self feeding

I realize I mentioned this before, when I talked about using glass items with Ginny, but that is only slightly related.

I breastfed Ginny. I still do. She is 14 months old and nurses at least 2 times a day, if not more. It’s kind of an “as needed” thing. Teething pain? Tripped and got scared? Too tired to put herself to sleep? Nursing soothes all of these problems. I’m not so quick to whip it out, lol, and we usually only nurse at home now, but up until recently nursing was actually still a huge part of her diet.

I really waited until she had stopped nursing with meals before giving her cow’s milk. And honestly, I still avoid it. Instead we focus on getting those dairy servings in other forms, like cottage cheese, yogurt, and other cheese products. I felt like giving her milk was counter productive to my desire to nurse as long as it was mutually beneficial.

We also, incidentally, did baby led weaning. Ginny has never been big on purees. In fact, if we would sneak a bite into her mouth it would often result in gagging, and then throwing up. She didn’t want them, and with how much she was nursing and her love of cottage cheese, my doctor assured me she would eat when she was ready. So I gave up on the purees. Instead I would give her some of whatever I was eating. If she was interested, great, if not – oh well.

When dealing with food, and life in general, it isn’t required. And I’ll say that. If I offer her something and she turns it away I’ll ackowledge he decision and say “That’s okay, grapes are not required.” If she comes to be 10 minutes later wanting a snack, grapes are todays snack, so that’s what I’ll offer. Eventually – if she’s actually hungry – she’ll eat some grapes. If not, she’ll wait for dinner. FYI: Things that are required are diaper changes, seat belts, sun hats, sun screen, etc.

She is still a very picky eater. She likes what she likes, and is hesitant to try anything else. I try not to stress over it, because she is gaining wait appropriately and clearly thriving. But it’s hard to let it go. Food has been a constant struggle in my own life since I was a young girl, and so I have to remind myself that my problems don’t have to be her problems – it’s a happy thought.


So now when we are doing our morning routine, for the longest time cottage cheese and yogurt required my help. Too slippery or thin for her to feed to herself with her fingers. With our switch to real cups, and real plates, I have been trying to encourage her to use the flatware too. Recently, it just clicked. This video is the FIRST TIME she tried using the fork (with out my demonstrating and encouraging).


And I can’t believe that is my baby. ūüôĀ

Also – an update to my post about glass things. Ginny has been using these glass cups a lot, and sometimes this happens:

And then¬†occasionally¬†this happens…

It didn’t break. She’s also tried to put them in the donate box, dropping her cup on top of another cup. Her cup was fine and dandy – the other cup broke. Since she moves her own dishes to the table, she is picking them up a lot. With this beginning stage she does drop a cup about once a day – and none have broken yet! I’m honestly completely¬†surprised, and also impressed. Especially since I paid $2 for the four of these cups!

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Montessori: bring on the glass

Along with trying to establish a better rhythm to our weekly goings on, I have also started incoorporating a lot of Montessori methods into our lives. One thing that we have been going for a long time is the mattress on the floor, in a baby proofed room. Actually… since Ginny was born we’e had the set up, but never used it because she slept in out bed the majority of the time.

Ginny’s room at our previous apartment.

Now she sleeps in her own bed, but as mentioned it is just a mattress on the floor, and a gate at the door.

The small reading chair is another example of child sized furniture in our home – it let’s Ginny be more independent.

Something I have started putting together more recently is her own eating area, as well as an activity center.

Montessori focused a lot on child-lead learning, as well as practical learning. Currently the only “activity” on Ginny’s shelf is her place-setting… set… which includes two ceramic dishes, 2 glass cups, a small pitcher of water, and her (metal) flatware.

The cups I found are from the thrift store. But they were a lucky find. Just a few days earlier I had been googling trying to find tempered glass cups. A lot of people recommended Arcoroc, which is made in France. Apparently (though I don’t know this from experience), it is what is used in many¬†restaurants in France because it is nice looking, but durable. Since it is tempered, if it were to be dropped it would simply break into a few pieces, and not shatter. Perfect, really. But… expensive. The next day I was at the thrift store looking through the cups and saw these… for .49 cents each! Ginny has since dropped them (by accident) both from her little table and from the big table, and they have yet to break.

The cups fit nicely in her hand (they are much smaller than a standard sippy cup or bottle), and they have a good weight to them. This is one of the benefits of glass – when I would give Ginny a regular plastic cup she would spill everything on herself within a few seconds. With the glass ones, I guess just because they are heavier, she does not tip them up as far, and she tips them very slowly – so she doesn’t get too much water flowing at once.

Everything is at her level and easily accesible.

The little pitcher is plastic. At times I wish I had picked a glass one, but now that I think about it, since the pitcher sometimes touches the cups it is better that they are different materials. Currently we keep a small amount of water in the pitcher. It is made by tupperware and is meant to be a creamer. I am not in love with it because some times the lid comes off. I’m not sure the best way to fix this, aside from waiting for Ginny to outgrow dropping it.

In any case, spilt water is not a big deal to me, especially since we limit the quantities. In the picture you can see a pink towel hanging up… Ginny is very good about helping wipe up her messes.

