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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

1-2 years old

Video: Making Scrambled Eggs on an Electric Skillet with Your Toddlers

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 4:51 pm | By Stephanie Woo
B Breaking an Egg

B Breaking an Egg

Okay, I admit, I’ve been holding out on you.

I’ve had this video for 6 months now. It was taken in October 2012 when B and M were 22 months old. This was the second time Brooke and Mackenzie made scrambled eggs. Since then, they’ve cracked and scrambled at least 100 eggs each and their skills are at a whole new level. I’m planning on posting a more recent video later on, so you can see the difference. 

On their 2nd birthday this past December, B, M and I shot a series of videos, highlighting 30+ activities you can do at home with your toddler. One of them is – you guessed it – making eggs! In the DVD, you will get a detailed view of the materials you need, where to buy everywhere, how to present an activity to your child and special considerations for each activity. For example, in the video about making eggs, I teach you how to teach your toddler to behave around an electric skillet, which is critical to doing this activity successfully! The DVD is still in production, but will be available shortly. So stay tuned!

Our Montessori School in Baltimore

Monday, February 11th, 2013 10:58 am | By Stephanie Woo

B and M with their Montessori guide, Mr. Man Fai

For the last 6 months, B and M have been attending the Federal Hill Montessori School here in Baltimore. Their guide, Man Fai, and I did our AMI 0-3 training together at The Montessori Institute.  The amount of work we had to do in order to graduate was extremely intense (the six albums I created during my training totaled almost 2000 pages). It’s a life-changing experience that creates a tight bond between all the participants. Knowing the kind of rigorous training Man Fai went through, I knew my children were in good hands.

B and M attend school Monday through Friday, from 830-1130am. For me, the schedule is just right. Three hours per day is the perfect amount of time to spend outside of the home at their age – they started at 20 months – and 5 days a week gives them enough consistency. One thing particularly appealing about the school for our family is that it is a bilingual school, where the guide speaks English and the assistant speaks Mandarin.

We will be leaving Baltimore at the end of this month. Looking back, I feel Man Fai was an excellent guide for my children. Even though I’m trained, I can still get lazy at home. For example, I never taught them how to use mats while doing work on the floor. Well, one day, M took out a floor mat, unrolled it, worked on it, rolled it back up by herself and then put it away. Whoa! Things like that don’t just happen by accident. I know she was taught well at school.

They also do activities at school that I haven’t thought of or haven’t created for our home environment. For example, one night last month, M ate dinner at the record speed of 3 minutes. She then spent the next 20 minutes scrubbing down the table and chairs with a scouring sponge. From the way she was scrubbing the sides of the table, I knew Man Fai had shown her the table-washing activity, something I haven’t put together at home.

Also, a couple weeks ago, Man Fai sent me this picture of Brooke’s rubber band art creation. As Man Fai wrote, “The board was clear when she got it, and this is the way it was when she walked away.” I love the parent communication I get from this school.

In case you’re looking for a Montessori school for your child, look first to see if there is an AMI-certified school in your area. You can do a search here: http://www.amiusa.org/school-locator-2/ If there isn’t an AMI-certified school, ask if the guide (there are no ‘teachers’ in a Montessori classroom, only ‘guides’ – a job title that says it all) is AMI-trained. AMI training is the most rigorous and comprehensive Montessori training available, started by Maria Montessori herself. Start there and you can always shoot me an email if you have any other questions regarding Montessori schools for your child. If you live in the Baltimore area, I definitely recommend Man Fai’s school.

Thank you, Man Fai, for a great six months. We are going to miss you and your school very  much!

What It’s Really Like to Have Toddler Twins

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 2:55 pm | By Stephanie Woo

My husband is away on a week-long business trip. Our nanny is on her 6-week vacation. After three days of being alone with them, last night I had one of those I-hope-no-one-who-reads-my-blog-ever-sees-me-now kind of a moment. I’m in the middle of cleaning up after an elaborate, health-conscious, culturally-educational meal of braised sea bass, tofu with mushrooms and minced meat and a special rice dish with baby bok-choy, edamame and carrots. I’ve got dishes piled up to the ceiling in the sink, a table full of half-eaten food and wondering why I had gone through the trouble of cooking any of it. I’m trying to load the dishwasher as fast as possible, with B tugging at my pants saying, “Mama, don’t wash dishes.” It should have been a sign. Well, the girls decided to go into the rice cupboard, dump out 2 giant cups of uncooked rice on the floor, then throw it at each other. “What are you doing? Stop! STOP! I knew I shouldn’t have kept this here where you can get to it!” I go upstairs to get the vacuum. When I come back, they had gotten into the flour and was smearing it all over the cupboard door. I grab their hands and pull them into the living room. “Stand here. And don’t move!” I’m absolutely fuming.

Hours later, I realized two things:

  1. You cannot keep up a household the same way you did when you have a husband AND nanny.
  2. Of the three most important people in B and M’s life, two of them are gone. And they are desperately trying to get my attention.

I’m still recovering from my burst of anger and ensuing exhaustion from cleaning, but I decided to have a conversation with them anyway. At bedtime, I held them and said, “Mama yelled very loudly today, didn’t I?” Nods all around. “Mama is very tired today, so when you threw rice everywhere, I got very angry. I’m sorry I yelled at you.” They don’t say anything. “When Daddy and Ayi are not here, I need you to help me keep the house clean. Can you help me?” It’s a lot to ask of a 2-year-old, but they nod anyway.   

You really can’t stay mad at a toddler who tries so hard to keep her promise. The next morning, they both clean up breakfast without a fuss. But then on our way to school this morning, B confesses, “Brooke didn’t clean up.” I ask, “What didn’t you clean up?” She says, “Brooke didn’t clean up Play-doh.” I ask, “Do you want me to help you clean it up?” She says, “No. Brooke clean up Play-doh by herself.”

It took three days of exhaustion, misery and way too much yelling for me to learn this: No more elaborate meals or extensive clean-ups. It’s time to break out the disposable bowls, plates and take-out menus. They need time doing Play-doh, storytime and cuddles with me more than ever. The acting out is merely their way of getting my attention.  I’m putting aside the idea of keeping the perfect home and ready to get on with the real ‘work’ of raising twin toddlers — tickling, chasing, singing, laughing and oodles of hugging.