After learning about a neighbor’s foot injury, we decided to make blueberry cookies for her. I asked him if he would like to take some to his family too. There would be plenty! His heart was all in.
Now that he’s three years old, I felt it would be nice to introduce to a way in which we can care for others. He has shown his concern for others at times and desire to work on tasks more independently; “Me do it now.” These are clues he’s giving me and I respect his need to do so.
I had to pivot in the moment while he stood next to me, ready to carry the ingredients to his table, which we had transported (with great care, might I add) moments earlier to the kitchen. I cheerfully described ‘Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies.’ He seemed receptive to the change and was excited to begin mixing. We set out the ingredients on his table and I coached him, helping only as needed.
With each stir, he said, “Ew, I don’t like peanut butter. Daddy likes peanut butter.” This was followed by “Ew, no chocolate … vanilla.” …”Ew…Oatmeal.” Meanwhile, I responded by sharing the health benefits of oatmeal, dark chocolate, … Yes, this was not the cookie making experience I had imagined. It was the cookie activity I had not planned for well enough. Ugh.
Back to pivoting. Knowing he was disappointed with our oatmeal cookies, I looked at him and said, “Would you like to make sugar cookies next?” He and I had successfully and joyfully made those in the past! “Yes!” was his quick reply. Now to find a recipe that included our available ingredients, or lack thereof. Thankfully, I was able to find one.
We made snowflake sugar cookies, played fun children’s music in the background, created a card, filled and wrapped a box with ribbon, added some holiday animal napkins, put on our jackets and I texted our neighbor — certain she was home with her foot up.
His mom arrived to pick him up and he burst into tears. I had set an expectation and was unable to deliver. How could I have been so ill-prepared? I’m a trained Montessori teacher, mother of three grown children, substitute teacher, passionate about working with kids and Montessori … How did I let his happen?
Actually, this is Montessori at Home. Home is not a classroom. Home is real life moments and situations. I have decided it was actually a really good day. He and I both learned a lot, and he understood and accepted my apology for having not confirmed that our injured neighbor would be home.
He left with cookies for his family, a smile and new experiences in his heart. He learned new lyrics to fun songs and how to make cookies because you care. And he is going to meet our neighbor next week. Confirmed.