Category Archives: Carrie

Foto Friday: Homemade Christmas Gifts

 

 

Can we have a Foto Friday on a Sunday?  22 Month Old A. made Christmas gifts and cards for her friends.  With a little help of pre-measured ingredients and finishing touches by Mommy, A. was able to do a lot the work herself to make these beautiful Bird Seed Ornaments.

22 Months - bird seed ornaments 1 Pour flour, water, gelatin, and corn syrup into bowl.  Give it a good stir.

DSC_0050 Pour in the bird seed.  Stir it all together.

bird seed ornaments Scoop into Christmas cookie cutters.

gift from toddlerInsert straw pieces and leave to harden.

DSC_0096  Tie a piece of ribbon through the hole.  Hang on a tree outside for the birds to enjoy.

DSC_0105 Don’t forget a card!  Crayons and dot stickers allowed A. to add her personal touch.

 

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Filed under 18-24 Months, Carrie, Foto Friday, Independence

Foto Friday: Flashback

Flashback!  A. enjoying her 5 Pack of Beginning Montessori Materials

It’s not too late!  Enter to WIN your own 5 Pack of Beginning Montessori Materials!  Celebrate the 1 Year Anniversary of our blog!

1 Month: Bell Rattle  BELL RATTLE_crop3 Months: Small Grasping Beads small grasping beads4 Months: Interlocking Discs  interlocking discs5 Months: Ball Cylinder  ball cylinder6 Months: Bell Cylinder  bell cylinder

 

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Filed under 0-3 Months, 3-6 Months, 6-12 Months, Carrie, Foto Friday, Play Area/Toys

Foto Friday – Peas

18 Month old A. is back in the garden & the kitchen!

Pick the peas from the garden

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Shell the peas and enjoy!

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Don’t forget to enter to WIN a Montessori apron, just like the one A. is wearing, and then enter to WIN a Montessori placemat.

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Filed under 12-18 Months, 18-24 Months, Carrie, Foto Friday

Crawling towards Practical Life

By Carriecrawling towards practical life
A. is now 17 Months and is still mostly crawling and cruising around.  She can definitely be considered a late walker.  It was drilled into us during our Montessori training that when a child begins walking s/he will have “hands free to transform the environment”, meaning the child would be ready to take on practical life activities.  While A. may not be walking, she is certainly progressing psychologically and cognitively.  She’s not the same as an 11 month old who is not yet walking.  It was around 12 months that she started exhibiting a stronger will (tantrums!).  She has a stronger need to do things independently and become an active part of her home environment.  She is ready to take on practical life activities and has been doing so for the past few months.

If you’re new to Montessori you may be asking what I mean by “practical life.”  Practical life is everyday life:

  • Taking care of ourselves and our children
  • Taking care of things in our home environment (including yards, animals)
  • Treating each other, and our materials, with care and respect

As a parent I want to create a home that is rich with opportunities for A. to contribute and gain a deep sense of belonging.  I want to offer opportunities for her to develop the self-confidence of independently taking care of her personal needs.  This isn’t so easy when she is still using her hands for locomotion.  In our training we were asked the question “If the child is still crawling, can they participate in practical life?”  I feebly answered this question at the time.   I’ve had to completely re-think this now that I have child who has yet to reach the milestone of walking.

So many practical life situations require the balance and coordination utilized in walking, and the ability to carry items with two hands while walking.  I look forward to introducing those to A. in the future and in the meantime I wanted to share with you some ways in which A. is beginning to do practical life as she crawls and cruises.  I don’t think any of these ideas is revolutionary, nor does A. do all of them in one day.  I have just been conscious of slowing down and inviting her to participate in everyday life.  Having a few child-sized materials has definitely helped.  While these are the activities that are a part of our day, depending on where you live, your culture, and your personal circumstances, the practical life activities that you and your child will do will vary.

