Sunday, May 22, 2011

Attachement Parenting vs. Montessori

About a month ago there was a post on the Montessori blog which really struck home to me.  It was about Montessori and Attachment Parenting and if you could do both.  See article here

It has been an issue I have struggled with for the past 2 1/2 years.  As a Montessorian I was to follow the the Montessori way, but as a parent, I wanted to follow my instincts.  Well, why should that be exclusive to what is almost a basic premise of the Montessori philosophy? "Follow the Child" is the motto.  We observe and follow the inner desires of the child (there needs to be a HUGE note here, as this does not mean give into all their whims and demands).  You observe their development and aid them so they can reach their full potential.  We don't create obstacles, and we don't hinder them.  These are basic tenants of the "Montessori Way" if you will.  However, they also seemed to contradict some of the AP tenants.

When I started with my first child, I had not read what AP was and it was not that I chose to do that.  I did what my mom had, and what I felt I was comfortable with.  I wanted to have her in our bed, or next to us in the co-sleeper, I wanted to carry her close, mostly so she could be with me, and I could have my hands free.  I wanted to respond to her cries when appropriate and go off her cues.  I refused to be a human pacifier or nurse her as the only solution to the cry.  She did learn to self-soothe by sucking her thumb, and this I wonder if I could have prevented.  I also stayed mostly at home with her for the first 6-8 weeks with very few outings.  It was important that she and I build a strong connection for many reasons.  Well these also fit with what I read in Dr. Montanaro's book as well.

So, why the conflict?  Well it's mostly on minor details. Regardless, I choose not to change much once I had our second.  I had her at home, and from that moment she has been in our bed.  She is now almost 4 months and I am starting to see signs when she could be transitioned to a mattress on the floor, as we did with our first (who was almost 9 months). 

Even with our second, I questioned if I was being true to Montessori, but yet, I felt that I was being true to me and my family and that was more important.  I knew I was guiding my children with a heavy influence of the M. philosophy and that was good enough for me.  I doubt I will change much as I feel I have allowed our daughter to be independent and guided her in a way to become so, and am continually questioning the method in which I do so.  I do question if sometime she has had too much freedom and independence and this is why we have struggles and end up exhausted and frustrated by 8 p.m.  Or then again, it could just be that she is being who she is, and is being a 2 year old who is exercising her will- which is a very strong one!

I took the time to respond on the blog, so you can see what I have said there.  Please feel free to share your feelings about this. I'm still figuring this out, so I guess I won't know if I did the "right thing" until I'm a grandmother.  Oh my, now I feel old.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Watching them Grow.

The last two weeks have been spent planting the rest of our purchased potted plants, and starting some of our own seeds.  The best part about starting from seed is to watch them grow- obsessively.  I know, a watched pot doesn't boil, etc, etc, but watching seeds grow into plants is just amazing!

We started some seeds of corn, sunflowers, yellow beans, and scalloped squash.  The tomatoes and padron peppers along with the Marconi, and Purple Beauty peppers have been started indoors in the Jiffy "green house" with my heating pad under it.  So far only the Padrons have been sprouting.

 This year we dug up about 2 feet from the fence and all along it. 
 The cabbage that Paul had put in back in January and my little tomato plants.  I'm keeping room for a few more that are still inside.
 This bed is ready and as of yesterday, growing rapidly.
 I transplanted my heirloom melon and squash plants and used homemade hot caps to help them out and prevent them from the raccoon and skunk that have taken into our garden.
 The two varieties of cucumbers, with space for the Persian. I started the lemon cucumber in the back.
 Here are the melon or squash plants, not sure anymore.
 Zucchini on the left and yellow squash on the right. 
 The beans sprouting up next to the corn.  I'm trying out the "three sisters" method.

 I caged the eggplant hoping that they won't vanish in the middle of the night as they did last year. 

 Bean sprouts emerging.  It was neat to see them sprout up from morning to evening.

Our never ending rainbow swiss chard.  It made me chuckle when Richard Louv talked about the summer of the chard at his talk.  I was all too familiar with this one.

Giving away some tomato seedlings to the neighbors and taking some over to a friend's house for our "guerrilla gardening". 

