Roo’s room: 10 months

A photo tour of Roo’s room as it is at the moment, with notes. Today you get to see the room at night with the yucky rental-house blind that is normally rolled up invisible in daytime pics. The joys of being a renter (joys that also involve your agents mistakenly debiting so much money from your bank account that they get you ahead in your rent by two months, and then don’t sound at all apologetic for digging a >$3000 hole in your finances.)

Start from the door:

New art went up today. They are laminated posters. Roo is keen to learn to pull the cord on the ark hanging on the left, as he likes to hear it play. So far he isn’t strong enough. On a hook on the wall is a puppet his sister didn’t want anymore… we hung it there on a whim and it has stayed. Given its fragile nature I don’t think it will be a permanent addition.

The mirrors are real mirrors, fixed to the wall with many command strips. Breakable and potentially a hazard. I couldn’t justify paying for expensive child-safe mirrors that provide an untrue reflection. I think these were $15 each from KMart, so $30 all up. Because of the way they are fixed they are not a completely true reflection, but pretty good. I always said I would take them away if I thought Roo would break them. I have seen him hit a wooden ring against the mirror once, but it hasn’t been enough to take them away yet.

Cezanne. One of my favourite artists.

Monet. A bit different to water lillies! My parents have this in their house so I have a fond spot for it.

Wall of very useful cupboards. Nothing to see here, just including this for completeness.

We don’t actually use this Ikea Poang chair. It is very comfortable, and I wanted it in anticipation of spending many hours breastfeeding Roo, but since that didn’t work out, it has only seen light use. We used to sit in it a few times a day to feed him his bottle, especially night feeds, but since he has been feeding himself, only the footstool gets used regularly (by Nigel as a change table). I sit in it once a week or so when visiting Roo in his room (or retreating to the only tidy room in the house). I thought we would read books in it, but in the end I read them while sitting on his bed.

This is hidden from view from most of the room, in the little corner that the chair sits in. We love this poster. It was on the wall of the special care nursery where we spent a lot of time in Roo’s first weeks. On one memorable occasion we read him every item on the ‘Well Done!’ list and gave ourselves the giggles… you had to be there.

I may have gone overboard with the wooden trays. The theory is that everything should have a place, and it should be self-correcting… ie if there is a missing tray, you can tell at a glance, or an empty tray, you can tell at a glance, and you know you haven’t put something away. (This is my theory; having zero Montessori training it may be a complete misinterpretation.) Ollie used to have a chair instead of a tray on the floor, but Roo hurt himself on the chair so many times I have finally put it away… so he has a tray instead. I think it’s cute. Roo loves playing with the trays. He can sometimes be seen with one in each hand.

I rotate the toys every month or so. We have a tiny car theme going on this time :) Look Mum, male-gendered toys! From left to right on top: Matchbox car; transport themed puzzle (unfortunately permanently missing two pieces); two books. On bottom: nesting containers; an Ikea lighthouse puzzle dissasembled; puzzle blocks. I’m anticipating the day he to starts to stack things – I may be a bit early! I only put these items out yesterday (except the lighthouse, which has been a favourite for some time). So far he loves the nesting bowls, hasn’t touched the blocks, loves the round panda book, and hurt himself trying to get to the matchbox car (in the incident involving the chair that lead to its removal). To get items down from the top, he basically pulls them down beside himself – and he’s pretty good at pulling them down beside himself and not on top of himself. The heavy things (like the books on the tray) he tends to leave there until I fetch them for him.

This height chart may or may not be a family heirloom. It came to me via Miss A who apparently found it in her bedroom. I should really ask around. It might be hand embroidered, and it’s very cute.

Roo’s mobile. We reintroduced it today, and Roo did not handle it well. There was half-crying involved (know the type I mean? sobbing, but slowly, and still eyeing the thing and not actually out of control). It’s been out of the room for a few months after it fell down, and it seems he has forgotten it and now finds it scary. So far it’s still up, but he watches it carefully from wherever he is in the room. It’s a lovely mobile I bought from etsy, and it moves gently when people move around the room or when the warm air from the oil heater rises.

I took down the third row of cards that used to hang here in order to put up more art. The cards have been up for nearly a year and I will retire them all eventually. The art: a Vermeer on the left and Da Vinci on the right.

The floor bed is still working well for us. At naptimes I will usually put Roo on his bed and then leave the room hastily knowing he will likely crawl off it. Some days when I know for certain he’s not going to stay put I won’t even do that, I’ll just put him in the room and leave, closing the door. When I check back in ten or fifteen minutes he will usually be asleep either on his bed or the floor – these days more and more often on his bed. Sometimes he will have pulled out a toy but most of the time not.

I also sometimes leave the door open after I check on him and find he is sleeping. This can depend on how warm the day is, as most days we need the door shut to keep the heat from the heater in. I leave the door open so that he is free to leave the room when he wakes up. He doesn’t always leave the room, sometimes he stays and plays in there. When he does come out, I love being surprised by a visit from a baby I thought was still sleeping! When I do this I have not found that he wakes up earlier than usual. His naps vary from 45 minutes to two hours, twice a day, most of them closer to two hours.

