Babies at Three Months

Babies at Three Months

Browsing through my blog archives today and looking at entries from August of 2006 when Bella was three months old, the age Sophia is now. I know that stages of development are such that it’s no surprise that babies of the same age are doing the same things, but it’s fun to wander down that memory lane. It’s also fun to see the differences.

I was delighted and thought it blog-worthy when Bella slept for five hours at a stretch. Last night Sophia slept for ten hours, which for her is hardly noteworthy.

Bella was sucking on her fingers and playing with her toes. Sophia is loving her thumb, which she sucks every chance she gets and beginning to grasp objects, bat at toys and reach out to touch my face, hands and arms.

Bella was holding her head up pretty well and we stuck her in the exersaucer for the first time. She was laughing and squawking. Sophia is likewise pretty good at head control and is laughing and squawking. I was thinking just yesterday that she might be ready to sit up on her own in an exersaucer or some such and maybe we should get one as she really doesn’t like the bouncy seat very much.

Funny coincidence. Then: our point and shoot camera was broken and I was taking some stills with the video camera. Now: our point and shoot camera is broken and we’re taking pictures with a camera Dom borrowed from a colleague.

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  • I’m really quite intrigued by this, thanks for your post.  I think I’m being called to look into this further as I’ve run into it in several different places recently and it is striking a chord within me somehow.  My parish school uses the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with at least the younger children (they mentioned pre-k and k) and they’ve been running small articles in the bulletin about it for a couple weeks now.  I think I really need something more hands on and concrete to bring the faith alive with my children.  My six year old has a great working knowledge of the Bible (at least for her age) and knows the right answers to the basic catechism questions for her age, but I’m not sure how real it all is for her – I suspect it is more of an academic thing than a matter of heart-felt faith.  I suppose this isn’t surprising since I tend to be a more academically minded Catholic myself…  but I also know there’s a lot more to our faith than that!

    I’ll be looking forward to your future posts on the subject, thanks for sharing your thoughts so far.

  • The one thing that has most intrigued me so far is the emphasis on relationship, the understanding that passing on the faith is not so much presenting an academic subject to be studied—especially with young children—as introducing the child to Christ and then stepping back to let that relationship develop.

    It brings me back to one of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis: “The intellectual life is not the only road to God, nor the safest, but we find it to be a road, and it may be the appointed road for us.”

    I know I am an intellectual and that God often speaks to me in the realm of ideas, through books and the intellectual life. But I am also discovering with Isabella that for her faith is not intellectual at all. I sometimes feel like she is guiding me in ways that I would never have walked by myself. And that is another emphasis in Calvaletti’s book, the teacher listens with the child, they are both recipients of the word.

    I am also intrigued by the idea of seeing the catechesis in action; but a little wary as well. So far I agree with the theory and it sounds like done well it can be a great thing. But I worry about whether it can be done poorly. I’ve heard some stories, vaguely and at second or third hand, that have sent up some red-flags. And I’m rather dismayed at the emphasis on “material” or what my husband refers to as “toys”. That’s one of the things that makes me hesitant about the Montessori method in general. I understand that children frequently need to be hands-on and interactive, but the need to get lots of stuff is bothersome. That said, I’ve seen some homeschooling moms posting about homemade materials. I’m intrigued at learning more about how different people have made adaptations for a homeschooling environment of a program that was definitely designed for groups of children at a school or parish setting.

  • That’s one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes too – it is so appropriate for me.  I came into Christianity because of Lewis’ writings, and I think that was largely because our approach to faith is so similar. But I agree with you – with young children it is quite the opposite…  which makes it sometimes hard for me to relate and understand.  I have an emotional understanding of faith (although it took awhile – and it lead me into the Catholic Church to boot) but it still is generally not the stronger part of my faith.

    I too am wary about all the stuff associated with the Montessori method.  I was initially attracted to it when I was first investigating homeschooling (probably when my daughter was your older daughter’s age!) but all the stuff ended up turning me away from it.  We did a little of the manipulatives and such to see how it would go, but I didn’t feel like the results justified the clutter and expensive of the objects.  Perhaps I wasn’t using them right…  but still, it didn’t seem like quite the right path for us. 

    However, the manipulatives used for this sort of catechesis approach seem more limited and streamlined than the overall Montessori approach.  They also lend themselves more to something that could be made simply at home.  I know I too have seen blogs and such where homeschooling mothers describe some of the things they’ve made.  My daughter and I over the past two Advent seasons have been working on our own handmade manager scene, which has been a great and rewarding project for both of us.  We’re using pipe cleaner people like Sally Mavor describes in “Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects”.  They are fairly easy to make, although I wish they weren’t quite so time consuming.  I’ve seen people make figures out of various types of clothespins that might be a little faster and simpler. 

    It seems like in an environment with lots of children this sort of catechesis could easily devolve into random play (at least without a lot of adult oversight), but I wonder if in a smaller home environment where the pieces are carefully brought out at certain times or upon request and then put away the results would be better.  And perhaps even more so if the family has a hand in creating the figures themselves as well.  It could also help mitigate the clutter aspect as well. 

  • As to “random play”, from what I gather there is a pretty strict sequence of events. First, the catechist presents the parable, manipulating the figures herself as she does so. Then she reads the actual text of the scripture. Then she leads a discussion by asking leading questions and letting the children make connections and discover the meaning for themselves. The children playing with the “material” happens last and is the means by which they meditate on the word that which they have received and integrate it. That integration is also the function of art as children incorporate the images into their work.

  • I’m enjoying your thoughts. I read through many of the books last year and am finishing up on my training of Level I. I still have some reservations, mainly that this isn’t the “end all” of catechesis. The jury is still out for me, especially when the child is older. Lately I was comparing the approach to what the General Catechetical Directory encourages catechesis to be.

    It’s interesting that you quote her that it’s not the point of arrival because the Catechesis does seem to be presented that way.

    My son went to an atrium this year and just loved it. I supplemented and reinforced at home.

    Keep in mind that Sofia wrote this book to try and convince the major thinkers/theologians/catechists that starting in 1st grade for religious education is too late. That’s much of the point of her work. You’ll find some definite red flags as you plug your way through the book.

  • “the Catechesis does seem to be presented that way.”

    I’m not surprised. As I’m reading I’m becoming more interested in observing an actual atrium. As you suggest, I suspect that in practice there might be some liberties taken and differences from what Cavaletti describes.

    So far I do like the basic philosophical/pedagogical approach, especially for the 3-6 age range she focuses on in the book.  (Interesting note about her intent. I can see how she’s approaching a particular audience.) I definitely agree that first grade is too late for introducing the child to God. It’s pretty clear to me that Bella is ready and able to learn to pray and to love Jesus Mary and the saints. As far as formal religious education, I guess it depends on what that means. To me the classroom model is problematic. Faith is not an academic subject but a life and a relationship. That, at least, Cavaletti gets right so far.