A Year of Montessori Learning: May

For whatever reason, I’ve been struggling a bit with this stage. I really mourned the passing of Emmett’s babyhood and while I’m still working through that, I’ve realized this last week that I actually feel a little afraid of having a toddler. Not because toddlers are scary or anything (maybe they are?), but because this stage requires an increasing amount of actual parenting, and I’m afraid I don’t have what it takes. I’ve felt a little paralyzed by some of my fears, wondering what I should really be doing for Emmett. Should I be letting him play on his own, or trying to put together more activities and organized work? Should I be trying to stick to a more reliable routine, or teach him to work within a more flexible rhythm? Everything I read tells me he needs a dependable rhythm, but I tend to resent too much routine. Is there a happy medium?

I’ve been stressing about discipline too, and the increasing need for me to correct or redirect. How do I do it right? How do I make him feel respected and understood, yet set clear, firm boundaries? Eek! I’m actually pretty excited about this month’s bookclub selection, No-Drama Discipline, and hoping it’ll make me feel a little more comfortable about my strategy. I really liked their other book, The Whole-Brain Child, so I have high hopes. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve also just been feeling really tired. This spring has been gray and cold and wet, I haven’t been going to bed early enough and I’ve had a fair bit of anxiety keeping me up in the wee hours. Almost every day by 3 p.m., it’s all I can do to keep my eyes open.

All that being said, despite the slow arrival of six teeth at once (good grief!), our sweet boy is as wonderful as ever. I can’t believe how much he can do, how much he understands and is beginning to be able too communicate to us. He’s just a really, really good kid and I’m so very proud to be his mama. Taylor put together a little Pinhole Press book for me (from Emmett) for Mother’s Day and it simultaneously made my heart burst and break looking at all the photos of the two of us. Please stop growing up little boy! Just stay right here in this stage forever.


Sensorial- I’m not going to lie to you. This month’s theme felt tougher than the rest. I mean, “Sensorial” could really apply to anything. Sight, sound, touch, taste, you name it. Since we purchased quite a few things last month for the Botany theme, I tried to work mainly with what we had and instead incorporate more experiences, like going outside at least once a day. We focused on practical life skills as well as time spent outside digging in the dirt, eating popsicles, running through the sprinkler and throwing the ball for our dog, Cash. The last few weeks I’ve been doing my best to throw my own pace out the window, and instead work with Emmett on the completion of his activity cycles. For example, going to get the diaper basket, grabbing a diaper and wipes, choosing whether he’d like to stand or lay down, taking his dirty diaper and throwing it away in the garbage, and finally, putting the diaper basket back on the shelf. It takes about ten times as long for us to get things done or leave the house, but the look on his face as he gives me a high five and finishes the task is well worth it. We’ll definitely be continuing to do more and more of this as he comes up on 18 months, and I’m so looking forward to seeing everything he masters.

We’ve read A LOT of books this month. We go through the basket in the living room every morning, read books during lunch and before nap, as well as anytime we’re in the office, and then again before bed. He’s started to have a few favorites and even knows when the good parts are coming up. It’s so fun to see his enthusiasm for reading, but I especially love the way he turns around about three feet in front of me and then ever so carefully, backs up into my lap.

I tried not to worry too much about finding books about senses, and instead applied the theme to pretty much anything that required using your senses to enjoy. We pulled out all of the books with flaps, touch-and-feel and our one book with sound, and talked a lot about the different automobile and animal noises. We took a couple trips to the library and though I forgot to take a photo of the books, I’ll try to remember most of the books we got.

Library: Bear Counts. Trucks Go. Boats Go. I Hear. I Touch. Bear Feels Scared. Bear Wants More.

Our Collection: Farm Vehicles! Whose Tools. Whose Trucks. Tractor. Animals. Puppies. Pull-the-Tab Trucks. Pinhole Press books. Alphaprints: ABC.

The nicer weather meant we had the chance to take a few adventures this month, though nothing too terribly exciting. We did manage to hit the Pet Parade in our small town, and I’m not sure which Emmett liked more, the endless stream of puppies walking by or the taste of his very first Dum-Dum. Ha! He was all about the sucker. We also went out to brunch at our favorite cafe for Mother’s Day, spent a morning at the local used bookstore and fancy coffee shop, did a great deal of working in the garden and had a lovely weekend visit with Grammy and Pop. We’ve been riding our bike together occasionally, and are looking forward to riding it over for our summer afternoons at the farm pool soon.

Besides scribbling on an owl coloring page, we haven’t really done any traditional kid activities, but have focused instead on just incorporating him into our everyday tasks and activities. Emmett helped me clean out the pantry, helped Dad and Pop fix the screen door, helped me plant seeds in my garden, pulled weeds with Grammy, has done dishes, swept the floors, vacuumed (which he’s slightly terrified of) and has become solely in charge of Cash’s meals. He’s the best little helper and I love incorporating him into my work, even if it does take twice as long and often gets pretty messy.

Emmett expressed so much interest in his shelves last month, that I kept them the same. He’s been really into his barn and farm animals, carrying them around everywhere and making a lot of the noises. He’s also been really interested in his small collection of toy cards (and one Thomas the Train) and the car mat we got him for his birthday. He asks to spread it out on the floor everyday, and loves sitting in the middle of both his farmyard fence and mat.

But most of all, he’s obsessed with books. Some of his current favorites:

Little Blue Truck Leads the Way. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. The Night Night Book. Dada. Goodnight Gorilla. Animal Sounds.

Though I struggled a bit with this month’s theme, when it came to music, there was a LOT of good options. It’s one of my favorite playlists so far, nice and upbeat, and helped to usher in the warmer weather and longer days quite well. I went with anything relating to the five senses, feeling or movement. Give it a listen!

May | Sensorial

I’m feeling much more motivated about June’s theme, Zoology! And I already have a trip to the Zoo and Aquarium on the books. We lose Taylor this month to farming business, but we gain longer, nicer days, and I can’t wait to adventure with my sweet boy. Here we go June!

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  1. Pingback: A Year of Montessori Learning: June - Bird is the Word

  2. Beautiful, sweet gardening photos! Pehr loves to dig with yer garden tools too. I agree that this month’s theme felt kind of vague and like “everything applies”, but in some ways that made it easier…It was interesting for me to be aware of how stimulating to the senses all of our normal daily activities and outings are. We went to the beach, and Pehr ran in and out of the cold water 9000 times and dug in the wet sand for hours, and I sat marveling at what an incredible experience that must be for her mind and body after a long winter of (mostly) playing indoors, bundled in layers of clothes that buffer us against our environment. I made sure to get her out touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting new things that are coming with the transition of seasons here…apple blossoms in our yard, flowers at the local garden center, ice cream, freshly cut grass, birds (the swans are back at the park), and of course– sand and dirt. She absolutely loves to be outside and is naturally curious about the world, so it was a pretty easy-going month of her being completely content with whatever we did, without much effort, planning or prep needed from me.

  3. Love this post! I feel some of the same ways you shared regarding toddlerhood! I feel like earlier in my daughter’s life I couldn’t mess it up too badly, but now that she’s older disciplining and providing appropriate activities sometimes feels overwhelming. I’m less sure of myself. It’s nice to know that other mamas feel this way too. I don’t know if you’ve read anything by Janet Lansbury, but I really liked her book No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame, and she has a good website and podcast, too, if you’re interested. I’ll have to give your recommendation a read, as well. Thanks!