teaching me!