In Episode 23, we jump into being present with babies! We discussed:
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Bianca A. Solorzano, M.Ed.
Baby Development & Montessori Consultant
And Your Baby Tour Guide
Bianca: [00:00:07] Welcome to Baby Tour Guide’s, Montessori Babies Podcast. I'm your host and Baby Tour Guide, Bianca Solorzano And for the last decade, I have dedicated myself to helping parents, educators and caregivers optimize baby development through a Montessori lens. This podcast is all about evolving our Montessori practice to make our time with our sweet babies easier, relaxed and so much fun. Let's jump into it.
Bianca: [00:00:38] Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 23 of our Montessori Babies podcast. This week we are talking all about being present, so the present of being present as we named it. So I wanted to have a conversation about being present just because in my experience, I have found this concept to be essential for our babies and for our understanding. And there are just so many reasons and benefits to learning how to be present in the moment and why we should be present. And perhaps you're wondering, what do you mean by this? What do you mean by being present? I mean physically, mentally and spiritually being fully present in specific moments with our babies. So this is an idea that I was taught in my Montessori training in a way that really made it seem like being present is truly one of the most important gifts we can give our babies. And I'll say, after my years in the field, it is so, so true. Being present is a present to our babies, and it's one that takes a lot of effort from us to be able to give it, you know? But it's one that our babies truly need and really thrive off of when we do offer it. So one thing I will say being present can be tough, especially when you have other children running around. You know, you have a job and people waiting on you to meet your deadlines or your partner, and you are figuring out how to check things off your to do list and and so many other reasons that it may be difficult to find stillness in your mind, body and spirit.
Bianca: [00:02:18] So it can be pretty hard to find moments to be just fully present, but with practice and patience with yourself. It's totally, totally doable. I do want to just say again that we obviously juggle a lot, you know, as either a parent or a caregiver, you know, you're juggling so, so, so much. You know, you have babies routine and schedule your routine and schedule perhaps a job outside of those things, perhaps a long list of household chores. Perhaps there's stuff going on in our emotional existence that makes being present all the more difficult. So today we're going to talk about why being present is the present to our babies. And I'll give you some tips and tools to make that happen, or at least make it as easy for you as possible. Before we jump into that, let's go ahead and read our quote for today. This quote is by famous Buddhist monk Tic Nutzen, and he said life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone. The future is not here yet, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life. I thought this quote was just perfect for this week because it truly embodies what it means to be in the moment.
Bianca: [00:03:30] And so now when we talk about being present with babies, babies are essentially the embodiment of the purest form of life and a form of life that depends on our existence to show them what theirs will be like to. So they're evolving rapidly to try and understand who they are to the world and who the world is to them. And the main way they begin to learn this is through their attachment with their primary caregiver or caregivers. Now, as the primary caregiver, it should be understood that while it may seem difficult, if at all possible, we should try to be physically, mentally and spiritually present as often as possible. So let me jump into what I mean by physically, mentally and spiritually present so physically ends up being what it sounds like physically is physically being present. Your body is there, you're ready to be with your sweet baby.
And while in my experience this is the easiest to make happen, it can also be very hard when there are many children or other things happening around you. So I understand. Don't get me wrong, but when we're physically present, we offer a world of modeling, we offer language and we offer tons of attachment opportunities that are truly optimal for our baby's development. And now let's talk about being mentally present. Mentally, being present can actually be very difficult when we have a world of things that surround us, being mentally present can be harder.
Bianca: [00:04:52] And yet when we are, we offer our baby's opportunities for interaction and connection and we also get to just be in their world. And I have found that allowing myself to be mentally present has offered opportunities for deeper observation, where I noticed something or otherwise wouldn't have if I was distracted. And I've noticed moments where I was truly able to work with a baby in such a connected way that you're present and get to experience that aha joyous connection moment with the child as it happens. But like I said, to be mentally present can actually be tougher. But I suggest if you're able if you're able to do something like this, find specific moments where everything in the surrounding environment is safe and stable, so you feel comfortable only focusing on this one experience. So perhaps your partner is home and you're able to focus on your baby for a moment? Or perhaps your older child is taking their midday nap and your younger baby is awake and ready to play? Or perhaps you're in a home or school environment where it's a prepared space fully safe for all other children. So you don't have to worry about, you know, your older children getting into cabinets that have glass or cable cords or, you know, stuff like that. So it's safe and ready as possible.
