Musings from Mimi
Hi, I’m Mimi, and I live in a little Victorian cottage with my husband and little girl. I’ve been a full time mum until now, but have just started working for myself for a few hours a week doing admin. I’ll be writing here from time to time about my life as a vintage housekeeper and mum. Do pop over to my blog to say hello won't you?
If you should ever find yourself in a roomful of parents with a lull in the conversation or an awkward silence you want to fill, just throw out a few questions about routine for babies and children. In my experience few things garner more passionate opinions than this. Names such as Gina Ford, Tracy Hogg, Jo Frost and Sarah Ocklewell-Smith are either saviours or demons, depending upon which camp you are in: baby led, parent led, 4 hour feeds, Eat-Activity-Sleep-You....and for each you will find people who tell you that they are the best approach, or the worst thing you could do.
And yet, I think for all that, the best routines and rhythms are the ones we adopt and tweak to suit ourselves and our little families, especially as our babbas get older. The one thing that isn't in question is that rhythm and routine of some sort are the foundation on which everything else is built. In my last post, I talked about each day having its own kind of feel and flavour and how I was going to choose a little 'me time' activity or treat for each day.
It is those subtle little variations in our days which colour each day and give it its character, I think. From the hurry-out-of-the-house-early-for-toddler-group days to the swish-swish-swishing-of-the-washing-machine-days to the lovely-smell-of-ironing-days. But how to explain the idea of days to a small toddler? Let alone the idea of different days? I've come up with a lovely little morning routine to help, which even if Jessica is too young to fully understand now, she will get more and more out of it as she gets older.
Each morning, when we come downstairs, I turn the blocks of our perpetual calendar to today's date, and talk about the numbers as I do so, ending with '2 and 4, the 24th of November'. I then pick up a little wooden peg doll and sit it on top of the calendar. I have made seven of these little dolls, and each wears a simple hat and cloak in a different colour, to represent each day of the week.
Monday - purple Tuesday - red Wednesday - yellow Thursday - orange Friday - green Saturday - blue Sunday - white
When I sit the doll on top of the calendar, I say 'today it is the red man, so it is Tuesday. Tuesday is the day grandma comes to visit' so she can start to make the associations. I have borrowed this idea of associating these specific colours with each day of the week from the world of Waldorf education, so if Jessica was to find herself visiting a Waldorf school or playgroup, the colours and days would be the same.
There are lots of ways to expand on this for older toddlers and children. You might let them help choose the right number blocks for the calendar, and the right coloured doll for the day. You could go as far as to dress them in something that matches the day's colour. Perhaps they could eat their breakfast porridge from a coloured bowl which matches the day, or snuggle them up under a coloured blanket for their nap.
Making Your Dolls
If you want to make your own peg dolls, they are very easy. Look on Pinterest for inspiration, (try waldorf calendar dolls as a search term) use this tutorial and buy your wooden peg dolls from mothergooseonline.co.uk
If you are not confident with your sewing skills, there is no reason why you couldn't just paint the dolls, although if you can manage blanket stitch (youtube is great if you are feeling rusty or want a reminder how to start it, as I always do!) you should find it straight forward.
If you are wondering where to find the time to make these, I did too! In the end, I made one each evening for a week. Each one takes somewhere between half an hour and an hour depending on whether you are engrossed in a radio play while you sew...
We end our little morning calendar routine with me singing my morning song to the tune (ish!) of The Archers. It goes:
Good morning little Jessica good morning little J Good morning little Jessica And how are you today!
Good morning little Jessica good morning little J Good morning little Jessica Are you ready to play?
Good morning little Jessica good morning little J Good morning little Jessica Welcome to Tuesday! (Or whichever day it actually is!)
I have another idea, for a special kind of calendar which I'll share in my next post - it is something you can do for your little one, but also for yourself. And if you do make your own calendar dolls, please share some photographs won't you?
Love Mimi Xxx