Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Montessori Toy

Henry is finally walking! I will not lie; I was a little worried that he still wouldn't be walking by the 16-month mark and we would have to take him to occupational therapy (per our pediatrician's warning). He started at about 13 months and is now pretty steady at 14 months. 

We worked really hard to let him develop his movement naturally from birth. He spent a lot of time lying on his back or stomach on his movement mat, looking at mobiles, gazing at himself in the mirror, or looking at black-and-white books (instead of hanging out in infant seats or swings). He started rolling over both ways at three months, so that he could move around the room and it seemed like he was going to be advanced in his development. He started "army crawling" at five months, so that he could get to Hoss. But after that, he either hit the milestones on time or late. He had no interest in sitting up (he only wanted to reach for things, not sit and look at things), and he only recently started walking. He was much faster at crawling up on his hands and feet, so I don't think he was interested in the slow, laborious process of walking. 

I don't mean to sound like a crazy, alarmist mom; I'm just being honest about the worries I felt as Henry's younger peers starting walking before he did. In those moments, I tried to talk myself down from the ledge by reminding myself that Henry was advanced in other ways. I also reminded myself that a trained Montessori teacher once told me that Montessori babies tend to take longer to learn how to walk because the environment is designed so well to meet their needs that they have little incentive to learn how to walk.

And then I reminded myself that I was wasting valuable time worrying about such inane things. Kids advance at their own pace in their own time. (But I also have to confess that a friend and I recently made our babies watch this video to determine whether or not they have autism during a playdate.) 

Okay, I am officially a crazy mother.

On the bright side of Henry's delayed walking: it's meant that he's been using his expensive walker wagon for many, many, many months. I'm really glad we invested in such a sturdy, beautiful piece of equipment. He's been able to pull up on it independently from the beginning without it tipping over.

We also recently bought him a Wheely Bug. It's the most adorable thing. He loves playing with the antennae, flipping it over and spinning the wheels, pushing it all around the house, sitting on it, and now trying to lift it and carry it as he walks. I was delighted to see that my dear friend Kylie (all the way across the globe) also has one for her son Otis. There are many animals to choose from; it's difficult picking just one!

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acf said...

I'm curious how that video works, how would you be able to tell if they have autism from it? (I want to try it)

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, acf! You pay attention to which side of the video the child is more attracted to. If they are more attracted to the flashing, repetitive geometric shapes around 12 months (I think), then there's an insanely strong correlation with being autistic. Children who are more attracted to the babies doing yoga are less likely to have autism. This research is coming out of the University of San Diego.

jduda said...

Sara, I am right there with you. My son just turned one on April 19th. We've been practicing Montessori at home too and he was super early to roll and crawl and pull up, but he just started walking and he still doesn't walk consistently.. it is faster for him to crawl. I thought for sure he'd be one of those babies walking at 9 or 10 months. So maybe we're both a little crazy, but I've had to go through the same process of reminding myself that he is doing well and will learn at his own pace.

Maureen said...

Hi Sara! I really wanted the Wheely Bug for Lily but decided it wasn't in keeping with our montessori practices becasue it depicts animals (and bugs) in a non-realistic way. But I'd be curious to know what you think about that, as you came to a different conclusion than I did. Thanks!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Maureen!

Henry's first Montessori teacher (who was the mother in the Edison's Day documentary) had one in her classroom, so I never gave it a second thought.

Julie R. said...

I just purchased the Ladybug for Coralie this last weekend. As a Montessorian I'm a little sheepish to say that I didn't give it a moments thought, well beyond my consideration for getting it home from Puerto Rico! I guess I see it as a simple enough design, and the size is such a nice fit for the younger toddler. Something to think about, though.

Maureen said...

Thanks Sara and Julie! I guess it's more of a design than it is literally depicting a lady bug or a cow as a mode of transport. :-)

Diar said...

Congrats to Henry! My baby is 11 months old and she can sometimes stand up by herself.

I wonder what would happen when she could walk. I mean, our house is mostly floor-centered (we have no chairs/sofas in the living room, the TV stands low on a small table, and so on). What's your suggestions for a safe environment for my baby?

Thanks in advance, Sara :)

kaelee said...

I totally scored one of those ladybugs from the thrift store for like 5 dollars! The handle was off, so we found some bolts that fit, and screwed it back on, good as new. I show Hazel, who is almost one, every day how to use it to walk, but I don't push her to do it. I just let her see me do it once a day. she has stood up and pushed it for two or three steps, but then she would rather sit down and play with the little antennae. Really a great little toy!

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