I began this blog just shortly after Coralie’s first birthday as simply a way to both insure some form of ‘baby-book’ record of C’s early days, while also sharing her life with beloved far away friends and family. Our copy of Nikki McClure’s beautiful baby book ‘The First 1000 days’ ends on about day three, and anyone who knows me knows I am hopeless when it comes to emails, so a blog seemed like a good way to take care of both guilt inducing tasks.
Even though my Montessori background plays such a huge part in how we parent, I never set out to start yet another ‘Montessori’ blog. For one thing there are so many amazing ones out there. Sewliberated, Feeding the Soil, and How We Montessori are daily reads devoted almost entirely to raising children the Montessori way. And frankly the bar that they set goes way beyond my own personal goals for blogging. Also, and probably an even more important reason for me, is that I am not Montessori trained for Assistants to Infancy (ages 0-3). Although I have done loads of reading on practicing Montessori with babies and toddlers, I take my AMI degree at the primary level (ages 3-6) so seriously that I would feel inappropriate to claim to be an expert on an age group I have not been formally trained to work with.
With that said, I feel as if I have ended up avoiding the ways that Montessori has played a role thus far in Coralie’s life. Since this blog is first and foremost for her, I think it’s about time I wrote and documented about the many efforts I have made to give C a Montessori start. And so it all began with the Topponcino.
‘Topponcino what?’ was I believe Yann’s comment to me at 9+ months pregnant when I decided that I just had to have one, some how some way, before Coralie was born. Given that this is not an item to be found in any baby shops, the task was slightly challenging. To be honest, I had trouble answering his simple question. Regardless, I did know that I had to have one. The funny thing about reading up on Montessori for infants is that often books seem to state the things you’re not suppose to have, so when one of my references (Michael Olaf’s beautiful online catalog) discussed the need for a Topponcino for the newborn it was a must have. It is essentially a small soft mat placed under the infant and used to help transfer the infant more comfortably from place to place, as well as offer a cocoon sense to the held baby. After a bit of searching I had one custom-made by a lovely women at Montessori in Motion, which was used for about the first three months of Coralie’s life. Looking back now I can see how really it was just more a matter of nesting needs, and also the desire for having something handmade by a motherly type for C, as I was definitely missing my own at that sensitive time before giving birth.
While I don’t think our approach is strictly ‘Montessori’ per se, since that first step we have carried out many of the Montessori principles in the environments maintained for Coralie, as well as what we purchase and how we shape our home rhythm. For me, it’s what I know and it’s what feels natural, really the basis for any parenting system. Coralie at her 20 months young point in life is a happy, outgoing, loving, and generally speaking a well-mannered little girl. While I certainly don’t think our Montessori approach is the only reason she is who she is, I can definitely see many characteristics forming, that truly make my heart burst, as they are direct results to Maria Montessori’s unique understanding of the young child’s spirit.