take a tour… part 2

 

Welcome to our dining room and kitchen. Since we ran out of space in our actual kitchen cabinets, we use a pantry for all dry non-perishables. Our clear glass Ikea cabinet has it good points and bad points… On one hand the boys can see the snacks they want and make a choice. On the other, the boys can see the snacks they want. This has led us to discuss healthy choices and unhealthy choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time… time and time again. It has also led the boys to throw tantrums on occasion when they cannot have whatever their eye desires. (Yes, I realize I could just not stock it with goodies, but then Mommy would not have as many goodies. And sometimes, goodies are just good!)

Our dining table is also from Ikea. The chairs for the boys are both Stokke and we love these high chairs. We opted to use only the baby rail, not the straps. But once they figured out how to pull a leg out to try to get out, we have had to spend many a meal reinforcing staying seated or leaving the chair. It has felt harsh with Oliver at only 13 months to remind him a few times and then remove him for a minute while he screams on the floor, wanting to eat. But in 2-3 weeks the issue no longer seems to be an issue. He understands in some way what has happened. Eventually, the rail is removed and they learn how to get up and down in the chair from a very young age. For the first few months when this first happened for Elliott, it was a confidence boost 4-5 times a day when I could ask him to get himself seated at the table for a bite to eat.

If you notice in the picture we have two trash cans. Here in Muncie, you have a regular trash bag and then a bag for all recyclables. While that makes it easier to explain to Elliott about sorting since there are only two choices, what exactly goes where has been harder. I finally made a sign and taped it inside the lid with web images of all of the recyclables (newspaper, foil, glass bottles, aluminum cans, yogurt cup, and the actual recycle logo). Google image searches gave so many choices. For an older child who has trouble remembering, a written note might be helpful.  

 In our kitchen we use the learning tower to allow Elliott to reach the counter top to help measure, pour, mix, or just observe. He is now able to move it on his own and, since he can reach the dog biscuit jar, is now sole supplier of treats to Addison, our dog. Needless to say, she loves him!

 Soon Oliver will be up with Elliott. It will be a little tight with both in the tower together, but Elliott could easily stand on a stool now if needed.

Our kitchen is not ultra small like our apartment in Boston was, but it is also not grand and full of cabinet space. For that reason, real estate was at a premium and only one low cabinet could be given to the boys. It appears to be a bit cluttered, but Elliott is wonderful at maintaining the order.

Having even one cabinet has been wonderful though. If you do not think you can devote a whole cabinet in your kitchen, please find a drawer or small space somewhere. With access to a plate, a bowl, a cup, napkins, and utensils, the child can set their own place at the table, preparing their own snack even, if water and snacks are available. They are also able to put away their own items when helping with clean dishes. This is an example of the water and food set up we were doing for Elliott a few months back. While we abandoned some of the snack layout, the beverage pitchers are still the same. Many, many, many times I am so busy, I send Elliott to get his own drink and foods. Relief for mommy, independence for Elliott. He has gotten so independent lately that he has taken to setting his breakfast place and selecting his cereal before my husband even makes it to the kitchen. I only wish he could reach our plates and bowls. I feel he would like to help even more without having to wait for a parent. With another inch of growth, he should be able to reach from the learning tower very soon!

Thanks for coming along tonight… I will be back shortly for a tour of our living room and some of the activities currently available on our shelves for little hands.

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2 Comments

  1. Amanda said,

    October 22, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Love these posts Diana! I just realized that your white glass cabinet is the same as the ones we just got for our laundry room (the ones that gave us fits!)… I didn’t realize that when we got them 🙂 Though I have always liked yours! Ha

    Question about the cabinet – we did this a while ago and it was working great for Nathan, but when Asher became mobile he started pulling out the glasses and even broke a couple. So I moved the glass ones up to our shelf and left only plastic ones down below. Does Oliver bother those or are they sturdy enough that you aren’t worried about him breaking them? Or he just takes well to redirection? (Maybe I’m not fast enough! Ha)

  2. montessorimama said,

    October 22, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Actually Oliver is in the cabinet pulling dishes and cups out quite often. At first I tried to stop him, but well, he makes a small mess and then off he goes. Now, I am just letting him explore and, hopefully, get bored. The cups are thick glass but I bet if he hit one just right it would break. We have our cabinet lock handy, that used to be on for Elliott. If we need to install it again I could do so pretty quick. I did set some plastic ones out in part of another drawer for when guests are over. I have redirected Oliver there too. If needed I might place the plastic in front of the glass ones, or like you did, move some up. All about what works for you right now, Asher’s level of exploration, and if he would respond to modelled behavior (gentle setting down, etc).

    Oh, and Oliver does not care for redirection much. Many tears and screams here lately 🙂


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