The flatware are teaspoons from Ikea. I had yet to find an all metal fork that is her size and well priced, so we have a small fork where the mouthpiece is metal and the handle is plastic.

mid-afternoon snack on Sunday

The plates were a lucky find as well. The bigger plate (which is about 8 inches) was from an antique store, and was purchased to hang up on the wall in my dining room. The smaller one was at the thrift store where I found the cups. When I saw it, at it’s mere 3.5 inches, I¬†had to get it… because it was tiny, cute, and matched the other one. Just a note, since switching to glass plates we have not had a plate thrown on the floor once. It was a common problem before, as she likes to clear the table when she is done.

she is still learning how to use the pitcher, but she is getting to be a pro with the regular cup.

Everything breakable on her tray cost less than $5.00 total. If it breaks, it won’t be a big deal.

I once read that using real, breakable things is how children learn how to respect breakable things – and it made sense in my mind. If I only ever give her plastic things, it feels like I’m saying “you can’t be trusted to hold these other things.”

Another item Ginny uses, though they are not on her tray, are little ramekins. I use them as bowls, and Ginny eats her cottage cheese and oatmeal out of them. These were a wedding gift, but this is the most use they’ve seen since we got them. ūüôā



I must note that I don’t have anything against plastic, so why switch? I think she can handle it. She is smart enough to know how to pet the dog gently, smart enough to use the potty, smart enough to clear her plate after dinner, so she is smart enough to know that she needs to be careful with her things. Cutting out plastic flatware made her stop biting the spoon when we fed her, cutting out plastic cups made it easier for her to drink from them, and using glass plates stopped her throwing them on the floor. We still take a plastic sippy cup when we go out, and I wouldn’t give her some one else’s breakable tableware. But at home, they are hers, and she uses them often, and with care.

Do you use a lot of plastic items with your kids (or will you?). Why? Is it because that is what is available, you hadn’t considered the options, or you just don’t want to deal with potential messes?


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mornings with ginny

I have been reading a few different books. Some talk about the Montessori method of teaching children, and some that focus on the Waldorf methods. Having attended Montessori schools as a child I have a few memories of those systems, and I like that the Waldorf methods make me feel a little more connected to the earth.

If I were going to rename my blog I would be the accidental hippy. Just roll with it. that’s what I do.

So these Waldorf books both talk about instilling a rhythm in your daily life. Time flows in rhythms,¬†whether¬†it is the way Christmas comes every year, or the way the weather cycles between the seasons. As adults we have names or our weekly cycles. Monday, Tuesday… these days mean things to us. But as names they are pretty abstract. Young children have a hard time grasping concepts of time. It’s still relatively new to them. Tomorrow and next week seem like one in the same. So Waldorf suggests adding a physical element to your daily and weekly¬†rhythms, instead of just abstract names. So we have church day,¬†vacuuming¬†days, washing day, etc. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with distinct activies for the rest of the days of the week. lol.

I also have tried to implement a daily rhythm. So when we get up in the morning we do the same things every day.

We start out on the potty. By “we” I mean Ginny. I usually end up holding it. Forever.

But I didn’t get a picture of her on the potty. Instead I got a picture of her in the potty.

Once that is done we get dressed, and then get breakfast.

This morning she had about 1 cup of cottage cheese.

And while that may seem like a lot of cottage cheese, I just keep offering it until she pushes it away. I guess she’s growing though, because when I sat down with my breakfast:

Well… she ate almost all of this too. I got about 3 bites in.

Of course, she really only eats breakfast, because for dinner she wanted a few¬†graham¬†crackers and a couple dried cranberries. Is it too early to have “fend for yourself” dinners? lol.

And then we had cup practice:

Every morning I give her a *tiny* bit of milk in the cup. Once she drinks it I add more to the cup, until she’s had enough. this practice is leading up to her getting to use her own glass cups, which is actually just around the corner, but I’ll talk more about that some other time.

After the cup practice we do the dishes. Ginny helps me put plates in the dishwasher, and then she loves lifting the door and pushing on it to close it. Then she claps.

The TV stays off during the day. I don’t know how I used to watch so much TV. I guess I was just nursing, and sitting, sooo much. Now the only time it comes on before bedtime is for the music channels.

I’ve been listening to the Soundscapes channel because it has very calming music on it.

The calming music is good, because I use listen to it while I do yoga.

As soon as I spread the mat out Ginny likes to walk on it, which I understand, because it feels neat under her feet.

Then she will take off running to play behind the curtains or chase the dog a little bit. She usually gives me enough time to do two sun salutations.

I am really enjoying this little addition to our mornings, because it really does help me feel centered. I turn off the lights, open all of the blinds and let the morning sun fill the living room while I breath through each movement.

It feels good.

Once breakfast, dishes, and yoga are done, we move on to other household chores that need attending to. This morning it was washing the bed linens and airing out our feather duvet.

This only lasted about 2 minutes. 1. Because it was hot and the air was stagnet, lacking any wind at all. And 2. Because after I got B-man to hang the line so I could put the blanket up, I pulled out the HOA book and realized that clotheslines were against the rules.

So we took it down and threw the duvet in the dryer on the fluff cycle. When Fall comes around I may be tempted to break the rules again for a few minutes.

After this point things vary from day to day. Some days we go to the library, some days we go hang out with friends, and some days we just stay home and play. But adding this little “rhythm” has definitely helped me feel a little bit more peace in my hectic day, so hopefully it is helping Ginny start her day off well too.

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