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I am actually offline this month, but I had to stop in for a question. This will be a bit long, to give you some background.<br><br>
My ds is almost 19 months. He is a sweet, loving, curious, and very physical and active little guy.<br><br>
In the middle of September, we had a then-six-month old dfd move in with us. She is wonderful, and growing our family has been a joy, but it has been quite an adjustment.<br><br>
ds definitely feels bonded to dfd already. He smiles as soon as he sees her, as she does him. He tries hard to get her to laugh periodically throughout the day. And he gives her hugs and holds her hand and sometimes tries to comfort her when she cries.<br><br>
The problem, however, is that the change has also been really hard on all of us, and particularly him. He has responded by starting to hit quite a bit (although I realize he might have started doing this even without dfd’s arrival…due to his age). He will hit anyone, really, but we have to be quite vigilant and watch for him coming after dfd with raised arms because he has been known to go after her. The reasons seem varied. He hits most frequently when he is tired. He does sometimes hit out of frustration, jealousy, anger, or hurt, and it is often but not always directed at the person with whom the conflict arose. He also hits on occasion when he is feeling overly excited, or really loving, and gets physically tense and overcome by the emotion. And sometimes he hits seemingly to get my attention, or to test what my reaction will be.<br><br>
Honestly, I can handle staying calm after he goes to hit us, but I have to work hard to keep my cool when he tries to hit dfd. My very non-cognitive, visceral reaction is to want to grab him roughly and yell at him loudly and angrily to stop. It's like the mama lion in me awakens out of protection of dfd, but in the process, poor ds is in danger of hurt feelings. Obviously, I work very hard to not act from my gut, but to stay centered and calm.<br><br>
For the most part, I do okay, but sometimes my semi-cognitive solutions are still not really effective parenting tools. For instance, saying in a firm (sometimes almost-yelling or even yelling, but other times pretty calm) voice to go sit down in his chair. It's not a time out. I don't make him stay there or anything. It is more like, "if you can't handle being near other people thing, take as long as you need to be by yourself." He usually sits for anywhere from one second to two or three minutes. While I have on rare occasion seen him get the glimmer of temptation to hit, and then go and sit down in his chair on his own, I still have my doubts at how effective this response is.<br><br>
My better responses, though they take more work and I have to be in a place where mentally I slow down enough to actually process and decide to respond this way, come from the book _Becoming the Parent You Want To Be_ by Laura Davis and Janis Keyser. These are things like honoring the impulse with a statement like, "Looks like you are frustrated." or "Looks like you are so excited to play with the baby." Sometimes this is followed by active observation, "I see that you really want her to move." And then one of several things. I might redirect, such as "I can't let you hit the baby, but you can hit the couch." Or I might give an option such as, "Would you like to trade toys with the baby?" Or I might hold him across his arms so he can't hit (assuming I have caught him in time to prevent him from hitting), give information like, "If you hit the baby, it will hurt her. I will help you not hit her." The redirection comes quite naturally to me, but very little else of the above does. So I am working hard to get more practiced, with the hope that eventually it will be my automatic reaction.<br><br>
In the meantime, I have been giving some thought to the whole situation. dfd is being slow to bond with us because of her history and what she has experienced in her life before coming to us. I can tell that even when we stop him before he hits her, she feels very threatened by him coming up with arms raised. I really want her to feel safe in our home. I feel that part of helping her heal from the things that have happened in her life, and helping her bond, is going to involve preventing this from coming up. And, I think this is also an opportunity for ds to learn to be gentle and loving with others, particularly those smaller than him...within the wonderful context of our family. But, I know that a lot of this stems from needs he has that we aren't able to meet as well now that we have two so very close in age (about 11 months apart).<br><br>
So, I have been thinking that a couple other things might help. One is that I would like us to start dedicating about fifteen minutes daily each (dw, and me) to each ds and dfd to rocking them as we give them loving, positive, affirming messages and baby massage. I think we are so busy trying to keep afloat with two, that a lot of that one-on-one time has slipped away, and we also don't do as much cuddle time.<br><br>
In addition, I am thinking I would like to wear both kids (one in the Moby in front and one, probably ds, in the Ergo in back...or maybe we'll buy a second Ergo and wear them both in Ergos, one in front and one in back) for more of the day than I have been. I am thinking of starting with wearing them for the majority of the day, and then getting back to a more "usual" schedule for older babies who crawl and toddlers who walk of maybe two or three hours total. We do wear the kids some now, but maybe it totals out to an hour or so daily for dfd and a half hour or so for ds. I think with the intense bonding work we need to do with dfd, this will really help, and with ds' need to be held more than before dfd came, this will help him too. Those hours will also be times in which they won't be able to reach one another for hitting or grabbing, though perhaps they will be able to hold hands still.<br><br>
I guess my main question comes down to this cutting into their work time. I think right now I see it as worth it for them to have less work time in the day for a short period of time while we work on our issues and bonding, so that down the line, work time goes better because ds won't have as many sudden urges to hit and they will both feel more secure. What do you all think? How does your babywearing jive with Montessori in your homes (there is no Montessori infants/toddlers programs in our area)?<br><br>
Also, are there any other things, from the Montessori perspective, that might help us in this matter?
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">How does your babywearing jive with Montessori in your homes</td>
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I still wear my DD (27 months) from time to time, in the Ergo, always in the front. This tends to be when we are out and about and we have to take the metro or the bus.<br><br>
Personally, I think that strollers are the most anti-Montessori device possible going and baby carriers are much better for active observation and discussion with your child. I think that from a Montessori perspective, the main point is not to keep your child "captive" in the baby carrier (or any other device). If he wants to get out and walk, let him walk or at least tell him that you are not in a safe area and that once you have crossed the street or whatever, he can walk beside you.<br><br>
I don't wear her in the house anymore unless she happens to be really tired and feels the need to be cuddled and carried (in the evening before bed, for example). I don't see anything un-Montessori about babywearing at home and I think that children grow out of the need to be close to their mothers in their own time. My DD is hardly ever in the carrier at home anymore but between age 18 and 24 months, she went through a phase where she just needed to have that security and I had no problem with that. Montessori is all about going with the rhythm of the child so I don't really see how wearing your infant or toddler conflicts with this.<br><br>
On the other hand, forcing an infant or child to stay in any device, be it stroller, playpen, or baby carrier when the child or infant <i>wants</i> to walk or explore is very un-Montessori.<br><br>
I would not worry about your son not getting enough "work" time in at his age. But again, if he is keen on being let out of the baby carrier to work, I would not hesitate to let him out.
 

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I'm betting that your older child won't want to be worn for large parts of the day, like the younger one would - my youngest will stay on my back for a few hours, tops, and then he's done for the day!<br><br>
Something else to think of in the case of your dfd - wearing her and keeping her safe and close to you could probably be considered as part of her "work", as she has to work to adjust and to trust you and know that she is loved and cared for. Isn't that just as important as learning to roll over and crawl?<br><br>
I'll be starting another thread about the hitting - it's something we're dealing with at the moment, too.
 
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