At bedtime we have a routine – nappy, sleeping bag, teeth, book, song. Depending on how wound up he is, he will sometimes stay on his bed and go to sleep, and sometimes crawl around. He will often sleep on the floor at night, and he will move around quite a few times. I don’t know why he likes the bed at naptime and the floor at night!

I can’t see a correlation between the nights he moves around and the nights he cries after bedtime. The nights when he cries and we have to go back in (about half?) can be either nights when he is moving around or nights when he has stayed on his bed.

In the morning when I go to say hello to Roo (around 7.30 – 8 am) if he is sleeping I will often find evidence that he has been up and played with a toy or two already, then gone back to sleep. When he wakes he usually plays in his room until we get him, or when he wants our attention, he will bang on the door. He figured the door out very quickly – he goes knock knock knock (with his head most of the time – he bangs it on things frequently, apparently some babies are just head bangers), then as soon as we walk up the door we can hear him scurrying away on the other side so that we can open it, and then when we open the door he has already turned around and is sitting watching for us, usually to greet us with a smile.

To change topic, a note about the art. It has been a disappointing exercise trying to put art on Roo’s wall cheaply. For some reason it got so complicated. Here is the story so anyone else knows what not to do:

I spent a lot of time looking for old calendars to provide cheap art, with no luck. I just don’t spend much time in shopping centres, and when I was there, I found nothing. The new calendars with the art we liked best are between 40 and 150 dollars and that seemed quite steep since we didn’t find the perfect one where we would use all twelve pics. Instead we ordered eight prints from posterrevolution.com for $50. When they arrived they were very disappointing – the ratio was skewed on two and the quality was not as good as expected. We got a full refund and got to keep the posters, so that’s not too bad. I then tried to purchase some cheap frames… with zero success, as it turns out we managed to order posters in a completely non-standard size. We looked into cheap frames with custom mats and no glass (baby safe) and it still came to almost $50 per frame… too much. I purchases two large frames from Kmart for $25 each with the intention of making custom mats myself, but when I got them home discovered that they were mis-labelled and they wouldn’t fit the posters plus a mat after all. I also lost the receipt so couldn’t return them! I will have to paint the frames white (they are a honey wood colour I don’t like) and use them for something else.

In the end we have gotten four of the posters laminated, for $7 each at Officeworks, and put them on the wall with blutack. Officeworks did a bad job of the laminating – one poster has a fold in the laminate and they all look like the laminate was trimmed with scissors, cut erratically and in parts very close/all the way to the poster. I probably shouldn’t have paid for them but I couldn’t handle the conflict. So, twelve months since I started looking, we have four poorly laminated posters that cost us a fair bit of hassle and $28 (plus $50 for the frames that I will be able to use for something else). Not too bad on the money side of things, but I don’t wish to repeat the hassle!

We want plenty more art that can be displayed at Roo’s level, so will have to look into an easier way to get and display it.

I bought this little cupboard on a whim on eBay when it was very cheap. It remains to be seen if Roo finds it useful. I expect once he is ready to open doors, it will come into its own.

Roo’s toothbrush in its own little dish. He loves brushing his teeth and fetches the toothbrush at plenty of other times of day as well. Soon I want to set up a station with a mirror and comb in his room so he can start getting used to checking his face, brushing his hair, and cleaning his nose/face (my gosh he hates having his face cleaned).

Roo doesn’t play much with his push toys so I put them in the cupboard for now.

This pic is simply for completeness. We are now back at the door and you have been all the way round the room! On the mirror are a sign his sister made for his door at the old house, and the label from his crib in the special care nursery.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end of 2000 words about my baby’s bedroom! You can find other posts about Roo’s room by using the ‘Roo’s room‘ tag. Specifically, I posted about his old setup when writing about his Montessori floor bed (where you can see pics of his room in daytime with the blind up – much nicer!).

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16 thoughts on “Roo’s room: 10 months

  1. What a cute little boy Roo is! I really like reading about his room. And I really like the idea of a mattress on the floor. Currently Calvin wakes himself up a million times a night by bonking into his wood crib, or sitting up and not knowing how to lie down without, again, bonking his head. So. I’m considering your way.

    • Hi! I love comments.

      We’ve enjoyed using the floor bed, especially since it means we get to stay in bed for half an hour to an hour after Roo wakes up. I’m guessing that whatever behaviour/drive Calvin has that leads to bonking his head on his crib will continue without a crib. The interesting part would be if the behaviour no longer causes him distress. I’m guessing Calvin is in the first month or two of crawling? Roo did some odd things while developing that skill. He would bonk his head on the wall next to his bed over and over again. He didn’t seem concerned by it, except when it coincided with tiredness. He could also be found (in the pre-crawling stage) on all fours, rocking, while still mostly asleep. Like his brain couldn’t shut off that part that was driven to crawl! He would wake himself up and cry.

