If I Laugh I Lose

Posted 02-17-2015 at 06:00 PM by Matrivine

toddler trouble

Toddlers are cute. When they do something funny I chuckle and all is right in the world. It doesn’t matter if it is messy. It doesn’t matter if it’s happened before. It doesn’t matter if it’s against the rules.

Unfortunately little ones are aware of this too. They get in trouble and their automatic response to this is to get us to laugh. They smile and laugh and try to hug you. It’s like they are saying, “Come on mommy! It’s much more fun to laugh than to reinforce the rules!”

The sad thing is they are right. It is more fun to just to last. Unfortunately, if you laugh you lose. You have to show little one when their actions are not acceptable. But how do you not laugh?

Diaper Swapers

Talking To Toddlers About Gender

Posted 02-16-2015 at 04:13 PM by Matrivine

family icon

My little guy had a rather mind blowing experience this week. He was with me while I was changing his sister when a look of great concern washed over his face. He soberly asked me where his sister’s penis was. I explained to him that his sister was a girl, she didn’t have a penis. He then asked me if I had one, to which I responded no, but daddy did. Mommy was a girl and daddy was a boy. My poor little guy didn’t look too thrilled by this news, and sat for a few minutes thinking about this as I finished up.

Use Proper Body Part Names

Using the proper name for my little guy’s gizmo was the first step in his learning about gender. It was unavoidable to talk about. We had to talk about not touching it during diaper changes. I had to reassure him that it wasn’t yucky, but the stuff in his diaper was. We also discussed that public places were not places to try to bring it out or talk about it.

I expect that I’ll be having many similar conversations with his sister.

Preparing Kitty For A New Baby

Posted 02-13-2015 at 04:34 PM by Banana Cat


Everyone who has pets before having children may find themselves getting nervous as the day they need to introduce their pet to their new baby grows closer. The good news is that cats and babies can absolutely get along, even if your cat is suddenly angry to find out he or she is no longer the center of your world. There isn’t a way to sit down and tell your cat, “Look, soon, a tiny, screaming primate will move into your territory and it will be unlike anything either of us has ever experienced before,” but making a few preparations beforehand can hopefully smooth the transition for everyone.

Craft Tutorial: Ice Cube Boats

Posted 02-12-2015 at 05:17 PM by Banana Cat


Ok, we live in the Pacific Northwest. There are a lot of rainy days, and granted, our area has an amazing amount of toddler-friendly gyms, museums, and other indoor play places we often take advantage of. But sometimes we (ok, I) don’t feel like loading up the kids and trekking out. Sometimes it feels nice to have an in-home day where we can all lounge around with no shoes and sometimes no pants on…but the kids still want to play with water, maybe even channel summertime a bit. And it’s easy to do this with ice cube boats, and even better, you may even have all the supplies to do this already!



  • Bendy straws
  • Small, freezable cups
  • Paper

Step One


Fill your small, freezable cups with water. Disposable plastic or paper cups should work—we had actually just made cupcakes and I still had all my silicone cupcake cups out, so we used those! Cram the bendy straw into place. I had to trim mine a bit to make it fit.

Time-out 101

Posted 02-10-2015 at 05:54 PM by Agla

Time Out Featured

It doesn’t seem particularly difficult in theory to remove a child from one area and place them in another for a finite length of time. Yet any experienced parent can tell you that time-outs can result in colossal battle of wills that can test the patience of the most kind-hearted. Exhausted, frustrated parents often find themselves wondering if time-outs are even worth it. Despite recent negative media coverage about time-outs, there are many parents that have use time-outs as a parenting tool with good long term success.

There are certain factors that need to be considered before placing your child in time-out.

1. Make sure that the expected behavior is clearly defined and age appropriate.

I once saw a grandmother threaten to punish the one year old in her care for putting his fingers in his mouth. Putting fingers (or most things) in their mouths is appropriate behavior for a very young child. Caregivers and parents put undue stress on themselves when they try to enforce punishment for behaviors that are to be expected and age appropriate.

The Office Hours of Mom

Posted 02-6-2015 at 04:45 PM by Matrivine

Woman No Featured

Lately I have been taking a page out of my pediatrician’s book. Unless it’s an emergency, the office of mommy is closed from ten at night until six in the morning. My hours are better than my pediatrician, but that doesn’t seem to impress my toddler.

But Moms Don’t Have Office Hours!

I know. When I was a child I certainly didn’t think so. As it turns out I was wrong. Even with my mother there were office hours. That was the reason there was a bedtime. Do you ever get frustrated that your children not going to be on time? You are trying not to rip your hair out as they go to the bathroom for the sixteenth time while getting their seventeenth cup of water.

We know that our children need sleep, we know that your schedule will be demolished, and we know that much needed child free time is slipping away. Soon we will have to go to bed ourselves. That is if the bathroom/ drink cycle doesn’t go late into the night. That is if they don’t try to climb in bed with us. Soon, regardless of our beliefs, we find ourselves praying our children will let us get some sleep tonight.