Here's a list of what's growing:  (this is mostly for myself as well)
Swiss chard
Hero of Lockinge - heirloom melon
Amarillo de Oro - heirloom melon
Butternut squash- heirloom and regular 
Naples squash - heirloom
Yellow crooked neck squash
yellow sweet corn
purple inca corn
yellow butter beans
scalloped squash
purple beauty- egplant
2 other heirloom egplats
3 cucumbers
A variety of peppers 
 herbs-rosemary, parsley, sage, cilanto, dill, lemon balm, catnip, thyme
chocolate mint, mojito mint, and spearmint

Tomatoes: All heirloom seeds from tomato fest
Amana orange
Golden Grape 
Belii Naliv
Cherokee Purple
Black Ethiopian

Still in seedling
Peche Jaune
Big Rainbow
Great White

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jarring Jams

Have you ever wanted to make jams?  Well I have.  I remember when I was a child my mom made strawberry jam out of tiny berries that grew in my aunt's back yard.  We ate it with vanilla ice cream at tea time.  There's something about making things at home that are painstaking and time consuming that somehow end up being rewarding- in the long run.  Memories, that's what it all ends up being about.  Memories from childhood and the memories we create with our families.  My goal for this spring season was strawberry jam.  Luckily they come cheap this time of year just 30 minutes north from here.  Paying $5 for 4 pints I knew this was going to be the day I finally did it.
I had promised my daughter she could help, but she was more excited that her friend was coming over that she ended up not taking part in this other than for licking the spoon at the end.

Part of the entire process was the set up that took the most time.  I was determined to can (or jar) them.  I had wanted to do this with our tomatoes last year, but was just too scared of the method.  I knew I had to have both going on at the same time since you have to go from hot to hot.  So, with all my large pots bubbling and boiling I got started.  The aroma in the house on a cool evening was heavenly!

 I hope that I was successful in the canning part of this project.  They seemed to have sealed so maybe this will give me the guts to try it out with the rest of the glorious summer fruits and heirloom tomato harvest in a few months!

After finishing all of it and making dinner for us all last night.  Around 10 p.m I realized tomorrow was Teacher Appreciation Day at school and I had promised my daughter I would make scones.  So, adding one more thing to the day's cooking list I made chocolate chip scones.  As a reward to myself, I had to eat at least one :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Last night I felt like I was part of the Iron Chef challenge.  It was a marathon cooking session.  I managed to get 6 dishes done in 2 1/2 hours.  I was beat.

Why?  Well you see with two kids it's not so fun to go out to eat anymore, and also you end up spending an average of $30 when you go out to eat.  I'm not going to Mickey D's or Denny's anytime soon so that''s not considered a meal for me.  We like to eat well around here, and sadly that does add up on groceries, but when I consider yesterday's grocery bill for $100 which included a pack of Seventh Generation diapers for each girl and a box of wipes, I have to say I got lots of stuff.  I didn't even take on making meatballs or the rhubarb and custard yet.

So, what was the menu?  It was a random assortment of things since I wanted to get as much cooking as I could so I don't have to do it everyday.  Even though it will be near 100 degrees today, I had to get some ox tail since my daughter loves it.  Sorry no pic on that.

Then there was the amazing deal on local mussels.  Mmmm it was so good with some white wine and lots of garlic.

We also had dover sole with some lemon and garlic.

And the Broccoli rabe, which sadly I over cooked juggling everything else. 
 My new favorite is to add a salted anchovy to the garlic.. mmm!

The chicken curry was not for last night, but it had to be cooked.

A side of pasta and it was time for a celebratory dinner.

My daughter helped me out in the kitchen with a few things, but then decided it would be best if she set the table for us.  And as you can see we had dinner at her table, but all managed to squeeze in.
 This is her plate of food. It was a lot of fun to watch her dipping bread in the mussel broth and then trying to open the shells to eat them :)

So there you have it.  Dinner at our house on a Monday night.  I don't think I'll be attempting all that again since I didn't have enough burners to get it all, and had to keep rotating to fit it all in.  We might have to survive on popsicles tonight if it gets any hotter!  Summer fun, homemade popsicles are the best!
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