morningTo start her day she is able to crawl independently out of her floor bed.  After nursing we go to her dresser and she opens her small cupboard.  She is able to choose an outfit for the day.  The night before I place two outfits for her to choose from.  Then we go to the bathroom to get ready for the day.  It is a collaboration during undressing (I assist in taking out her arms and she pulls her pajama shirt over her head) and during dressing (she gets one leg in the pants and I assist with the second leg.  She pulls it up to her knees while sitting on the stool and I assist by pulling them up all the way once she is standing).  It is also a collaboration as she has a turn to brush her teeth, wash her face, and brush her hair, and then I have a turn.

preparing breakfast2We go to the kitchen and she assists in preparing breakfast.  She cracks the raw eggs for fried or scrambled eggs.  She peels the shell off the hard-boiled egg and uses the egg slicer to cut the egg.  She puts the fruit into the colander, I wash and cut, and then she puts the fruit onto the plate.  She pours water into her dry oatmeal before I cook it.

breakfastDuring meals she has been learning to use a spoon and fork.  She completely self-feeds herself, often choosing to use her hands before using utensils.  She likes to be given the opportunity to wipe her face at the end of the meal, and this is a collaboration as I need to wipe her face and hands before she is clean enough to play.  She then goes to unlock the dogs from their dog crates (they get locked up for meal times).  I love how she develops fine-motor control and unlocks various types of locks in a real, practical manner.  She also treats the dogs with respect by petting them gently, hugging them, and respecting that they have limits of how much they will tolerate being crawled over.

inside houseworkAfter breakfast she often likes to help unload the dishwasher.  She hands me the utensils and I put them away.  This is a great opportunity for language as I name each utensil she pulls out and she tries to say it after me.  For her own utensils, I give them to her to put away in her cupboard.  She is learning how to match up the forks to the forks and the spoons to the spoons.  A. loves to help do the laundry.  She puts the dirty clothes in the washer, puts the wet clothes in the dryer, and puts the dry clothes into the laundry basket.  This is a wonderful sensorial experience of dry, damp, and warm.  She is tall enough now to reach the buttons, so with guidance, she pushes the power and start buttons.

baking3We also like to bake together.  A. loves to put on her apron.  She pours, peels the bananas (for banana muffins), stirs, is learning to open containers, mixes things together by hand, and puts liners in the muffin tins.

PL lunctimeLunch time is eaten at her small table and chair.  It’s hard to set the table when she is still crawling so currently I’m starting by having her bring over the placemats (while I try to ignore the dog hair that gets picked up as they are dragged across the floor).  She then goes to sit down at her table independently when I ask her to do so.  She peels the banana peels off her banana slices, peels her mandarin oranges, picks the edamame beans out of the shell and puts the organic waste into her small bucket.  She is learning to sign ‘please’ when she would like more of something (she signs ‘more’ quite well).  Again, she self-feeds herself and I found it was easier for her to learn self-feeding with utensils at her small table.  She is able to pour water into her glass, albeit not from the spout yet.  She continues to make little spills and often still attempts to drink out of the pitcher afterwards.  She likes to wipe her table at the end of the meal to clean-up.  She will bring over the dustpan and brush for me to use to clean the floor.  She likes to dump her little bucket of organic waste into the compost bin.

outdoor workIn the afternoon we might do some work outdoors.  A. loves to be out in the garden!  While she isn’t truly helping in the garden quite yet, she loves to transfer dirt with her own tools while I do the weeding.  She enjoys picking the leaves and I take deep breaths as I guide her towards the appropriate leaves to pick (lettuce, spinach, and beet leaves).  The vegetable boxes are the perfect cruising height for her.  She is having fun harvesting the carrots and beets as she pulls them out of the soil (I loosen them first).  She also likes to help clean her toys and chair by scrubbing with a brush or a sponge.  I’ll hose down the toys while she continues to enjoy playing with the bubbles or transferring water between two buckets.  I really like the sensorial experiences she is gaining by handling soil, vegetable leaves, and soapy water.

