Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Montessori in My Home Part 3

Life has been absolutely busy lately. The baby nurses a lot and very frequently, so it's quite difficult to get much done around the home these days. It has also been a challenge to post on the blog because my husband and I are pretty much sharing one computer, which he is on most of the time running our business! I could use the iPad, but I just don't have the patience to sit there tapping away, letter by letter! So it seems, until we get life rolling into more of a regular rhythm around here, and until we get another computer or laptop, my blog posts may be sparse!

So.. It is with nursing baby in tow, toddler taking nap, 4 boys doing origami, reading and playing pretend with play cloths, that I will attempt to continue my post on my journey applying Montessori in the home...

An Answer to my Prayer:
One night I was freaking myself out about how great it would be if we could afford to send our children to a true blue, bonafide Montessori school. I was drooling over local school websites wishing that my children could have a real Montessori education and experience. I was so down on myself to the point that I was completely stressed out. It was time for my children to go to bed so we knelt down for night prayers. A special request I had that night to St. Joseph was that since he was so close to God, if he could please ask Him to help us give our children a Montessori education. I felt like it was going to take a miracle and St. Joseph's petitions to God have always seemed to come through for us. After all, God did entrust Him with His only son for some years here on earth. I figure he's in pretty good standing up there and could put in a good word for me. It's like asking a friend, your mom, etc. to say a little prayer for you.

After the children went to bed, I got the idea to go on the computer to see if there were any local home schooling mom's using the Montessori method in their home. With a quick search I found a local home schooling forum and did a search for Montessori. Nothing came up except one post. I thought to myself, "What a bummer, only one post!". It said there was a Montessori school closing and that they were having a yard sale. "Double bummer!", I thought to myself, "Surely I missed this wonderful sale because this post is probably like 4 years old." I clicked on the post anyway and couldn't believe my eyes! The sale was going to be the very next morning! Coincidence? I think not :)

I was so excited! Someone was actually going to be selling used Montessori materials that I could go touch and see with my very own hands and eyes! I knew how expensive Montessori materials were, and was so excited wondering what the discounts would be like. I couldn't wait to share the news with my husband that night when he came home from work, but I wasn't too sure how we were doing on money, and wasn't sure how to bring it up. He got home from work a little later that night and had a big beaming smile. I asked him how work went and he told me it had gone great and had gotten a $100 tip! (He runs a music business). That was really great, but even better was that he handed over the cash and said he wanted me to have it for the kids schooling needs! Right then and there I burst out with excitement as I told him about how stressed I had been that night, and that I had later found out there was going to be a Montessori yard sale the next morning!

The next morning, my husband had a performance, so I was on my own lugging my 5 children around, my youngest daughter at the time nursing. I was imagining there would be crowds and crowds of people there, just clamoring to get in. I was hoping that I could at least get a decent parking spot so that I wouldn't have to walk too far with all the children. When we arrived, I saw that there was absolutely no one there, and that the owners were just barely setting out "for sale" signs. I approached them, nervously, with all my children. I say nervously because people can be very snooty to us sometimes. It's like they have something against children or something.
Anyway, the owners turned out to be super nice! They were retiring and had been doing Montessori for about 35 years.

The owner told me she had started in her own home with her own children and some other moms and it just grew from there. She happened to be Catholic and very pro-life. She helped me pick out some materials that would be useful to me and we got a really great deal! Had it not been for her, I would have not gotten my hands on all of the amazing Montessori stuff plus some good quality shelves. Later that afternoon, I showed my husband all of the items I got, and he was so excited and told me to call the the owners of the school and ask them if we could buy some more! The owner was so sweet and very happy to help. She even offered to mentor me and come over to the house! I couldn't have asked for anything more. It's been about 2 years now and we are still very good friends and we even stop by her house on Christmas Eve for a little visit and for the children to sing her a song.

I've never met such a kind Montessori teacher. There were others around town that I had approached, but they seemed a bit stuck up and like Montessori was an elitist secret that only certain people "in the know" could have access to. It was very humbling to me, whether I liked it or not. People like my friend, Mrs. M, really make a difference in people's lives, just by taking a moment of their time to be kind and give some helpful advice. This is one of the reason's I started my blog. I truly appreciate Mrs. M, my friend Mrs. B who home schooled her two daughters according to the Montessori method, Fr. V, and all the bloggers out there who have given me insight into the wonderful world of Montessori.

