A Day in the Life : Stay at Home Mom and Montessori Baby

I've been meaning to share a day in the life of myself and my son.  But it's really hard to capture everything in photos. So I figured it would be nice to just capture our day in videos and since I already have a YouTube channel I decided to upload it there.  

If you want to know how I try to Montessori at home and how Jarvis works on his materials in action?  Watch our first ever vlog.  I must admit though that it is not perfect.  I am still struggling to look at the camera all the time instead of my phone screen.  A lot of footages were also shaky #newbievlogger here and of course, I look pale and awkward most of the time but hey I have to start somewhere right?  And I guess,  all Youtubers will agree that their first few Youtube videos were awkward.  I have to go through that as well to learn. 

I hope despite the perfections, you'll enjoy the rawness of this video.  #reallife and if you want more don't forget to subscribe.  All you need is a Gmail account to subscribe!  I also have subscribe button on the upper part of my sidebar so just click it! Do it now or you'll be cursed for life! Just kidding but seriously subscribe!  Thanks for being here!

Montessori Inspired Play Area for 22 Months

The last time I shared the content of our Montessori inspired shelf, Jarvis was only 14 months then. After that, I never shared the content of our shelf again because there was nothing exciting about his 15 months onward shelf. During that time, he barely notices the content of his shelf except when he wants to remove them all so he can have a clear path for climbing and when that wasn't enough he will go around the house climbing chairs and tables. He would also drag whatever he can drag from one point to another. He was clearly in a sensitive period for movement then. 

However, when he turned 21 months I noticed that he became interested in working on certain materials again. After observing him, I decided to pay careful attention to what I put on his shelf based on his current interests and needs. After a month of observation and trial and error, I must say I finally hit the jackpot in terms of what materials should I put on his shelf.  

With that, I decided to share the content of his shelf now that he is 22 months. And since I already have a Youtube channel, I made a video about it so you can also see how he uses most of the materials on his shelf. So if you are interested to know what's in our 22 months Montessori inspired shelf watch this video! Then if you want more videos like this, don't forget to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our YouTube channel.  


Budget-Friendly Art Space for a Toddler

If you frequent this blog,  you probably know that we have a small terrace at home that we are using as an additional play area for Jarvis. We really want that to be an art space for him or an area where he can do messy activities such as transferring,  pouring and the like. 

Recently,  I gathered some materials and put together a legit art space for him.  It's not much.  I also didn't put a lot of art materials but I am planning to add little by little as we go along.  For now, I want him to maximize the use of available materials first.  I also want to model first how to properly use them and how to clean up after.  Actually,  at this point, he can now return the art materials in their proper places.  

This time, instead of showing you just photos,  I decided to put together video clips on how I set-up our budget-friendly art space for a toddler.  I hope you like this new format of sharing our ever-evolving space and our life as a family.  If you want more mommy and baby related videos like this please let me know.  It would really mean a lot to me if you also subscribe to our Youtube Channel. Hala shameless plug na to! 

Please be nice to me it's my first time and since it's hard to take videos using our gigantic DSLR and take care of a toddler at the same time,  I just used my phone to get the clips.  I even edited the video and did the voice-over using my phone. 

I am still torn whether I should speak English or Filipino or Taglish in my videos.  But in this video, I speak mostly English but I really want to try and speak mostly Filipino next time, after all my target audience are Filipino moms like me.  I just feel like I should speak English when  I am doing a voice-over versus when I am talking in front of the camera. But I am not English speaking talaga.  Haha.. And hey.... Will I ever get the courage to talk in front of the camera? We'll see! I may or may not have been practicing.  Haha... For now, enjoy the video and let me know what you think!

As always, thanks for being here!

Painting with a Toddler: Benefits and the Materials You Need

"It is important that we do not provide adult-made models,  coloring books or sheets or prepared "color-in" papers.  Never show a child how to draw and paint something- like a flower or a house;  the child will often simply repeat and repeat what you have shown. The best we can do for our children is prepare a beautiful environment, provide the best materials and get out of their way." - Susan Stephenson from the book The Joyful child. 

One of Jarvis' favorite activity nowadays, aside from jumping and dancing, is painting.  I've purchased a painting trial set for him but we did not use it right away because I am not ready to face the mess and he's still mouthing things at that time. Although, I tried to introduced it to him in the bathroom using a red paint.  We used the tiles as his canvas.  He did the stabbing motion of the brush, as a result, the red paint splattered all over the bathroom. 

