Little by little, we work to make our home more Wesley-friendly, more open to a little creature that crawls toward everything and pulls up on all solid matter.
Making our space as much Wesley’s as ours has required some equipment – your basic plug covers, etc. – and a little ingenuity. It’s nowhere near as open as I’d like (for instance, as of now, he has no access to the kitchen), but he does have a space to call his own.
Our generous friends Sarah and Keith let us borrow a set of gates I had imagined we could use to create a rectangle of sorts to use sporadically while I worked in the kitchen or ran to use the bathroom, but Craig is much cleverer than I and set them up in ways that provide boundaries for Wes while still giving him total access to our small apartment’s family room, his own room, a bit of section connecting to the dining area and the hallway leading to the bathroom. I think Wesley thinks it’s heaven, a handful of his favorite toys waiting for him there, spots on which to stand to spy on me as I do dishes.
There is still much to be done, but I hope we’re fostering the feeling that our home is as much his as ours. I have other ideas in mind, some inspired by Montessori principles (I’m particularly fond of How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way or The Joyful Child, published by the Michael Olaf Company). Now I haven’t gone as far as placing Wesley’s mattress on the floor sans crib, but I’d like to add a low mirror to his room, for example. In the meantime, we’re quite proud of the low book sling (smartly bolted to the wall) set up in the hallway. I wasn’t sure he’d even use it yet, but sure enough, he loves to crawl over there whenever the mood strikes, stand tall and grab a book to read. And I’ll tell y’all, he’s got favorites. The aim is to rotate the book every so often. Right now he’s got Jan Brett’s The Mitten, The Rainbow Fish, Welcome Winter, Gyo Fujikawa’s beautiful and silly Ten Little Babies, Touch the Art : Make Van Gogh’s Bed and a first book of words in Spanish (we need to add another Spanish book…) from which to choose.
Though you see him going for The Mitten in the photograph, it’s The Rainbow Fish he seems to love the best, along with Welcome Winter, its second page with crinkly snow lovingly touched each time. And he’s fond of Van Gogh’s bed itself, the tiny red felt of its covers up for grabs (be aware that this book comes with an under-3/possible choking hazard warning: each page has some element to touch and feel). I wonder what new favorites he’ll make each month.