Monday, November 23, 2009

The Rest of the Manse Part Two: Washing Hands, Setting the Table

I thought I would get to this post a lot sooner than I have. "Part One" was posted back on January 7th (UHG2BK! Has it been that long?). Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to give you some more glimpses of our "prepared environment" before it is no longer our prepared environment (we are looking at a house tonight that could be "the one").

Me Too has been working hard on learning to wash his hands by himself. One of our bathrooms is set up with a pump of foaming soap, a white washcloth for face-washing, a khaki cloth for drying. We have a tall two-step stool to provide a comfortable working height. When both boys disregard the rules and stand on it at the same time, Me Too is always the one to fall off.

To make things safer I tied a ribbon around the cold water faucet so he knows which is which. I have no idea how to teach a two-year-old to find the proper mix of hot and cold water when your faucet has a two-knob setup and it takes a good five minutes for the hot water to reach the tap.

In the interest of "keeping it real," Me Too is not washing his own face yet because he doesn't have the hand strength to wring out the cloth. We have to set up a sponge squeezing activity in the school room for him soon.

I recently rearranged the boys "dishes" drawer in the kitchen and they are working on setting the table themselves and clearing the table. This was brought on by Me Too's interest in helping me unload the dishwasher in recent days.

I know this is a little "late" on this type of thing for Kal-El. Does anyone else find themselves intentionally waiting on certain things so that the little ones can catch up and they can learn something together?

"Their" drawer used to be the bottom one, but I moved them up a drawer both because it was more shallow, and so I wouldn't have to bend quite so far if I need to put something in or out myself.

Their drawer has plates, bowls, cutlery, cloth "napkins" (a.k.a. bar rags), and new place mats I made today.

The "purist" in me is not real thrilled that I wrote the names of some of the items vertically. I think it's better if they see the letters right-side up 100% of the time. However, to write the words in legibly some only fit in that position. (Whoops, just realized this paragraph doesn't make sense because I took the picture quickly and realize now I accidentally took a picture of the first one I tried to make...the one where I wrote all the words on horizontally and didn't like it. I wrote the words vertically on the utensils on the remaining three placemats. Also, I should mention these are vinyl placemats...easy to clean.)

My handwriting looks odd and dorky to me. I don't know what "system" I learned to write with, but my normal handwriting is very ball-and-stick and I have some odd embellishments on letters like "g" and "j." I also haven't ever kicked the algebra-induced habit of putting a line through my "z's". I am trying to use a more "appropriate" script when I write labels for the boys around the house and in school. Does anyone else have to do this? If so, does it make you feel like a big, fat phony like it makes me feel? Does your resulting handwriting also look extremely awkward?

Related Post:

The Rest of the Manse Part One: What is NOT Montessori in our Home.

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  1. Oh, the handwriting is fine. Just creating those mats are wonderful. I wonder when I'll ever get to those. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Love the mats. Looks like I'll be making some for my boys soon! ;)

    How many did you make? Knowing my boys, each will be covered in a layer of food filth after only one dinner.

  3. Nicole,

    I made four so they could set the table for the "whole family" or for the "kids table" when their cousins are here.

    I should have said....the mats are vinyl and can be wiped off with a rag after each meal, they don't need to be washed.

  4. I thought it was cute that that the boys were so excited about their new mats yesterday while we were over. Sorry "token girl" was such a cry-baby. She slept 12 hours straight last night, no waking up. Let me know how the house tour went. Auntie R