The problem is not that we don’t have an idea of when our office hours are (though we may not call it that), so much as it’s we don’t enforce our office hours. We are moms. It’s in our nature to give our children everything they need. It’s in our nature to teach them the basic skills of life. What doesn’t seem to be in our nature is knowing when enough is enough.

Tutorial: How to Swaddle With an Actual Swaddle

Posted 01-28-2015 at 05:02 PM by Banana Cat


Go down the swaddle aisle at any baby store, and there are countless styles and patterns to choose from—enough for stores to justify dedicating a whole aisle to swaddles.  You never know what your baby will tolerate before they are born, and some kids love certain swaddles and totally hate others. After trying nearly everything on the market between my two kids, I came to the conclusion that the good ol’ fashioned simple square-piece-of-fabric swaddle is the most versatile and easiest to care for. Learning to swaddle the old fashioned way can be a bit tricky at first, especially when you are sleep deprived at 3am, but with a little practice you will be a swaddling pro in no time.


  • A Swaddle
  • A baby

Step One


This swaddle is so big I couldn’t get it in the whole camera frame without becoming Spider-Woman and sticking myself to the ceiling. Just trust me that it’s diamond-shaped.

I Survived Flying With Toddlers, So Can You!

Posted 01-23-2015 at 04:30 PM by Banana Cat

Recently, I flew across the country with two kids for the first time. My husband was with me, but our kids are three and one and often after 8 hours with them I feel a bit insane—and that’s when I have an entire city at my disposal in which to drag them around. Spending several consecutive hours smushed between them, trapped in a narrow metal tube with 150 other people sounded like a very special punishment for all the stupid things I’ve ever done in my entire life.

I was so freaked out about the entire trip that a couple of weeks before I sat down and wrote an item-by-item list of things to pack for every person in our family. It was color coded by person and which piece of luggage each item would be packed in and everything, and if you knew how incredibly unorganized I usually am (once I lost the baby monitor and eventually found it in the refrigerator, because DUH, where else would it have been?), you’d appreciate how much I was stressing out to the point where I’d do something like that. Then I hit up the dollar section of Target and threw whatever looked semi-interesting into my cart. Usually I like quality toys, often wood, and carefully budget for them, and don’t (often) bribe my kids with junk food, but this time I strapped them into the front of the cart and shoved Icees into their hands to distract them from seeing the sheer amount of crap I was tossing in the basket. I am sure every other parent in the store was glaring judgmental daggers at me.


How is it that when you travel, you always feel like you’re bringing way too much and not enough at the same time?

Don’t Apologize For Your Messy Home, Please!

Posted 01-16-2015 at 04:16 PM by Banana Cat

“Come in,” said my neighbor, flashing me a shy smile as she held open the door with some hesitation. Her 9 month old and my then-2 year old and 6 month old were having a playdate. “And, um, I’m so sorry about the mess.”

I looked around as we entered. The floors were swept clean. Her kitchen counter sparkled. A small box of toys sat in the very corner of the room, behind a couch. All the toys were actually in the box. The 9 month old sat in a jumpy seat and looked up at me as she gnawed on a stuffed bunny. She grinned and the bunny fell onto the crumb-less carpet, followed by a trail of drool. My neighbor was in front of her daughter in a flash, wiping the drool up and tossing the bunny back into the toy box. “I didn’t really have time to clean up much this morning,” she apologized again as my two year old ran straight to the toybox, dumping everything out, and my 6 month old promptly spat up onto the floor.


“Play-based learning.” Also known as, “OMG, I was only in the bathroom for TWO MINUTES, where did that paint even come from?!”

Last week, I visited another neighbor, who has a 4 year old and a 20 month old. “Come in,” she said, opening the door, “and, um, I’m so sorry about the mess. We were doing our once-a-month cooking last night and didn’t get a chance to clean everything up and then the kids—well, anyway, you know.”

Homemaker Of The Year Awards I Won’t Be Winning

Posted 01-9-2015 at 01:47 PM by Matrivine

woman cooking

I’m a good mom. I’m a good wife. I try to keep a clean house and even (gasp) decorate. There are a few perfect settings that just don’t fit into my world right now. I’m okay not winning awards in these categories this year.

Best Potty In Show Award

We all know that one woman who has a guest bathroom that looks like a work of art. She has a full set of towels draped gracefully over the towel rack, a basket full of tiny soaps sculpted like sea shells and rolled up wash cloths. If that wasn’t enough she also has reading material on the off chance you get bored looking at the art work on the bathroom wall.

I have a travel size body wash for hand soap, a couple of paper free toilet paper rolls that change places on the floor and, when we are very lucky, a towel hung up to dry our hands so our children won’t wipe their hands on their pajamas. We do have some art on the wall, if you count the crayon mural our two year old was inspired to create for us. Throw potty training into the mix and I definitely won’t be beating this woman.

Secret Backyard Garden Award

You step into this woman’s backyard and around the pool it looks like a little tropical oasis. Or you find an English rose garden fit for a miniature castle. There are little walk ways and stepping stones. There are even beautiful little benches to sit on and enjoy the garden.