preparing dinner2Helping to prepare dinner is fun as she then collaborates with both Mommy and Daddy.  She transfers the vegetables to the steamer basket.  She puts the cut up vegetables into the salad.  She puts the organic waste into the compost bin.  She pours the dry rice or quinoa into the pot and pours the water into the pot before I cook it.  She adds the spices to foods.  When we make our own pizza’s she scoops the sauce and spreads it, then adds the meat and cheese, chooses to not add the vegetables, and has a pre-dinner snack (still working on self-control).  She puts the ice in Mommy’s glass.  She climbs into her Tripp Trapp high chair to eat dinner as a family (we’ve since removed the baby insert seat).  Preparing food together offers infinite opportunities for language enrichment.

bedtimeAfter dinner it is time to get ready for bed.  Throughout the day she has been given multiple opportunities to use the potty and multiple opportunities to pull up underwear and pants.  She hasn’t gotten into pulling down underwear and pants yet.  Before her bath she crawls over to her laundry basket with her dirty clothes in hand to place them in the basket.  During her bath it is collaboration again as she uses the cloth to wash herself and then I wash her.  I dry her off and she opens the diaper cream and her face cream containers so I can apply them.  She loves to dip her finger into the face cream and put some on her cheeks.  She collaborates in putting on her pajamas.  Then she’s off to sleep in her floor bed.

My own efficiency has been slowed down to include A. in many of these activities yet the activities become more joyful for me as I watch her developing greater motor control, independent skills, have rich sensorial experiences, a greater vocabulary, and self-esteem that she has contributed and done important work.  I find myself pausing and just smiling as she takes on many of these tasks.  She is also a happier, more content child, which makes the day more enjoyable for both of us.

Observation of the child shows that normally he has the desire to act independently; he wants to carry things, to dress and undress alone, to feed himself, and it is not by adult suggestion that he tries to do these things.  On the contrary, his urge is so strong that our efforts are usually spent in trying to restrain him; but when we do this, we are fighting nature, not the will of the child. ~Maria Montessori, Education for a New World

While we do practical life activities our entire lives, allowing the child to follow their natural instincts to do these activities has a much deeper impact on a child who is under 6 years of age.  At this age the child is going through a huge developmental stage of constructing their personality.  While you and I prepare a meal and do the laundry to complete a task, the young child does these activities to feed their soul. Children have a deep need for their movement to be connected to an intelligent and purposeful activity.  Children have a deep desire to belong to the environment that they are in by participating in the activity that surrounds them.

Children are therefore at an age when they are greatly interested in movements and seem to be anxious to learn how they should move about.  They are passing through that epoch of their lives when they must become masters of their own actions.  Physiologically we may say that their muscles and nerves are passing through a period when they are learning how to work harmoniously together.  Successful passage through this period is of utmost importance for an individual’s ultimate perfection.  A good beginning here is most important for a child’s future. ~Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

Join the conversation!  How have you involved your crawling and cruising child in everyday, practical life?

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Filed under 12-18 Months, Carrie, Food/Feeding, Independence

Foto Friday – Preparing Asparagus

15 Month old A. helps to prepare asparagus for dinner

DSC_0075 (2) Take the asparagus out of the bag

DSC_0082 (2) Mommy snaps the ends off and A. puts the ends in the compost bin

DSC_0083 (2) A. transfers the asparagus onto the plate

DSC_0088 (2) Mommy puts on the olive oil and A. adds the seasoning

 

 

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Why Toilet Learning at 1 Year

By Carrie

I hope you’ve enjoyed following our journey of toilet learning this week from Cloth Diapers and EC, to Standing Diaper Changes and Underwear.  To wrap up the week I wanted to share some of the reasons why I chose this route for toilet learning.