Next time I write, I'll talk about the Montessori co-op my friends and I formed, and then finish up with where we are now and what I'm doing in the home this year.

Hasta Pronto!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Baby M's Home Water Birth

Thank you all for your sweet comments regarding our new baby girl! It is such a blessing to now have our 4 older boys and 2 little girls!

It was such a wonderful birth! Our first son was born in the hospital, and after that experience, we knew we wanted something different. Ever since then, we've had home births and really loved it, but this time I tried a water birth and it was great! The lovely woman I bought my birth pool from recommended an herbal tincture called Smooth Transitions by a company called Wish Garden Herbs. Wow! What a difference this made to me! In the past, Transition has been a time when I "start talking crazy!". I start doubting myself and thinking the pain is too much to bear. I asked my husband to remind me that when I start my "crazy talk",  I was likely in transition and the baby would soon come. After hearing me say that I would like to drive myself to the hospital and ask for a cesarean so I could be knocked out and not feel anything, he got really excited and said, "I think you're in transition!". Once I heard him say that, I went over and took Smooth Transitions tincture, and soon enough I was taking control over my labor and asking my husband to fill the birth pool and call our midwife. I was so blessed to have a short labor this time around. My contractions were very strong, but not as close as they were when I had my other children. We had our sweet baby girl just 1 hour after our midwife arrived!

Here are a few things that helped me have the best home birth experience ever this time around:

1. Letting myself go completely with each contraction when I realized I was really in labor. Moving around rhythmically really helped a lot!

2. ContractionMaster.com This website let me time the contractions and keep track of how far apart they were. As I tried to sleep because the contractions were still only 15 minutes apart, I had our iPad in the bed and just had to click start and stop.

3. Lavender Essential Oil! I have always used this in the past, and it has always made a world of a difference for me. This time I put some drops into a tissue and just put it up to my nose and breathed it in during contractions.

4. A wooden hand held massage tool. I used this on myself while my husband was filling the pool. During contractions as I was pacing around I used one hand to smell the lavender and the other to massage my back with the tool. It was really nice to be in control and know exactly how much pressure to exert and where.

5. Pandora.com I created a station on there called Nature Sounds, and had my husband play it for me in the background. It was really soothing and calming to hear waves and rain, etc. in the background.

6. We set up the birth pool in my daughters room. She went to sleep in the boys room that night, along with my aunt and mom, so I had it all to myself. We have a white paper star lantern in her room, and that was the only lighting we had on in there. I also really love the Giant Rainbow play silks hanging in her room. The soft glow from the star lantern and the pretty rainbow silks made for a very tranquil and welcoming environment for our new baby to come. It was so peaceful in there and the soft nature sounds in the background were the perfect addition to the environment.

7. Having herbal tinctures really made a difference! I used different ones at different times, during my hour of labor: Bach's Rescue Remedy, Bach's White Chestnut flower essence, and Smooth Transitions by Wish Garden Herbs. Smooth Transitions was absolutely wonderful in helping to snap me in to delivery mode when I was starting to "loose it" and feel the pain was too much to handle.

8. Natural ginger ale really helped for when I began feeling queasy and nauseous.

9. Trusting my instincts. Each birth is different and you never know what to expect. Although my contractions were still at about 4-5 minutes apart, I felt like I needed to push. Sure enough with the first push, my husband excitedly announced, "I see the baby's head!". I really wasn't expecting the baby to come so soon. In the past, I wasn't pushing until my contractions were coming like crashing waves, one after another without a break. This time around, I just went with my instinct and sure enough the baby came quite quickly. I was pleasantly surprised!

10. Choosing to have a water birth! The comfort the water provided was so awesome, I only wish I had done it before! The pool I got is called, Birth Pool in a Box, and it was very comfortable. It was large enough to fit both my husband and I, deep enough to be covered with water, and the floor was padded which was really great. The water soften the sharpness of the contractions, and when it came time to push it was easy to get into whatever position felt comfortable to me. The pain one feels when pushing was eased tremendously for me as well. If it is God's will for us to have more children, I definitely want to try for a water birth again.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Baby is here!

We have a beautiful new baby girl! Baby M was born on Friday morning at home in a birth pool. She is so cute and we are all enjoying the company of our newest little blessing from Heaven.

I hope you are all having a wonderful start to the new school year. I hope to be back posting soon!