Monday, March 16, 2015

I am the student, not the teacher


I don't know how long I've been saying Mamie would start Montessori when she is 2. For the last 18 (+9?) months, I've been saying a lot of things like I have some idea what I'm doing here. As it turns out, I am NOT ready to send my wee little Mimsy Borogove off to her studies just yet!  (And there's not a program nearby that would accept a barely-2-year-old for less than five full days a week.)

Still, I feel like I should be teaching her something, I should exploit the sponginess of her little head while I still have some influence.

So I had this idea: Why don't I do Montessori homeschool lessons with her until she is three? Yes, groan. Now I have this idea, I've started doing research, bought a book, set up a notebook for planning lessons. Am I just going to stress myself out, will I deprive her of important practical lessons like grass-eating and writing on the sofa with crayons? I guess I'm secretly afraid if I don't follow professional recommendations for educating a toddler, I will screw it up, and she will start preschool not knowing some essential skill or song. I admitted I have no idea what I'm doing.

What I have learned in the last 18 months is that Mamie makes big leaps when I get out of the way, especially when she is in a new environment or spending time with different people. When she shows me that she is figuring out something new, we practice the new thing one-on-one during our relaxed home time. Can you picture my wary half-shrug as I say she seems pretty smart, I think it's going well? I dare not ask any other mother of a toddler what she should be learning, or I'll expose how under-qualified I am for this job. My best hope is to keep reading books, playing, and encouraging her to figure out how to be smart and fun and awesome on her own.

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What Mamie is up to at 18 months old: She loves books, outside, Ziggy, and most other things. She does not like shoes, barrettes, Roomba. She plays drums, tambourine, and a whistle. Her favorite letter is "E" and her favorite number is 8.  She says "what's that?" and "uh-oh" seventy billion times a day.  She only drives me crazy when she swipes all her food on the floor, but she also makes my heart crack and fall out of my chest when she pushes her plate away sweetly, says "I'm done," and then wipes her mouth.

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