Welcome to 'A Montessori Home'.
With so many of our friends and family living in far-off lands, I hope that this blog might help our loved-ones get to know our gorgeous Finlay as he grows up. I also hope that these posts may provide inspiration, provoke thought and conversation about creating beautiful Montessori environments for infants and toddlers at home. I'm always happy to hear your comments, thoughts and suggestions. Feel free to pop in now and then to see what we're up to!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Questions and answers

As always, the topic of 'sleep' really gets people talking!!

A few lovely bloggers left questions in their comments on my floor-bed update but when I started writing my replies I realised the answers were worth a whole post on their own... so here you go:

Melissa from The New Mommy Files asked:
When did Finlay start getting up and going into your room after waking at night? Did you do anything to encourage this? I would love to see Annabelle coming in to join us on her own, as she currently cries until I come in to get her, despite having the freedom of the floor bed and an open door in the room right next to mine. I'm not sure if this is just her personality, or something I'm doing (or not doing).
When Finlay first started crawling we were living in our old house, where his floor-bed was in our room. As soon as he was able, he would crawl up into our bed when he woke at night (our bed is a low futon).
Then we moved to our new house, where he has his own room next to ours. Here, I leave our doors open and a dim light in the hallway. I remember the first few nights he woke up, I could hear him grizzling and I just called out his name until he crawled down the hall and found us. Now that he's walking he just stumbles, half-asleep, into our room when he wakes.
It's so hard to know whether it's just his personality driving him to get out of bed independently, or whether something we have done has encouraged him to do so.
Perhaps you could practice during Annabelle's daytime nap... waiting for her to wake up and calling her from your room until she gets up and finds you?
I definitely found that I felt more rested when I didn't physically have to get up out of bed during the night. I hope this helps!

Neptune from Montessori Ici asked:
Tell me, what is your plan at this point to help Finn wean at night? We are right at the same spot.
Ahhhh we have just started the night-time weaning and it is going pretty well so far! For the record, I'm really just making this up as I go along, so don't take my word as gospel... I hope our experience might help give you some ideas for your own journey :)
For the first few nights I repeatedly told Finlay in the evening, " Tonight after you fall asleep, we won't have any more milk until morning when the sun is shining through the window." I said this many times, in different ways, before taking him to bed and feeding him to sleep as usual. Then when he woke and came into our bed I repeated that we weren't having milk until morning ("when the sun is shining through the window"...). Of course he was upset and cried a bit but actually settled down much more quickly than I had expected. Finlay's comfort object is my ear (I know, cute, huh?!) so as long as he can hold on to my ear he has been happy to settle back to sleep. I suppose other children might use a teddy/blanket etc? Or if they don't need anything, even better!
Our challenge has been to mark a time when he can have milk again... I used the "sun shining through the window" cue so that he would have something visual to give him an indication of whether he could have milk yet. However, we're in the middle of winter here and the sun isn't rising until around 7:30am, long after Fin is ready to wake up and have his morning milk feed. Clearly I didn't think that through very well.
So, I have just been looking at the time and deciding that any time after 5am he could have some milk (and if he falls back to sleep for a bit longer, even better!). Hopefully as time goes on he'll be able to last a bit longer before the feed.
I hope that this experience of getting to sleep without suckling will eventually help him reach a point where he is able to fall asleep independently, every time. A long process, I'm sure.

I have also received questions regarding the Montessori mobiles we hung up when Finlay was an infant. I made all of our mobiles while I was pregnant... perhaps I should make a tutorial on these? Some of them are time-consuming but others are quite easy. A lovely project for new parents or as a gift for anyone expecting a baby.

This past weekend, my partner Brent attended the three-day Montessori orientation workshop I mentioned in this post. What a brilliant opportunity this was for him to fully immerse himself in Montessori philosophy (rather than the dribs and drabs he receives from me!) - I can already see the difference in his interactions with Finlay. This just reminded me how important it is for us all to continue educating ourselves so that we remain fresh, inspired, and able to respond intelligently to our children.