Avoid Power StrugglesDSC_0022 (4)_crop

Power struggles are more common when toilet learning/training occurs at age 2-3.  Ever heard of the “terrible two’s?”  It’s common that two year olds have an increased desire to make their own choices and assert themselves.  I want to take toileting out of the equation while A. goes through this.  There will be more than enough other ways for her to assert herself and things to tantrum about.  I hope that toileting is just a natural part of the day and that by age 2/3 A. will be ready for more responsibility and control of her own toileting.

Sensitive Period for Toileting

“The myelination of neurons necessary to ready the body for control of the bowels and bladder is completed by the time children are approximately twelve months old.” ~Montessori From the Start.   

Between 12-18 Months children go through a Sensitive Period for toileting.  This means that a child is gaining an awareness of their toileting needs during this time and if we take the steps to accommodate this developing awareness, then a child will more naturally learn to use the toilet than if we take efforts at a later stage.  From my experience working with children at my preschool and seeing various Sensitive Periods in action, when children are in a Sensitive Period they have intense interest and learn the concept quite quickly.  I want to devote my time to aiding my daughter during this Sensitive Period for toileting.  I believe it will be more of a natural, gradual development towards toileting independence.

Decreased Constipation and UTIs

Many children who have joined my preschool and have recently been toilet trained experience constipation.  While I’m not a medical doctor, I wonder if holding in poo (or pee) is related to the psychological development of asserting control which is typically stronger at age 2/3.  (I also know it is important to keep up fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole-grains in a child’s diet to decrease constipation at any age)  Dr. Jill Lekovic in Diaper Free Before 3 indicates that earlier toilet learning decreases the risks for urinary tract infections and constipation.  So does Gwen Dewar at Parenting Science.

Get out of Diapers SoonerDSC_0066 (3)

Wiping a poopy bottom is not fun.  Wiping a bottom that has pooped in the potty, not so bad.  While the process may take longer than 3 days, typically the child who begins earlier is out of diapers at a younger age.  Decreased time and money spent on (washing) diapers sounds good to me.  There are also many who believe the increased use of disposable diapers has led to a later age for toilet training, when historically, and currently internationally, many children stop using diapers before age 2.  I think that wearing underwear and eliminating in a toilet is more comfortable than diapers and I want to help my daughter experience greater comfort by being in underwear sooner.

Because a Child is Capable of it 

I want to demonstrate to my daughter that I have faith in her abilities.  I have heard from so many friends that their children, and many Montessori toddler teachers that the children in their programs, are successful wearing underwear by age 2.  My early EC joys lead me to believe that my daughter does have the capacity to connect to her elimination and I want to support her in this.

“If parents remember that their mission is not a child in “dry pants” but a child successful in her formation of independence, coordinated movement, language, and will, they will know that their hard work on their child’s behalf is worth the effort.” ~Montessori From the Start  

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Nature furnishes special protection for the young.  For instance, the child is born amidst love; his very origin is by love, and once born he is surrounded by the love of father and mother, a love which is not artificial or enforced by reason.  ~Maria Montessori, Education For a New World  

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Filed under 12-18 Months, 18-24 Months, Carrie, Diapers/Toileting

1 Year Old – Bring on the Underwear

By Carrie

And multiple trips to the potty.  And multiple times of wet underwear every day.  And some amazing joys of a toddler learning to use the potty.

underwear

I seem to get the raised eyebrow when I mention that A. is wearing underwear and using the potty.  “How old is she??? ” I’m asked incredulously.  She is currently 15 months.  When she was 12 months I started putting her in underwear at home during awake times.  Why would I put my “baby” in underwear?  She’s just going to go pee in it!

At first yes.  As I mentioned in Cloth Diapers – Go For It! one of my reasons for using cloth diapers was so that A. would learn wet/dry.  I’m not really sure this worked for her as she never fussed with a wet diaper.  So my hope was that by wearing underwear A. would start the process of learning:

  1. I’m Wet
  2. I’m Going
  3. I Need to Go

Wet underwear certainly helps the child learn that they have gone pee/poo.  My attempts at EC (Elimination Communication) didn’t pan out as successfully as I envisioned, despite gleaning all the little tips from my Montessori AtoI trainers of timing and glassy eyes.  I figured if I was to step up my ability to help A. be successful at getting to the potty in time, I needed to figure out when she was naturally going pee.  With wet underwear, this would certainly help me.  I also wanted to catch the Sensitive Period for toileting (12-18 Months).  I know from my Montessori training that underwear would aid in her motor development by not having a bulky diaper to impede her movement.  It is recommended to switch to underwear once the child is crawling.