Bianca: [00:06:09] So all you have to do is focus on this moment. And those were just some of the things that helped me find mental space to be present in as many moments as I could throughout the day with my babies. And so, you know, whatever works for you, do that and try it. You'll find so many beautiful moments just by being able to be mentally present. And so for the spiritual peace, so for spiritually being present. So this is actually something that Dr. Montessori focused on within her works, and it was in a way that allows the adult to learn about the beauties of childhood and what it brings essentially to better the experience for the child. And it was more formally called the spiritual preparation of the adult. Spiritually being present means bringing that hope and joy and wonder into our experiences with our child. There's also a sense of deeper understanding so, you know, learning about what's going on right now so we can understand it, but also recognize that they are just this human with these endless potentialities. Bringing in that idea that every day our child is a new child. So one who learned so much from yesterday and one who was learning so much today, and one who has those endless potentialities of who they will be to their world as they grow? You know that sense of wonder, the childish wonder, if you will, is so essential to being spiritually present with her babies.
Bianca: [00:07:38] And I'll tell you from personal experience, when we bring this type of wonder into our moments with our babies, we can bring the physical presence, the mental presence and the spiritual presence together. And it creates some truly magical moments for both you and baby. And now for a quick message from our sponsor. One thing I can promise all of you is I will only ever promote products that I have tried and tested within my years of experience within the Montessori world. And that's why I am so excited to announce the Montessori Babies podcast partnership with EZPZ. So EZPZ provides all the feeding gear you need for babies first bites and sips all the way to feeding independence. Each collection is designed for a different developmental stage. The tiny collection is for infants, their mini collection is for toddlers, and the happy collection is for preschoolers. EZPZ products are made from one hundred percent food grade silicone, and they come in muted colors such as sage and blush. Other gorgeous colors like lime and coral, and some Montessori colors like blue and gray. Head on over to easy peasy. Fun to check out the developmental benefits and safety features of each product and be sure to use the code Montessori babies10 for 10 percent off at checkout. Thank you so much to easy peasy for sponsoring our Montessori Babies podcast and now back to our show.
Bianca: [00:09:07] For example, I remember one moment when I was in the classroom, so when I was running my nido, where I was working with this one baby on her tummy time and she did not like her tummy time, that was one of her things. So I started her on her back on the floor and we did some tracking and, you know, some grasping and and some baby exercises. And after a minute I rolled her on to her tummy to practice and explore. And she was on the movement mat in front of a mirror. And there was one moment I observed where she connected that if she lifted her head high enough, she caught a glimpse of the cutest baby in the mirror, which was her. But you know, they don't quite understand that it is them until somewhere between 15 months to two years, kind of depending. But she just had that.
Oh, if I lift up high enough, I can see something in that mirror. That baby's cute. You know, and she calmed and she just kept trying to do it, and it was one of the most beautiful moments that if I wasn't able to just be there and understand that that was what was happening in her brain in that moment, I was honored to have been a part of it, you know? But it takes being present in all three of those areas to really experience that joy.
Bianca: [00:10:28] And so at least for me, having practiced being spiritually and physically and mentally present in my training was really, really worth it in the classroom and in the home settings. And I found that it is just one of the most important amazing tools that we have to give as guides, as parents, as educators, as caregivers. So what I hope is that this episode can inspire you to consider all three of these ideas and incorporate them into your daily experiences with your sweet baby. And so while your baby's likely won't remember these in their conscious memory, these moments of connection and presence will absolutely form a part of who they are to the world and who the world is to them, and that's one of the, you know, biggest beauties of infancy. So I will tell you, I know this level of presence isn't possible all day long in the life of a parent or an educator or a caregiver. There are endless lists of things that are happening around you. So let's talk about a couple of examples of moments during the day that you may find it easiest to be present in all three ways. The first is during diaper changes, so diaper changes present wonderful opportunities for moments of connection. So baby is laying, you know, directly in front of you. You have amazing language and interaction opportunities, and it can be something truly, truly wonderful.