      Similar but opposite, in that a crib wouldn’t have had the problem that the floor bed did, we discovered with Roo that he would inch his way diagonally all the way across the bed, and unless we put him and the mattress and a wall in the correct places he would wake himself up by inching himself off the mattress. Once oriented correctly he would hit the wall instead and stay asleep. These days he doesn’t seem to mind if his puts himself half or completely off his mattress in his sleep.

      I would love to hear that you are using a floor bed. I hope you give it a go and it works for you and Calvin!

      • Yes, Calvin is only in his second week of crawling. He also started sitting up about a day before he started crawling (late, I know), so those two things are new to his little brain. I’m going to give it a couple weeks before I decide if I’ll try the mattress-on-floor setup, see if he learns how to lie down. (Recently a friend’s baby died, and while we were almost ready to quit using the motion sensor baby monitor, right now it is providing some important peace of mind that I don’t think we’d get with a floor bed.)

        • The death of a baby is so tragic :( All that life and potential and innocence lost. While I was pregnant I came across two mothers whose babies had died from SIDS, one of whom I shared a ward with while waitinh for my baby to be born, and I was so uptight about SIDS for the first eight months. Every morning I would say to Nigel ‘I hope he’s alive’, and I would be so relieved every time I heard him cry, thinking that a crying baby is an alive baby (in fact I still think that when I hear him cry after a long silence, although I’ve stopped leaping out of bed to check in the mornings). I can understand wanting to be as sure as you can that your child is safe.

    • The room is rarely that tidy! Over the course of time it becomes more disordered and cluttered and when I have a moment every month or two I take some time to put everything away in cupboards and only bring back out the things that are most relevant. (It also helps that we have not been given a huge amount of stuff for him and therefore there is less stuff to start with!)

  2. I love what you’ve done with Roo’s room! It’s wonderful that you’re using art masterpieces, although it’s too bad you didn’t have better luck with your suppliers. I really appreciate the detail you went into in showing and telling about your experiences. Lots of parents wonder how the Montessori bed works, and your information will be very helpful to them! I added your Roo’s room posts to http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/03/15/how-to-prepare-a-montessori-baby-room-at-home.

    • Oh thanks for adding me to your list! I know I soaked up anything I could find when planning to use a floor bed, and I’m enjoying being able to add my experience to the interwebs.

      My husband Nigel is a huge art buff and our bookshelf is overflowing with art books. He really enjoyed picking out eight pieces to start off with and is excellent at communicating his passion to kids, so Roo and I are lucky to have him. Sometimes at bedtimes, instead of a bedtime story, Roo gets a tour of his art to talk about brushstrokes and colours and who painted before and after whom :)

    • Thanks! I have used frameshop.com.au to order custom frames for some family heirlooms recently. I liked their interface for choosing different frames & mats, although in the end we just ordered the cheapest we could get, in white :) It seems the cheapest frame we could get on their site for Roo’s art was more than $40 plus shipping, which was too much for something we would be putting within reach of a destructive baby. If our art had been a standard size we would have been able to get $5 frames from Big W which would be perfect. Ah well, we know for next time.

  3. hi, I am new to Montessori and I love how you have arranged his room. I am curious about the play pen, do you use it? i love that he wakes and settles himself that is something I dream about for my little one.
    thanks for sharing

  4. Thank you so much for blogging about your experience with Roo and his low bed. We use a low bed with my son who is 19 months and have since he started moving around too much at night to keep him in our bed. We only have one bedroom, so his bed and ours are next to each other. Since he was small we have stayed with him until he falls asleep. Do you think there is a way to move toward letting him fall asleep when he is ready without my husband or me staying with him? He is very capable of opening the bedroom door, and loves to be with us, so I assume he will just come right out of the room. Am I underestimating him? I would appreciate any thoughts or books/blogs/resources about the path of using a low bed with very young children. Thank you!

    • Hi Laura, thanks for your nice words. As Roo is my first child, I don’t really have any advice about helping your child fall asleep without your presence. I do wonder what will happen with Roo once he can open the door! We have tried to establish a habit with him that once he is put to bed, he doesn’t get to come out again (except on the rare occasion that he proves impossible to settle, and we give up). I imagine that if he does get himself out of bed and come out of his room, we will just take him back into his room and tell him it’s time for bed. And then repeat, repeat, repeat, until he learns that Mummy and Daddy are boring after bedtime! I expect your child could learn this, if you are prepared to ease him into it and send consistent clear signals, or at least I hope so! If you can get your hands on a copy of ‘Montessori from the start’ you may find something helpful in there, although it’s been a while since I read it so I can’t recall what specifically might be useful to you. Good luck!

  5. I love the idea of putting a gate around the heater. I’m wanting to convert my 16 month old’s room to this style and I was worried about the floor air purifier and humidifier. But the gate is a great solution! What kind is it?

    Thanks!

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