To start off I read Diaper Free Before 3 (about 3 times!).  Super helpful book!  I purchased some training underwear.  I put extra cloths downstairs to clean up any extra messes that might occur.  I already had a potty upstairs and downstairs that she was fairly comfortable using.  I added some low stools for her to sit on so that she could become more involved in the undressing/dressing.  We were ready to go!

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I was already putting her on the potty at every diaper change so I just increased the number of times a day I was offering her an opportunity to use it.  “It’s time to use the potty.”  (I sign potty and say it verbally)  I started putting her on the potty upon waking, before & after eating, before going out & upon the return home, and before bath.  Or if we were at home for a long time I would keep an eye on her about 45 minutes – 1 hour after she had previously used the potty.  By wearing underwear I quickly figured out some nuances.  After breakfast means right away, do not even attempt to clean up.  After lunch means after cleaning up and playing for a bit (about 15 minutes later).  I learned that she doesn’t urinate a whole lot in the mornings but late afternoons/evenings she urinates quite frequently so I need to offer her more opportunities.

I was definitely gaining an awareness of her toileting needs by using underwear.  I keep a neutral attitude towards wet pants.  “Oh we need to go potty and change your wet pants.”  I keep a neutral attitude, as much as possible, when she pees/poops or doesn’t pee/poop on the potty.  “Oh you went pee.” “No pee this time.”  Of course there are times when there have been a lot of wet pants that day and when she does go I’ll be so happy so I share with her “I am so proud of you for peeing in the potty.”  I don’t give her any rewards or praise for going.  I don’t give her any punishments, disappointment, or shame her for soiling her pants, nor do I refer to it as “having an accident.”  I may give her encouragement such as “It must feel so good to have dry underwear and go pee in the potty.”  As much as possible, I keep toilet learning matter-of-fact.

As I’ve previously shared, spending time together doing diaper changes is an important part of our bond.  Changing that to toileting hasn’t been too big of an issue.  We are in the washroom a whole lot more frequently.  This route of toilet learning is exactly that – learning.  It doesn’t happen overnight and I committed to spending a lot of time with A. to help her in this process.  I really feel this is an important part of her development and giving her my time is important.  I also feel like it is modeling that spending time on toileting is important.  I don’t want her to ignore any urges she has to eliminate.  I want to help her become successful at getting to the potty/toilet when she needs to eliminate.

Success

Struggles.  Yes underwear on my 1 year old has been filled with struggles.  6 wet sets of underwear and pants some days.  Poopy underwear.  More poopy underwear.  [I’m quite thankful for purchasing Blueberry Trainers which not only contained the poop (including a getting over a gastrointestinal illness poop) but also have been easy to clean.  Oh and cute, gender neutral patterns too!  Because they have cotton interior and exterior, they allow the child to feel the wetness but due to the PUL in the middle, there are never any puddles.]   There have been set-backs such as illness, immunizations, and a developmental leap.  I figured there would be a set-back once she learned to walk (and there still may be as she’s not walking yet) but I didn’t think it would come when she learned to stand independently.  A sudden resistance to using the potty was a surprise but by focusing on our relationship for a few days instead of focusing on the potty, we were back on track.  There are constant surprises with this toilet learning journey.