So I decided maybe he isn't ready to paint on paper yet.   However,  recently,  I started introducing him to colors (red,  blue and yellow).  I also put up a work table where he can practice scribbling using crayons so I figured maybe it's time to re-introduce him to painting, only this time we are doing it outside the bathroom.  I want to expose him to colors some more. 

I thought it's going to be really messy that first time, that's why we started painting near our water source.  But after a couple of sessions, I realized that the paints we are using are very easy to clean.  Thus, I prepared a space in our home for his art related work. 

We are using tempera paints by the way. This type of paint is easy to clean and non-toxic too.  I use a wet cloth to clean up our mess.  It also helps that we are painting in a space in our house where it is actually okay to make a mess.  

There are several reasons I introduced painting to my son despite his age. He is 21 months now.  Actually,  some babies start earlier with edible paint (yogurt and food coloring) or paint in a ziplock bag if you don't want the mess. I wish we started on that though. You can always look up Pinterest for inspiration. 

Here are some of the reasons painting is a good activity for my/your toddler. 

 To introduce the child to the process of painting as early as possible. In the Montessori environment, the process of work is more important than the result. The effort the child put into a particular work is valued more than the end result. 

I broke the process down into seven steps. These are the steps that work for us. It might be different in every household or child.  

1. Make him wear an apron. As of now, we are using a jersey type of clothing as his apron because it's easy to clean.  I am still searching for a nice and affordable art apron for him. He doesn't like wearing bibs so I am not sure how he will respond to wearing an apron.  I hope he likes it. 

2. Prepare the paper.

3. Choose paint colors

4. Pour chosen paint on the palette

5. Paint 

6. Hang painting to dry

7. Clean up after.

 To promote concentration. Maria Montessori said,  “The first essential for the child's development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” We didn't start Montessori at home from birth and I feel like  I did a lot of things to sabotage my son's ability to concentrate. To rectify that, I am giving him a lot of opportunities to enhance his concentration by allowing him to do activities that I know he enjoys and for now one of them is painting.

✯ Painting is a great sensory play. So many parents tend to neglect the importance of sensorial activities for babies.  Did you know that there are children who go to an Occupational therapist because of Sensory Processing Disorders?

I have a friend who grew up with so many restrictions as a child that her senses did not develop as expected.  Now that she's an adult, she said that it takes a while for her to feel certain things. For example, when she accidentally holds a hot pot,  she didn't feel the burn right away thus she burnt quite worse than a person with developed senses.  I didn't know that can happen to a person until she told me about it and it blew my mind! Now I am more inspired to let Jarvis explore and use his senses whenever possible.

✯ Painting for a toddler is also a good additional fine motor work. It's a great way to exercise those fine muscles that can be beneficial for writing,  scissors work, and other practical life activities later on. 

My son is a mover, thus he's into honing his gross motor skills all the time!  It's very rare that he'll sit down and do fine motor work.  Therefore,  it's great that there's an activity that he enjoys which will help him improve his fine motor skills. 

 Painting is a great activity to explore with colors. Use them,  name them, mix them etc.  I bought other paint colors after a few painting sessions with my son. 

 Language opportunities. We are naming the colors and the materials during the process.  He can now recognize and say colors yellow and blue.  

 Honing the child's creativity. Although this may come in much later part of his painting experience.  For now, I love to see him enjoy doing it.  He even invented a dance step and chant whenever he paints.  You can watch that here. Combining fine and gross motor work is super okay with me! 😉

Now if you are sold on painting with a toddler you might want to know what are the things you need.  Here they are.

✯ Paints. You can use edible paint if your baby still on the mouthing stage. If your baby is no longer mouthing things, you can try the ones that we use,  tempera paint. Like I said, it is non-toxic and easy to clean. The online shop where I buy our supplies also offers finger paints. I know some parents who prefer finger paints as introductory paint for their babies. 

✯ Brush or sponges.  If you want to go to the traditional painting experience like we do, the trial set that I bought already have brushes and sponges. We use the brushes more often.