Bianca: [00:11:57] I love using diapering experiences as a way to incorporate, like I said, language. So songs and sportscasting, you can start doing directed choices with diapers. Talk to them about, you know, their body. You can talk to them about really anything and everything. I've had babies, you know, figure out how to open and close their diaper after they chose one, and then they start to do that every single time and get really excited about opening their diaper and getting it ready to, you know, get on their body. And, you know, so there are just a lot of different opportunities within the diaper experience that are really, really fun. And then eventually, if you do transition into, you know, stand up diapering with a mirror and a bar, for example, then you have a whole other set of amazing opportunities within that. If you have a little dressing chair next to it, you get to offer things like dressing and undressing. You get to offer a lot more interactive experiences when they're at the Pull-Up bars and when we're fully present, we're able to make tons more observations, tiny little ones that we otherwise maybe wouldn't see. You know, if we're distracted or there's other stuff going on that we're paying attention to. All of these things are things to take into consideration, but diapering is such an amazing time for connection. The second idea for moments of connection is during feedings, so milk feedings and solid feedings are amazing moments for us to practice being as present as possible.
Bianca: [00:13:29] Our babies are physically close to us during these times, so eye contact and connection is extra possible and there are tons of observations to be made during these moments. Tons. So, for example, if your child is bottle fed, for example, you may discover that they aren't finishing their bottle because their nipple flow is too slow. And if you bring that, you know, sense of wonder into the experience, all of these discoveries are incredibly joyful. You know, we might otherwise have thought that they were just full or just not eating as much, which may have sent us into some sort of, you know, questioning as far as why they weren't eating as much. And, you know, but it could be something as simple as they need a faster flow, need a faster nipple flow. And it's also really fun for us to be able to be physically, mentally and spiritually present because we even have those aha moments too. You know, we have those, oh my goodness, this is what this is or this is what this means. This is what you need. And, you know, because they're not quite vocalizing their needs yet. They're expressing it. They're showing us in a ton of different ways. But when we're able to successfully observe and learn about our evolving child and it can be really, really joyful for us as well.
Bianca: [00:14:44] So feedings are definitely amazing moments for being present. And another idea for moments of being present mentally, physically and spiritually is during floor time. So during floor playtime now, this one is actually incredibly important to the Montessori experience because this is how we can be. President to offer Montessori lessons, rotate their materials, discover if they need an environment shift and so much more, so much happens while babies play. And if we're able to be physically, mentally and spiritually present, it can be truly amazing for you and baby and their Montessori space. So those three were just some examples of moments that I have found are the most amazing times to focus on being fully present with our babies. But try what works best for you and your family because obviously all of our routines and our flow of the day, all of those things are very different, you know, from child to child and person to person and family to family, so do what works best for you. Those were just some examples. Now, as we near the end of this episode, I want to end with another quote that is just so gorgeous and I think truly embodies what we spoke about today. And so here it goes. The child is a truly miraculous being, and this should be felt deeply by the educator and that was said by Dr.
Bianca: [00:16:08] Maria Montessori. And I really, really felt how strongly she felt that within my training, within the books that I've read by her, I felt that again when I ventured through my master's program. And so much of it has to do with embodying the wonder the are the joys of childhood. And so I hope that this episode was helpful to you and your Montessori experiences with your baby. And yeah, that's about it. So thank you so much for tuning in to episode twenty three of our Montessori Babies podcast. Definitely. Check out our Montessori babies, Patreon. I have that linked below. Thank you so much to easy peasy for sponsoring our show, and don't forget to use the code Montessori babies 10 for 10 percent off of your order at checkout. I will have all of those links down below in the show description for you. And lastly, thank you again to our amazing parents, educators and caregivers in our audience who have just been so wonderful. I love love hearing from everyone. So like I always say, definitely feel free to send me a message on Instagram at Baby Tour Guide or feel free to shoot me an email. My email is Bianca at Baby Tour Guide. I love hearing from everyone. So anyway, that's about it. Thank you again for tuning in to episode twenty three of our Montessori Babies podcast, and I will catch you in the next episode. Bye!
Bianca: [00:17:38] Hey, it's Bianca, your baby tour guide here! Hopping back in to say thank you again for listening to this episode of Montessori babies. If you found this episode helpful and would like more information. Hop on over to babytourguide.com and download my free Montessori eguide to join our community and receive the latest on optimizing development through a Montessori lens. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook @ Baby Tour Guide. Also, if you found this episode helpful to your Montessori practice, I would absolutely love it if you would leave a review to help other parents and educators find our show. Thanks again for listening, and I will catch you in the next episode. Bye!