Don’t Rush, Take it Slow

photo by fatboyke

photo by fatboyke

I’ve shared before how my automatic speed is fast-forward. That’s just how I operate. I’m always trying to get the most done in the quickest amount of time. The problem? It’s the best way to miss opportunities.

Having our Montessori home forces me to slow down. It works as a reminder that the goal is not an immaculate house and well-behaved child. The goal is an education of the whole person, and that often means taking things slow.

For example, Joey hasn’t exactly picked up on the whole putting-things-away-when-we’re-done thing. Which can drive me crazy at times, especially on days when I feel compelled to follow and pick-up behind him. But what I’ve learned is that it’s an exercise in discipline for both of us.

It forces me to take the time–in the moment–to instruct him how to put away materials carefully. Which is why after throwing all his eating utensils out of his drawer in the kitchen we sat on the floor and putting them away one by one. It was adorable.

His concreted effort to hold each piece and put it in its spot. Of course, there was some frustration on his part, which ended with more silverware on the floor, but we finished. Together. Slowly.

What’s an area you might need to take it slow?

2 comments… add one

  • Charissa Jacobson July 4, 2011, 10:51 pm

    I was very intentional about slowing down my life when Eva was born and able to maintain it for nearly her entire 1st year. After her baths we kept a routine of watching the bathwater go down the drain. I wanted her to get the impression of the sounds, her body’s weight change when the tub was empty and the body temperature change. After bundling up in a towel I noticing that she enjoyed the photographs of our family on the wall so we incorporated that into our routine. Then we would watch me turn off the light switch and leave the bathroom slowly. For us adults it’s about getting things done, going from point A to point B, bath is done lets get that diaper on you. For these new creatures though every part of the process is brand new, foreign and captivating for a time, usually a couple weeks. On our way out of the bathroom, as I held her in my arms I intentionally turned my whole body so that she would notice that closing the bathroom door was part of the sequence. She watched all of this, she was still and silent, every movement I made mattered, she wanted to know. Now, it’s different 🙂 she’s 15 months old and she would not be interested in being held that long after her bath. She wants to get that diaper on and get back on the floor to get her wiggles out.

    The times that I’ve had to hurry along, I noticed a glossed over effect in her eyes. I believe that they get information overload at these absorbent ages and to rush them causes harm. However, I believe that we are only human and that God is just and corrects the gaps that we can’t fill or that we leave unfilled.

    Since April of this year, I have gone back to working outside of the home to support my husbands very worthy return to college. Now in addition to my work inside the home, I manage 2 teenage babysitters who take care of Eva on alternating days during the week, I own and operate a green house cleaning service in (office work) and out (I clean) of my home. I’m also constantly studying how to care for our daughter as each month presents new and demanding needs that I’m unfamiliar with. I was trained how to be a Montessori guide of children in a classroom ranging in ages 2.5-6. So I’ve had a ton of fun learning how to apply the Montessori way of life at home and with the infant/toddler age. Unfortunately every day feels like a pop quiz and now my time is sparse and I’m left guessing and white-knuckling.

    One way that I keep the slow pace alive in my life with Eva now is I schedule the sitters to arrive half an hour to an hour before I leave for work. That slows down the transition time for my daughter. It seems to help and it keeps me on as much of a same page with the sitters as possible. Another way of slowing down my life to help Eva is I intentionally brush my teeth in front of her. She stares and sometimes claps. She brushes her teeth every night so it’s a point of interest for her. She mostly just sucks the toothpaste off the toothbrush but she shakes her arm a little, trying to imitate the brushing technique that she’s seen me do. 😀 Super cute. When we go for walks and come up to a cross walk I always bring our attention to the crosswalk button and one of us presses it. Even if I know it is safe to cross or that we will miss our turn, I make time to create this habit. It will pay off in the long run and it’s a lesson to build off of since she cannot understand yet how to notice or distinguish the stop and go sign. Also, she likes it, it’s something of a public toy for her so that’s fun. Another thing I have done, as you mentioned you do, is I’ve let a few things slide down my “need” totem pole. It’s quite a push for me to keep the dishes and laundry moving along and even though I had ambitions of vacuuming/cleaning the floors and lightly cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms once a week it’s recently been bumped to: catch it when you can, once a month would be awesome. This is where confusion can creep in for me because after all we want to offer a beautiful and clean environment for our child. Life is a bowl of cherries and some battles I can fight, others I see as an opportunity to demonstrate to my daughter how to gracefully weather the storm until it passes.

    • Jessica July 5, 2011, 1:21 pm

      Charissa – It’s good that you’re taking the time to adjust life in each new season. These kids do grow and change so quickly! I’ve often thought of all the things I could’ve, should’ve done with Joey in regard to Montessori, but my husband is good to remind me that there’s 1 – nothing I can do about it now and 2 – do what I can now. Every season is a season. 🙂

      And there’s always grace.

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