✯ Paper.  We are currently using watercolor paper but if you are going to do painting on a daily basis I think you can get away with the regular bond paper.  We will do that once we run out of watercolor paper. I also want to use Carolina and tape it on the wall to encourage painting in an upright position which is better for his posture .

Space where your toddler can paint.  It can be anywhere in the house that you think is easy to clean afterward.  Remember, your toddler is still learning the discipline of painting, it can get really messy. Like paint on your face, clothes or your furniture kind of messy. 

Table or Easle or a wall where you can put the paper for painting.

Apron. Or just use old clothes that you don't mind getting stained. I notice that the tempera paint may stain on certain clothing materials. 

Rug /washcloth for cleaning up after.  Use the opportunity to model how to clean up after painting.  Although,  it can be hard in some situations.  Like in our case, my toddler is always ready to move on and explore other areas of the house once he's done with painting. He rarely sees me clean up. Ah, #momlife.

✯ Paint Palette / No Spill Paint CupsFind out what will work best for you and your toddler.  In our case,  paint palette works best because sometimes he tries to drink the paint from the cups.  

Finally, just a few reminders to moms who want to do painting session with their toddler to just be prepared and stock up on a lot of patience.  It may be different for everyone.  Your child may work flawlessly the first time or create such a mess. Paints may end up everywhere.  If that happens, smile and gently show the child how to use it properly.  Allow the child to enjoy the experience and discoveries.

Thanks for being here!

Life Update: Failed Mama Moment, New Addition to Our Montessori Space and More

It's been a while since I last blogged and I miss it! When I put up this blog I told myself that I am just going to chill and not strain myself if I don't have a post. So that's exactly what I did. I just love that I have this personal space where I can write whenever the inspiration strikes. I want to put up this life update post first to make myself feel the blogging vibe again. 

Let's start with the few additions in our room which also serve as our little Montessori at home space to accommodate our little one's growing need. He is 21 months now. 

 We added a work table on his play area because he already showed interest in scribbling. I thought it's a great opportunity to prepare him for writing.  Here I put scratch bond papers and wooden pen/crayon holder with washable crayons.  No expectations,  I just allow him to explore.  I just want him to familiarize himself with pen/ crayons, paper and how to use them properly. 

However, one day,  I decided to use the poor table as a stool so I can change the curtain. What am I thinking right? I fell, thankfully I wasn't hurt. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the table, it broke two of its legs.  Failed mama moment right there!  I was so devastated.  I hope we can find replacement legs soon.  

 We set up his potty area.  Initially,  we are going for the straight to the grown-up toilet bowl training but I changed my mind because the first idea proved to be difficult in our current set up.  To be honest, we haven't used it yet.  We are still in the familiarization period. But mostly, I am waiting for the right timing. I remember what Trina (@diycorporatemom) told me when I asked her advice regarding potty training, she said "We don't train them but assist them when they are ready" and I think that's the respectful way to do it thus I want to follow her advice. 

✯ I started introducing basic colors to Jarvis.  Nothing structured though. I just put these rainbow stackers on his shelf and whenever he pays attention to them I will say the name of the colors casually. Sometimes, when he's up for it, I request him to give me a certain color. He can now recognize yellow and blue and can say the words too.  

✯ We introduced him to painting too. Since we already introduced him to colors, I figured it's time to let him paint.  It was a hit.  He loves it so much that we pretty much do it every day because he's asking that we do it.  I shared a decluttering project before where I clean a certain space in our house that will serve as his art area.  We now do our painting there. Since we have a designated area for painting, it's easy for Jarvis to communicate when he wants to paint #preparedenvironment.  I will talk more about our painting experience/area in my next post.  

✯ He can say a few words but he's not really talking yet. He blabbers a lot though. I am not worried yet, although I try to talk to him and read to him more. He likes reading so much too. 

✯  We are still maximizing the use of flashcards and miniature objects for language opportunities. I must say this simple reinforcement helps a lot. Right now we have a miniature horse and its flashcard on our language tray because we encountered some of them during our walk in the park last weekend. Before the horse, we have a miniature bird on his language tray because he was into his bird book at that time. You can read the story here. Also, if you want to know where I get the flashcards that we use, I have free printable that you can download for free here.

As for me... 

