So something kind of big happened at our house this weekend. As many of you know I am the parent of a 7 month old girl named Ava. What I have not touched on is the fact that previous to being a stay at home Mom I was the Assistant Director of a great Montessori school. I also have a decade of experience in administration and in the classroom as an assistant as well as a Master’s in Teacher Leadership. When I announced that I would be having a baby I was approached by many of the teachers about the support that they could give in regards to setting up the nursery. I politely declined and said that I like the plan that I had for the nursery. That plan was the standard crib, comfy chair/rocker, and dresser/changing table. We live in a great post WWII starter home with a small room that was once my husbands office that we turned into a nursery. I hung pretty things on the wall and loved the way that it looked and felt that I prepared it to the best of my ability for the arrival of my beautiful girl.
In May my daughter was born and my husband and I decided that she would sleep in our room out of convenience and the fact that her room was across the house. She formally slept in our room for 3 months and then transitioned to her crib. I tried having her nap in her crib during the day but that would only work for 3o minutes and so she began to take her naps in our room. She always was put to sleep in her crib at night and there she would sleep for 6-8 hours and then come to our bed and join us early in the morning. She is now a bigger infant and the same chair that was so cozy seems too small for the two of us and the days of her sleeping in her own room became less and less due to colds, holidays and tired parents.
This weekend I had an “ah hah moment.” I thought back to my time spent in Montessori and started to do the research. Why were the beds placed on the ground for infants in the bambino classrooms? How do you keep them safe when they are mobile? I knew that I had to make the change. I told my husband and he was supportive (as always!) and just said to do my thing. I thought back to my time in the classroom and realized THIS WAS GOING TO BE AMAZING! I set to work thinking about following the child(the cardinal rule of Montessori), and making sure that everything in her room would be safe for when she was mobile and lastly how I felt about taking the crib out. My reservations in the begging of going this route before she was born were that it would look like we couldn’t afford a crib and how would we manage her once she was mobile. I know that the first concern is vain, but sometimes doing something different from your friends and family is nerve racking. Once the room was set up all thoughts and concerns melted away.
The greatest part about her room is that it is her room. Those were the first words out of my husbands mouth. He understood now that having a room that was meant to be accessible for her needs was such a cool concept. The room that she had before was lovely and by societies standards what a nursery in North America should be, but her room was a place where she could see everything on her own level. I find myself happier to be in her room now too.
What are the Differences in Her Room Now?
There is space on the floor to sit with her and to enjoy the sun on a cold afternoon and this space allows for an awesome play mat. This mat is so amazing and stimulating with it’s various textures, noises, and colors. Ava loves to sit in the sunlight and to play with this activity mat. I mentioned before we live in a smaller Post WWII home and so the smallest bedroom became her nursery. There is not a great deal of space and when the larger furniture items were in there it was really not an option to play on the floor. THIS IS THE BEST!
The greatest component to keeping her room a place for her is making her playthings available and at a height that is accessible to her. These shelves have books and toys in their various cubies that as she becomes more mobile she will be able to pull out and play with. When we get to a place where she is more mobile she will have fewer items on her shelf that I will rotate so that she maintains an interest in them.
So the parts that you are all wondering about is her bed and her changing area. How does it work? Does she fall out of her bed? The answer to those questions is that it works amazingly, and no she has not fallen out of bed but yes it will happen and that’s okay.She is happy to lay on her bed and to be able to see her whole environment and since everything has been moved down to her line of sight she engages even more in looking at the objects in her room. Changing her is done on a changing pad on the floor and to be honest it is so much easier. She was getting to big to be changed on her dresser and this way she can roll around a bit and is way happier to be changed on the floor. Most people encounter issues with changing their toddler and their willingness to participate in being changed. Why make her stay on a surface because it is on a piece of furniture that says “changing table” when she will be more cooperative on the floor as she grows I will use this opportunity to include her more in changing herself, this can only help me and her with potty training right?
Making the move to do something different by most people’s standards is a bit nerve racking but so truly beneficial to my child. The pups freely come in and out and are interacting more with Ava and she is interacting with them more too. Just like the classrooms I worked this bedroom will continue to evolve too. I can not wait to see how she grows and owns her space. When Ava IS mobile I will update you all on how that goes.
-Until next time,