Somehow another 2 months have gone by and Dakota is getting closer to 9 months old! The past couple of months have been the best, and Dakota the sweetest, and honestly I haven't thought a lot about blogging. Though in all honesty, another factor in my blog hiatus has been self doubt. Is this blog providing anything original or interesting? Do I come across as a mom snob? Nothing can prepare you for the insecurity you feel as a mom, and the constant worry that you are doing things worse or lesser than other moms! The last thing I want this blog to do is make other moms feel bad about choosing a different path for their child. Because as much as I believe in the Montessori method, I also believe every child needs something different, and every mom does too. I started this blog as a way to journal my motherhood adventure with Dakota in our Montessori-ish way, and I realized this week that worrying about what other moms think shouldn't be what keeps me from continuing that! I hope other moms agree. :) As I always say, you do you. So I'm doing me.
Back to the topic of the hour...Miss Dakota Mae. While no baby is happy all the time, Dakota comes pretty close lately. And I do know now how phases come and go, so I'm just enjoying this one while it lasts! I can't get enough of her many facial expressions, her hugs, "words", giggles, and how she "waves" at every person who smiles at her. Dakota just seems delighted with her world, meeting new people (and seeing the familiar ones!), exploring her surroundings, but also really concentrating on her "work" at home. You can really see her start to see her understanding, and more impressively, her desire to understand, her little world.
Because Dakota isn't crawling yet (lucky me, I know), she spends a lot of her day sitting or stretching out on her tummy playing with her toys. She is perfectly content doing this for up to an hour at a time, with or without me by her side. I try to make sure she has time each day to play uninterrupted, while I do my own work, to get her used to playing independently. This will be harder when she starts to crawl, but just this afternoon I finished the dishes and came back to find Dakota with her book open in her lap, "reading". My heart! While she still very much enjoys her toys from previous blog posts (especially teethers with her top tooth about to poke through!), I wanted to focus this blog post on her new favorites.
Besides books and knob puzzles (both of which she LOVES), most of her favorite toys involve some kind of cause and effect. In the past month, she has really been figuring out that she can make things happen with her own two hands. When she shakes the eggs, she makes music; when she hits the bell, it rings; when she turns one gear, the other turns. Even if the toy doesn't make a sound, she bangs two toys together to create one. See below for some ideas!
Montessori Object Permanence Box with Tray and Ball - we started this with me showing her, and now she takes the ball and attempts (occasionally successfully!) to put it back in the hole. She delights in seeing that ball rolling into the tray each time!
Melissa & Doug Farm Animals Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzle - this puzzle, along with others that have pictures under the pieces, are super fun and easy for her to pick up, and good pincer grasp practice!
Egg Shaker Set - these entertain Dakota to no end. She loves shaking one in each hand and "entertaining" our dog!
Single Shape Puzzles - the more traditional Montessori route to first puzzles, and likely the first that Dakota will get the pieces back into the inset, but for now just exploring.
Sensory Board - Dakota's favorite toy! The noises and sensory experience of this board is amazing. Would be a fun one to make if you are handy like that.
Play Cube Activity Center - My sister had this one, and it's the perfect size for babies to reach on their tummies or sitting. I love how she reaches over and around to get to the different parts of the cube.
HABA Magica Clutching Toy - I kind of want this one as a stress ball for myself! A great one for babies to use two hands in coordination and teeth on too.
Hape Wooden Musical Instrument Set - Dakota is still trying to figure out how to really make noise with these, but she is enjoying trying!
Multi-Color Rhythm Scarves - So many uses! Dakota loves pulling these out of a box, playing peek-a-boo with them, and just runnings her hands through them!
Green Toys Stacker - a new favorite made from recycled milk jugs and oh-so-smooth and fun!