✯ I changed my phone because I broke the old one. I am not planning on buying a new one anytime soon so I was really devastated when I broke my old one. But it's a blessing in disguise because I love my new phone,  especially the camera.  I went to a mediocre unit,  just the Samsung J7+  but I love the specs. Just exactly what I need. 

I particularly enjoy using the live focus option on its camera which gives me this kind of photo. 

Blur background/Unedited

That's it for now! I hope you enjoyed catching up with us.  Thanks for being here! 

We Have a Toddler Who Loves to Climb : How Do We Keep Him Safe?

Certainly not by making him wear gears or putting him on crib or playpen.

Since we found out about Montessori method when my son was about to turn 9 months, we started preparing his environment to give him more freedom to move. Since then his transition was remarkable. He became an expert in conquering physical challenges for a baby. He learned to walk before he turned one. We did not use a walker to help him walk. We bought him a walker though but we didn't use it for long because I found out about Montessori which is great! He just simply discovered gradually that he can stand up and walk on his own.

Now that he is 19 months and certainly on a sensitive period for movement, he is so fascinated with climbing, which is very normal for his age. However, this stage can also be a very challenging moment for his guide at this point, aka me, his mom!

One thing I do to keep my mover toddler safe on his climbing adventures is by actually allowing him to do so.  Instead of preventing him to do, what we normally perceived as dangerous stunts for a toddler, such as climbing on a chair, on stairs, or on his shelf, I allow him to do those things so I can observe if he can come down on his own safely. 

Doing Montessori at home taught me to trust my child. I or my husband always stay near him so we can help him if he needs it. Otherwise, I let him do the climbing and coming down on his own. Most often than not he knows what to do. He even knows how to slow motion a fall and to prevent his head from bumping the floor. It's pretty amazing that he can do those things really.

I have more peace of mind knowing that he can safely go down. I always give him the opportunity to master the movement he's experimenting. Notice how toddlers tend to do some movements over and over again? That means they are learning to coordinate their movement. 

Montessori noted “Children naturally like to have exercises which are complete in themselves, even if they serve no direct outer purpose … but are a preparation for the activity which is to come. These are what we call ‘cycles of activity’ Children do these things that seem useless, with great care and interest. They seem useless to us but the child is preparing himself and learning to coordinate his movements.” - Montessori from the Start

Only when I know that he already mastered the movement that I can leave him for a while if I need to do something and not worry so much that he will hurt himself. 

If I prevented him from doing those things,  he will not learn and he will try them again for sure when I wasn't looking which can lead to accidents If I made him wear some gears like a helmet or other protective gears for babies he will not find out what will hurt him and what will not and he will not learn how to protect himself which can lead to more serious injuries. Surely, you cannot expect your baby to wear those gears all the time?

Of course, in every freedom we give, we also set some limitations and we set ours as soon as possible. If he wants to climb something that isn't safe, we let him know onset and we tell him as gently as we can. If we see that we really cannot prevent him because, you know, toddler, always on a mission, we try to make the necessary changes to make it safer for him. Have you noticed in the photos how many times we changed the position of the shelf? We tried every angle to make it safer for him to climb. But we can only do this in our own house, so when we visit someone else's house we really watch him very closely.

"Instead of placing the burden on your child to avoid things, shift that burden to yourself to prepare your environment in a way that allows your child's natural development to unfold!" - The Kavanaugh Report

If I didn't find out about Montessori and made an effort (read...read..read...) to understand why my toddler does what he does, I would've been so stressed right now trying to prevent him from doing his stunts for fear of hurting himself. I would even be one of those parents who will put a helmet on his head. I might also view his being a mover as being naughty or bad and I might punish him just to make him safe. As a result, we will be both miserable every day.

Of course, things don't always go smoothly. We sometimes find ourselves dealing with meltdowns and power-struggle if he wants to climb something we think is unsafe. I think that it's normal. At the end of the day, I try to just remain calm, consistent and make him feel that I am ready to embrace him when he recovered from a meltdown.

I am really grateful because I now have the wisdom to understand that every movement my baby does has a purpose and every movement he makes leads to his self-formation. I am here to support him and guide him all the way!

