Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marshall's new Montessori Bedroom

We finally decided to spiff up Marshall's room a bit. When we bought the house we threw his room together quickly and never went back and really put it together.

This is what it looked like 4 months ago when we bought the house:

And this is what it looked like after we moved in:

The only new thing we bought was the toddler bed, everything else we already had from his room at our old house. Since he had been sleeping on the twin sized floor bed since 7 months old, we thought he would do fine moving into a toddler bed at 1 year, which he did. So far he hasn't fallen out.
We decided since the room was big enough (it seems so huge after his last room!) we'd keep the floor bed as well. It makes a nice place for us to snuggle as a family to read books, or for Jerad or I to hang out on when we're playing with Marshall in his room. For some reason Marshall usually elects to sleep on the floor bed for his first nap, but the toddler bed for his second nap and overnight.

While the room was functional... it wasn't very aesthetically pleasing. You know me, I usually like to have a theme or some sort of cohesive design and this room was just something that we schlepped together in 30 minutes.

After going back and forth about a theme or design, and being determined to follow our "only if we have the cash" rule for home improvements, we decided to get creative with stuff we already had. This meant reusing Jerad's John Deere stuff from our old office/music room circa 2008/2009. We also added a bookcase that we already had (that really needs to be refinished some day when I'm not feeling so lazy slash pregnant). The only things I purchased for the room re-do was a set of sheets from Target that were on sale for $14.78, a body pillow for $9.99, and a pillow cover on sale for $4.98. So the whole room cost about $30.

The entire room is baby/child proofed, and everything is at his level so he can easily see everything and chose what to play with. puts it perfectly:

"Every child follows a unique timetable of learning to crawl to those things he has been looking at, so that he may finally handle them. This visual, followed by tactile, exploration is very important for many aspects of human development. If we provide a floor bed or mattress on the floor in a completely safe room—rather than a crib or playpen with bars—the child has a clear view of the surroundings and freedom to explore.

A bed should be one which the baby can get in and out of on his own as soon as he is ready to crawl. The first choice is an adult twin bed mattress on the floor. Besides being an aid to development, this arrangement does a lot to prevent the common problem of crying because of boredom or exhaustion.

It helps to think of this as a whole-room playpen with a baby gate at the doorway and to examine every nook and cranny for interest and safety. If the newborn is going to share a room with parents or siblings we can still provide a large, safe, and interesting environment.

Eventually he will explore the whole room with a gate at the door and then gradually move out into the baby-proofed and baby-interesting remainder of the house.

These are the beginning stages of independence, concentration, movement, self-esteem, decision-making, and balanced, healthful development of body, mind, and spirit."

Opting for a child centered environment instead of the typical nursery has definitely done all of those things. Marshall is SO independent. He will easily play by himself for over an hour. Its really neat watching his decision making as well. Sometimes he will work on a puzzle every day for a week, then all of a sudden he masters that one and decides to focus on a stacking toy. Sometimes he wants to play and wind off some steam before putting himself to sleep and sometimes he happily crawls to his room, grabs his blanket, picks a bed and goes right to sleep. Sometimes when he wakes in the morning he calls out for "daddy" or "mommy" until one of us comes and cuddles in bed with him, and sometimes he wakes up and quietly plays for 45 minutes until he decides its breakfast time. I think one of the reasons he is so calm and independent is because he has control over a lot of his environment and we're removed a lot of frustrations. Having only a few toys out at a time also keeps him from being overwhelmed or over stimulated. As he grows tired of the things in his room, I rotate them out with other toys.

Although we LOVE the Montessori Philosophy and concept, we are going to do a crib for Miller at least until he starts crawling. That way we have somewhere "safe" to put him that Marshall can't get to. I'll post pictures of Miller's nursery soon!

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