As Otto often sucks his fingers (just like this) when he is tired, at school pick up or at the grocery store, I'm often asked if I give him a pacifier. The answer is always no, mostly because I don't think it's necessary but this quote resonated with me. This is powerful and worth thinking about if your child uses a pacifier.
"The more time a baby spends with a pacifier, the more likely it will be incorporated into their body scheme – a mental image of their body in space, built in that first year of life. Neurologically speaking, they may start to feel ‘incomplete’ or simply uneasy without something in their mouth. Gradually that great function of the mouth, which is to be the gateway for expression of the human soul, can become secondary to a need for oral gratification. Psychologically, the attitude can shift from feeling that one has something meaningful to contribute, to feeling that one is here to consume. " - Judi Orion and Paul Pillai (AMI Montessori Trainer/Teachers) - found here.
This week I published some images of Otto's bedroom at five months, whenever you share like this in a public way, you open yourself up to criticism. Also, I'm often asked 'when is the best time to start Montessori' the answer is from birth, or you can start planning earlier. If your child is born - the best time to start is now!
"The simple, natural and gentle environment, that encourages feelings of safety, and encourages the child to communicate with others and to move - that is the superior environment for the child from birth to three." - Susan Stephenson, The Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three.
On materials... I can't emphasize this enough.
"Each rattle, grasping toy, toy, puzzle, and other piece of material has been chosen for a specific purpose. It is up to the adult to watch carefully to see that the challenge is not too easy as to be boring, and not too difficult to cause frustration and giving up." - Susan Stephenson, The Joyful Child Birth to Three Years (2008-2009).
Otto has started sitting with us at the dining table; he can't stop smiling! We are well into planning for weaning. It's an amazing and important process.
"Sitting at a table brings about a change in the child's ego and the start of a new human relationship that will recur throughout life. Our right position in the world must be in front of others which guarantees our dignity as human beings. The child can now introduce himself to the world as a seperate person who can begin to establish more individual relationships. He begins his separation with food which becomes the external agent of a much more important internal process; the building of a personal identity. The different food and the different way of receiving it is strictly correlated to detachment, independence and development of the ego." - Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro, Understanding the Human Being: The Importance of the First Three Years in Life.
Perhaps if you teach or have a child of a similar age, these quotes may resonate with you too!