“It is clear that toilet awareness is more than a matter of “dry pants” for the child.” ~Montessori  From the Start

Surprises  – and joys – that keep me motivated to stay on track.  A.’s pooping habits have changed.  Previously I would change a poopy diaper first thing in the morning.  Occasionally I still do but it is becoming more frequent that she poops, most often in the potty, after breakfast.  I’m thrilled that she seems to be gaining an awareness of her toileting needs.  While not a lot, there have been a few times where she will come to me and fuss until I take her to the potty and then she immediately has a big pee.  This is a huge step towards understanding her own urges to eliminate and I am so excited that she is gaining this awareness.  There have also been days when her underwear has stayed dry all day.  I think this is a combination of A. understanding that she is offered the potty at fairly regular intervals so will hold it or use it at those times and that I’ve figured out when she naturally needs to go.  Long-term success is still a ways off but the short-term successes keep my heart warm that we’re on the right track.  A huge joy for me is when A. pulls up her underwear.  It is just adorable!

pulling up underwear“The child’s nature is to aim directly and energetically at functional independence.  Development takes the form of a drive toward an ever-greater independence.  It is like an arrow released from the bow, which flies straight, swift and sure. …. While he is developing, he perfects himself and overcomes every obstacle that he finds in his path.  

~ Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind


Want to read more?  Check out Melissa’s journey with her daughter at Vibrant Wanderings

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Filed under 12-18 Months, 18-24 Months, Carrie, Diapers/Toileting

Honestly, How do you do a Standing Diaper Change?

By Carrie

Around 10 months A. started fighting me on diaper changes.  All my patience and loving words from Time for a Diaper Change didn’t prevent me from getting kicked on multiple occasions.  It wasn’t until I had a huge bruise on my chest about the shape of her foot that I admitted something had to change.

A. was able to stand by holding onto furniture by this time.  She wasn’t very steady but had been pulling up on everything since 8 months.  My Montessori training had said to transition to doing standing diaper changes once the child was able to stand.  This embraced the child’s changing development and didn’t continue to put the child in an infantile state that they were physically past.  By doing diaper changes while the child is standing the adult sends a strong psychological message that they are affirming the child’s new abilities.  I understood Montessori infant/toddler centres did standing diaper changes.  But I couldn’t figure out how to actually do a standing diaper change!

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I changed my diapering supplies to the bathroom itself in the little cupboard beside the toilet for easy access and put my changing mat on the floor in the bathroom.  It was another step towards toilet learning by changing all things elimination to the bathroom.  I figured that A. would need to hold onto something and the toilet seemed quite logical to me.

I was all set to go!  Day 1 – a complete fail!  It was an awful day!  I was ready to give up.  That night I reflected upon A.’s reaction.  She had been so much happier.  And cooperative.  So I turned to the internet for more advice.  Daicia’s post1 and post2 completely restored my sanity and determination to give it a try for a second day.  A huge thank you for these two posts!  I was onto Day 2.

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Sitting behind A. so I could support her if she became unsteady and started to topple over (yes this happened many times), I took off her pants.  Pants down, left leg out, right leg out.  I would roll up her shirt or if she was wearing a onesie I would unsnap it and snap it over her shoulder.  Undo the snaps (or velcro) of her diaper, keeping my arms wrapped around her for stability, and placed it to the side.  If it was just a pee it was easy but poops were definitely more difficult.  Wipe front to back, lift right leg, wipe, lift left leg, wipe, and another centre wipe for good measure.  I wanted to ensure she was completely clean so I laid her down on the changing mat.  She was never completely clean.  Still to this day I lay her down for one last wipe.  She doesn’t fight that last wipe (very cooperative actually) and I feel better knowing there won’t be any poop irritating her.  I still don’t know how others do a fully standing diaper change for messy poops.  Perhaps it’s easier when the child is steady on their feet and can bend over a bit more.  Or when poops are solid logs and don’t get mashed in all the crevices.  This solution has worked for us.

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She would sit on her potty as I dealt with her soiled diaper.  Putting on her diaper wasn’t easy at first but didn’t take too long for me to figure out.  Position the diaper on, do up the right side, do up the left side, and “fix” the diaper to ensure it was on properly.  Keeping my arms around her for stability was key.  She definitely gained a better awareness of the process of pulling pants up and down for diaper changes.

