Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

On Friday we met up with Poppy and Jedda to have a photography discussion, since Jedda wanted to learn a bit more about how her camera works and laboured under the illusion that I might have something to show her. Harry was completely besotted with both of them, to the point where she was happy to be led across the field with Jedda to look at some dogs Poppy had run up to. I took a photo of the event because it was so astonishing - here was Harry happily taking off with a complete stranger! But I haven't posted it here because this one was just too cute to leave out - this is Harry showing me how she says 'shhhh'.

It was a very hot day and by the time we got to Toby's Estate both Poppy and Harriet were exhausted. Jedda and I spent most of our time jumping up to avert disaster at every opportunity (next time I open a cafe, please remind me not to place fragile cups and plates within toddler height!), so I thought that by the time we got home the little monkey would be ready for a good, deep sleep. WRONG! She proceeded to stay up until about 4pm, then slept until 5.30pm.

So we went out to the beach and she was so excited because we finally got to see the moon. The moon is her latest passion, during the day we have to constantly explain how the moon can't be seen when the sun is out and then we've also had to explain about how clouds can obscure the moon. So there have been a lot of moon-related disappointments with Miss Harriet. However this night was a moon jackpot and she was besotted.

On the way to the cafe after the beach she kept saying very loudly and insistently "BAR". What is this bar we wondered? We asked for more clarification, but all she would do is hold her hands above her head. We asked if she knew a sign for 'bar' but just the same movement over and over again. Then it hit us. Like idiots - she was saying "star". And was doing the sign for Twinkle, Twinkle! She is smarter than us!

Today was Polling Day for the NSW State Election, so Jimbo and I were out and about. However it was also the Montessori Open Day, so we drove out to Surry Hills to inspect their 3-12yrs school.

They put us a bit offside to begin with because children weren't allowed in the school because it was all set up for adults to look at, which is fair enough. But the directoress was inside and that meant only one of us could go in at a time to talk to her, which was quite inconvenient for us. Well, we could have left Harriet to be supervised outside by some complete strangers as we were instructed to do, but since that would have lead to definite tears it wasn't really an option.

The school itself is very pretty and the directoress was happy to explain a lot of the Montessori principles to me, but also stressed the importance of having a Montessori homelife prior to coming to the preschool so that your child was accustomed to 'the way' (which all sounded a bit like The Simpsons when they join the cult).

One thing that was very positive was that they also believe that praise and coercion are unnecessary and in fact detrimental to producing a child with internal motivation. Hallelujah! Finally! However they also stress calm and order and structure - not that UP is actually anti any of those principles, but that they shouldn't be imposed upon a child. Having said that I should also say that Harry is a surprisingly ordered child without any influence from us. She loves to close doors and return items to where she found them (although she also does love to throw things down with force once she's finished with it - we are trying to begin discussions with her on how this isn't safe or practical) and *loves* to share.

Actually sharing is a bit of a bugbear of mine, despite Harriet being a lover of the practice. Sharing just seems to work to break a child's concentration from what they are engaged with. There is such a huge preconception amongst parents that I casually come across that if their child doesn't share they are suddenyl labelled a sociopathic, meglomaniac adult. When, if you think about it, how many adults do you know give up books they're in the middle of reading to another, or stop what they're happily engaged with because some other person looks mildly interested in what they're doing? There's such a huge pressure from other parents on children to share and it seems to be highly unnatural at this age to interrupt the child and encourage sharing. Anyway, enough from me on this topic.

So after we handed out HTVs up at the local high school, then went to Montessori, Harry was ready to flake out...for three hours! When she woke up she was in an awesome mood. Cheeky imp was intent on drinking the bubble mix! Just after we finished playing with bubbles we both ate some watermelon and while we sat there chomping away the heavens opened and we watched as the rain poured down. Harriet loved the thunder and kept asking for more - explaining that, sure, I am an amazing person but just not quite that amazing took a little time. But when the thunder did come Harriet, Squeezmo and I all had a good laugh and sat there with watermelon juice dribbling down our fronts and rain running over our toes. What a beautiful way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


Sif said...

I like a lot of Montessori theory, but the whole orderlness thing doesn't go down well with me. But as you said, it might well suit Harry's personality, and that is what counts. I have issues with the idea that children can't mix toys from different experience areas, and I kind of feel this might stunt lateral thinking a bit, but LOL, that's just me...

I find a lot gatherings, courses, lectures, talks, and informatin sessions ABOUT children, don't often welcome children! I once wanted to do a Positive Parenting course, but couldn't attend because I'd have had to bring 4 month old Luey with me, and he wasn't welcome. I also missed a lecture with the ABA last Friday because mobile children weren't welcome. While I can appreciate that children can be a distraction, it is also parents of young children who wish to access this information, so it seems counterproductive not to accommodate these parents.

Kristie said...

told you I had a blog ;)

Anonymous said...

Have you guys thought about Steiner? They actually do playgroup from 2 years old. Apart from a few anthroposophical beliefs it's seems to be quite good, with the focus on creativity and storytelling they do moonlight walks/festivals with each season and have a cool mixture of parents, lots of german/swiss/english vege growing people.....

casso said...

Sif - I agree, it seems very odd that most things about children don't want them to be involved! I can't believe that about the PP course and the ABA. If they want to have a 'formal' lecture then fine, but surely offer one for a less formal, more baby-friendly audience as well. My AP group has been talking about this just this week....

and talking of my AP group, HI KRISTIE! :o) Uh yeah, you might have a blog and all but I meant a blog that is actually updated. ;o) Have added you to faves and will link to you from here if you want. Not that there are many people that read this thing.

And to 'anonymous', we've sort of half-looked at Steiner, but I must say it looks a little too hippy for us I think. Plus I can't grow vegetables.