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

Care and feed

Our Montessori Home In Baltimore Part II: Where We Eat

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 9:22 am | By Stephanie Woo

To continue the tour of our new Montessori home, here is where we eat.

1. This is the same weaning table we’ve had since they were 6 months old – we’ve gotten more use out of the $150 table than anything else we’ve ever bought for the kids. However, I replaced the heavy armchairs with light slatted chairs. These chairs were designed by Maria Montessori herself. They are made of birch wood, so they are lightweight enough for children to carry, but the design makes them extremely sturdy. I also find them to be beautiful to look at. Email me if you want the name of the carpenter in Denver who made these for me.

2. The cups and pitcher are permanent fixtures on this table. This is where the children get a drink of water during the day.

3. When not in use, we keep this dirty dish basket under the table. After meals, they clean up their own table and put their dishes in here.

4. These are their placemats. I’ve pre-drawn outlines of plate, bowl, fork and knife on a piece of paper, then laminated it. This great Montessori trick makes it so easy for little ones to set their own table. When they’re setting the table, you’ll see them point at the outline of the fork and say, “Fork,” then go to the cart to get a fork, and then point of the outline of the plate and say, “Plate,” then get one, etc. It’s like a great little cheat-sheet! I highly-recommend it. Takes about 5 minutes to make and costs very little. You can see how the children use it in the video below.

5. Here are their bowls, plates, fork and spoon. I keep the fork and spoon in separate containers.

6. These towels are used for their mouth, hands and for wiping up spills. The little hoops I’ve sewn onto the towel makes it really easy for them to hang on hooks. This tip I learned in my Montesorri training has saved me thousands of paper towels.

7. This little basket holds two sponges, which they use for wiping their mat. You can see them using it in this video here

8. This rolling cart is light, takes up very little floor space and can be moved around easily.

In order for you to get an idea of how we use this space, here is a video of the children making a smoothie, setting the table, then sitting down to eat their breakfast.

Before we start, here are the ingredients we use in the smoothie. Putting out each ingredient in individual containers makes it possible for children to make this smoothie on their own.

 Here we go!

If you’re interested in making fresh sunflower seed milk, here’s a great video. It’s super easy. And instead of using Brazil nut, like he does in the video, I use cashews or sunflower seeds: http://livingmaxwell.com/how-to-make-nut-milk

Give ’em A Whole Chicken Leg

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 5:10 pm | By Stephanie Woo

The other day, B, M, hubby and I went to Le Pain Quotidien, a great organic restaurant in NYC, for lunch. We watched the Mom and Dad next to us feed their 2 1/2 year old baby mush out of a jar and plastic bag, while our 13 month olds ate quiche lorraine and croissant.

I would have been that mom if my own mother hadn’t set me straight three months ago. At ten months, they were still eating mushy foods, most of it went through the food processor before ending up on their plate.

“You should give them an entire apple, a whole chicken leg, whole dumplings. Give them big pieces of food, don’t cut it up, let them bite into it!” were my mom’s instructions. So starting at 11 months, that’s what I did. Here’s what the result looks like:

It takes a different level of willpower and “teeth-power” to eat a whole apple

Brooke sat on the sofa and worked on that apple for half an hour – that is a lot of apple for a 13 month old!

Long udon noodles are delicious and so much fun to eat

Chicken and corn dumplings – gimme two of those for dinner!

Chicken wings – delicious!

Biting into a whole apple or sinking your teeth into chicken wings gives food an entirely different feel than tiny chopped-up pieces. Give your child a different experience – one that is true to how we adults experience food. Children want to learn what the real world is like, give them a taste! If you have a picky eater, try giving them big pieces of food that they can eat by themselves. Kids always like something better when they can do it by themselves!

Getting their own food whenever they want

Friday, November 18th, 2011 7:29 pm | By Stephanie Woo

At 11-months, Brooke and Mackenzie’s favorite snack is the organic version of Cheerios. I keep it in the bottom drawer of the kitchen cabinet in an open ziploc bag. I did a demonstration for them one day: how to open the drawer, where the cereal is, etc.

Two weeks ago, one day, while I was cleaning the bedroom, I came out to find Mackenzie sitting here with the drawer opened, eating Cheerios out of the ziploc bag!

Apparently the cheerios in the ziploc bag did not keep her interest, because the next day, I found her here, ziploc bag intact, eating directly out of the cereal box! Since then, when I am cooking their meal in the kitchen, they will come for a little pre-dinner snack whenever they want. Even if it spoils their appetite a little bit, I think the freedom and confidence that comes from being able to get your own food whenever you want is much more important!

Update on Friday, November 25, 2011 at 11:51AM by Stephanie Woo

Two days later, we found Mackenzie eating a chocolate cookie she had found at the back of the drawer and wrangled out of the packaging we thought we had sealed tightly. She even gave one to Brooke. Note to self: Move all cookies and sweet cereal OUT of the bottom drawer!