The workshop took us north to Matakana for the long weekend. This truly has to be one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Fin and I spent our days exploring beaches, filling our pockets with shells and the car with sand. And can you believe.... I left my camera at home! Ahhh well, just another reason to live in the moment, I suppose.

It rained on and off all weekend but were rewarded with some of the most beautiful (and frequent) rainbows I've ever seen. Call me a sucker, but I do love rainbows! Fin even started saying "wa-bow" over and over... I'm not sure if he was even looking at the rainbows or just responding to my excitement. Made me giggle and think of the double-rainbow guy...

Wishing you a happy weekend!

No longer content with cleaning our glass door, Fin insists on climbing the furniture to reach every window in the house...


  1. Thanks so much for sharing these answers, Cathy!

  2. I found your blog very inspiring therefore I decided to leave you an award on my blog: http://ponadsiebie.blogspot.com/2011/08/blogowej-zabawy-cd.html

    Thank you for sharing your great ideas with us

  3. Hi Cath,

    I would LOVE to hear how you made those gorgeous Montessori inspired mobiles! I am about to go on maternity leave and would love to put one together (in between moving house) before bub arrives.

  4. Hello lovely! My, how these past 8 months have flown by!! You know, I've had lots of email questions about the mobiles lately and have been thinking of doing some how-to posts... What a good incentive to get my act into gear.
    Would love to visit you and bub when we're home for Christmas xxxx

  5. Hello Cathy,
    I recently discovered your blog and find it so interesting.

    I hope you don't mind me contacting you, but if you have time I would love to hear about your montessori training in India.

    A little bit about me. I'm Rachel, and come from Cork in Ireland, but live in Brighton in England. I have a little girl named Bay who was born in March 2010 just like Finlay. I'm a lawyer by trade butjust have fallen in love with children and all things montessori so am considering jacking in my old job (on a career break at the mo) to become a childminder. I am even toying with the idea of training in India. Would you recommend training there? How are you enjoying the daycare in your home?

    Sorry, it does feel a bit weird asking things of a complete stranger and I so hope you don't mind.

  6. Hi Rach,

    You are most welcome to ask questions here... I'm happy to talk Montessori all day, every day!

    I'm so excited to hear that you are considering training as a teacher. I am extremely biased, but I do consider it one of the most satisfying jobs on the planet.

    As for training, I would highly, highly recommend doing an AMI course if you possibly can. The quality and depth of content within AMI training is truly amazing.

    As for India - wow, what an exciting adventure to embark upon with your daughter! I trained in Chennai at the Navadisha Montessori Institute, but there are also courses in Mumbai and Hyderabad. India, of course, is a country filled with colour, life, noise, heat, an incredible sense of culture, generosity and energy. It wasn't always easy to concentrate on my studies due to the intensity and sensorial overload I was experiencing, but I do think that my Montessori training was enriched because of the amazing place I was in. The quality of the AMI course there was also impeccable.

    Having said that, I was single, traveling alone and had no-one to think about but myself. If you were to live there with your daughter I would suggest you have someone with you to take care of Bay full-time or consider hiring a nanny when you get there. You would be expected to work at least a few hours each evening and most of your weekends to complete your albums and theory papers, so I imagine you would need a really strong support system in place to help you achieve this as well as being a mum :).

    We also have a 3-6 AMI training course starting here in New Zealand in Jan 2012 if you're looking for an overseas adventure!

    I am really enjoying running daycare from home as it allows me to be with Finlay and gives me an incentive to maintain our home environment to the highest standard. I have found it difficult to take my 'teacher-hat' on and off since I am working and living in the same space. Finlay definitely demands more of my attention when other children are here, and I do look forward to the day when he can attend his own Montessori classroom and I can perhaps go back to directing a class of my own. So, as with all things there are many pros and cons!

    Do feel free to ask questions any time, and I wish you all the best with your future plans :)