No more fights.  Increased awareness for A. of the toileting process.  Diapering was completely moved to where toileting happens (the bathroom).  We were one step closer to toilet learning.

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Filed under 12-18 Months, 6-12 Months, Carrie, Diapers/Toileting

The Amazing Communication of (even casual) EC

By Carrie

Once A. was out of the newborn diapers and into the one size cloth diapers I felt they were gigantic on her!  How was she going to learn to roll over with this huge obstacle (her cloth diaper bottom)?  Thankfully a friend from my training had given me a bit of a heads up with her observation that cloth diapers may be an obstacle to development.  So I had planned to give A. lots of diaper free time when she was on her movement mat and had a wool puddle pad underneath the sheet.  I ended up putting a pre-fold diaper underneath of her a lot of the time and/or a plastic-backed change mat.  I had also planned to start putting A. on the potty when she was able to hold her head up.

Despite reading many times that children using cloth diapers get less diaper rash, A. was easily prone to getting a diaper rash.  Diaper free time was essential to help clear it up.  When A. was 11 weeks and was having diaper free time she made this odd fussing noise.  I checked and nope, she wasn’t wet.  A little while later she fussed again and this time she had peed.   Later that day the same thing happened: odd fussing noise, dry, but soon she was wet.  The light bulb went off in my head that perhaps the odd fussing noise meant that she had to go pee.  So again, she made the fussing noise and this time I was prepared with the potty right beside the movement mat.  She fussed, I quickly put her on the potty and to my amazement – she peed!  I did this a few more times before I became a bit more confident and then moved the potty to the bathroom.  Nothing made my heart more full then realizing I had this type of communication with my baby.  I really didn’t expect that my infant would communicate with me when she needed to go pee.  It blew me away!

potty

I can’t really recall how long this lasted for but it wasn’t for more than a month or so.  I don’t know why she stopped making the noise or how I stopped missing her cue signs, but that type of strong communication was lost.  It did make a positive impact as she associated the potty for going pee, and the occasional poo.  So from then on, every diaper change and before her evening bath I would sit her on the potty.  Sometimes she went pee and sometimes she didn’t.  Most nights before her bath she would go pee.  We kept one potty in the downstairs bathroom and one in the upstairs bathroom.  I read Diaper Free Baby to do more EC (Elimination Communication) but I was never super successful at picking up on her signs.  I did try to observe for signs of watery/glassy eyes or a sudden stillness or wiggly/fussiness, especially after she ate.  We always did a diaper change when she woke up so she had the opportunity to use the potty at these keys times of day.  Sometimes we communicated well and a lot of times we didn’t.  I really appreciated how the book said that EC isn’t an all or nothing thing.  Even a little bit is great.

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We did use the cue signs as suggested “psss” for pee and grunting for poo.  I’m not sure if either of these helped in reality but it made us as adults feel like we were doing something to encourage her to pee/poo.  We chose to not read to her or really engage with her while on the potty.  I tried to give her privacy as I like to have while on the toilet.  Often I would use the toilet at the same time, which I think has helped.  She usually sat there for a few minutes and I would  take her off the potty if she became upset about it but I really can’t think of too many times when she has been upset.  Recently she has taken to playing with her pants or underwear while on the potty, and sometimes I give her a square of toilet paper.  She makes the motions of wiping herself and likes to put the toilet paper into the toilet.

Repetitions are needed to awaken his interest.  To create a cycle of relationship. ~Maria Montessori, “What You Should Know About Your Child”

My hope by practising even some EC early on is that A. would begin to connect to her bodily sensations and have an awareness of going pee/poo.  My hope of introducing the potty in her first few months of life is that she would create a relationship with the potty that this is where to go pee/poo.  With many repeated opportunities to practice using the potty during her first year of life, my hope is that when toilet learning did begin that some initial steps would come much more naturally.

