“ ….. take into consideration that from birth the child has a power in him. ….. We must not think we can make him”
Montessori 1935, in The Child, Society and the World
When I started to work on my Montessori granny blog I was filled with excitement and some trepidation. With enormously patient help from My Montessori Child friends I have been able to launch the blog as intended at the end of August – at the start of the academic year, which for so many years marked a new beginning for me. And then there was a new beginning for my daughter’s family and of course for Poppy and Willow – the approaching end of maternity leave combined with the gentle end of summer days meant we tried to do as many things as possible together. The family also had a few days by the sea; for Poppy this was the first time she came to associate the meaning of ‘holiday’ with ice-cream, sandcastles, puddling on the seashore and having her first experience of body boarding under the careful guidance of her mum. For Willow the holiday brought the first sensations of sand whilst crawling on the beach and tasting its saltiness and being close and together with her family, something she really enjoyed.
So when the day came for our new routine to begin it was welcomed with much anxiety and sadness – this year was enriched and marred by the Covid pandemic. Both children got used to being with their mum and had fewer opportunities to spend time with their friends and this was going to change drastically once nursery and childminder days started. Particularly for Willow it has been tricky to part from her mum in the mornings and the days of separation have been long, which has meant re-unions at the end of the day filled with tears, frustration and often also exhaustion. Now the new routine has been established and morning partings, car journeys and meals away from the family house are becoming part of the weekly rhythm.
It is lovely to see that these transitions are now easier because of the enormous love and consideration the children receive from their immediate family. The patience and respect with which the changes are explained and are discussed almost daily, provide consistency and promote attachment patterns demonstrating the parents’ deepest love for both girls which nurtures their whole being. Poppy has found a new role for herself in the nursery, now at three and half, she is one of the older girls in the setting. She chooses to look after the new babies who joined the nursery in September, employing the skills she learned observing her mum looking after her sister. She also notices the difference in parenting of the babies, particularly of the twin boys who have become the focus on her nursery learning in the past two months. She shares with real pride, that they now both walk sideways and forward! She wonders about their feeding routines as they are able to take their bottles and feed themselves on their own. She ponders if theirs is a ‘mummy milk’ and notices that their buggy has special containers to hold the bottles and describes them in great detail – they are attached by Velcro! She also demands that her morning and afternoon milk comes in baby bottles as she pretends to be one of the twins, alternating between which one of them she is at any one moment. At the same time she is able to explain the full routine of selecting an activity at nursery which requires careful choosing and carrying, use of a work mat and also making sure that the activity is returned back to where it was found. The mats we use at home are suddenly not stored in the right way – they need to be rolled and a new place found for them. The pretend concoctions are now ‘absolutely divine’ and she is concerned about her art work being beautiful and will her mummy and daddy like it? And at all times she continues to exercise her body to the maximum by jumping, leaping and using all the playground equipment with real courage and joy, wishing to be like the 6 and 7-year-old girls she observes so intently. She continues to be a brave adventurer and loves the feeling of water on her body.
In the meantime, Willow, at ten months, has found her feet – she insists on standing at every opportunity, practises cruising around furniture, bends down to pick up objects she has dropped and attempts standing unaided – we all say ‘She will walk soon!’ She has also started to play with us by passing objects and expecting to receive them back, she bobs up and down when she hears a familiar song, and stops what she is doing when there is a new tune or song in the air, she has learned to turn pages in her board books and absolutely everything is experienced in her mouth and she now has 5 teeth. She talks to herself when she eats and plays and is calling for her mummy and daddy when they move out of sight. She feeds herself with gusto – managing tiny bites from whole small apples. We all rejoice in her joyful disposition and love her cuddles which she gives so generously. She now prefers being in the back of the car sharing the back seat with her sister, who is patient in passing her objects of distraction when the car journeys become tedious.
Everyday, we are getting to know them and are delighted by their company, they treat our bungalow as an extension of their home and as grandparents we are truly thankful to see their lives unfolding in front of our eyes.