Monthly Archives: February 2014

The unattainable dream of order

In my sporadic attempts to improve my parenting, I came across Montessori theory, and I have to admit I like it. Of course I am enamoured of the idea of two busy little toddlers bustling about and making their own dinner and cleaning up after themselves, but more than anything I am obsessed with the idea of a Montessori home. All that white space, order, peace. I cruise the internet reading about Montessori interior design with its clean lines, its little baskets of educational toys which miraculously remain in their places, and find the big brown furniture and chaos in our flat more and more oppressive.

I have no idea how real Montessori people deal with the fact that one year olds sow destruction in their wake. My Montessori shelves conform to the ideal only when my children are asleep. The closest I can find to an acknowledgment of this is the comment somewhere that ‘Montessori environments require near-constant fussing by adults and children alike’, but that it’s worth it, because the benefits of peace and order for those mad little brains are incalculable. The benefits for my mad big brain, come to think of it, would also be incalculable.

But it’s a pure fantasy at this point. Sometimes I try and limit the damage by limiting the amount of things they have to play with. This inevitably results in a tug-of-war and the desperate wails of the loser, who not only loses the toy but then gets beaten over the head with it. My fantasy of a place for everything and everything in its place is still far from being attainable.

P.S I wrote this before we went to Australia, but coming home to my nest, I find it’s still relevant!

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