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Filed under 0-3 Months, 12-18 Months, 3-6 Months, 6-12 Months, Carrie, Diapers/Toileting

Cloth Diapers – Go For It!

By Carrie

We chose to use cloth diapers right from the start.  My husband was on board when he calculated how much cheaper it would be.  I wanted natural fibres against my child’s most sensitive parts and felt it would help our child to have an awareness of wet/dry that would help later on when it came to toilet learning.

Many of our friends use cloth diapers so it felt very “normal” to us and we had lots of help answering the many questions that arise.  What style?  What brand?  What detergent?  How many?  And so many more questions!  Entering the world of cloth diapers is pretty overwhelming.  We went to a cloth diaper workshop put on by a local cloth diaper company, Little Monkey Store, and decided to go with their newborn rental pack.  (please note the company is no longer local and under different ownership in Edmonton)  If you’re interested in learning more about cloth diapers check out Cloth 101 or any cloth diapering company.  My experience is that they’ve all been very helpful.

montessori undershirt and cloth diaper

A. wearing a newborn cloth diaper and the under shirt made during our training

If you are able to do a newborn cloth diaper rental I highly recommend it.   (New and Green does a newborn rental program for those on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland)  Newborn diapers are smaller so they aren’t gigantic on your itty bitty newborn.   It gives you an authentic, trial run so you are able to decide which type you feel comfortable using, or if cloth diapers are for you.  It made the routine of washing diapers just part of having a baby, right from the beginning.  It also gave my husband time to scope out a good deal for the diapers we purchased when she grew out of the newborn diapers.  (Newborn diapers last until about 14-16 lbs.)

What I thought I’d like (fitted/pre-fold with cover) ended up being different in reality (All-In-One).  Through our trial I realized I really didn’t mind putting in extra loads of laundry (takes me only a minute or two) but didn’t like the extra time folding the laundry and stuffing the diapers.  The All-in-Ones were super easy to fold, no stuffing required (yay!), and I didn’t feel like I was spending a ton of extra time doing laundry.  Most people are put off that All-In-Ones cost a bit more, but with some extra time using the newborn diapers we were able to wait until a sale came on so we didn’t end up spending extra money.  We ended up purchasing Blueberry and BumGenius, with a mixture of snap and hook & loop closures.  I loved how slim they fit, fast they dried, and the great colours and prints.  It’s also been great having two different types as the fit and the absorbency are slightly different so have been great for different purposes or different stages of her growth.  cloth diaper

And dealing with the poop?  I was able to exclusively breastfeed A. so this meant just sticking the soiled diapers in a dry diaper pail, washing every second day, putting them on a drying rack (in the sun whenever the opportunity arose), fold, and put away.  Once we introduced solid foods we chose to use flushable liners.  Oh, and the poop has always been contained in the cloth diaper, with perhaps the odd occasion of a little leakage from newborn runny poops with some of the newborn cloth diapers (we didn’t end up purchasing those types).  We also chose to use cloth wipes with just water.  I do admit that it is an extra step wetting a fresh set of wipes each morning but again, it takes only a minute so once it’s part of your routine it’s not a big deal.  Out of the three we purchased (Thirsties, GroVia, and Kissiluvs), we like the GroVia wipes the best.  Cloth wipes are easy to sew if you wish to do so.  By choosing to use pre-moistened cloth wipes it made changing a diaper like using disposables except we just put the wipe and the diaper into the diaper pail.  We found cloth diapering when out and about was super easy as we just packed a wet bag, put the soiled diapers in the bag, and put both the bag and the dirty diaper in the diaper pail when we got home.  No smell but yes a slightly larger diaper bag.

cloth diapers dryingA whole lot less garbage created, cute cloth diaper bum, economical, and minimal extra effort has made cloth diapering a great choice for us!

 

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Filed under 0-3 Months, 12-18 Months, 3-6 Months, 6-12 Months, Carrie, Diapers/Toileting