Do you like the Dancers Mobile? I think Otis does.
Remember I mentioned we rotate the mobiles every two weeks or so to maintain the child's interest. Of course it isn't a necessity. But I am having so much fun and each mobile is so unique and so pretty. The dancers are made of really light paper so they 'dance' in the breeze and the holographic paper really gets the child's attention.
I don't know the history of the Dancers Mobile, if you do please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to know more!
How often do we give our children inappropriate materials. In reality it probably doesn't do too much harm, but it doesn't do any good either. Beginning Montessori state 'Most rattles are so big they look like a bar bell when offered to an infant' and I think they are right.
Otis is still little (9 weeks) and this sweet little bell rattle fits perfectly in his hands. It is seriously the sweetest 'toy' for an infant and so, so simple.
It is the only hand material that he is using (the others in the above picture are a little big for him to get his fingers around and are to be used at around three months). While it stimulates his grasping reflex it also allows him to focus and concentrate on tracking (as he looks at it) and works on making purposeful movement. It also gives him something else to do and something new to explore.
I know that he enjoys it as he will grasp it and shake it for a few minutes at a time. Yes, building up hand strength too. It truly is the simple and most natural (and handmade) things that are the best.
Montessori mentions the need to follow the natural rhythm of the child and to meet the child's natural needs. I think this is especially important for feeding and sleeping.
For Otis (2 months) this means
feeding by demand (no timing or scheduling feeds)
allowing him to detach himself from the breast and finish feeding when he is ready
sleeping when he needs to for as long as he needs
providing safe, warm, comfortable environments for him to sleep.
Fortunately feeding Otis is simple, he is always with me, he feeds well and is growing well.
For sleeping we provide lots of areas within the home for him to rest and sleep. A soft blanket or a lamb's wool is perfect for this. Then as we play or work he can drift in and out of sleep as he needs and we can move it around. This is a great way of keeping him involved in our family life. If I see him getting sleepy I do put him in his bed, but it's ok if it doesn't always work out.
We are not actively putting him to sleep but rather he chooses when to sleep. He is also learning to sleep independently. Luckily following the post Sleep. Day versus Night he has two consecutive long sleeps at night, only broken by a feed.
Although we don't use them intentionally we have also found a car drive and his mobiles work well. Here is a favourite photo of mine from a couple of weeks ago, Otis sleeping under the Octahedron.
As Otis (8 weeks) really enjoys batting his Gobbi mobile, today I put up his bell on a ribbon. I hung the bell from a ceiling hook in our lounge area. At the end of the ribbon there is some elastic so when he is ready to grasp the bell it has some give in it. We purchased the bell on a ribbon from Goose Designs.
His batting (and kicking) at the moment is accidental. He is only just making the connection that he is hitting the bell which is making the sound. Soon this will become intentional movement and he will know that he has control over his environment, he hits the bell and it make a noise. I believe this can be very empowering for a child to set out to do something (hit the bell) and then to actually achieve it (and cause it to ring). How rewarding!
The bell on a ribbon is like most mobiles, great for developing tracking and concentration but as this one is intended to be hit it is also great for developing coordination and learning about cause and effect.
Montessori emphasised being aware of the child's skill level and offering an environment that is supportive of the child but also challenges the child. This mobile is on the edge of Otis's skill level and is a definite challenge for him.