I am not saying that you also let your toddler loose and make him do whatever he wants if you are not comfortable. We have different styles of parenting, we have different children and household. This is just what's work for us and what keeps me and my baby happy with all his everyday adventures. I changed my perspective. Instead of thinking that he is being naughty or hard to deal with like I might have if I didn't prepare myself, I now view his stunts and adventures as learning opportunities for him. Understanding that he is learning in everything he does makes it easier for me to give him freedom even though sometimes the things that he likes to do looks ridiculous. 

"Developing movement in the youngest Montessori children also lays the foundation for future cognitive development. Children who are free to move and explore learn to pursue their own interests. And learning to move to get something just out of reach is a lesson in problem-solving." http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com

What's important is that we, as parents make an effort to understand our children and their needs and we respond to them appropriately. I strongly believe that aside from prepared environment it is also important to be a prepared adult in order to keep our little movers safe and happy. 

I hope you are having a great week so far! Thanks for being here!

Mommy Hacks: Budget-Friendly Organizing and Cleaning Hacks

There are tons of organizing and cleaning hacks on the internet particularly on Pinterest.  I am guilty of trigger-happy pinning them on my Pinterest board. However, when I try to apply those organizing and cleaning hacks in my own home, I realized that not many of them work for us and some are not even budget-friendly.  Let's face it, some hacks require us to buy a certain item in order to implement them in our home.

Since I became I mom, I've been constantly searching for solutions to make our home more organized without spending a lot.  One of my popular posts on this blog is about organizational hacks to save space. I am not surprised because I know, that majority of my readers are moms like me. Us moms have so much on our plate already, so if we discover something that can make our life easier, we welcome it with open arms! Right? And then share our discoveries with other moms! Thus here I am today doing just that!

I am going to share with you four simple budget-friendly organizing and cleaning hacks that you can actually implement as soon as possible. These are my absolute favorite hacks I discovered last year and I think they are worth sharing.

Organize your beddings and save closet storage by folding your beddings and pillowcases nicely then put all of them in one matching pillowcase. You'll save a lot of space in your closet and they look more organized. Not to mention it will be easier for you to change your beddings next time because everything you need is inside that one pillowcase.

It will also save your sanity especially if you have a toddler like me who loves to pull everything out of the closet. One of my son's favorite pastime is pulling out beddings paraphernalia from our closet and prompt me to change the sheets. The number of stuff, I need to refold and stack in the closet made me crazy. But since I started using this hack, it made my life so much easier. I only have to deal with one pillowcase which I can easily shove back inside the closet. Also, it will be easier for him to return them if he wants too. Lately, he's been manifesting his sensitive period for order.

Save time in changing the trash bag in your trash bin by lining two to three trash bags at the same time. I love this simple hack because dealing with trash is my least favorite task. It helps that I don't have to line trash bag every time I throw the trash. This hack is very simple yet very helpful.   

Use toilet paper rolls to store wires charger, earphones, and other small knick-knacks. Wires, wires, and more wires. It makes me crazy. I tried putting them in one drawer, I also tried rolling them with rubber bands or ribbons and put them in a box but somehow they still end up everywhere. So I figured, I'll try this hack. It works because all I have to do after using my wire charger is shove it inside the tissue roll in my drawer and it's out of my sight. Same with other things that can easily pile up and make a mess like flash drives, hair ties, pens etc. 

Do some spot cleaning every day instead of cleaning the whole house in one day. This applies to those moms who don't have house help like we do. I am grateful because both men I live with (my husband and Papa, an uncle who I consider my second father) can clean up after themselves and help maintain the cleanliness of the house. Thus I only clean the areas they don't cover. That's our bedroom, the bathroom in our bedroom and some areas in the kitchen.

Since I look after my son, I can only do cleaning when my husband is home or when my baby is sleeping. But since my husband works graveyard sometimes he's still asleep during the day. Over time, I learned to just do spot cleaning daily rather than spend one whole day cleaning everything that needs to be cleaned. I make a schedule of a spot I can clean for a short amount of time daily. 

Let say for this day, I will clean up the toilet bowl and the bathroom walls in the morning and do the floor in the evening. Then the following day I will clean the oven and microwave. It really depends on how much time I have for cleaning every day. I don't have a lot of time to tell you the truth because I still do other things aside from taking good care of my son. But doing some spot cleaning is a great hack to still somehow stay on top of your home cleaning game. 

What are your favorite organizing and cleaning hacks? I hope you find this post helpful. Thanks for being here!