I haven’t really written about Quentin’s journey into the world, and I’m not sure I’m ready now.
The night before his early morning (5:36am) birth, as we waited in the hospital, the medical team now sure that the contractions were not going to stop, the Paediatric Doctor came into our room. The message he brought was one we had been working so hard from the first ultrasound to avoid.
“A baby born this early……blindness, hearing loss…..mental retardation.”
I don’t really remember much else of that sentence, but I remember the next two clearly.
“We’ll have to take him right away. You (my husband and I) and he (my still unborn child) are going to have a long road ahead”.
He was beautiful to us. Right from the beginning.
This is him weeks later in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit technically not even born yet. Holding his face, like he did on so many of the ultrasounds.
While we waited for his homecoming, we went over all of the options in care available to us. His hearing and vision were fine and he did not require any immediate physical therapy. Preemies born this early (and earlier) are delayed in their development. An Infant Development Nurse was assigned to Quentin. She would come to our house once a month and help us form a plan to help him “catch up”. She would watch for areas that perhaps we could pay extra attention to.
We didn’t need to talk for long. There was already a complete developmental package available to us and it began at the hour of birth. It covered every area: the ways to soothe him, the essential materials needed, even the way to organize the infants room. It was all broken down and categorized for us. All we had to do was follow it. The Absorbent Mind would do the rest.
This is the Magic of Montessori
This is Quentin today:
His nurse, a wonderful, caring women embraced Our Montessori Life from day one, having no prior knowledge of the pedagogy.
On her 12 month visit she reduced his visit schedule to once every 3 months. “It’s amazing that he can do that.” She kept saying throughout the visit.
Last Wednesday (16 months) she came again.
“I see no reason to continue to follow him.”
“Children his age, even his birth age, aren’t usually able to do those things (puzzles, pouring, matching, chores).”
I didn’t say anything at first. Maybe the huge grin on my face prevented it. But I wanted to say that actually, children his exact same age all around the world are able to do these exact same things. They do them in homes and schools and church basements and mud huts. I wanted to say that we are part of a community, that its all laid out. I wanted to say that we just did what others have done for over 100 hundred years before us and that all we did was to start down the path. I wanted to say that all children could do it, if just given the chance. But I didn’t. I just stood there.
As she was leaving she shook her head and said again that she just couldn’t believe it.
This time I didn’t hesitate. I managed to say: “That’s the magic of Montessori.”