Applying Montessori Principles from Birth: Month 3

Month 3 = weeks 9 to 13

This is the 3rd post in this series where I am attempting to share some of the ways that we applied the Montessori principles from birth.

Month 1

Month 2

Mobiles

During the third month, we continued to use the visual mobiles including the butterflies, the dancers and a modified octahedron. From these, In addition, we used a tactile mobile, the bell on a ribbon. See commentary with each picture.

Butterfly
He continued to enjoy the butterfly mobile. It held his attention  for 30-45 minutes on average

We also used the Gobbi briefly during his 8/9th weeks but he clearly preferred the butterflies so we moved on to the dancers which he loved. He would dance with them. It was the first one that he responded to with his hands and legs and seemed to consciously reached for.

Dancing with the dancers
Dancing with the dancers
Dancers
We had been away from our home for over 4 months and were still putting final touches to his room and cleaning so he spent his movement time on our bed or couch in those first two weeks home.
The cross legged dance
The cross legged dance

Since he was reaching, it was time to introduce the bell on a ribbon. Unfortunately, most of the pictures of this mobile are on my missing phone but I found one (thanks to Facebook). We hung from a portable hanger.

Ring on a ribbon
Ring on a ribbon

We also had another visual mobile. An origami/modified octahedron which we hung from the portable hanger but everytime I would put it over him, this would happen.

Notice the toes and the arms
Notice the toes and the arms
He looked terrified
He looked terrified

And so I assumed he hated the mobile and moved it away and after a while I noticed this:

watching the mobile
watching the mobile
Still watching
Still watching

He watched it for a while. It wasn’t that he did not like the mobile, he just the did like it over him. I wonder if it was his distorted reflection on the paper or something else. I have observed this with several children and some just don’t like the mobile directly over them so if your child reacts negatively to a mobile or any material, try a different placement or way.

Hands

During this time, he also got really interested in his hands. He would watch them and try to bring them together. I would sometimes offer him rattles by putting them within his view and reach. It would take him several tries but he would eventually grasp it and enjoyed mouthing it. It was interesting to watch because even while he was reaching for the rattle, we would watch his hands instead of the rattle.

Watching his hands
Watching his hands

Note that when the child is concentrating on watching his hands, it should be respected. I usually waited till he was losing interest of seemed bored with watching his hands before offering the rattles.

Would you like a rattle?
Would you like a rattle? Yes! How do I get my hands to the rattle?
Missed it.
Missed it.
Missed it!
Missed it!
Got it!
Got it!

You should have seen the concentration and focus on his face. You can see a little glimpse from the last picture.

Rattles

As his intentional reaching and grasp got better, I offered more rattles.  He became very effective at grasping a rattle and bringing it to his mouth. We offered rattles that were the right size and proportion for his hands and mouth.  They were simple, different made of natural materials. Here are some of his favorites

This feels good!

Favorite

Rattle from Mexico

Dolio from New Zealand
Dolio

Gross Motor

He continued to spend time on his stomach and started raising not just his head but also his chest. He could also move very short distances to reach for an item or get a closer look. Instead of putting things in his hands, I would put them within reach. He was attracted to colors and contrasts and I would leave him at one spot and find him taking a closer look at items on the bed.

Hello!
Hello!
I want a closer look!
I want a closer look!
That looks interesting. I want to take a closer look
That looks interesting. I want to take a closer look
What's mummy reading?
What’s mummy reading?

Once his room was ready, we started spending more time there during the day. He spent a lot of time on his belly but also

Hello self
Hello self
Reaching for the squish
Heading for the squish
Got it!  I turned him over... he wasn't turning himself over yet
Got it!
I turned him over… he wasn’t turning himself over yet

Floor Bed

I also started putting him down for a nap on his floor bed

Down
Down

I noticed that while he was napping for about 3 hours on our bed, when I put him down on his bed, he would sleep for about 40 minutes and then I would find him like this:

up
up

I reached out to my friend Pilar, from the full montessori and she reminded me of our biggest tool as parents and Montessorians, observation. So I observed him for 2 naps. One while sleeping in his bed and one on ours and I realized what was happening. Even on our bed, he woke up at the 40 minute mark but he would look around and go back to sleep. On his bed however, when he would look around, the environment was new and not very familiar so he would not go back to sleep. So I brought back his topponcino which I had recently stopped using, put up a picture of all of us on the head board and started spending more time in his room when he was awake. It took a few days but he adjusted and eventually started napping normally.

Books

We started reading to him from the first month but by the 3rd month, we started noticing his responses to the books especially this book – Welcome song for baby. He had three favorite pictures in the book, and he responded the same way to them each time. I had made a video which was my most painful loss from my phone. Luckily I have some pictures.

Enjoying a book on his belly
Enjoying a book on his belly at 2 months… notice he was mostly still lifting just his head
He mostly enjoyed the book when he was on his belly but also on his back
He mostly enjoyed the book when he was on his belly but also on his back

These were two of his favorite pictures but if you look well you will notice a slight difference in the intensity of his gaze and know his favorite.

Which one do you think he prefers?
Which one do you think he prefers?
This was his clear favorite and he would smile so big everytime we got to this page and reach out to touch the picture. It was quite cute.
This was his clear favorite and he would smile so big everytime we got to this page and reach out to touch the picture. It was quite cute. p.s: We use disposable diapers when visiting family out of town with no access to a washing machine

The was his third favorite and he would blow spit bubbles whenever we got to this page

spit Collage

Towards the end of his third month, I noticed him sucking his lower lip. I wondered about this and remember telling my mum that I was worried about him sucking his lip. He kept on doing it and would suck stop, suck stop and I could not find a rhyme or reason until the day he turned 3 months old. I was reading the book to him and as soon as I got to this page he started doing the sucking thing and immediately did this! I was pretty amazed. Every time I would show him the picture he would do it again.

imitating
imitating

I knew he could imitate us because from as early as 3 weeks, if I stuck out my tongue, he would imitate but I just didn’t anticipate imitating the pictures from a book or expressing preferences that early.

By the time he turned 3 months, he was very alert, could recognize my voice and face from a distance. He was also quite efficient with his intentional reach/grasp for stationary object and with bringing things to his mouth. He could slither for very short distances and enjoyed books and songs. The fun was only just beginning…

I would love to hear your questions, comments and thoughts!

Live a Good Life 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Applying Montessori Principles from Birth: Month 3

    1. Thank you Rochelle! I remember reading your blog and looking through your pictures and article when I first started my journey so your comment means a lot!

  1. I absolutely adore your blog! I am going to begin my Montessori training next year and your blog is such an inspiration. I don’t have any children yet but I look forward to the journey. Hello from Texas!

    1. Thank you for your comment Christine. What training (age group) will you be taking? I remember my excitement leading up to my 0-3 training. I am feeling it again as I look forward to my 3-6 training this summer.

  2. Thanks for sharing so much! Our sons are about the same age (bd 9/20/2014). I have a question re napping: I read somewhere that montessori babies should have a place to be in every room so they can go to sleep on their own but around the activity of family. I can’t imagine that. I feel like our LO needs less distraction so I take him to our bedroom to nap. I’m certainly open to observing and trying. What do you think?

    1. I’m not sure where you read that or how I feel about it. I think they should have a place that is safe for them and where they can play or hang out in every room in the house but We generally nap in his room or ours. Sometimes we set up a blanket in the living room for him to nap but I don’t think it’s necessary to have a place specifically for sleeping in every room. This is my opinion.

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