Helping Little Ones Meet Milestones

Posted 03-4-2015 at 06:06 PM by Matrivine

Reading to children as a family

Our children meeting developmental milestones is a big concern for many parents. We notice other people’s children progressing at a faster or slower rate and often judge how our children should be progressing based on that. We know that each child progresses differently. Some are advanced in motor skills. Others have excelled in language skills. We often see in other children the skills that we worry about our child doesn’t seem focused on.

Wellness Visits

The best way to know for us to know if our children are progress developmentally is to keep up with the wellness visits with our pediatrician. These visits help measure the mental growth our toddlers are experiencing. It’s nice to hear a pediatrician tell us that our worries are unfounded. Sometimes, however, worries aren’t unfounded and need to be addressed quickly with tools such as speech therapy or a hearing test.

During the visit our pediatrician usually gives us a sheet with all the upcoming milestone in our little one’s life. It give us the opportunity to work with our children with a goal in sight.

Diaper Swapers

Upgrading For Toddler Safety

Posted 02-27-2015 at 03:39 PM by Matrivine

toddler climbing

The arrival of the toddler years bring a whole new set of firsts. Those firsts can bring with them a whole new set of safety issues. Child proofing your home is no longer enough to keep a toddler safe, and they find danger in some of the strangest places.

Higher Than Out Of Reach

Toddlers climb, so we need to take another look at where dangerous items are in our homes. For me it was our medicine cabinet. I found my toddler trying to climb the bathroom sink to get to all the goodies that he hadn’t been able to get to before. Now all our medication is on the top shelf of our kitchen cabinets and our medicine cabinet is almost empty.

Secure Furniture

Speaking of toddlers climbing, it is absolutely essential to anchor any furniture they may climb so it won’t topple over on them, which is generally a life threatening injury that only takes a second to happen. Shelves, dressers, TVs, etc., anything tall or unsteady needs to be secured to a wall.

Discipline and The Public

Posted 02-27-2015 at 03:21 PM by Matrivine


It’s unavoidable. Children need discipline and most communities don’t agree how that should happen. Society has raised eyebrows at spanking (barbaric) or proclaimed the futility of a time out (they will just play in their room). With the joy of social media, however, another player has entered the arena of child discipline. Unfortunately that player comes in the form of public shaming.


Public humiliation is not a recent form of discipline. It has been used as a form of punishment for centuries. People have been put in stocks, spanked in public schools, put on public display for adultery, and publicly hung by the neck. Some cultures or religions may not go through a huge public display of public shaming. Instead the entire community will ignore, shun, and turn there backs to the one they perceive at fault.


Public shaming has been once again become a source of public entertainment. People shame their pets with signs about the bad behavior the exhibit. The public laughs because we have been there with our own pets and it is kind of funny.

The public shaming of bad children was the next natural step. There are texts, tweets, and posts about the bad behavior of our children. People post pictures of discipline hair cuts and their toddlers holding signs discussing their bathroom learning process. Is this something that is funny? Even if it does get a laugh out of us is it something we should promote?

Tips For Grocery Shopping With Toddlers

Posted 02-26-2015 at 06:04 PM by Banana Cat

Costco is good for cheap treats. Also, the kids never finish them so I get to munch on the leftovers during their naptimes. Score. Also we only go to Costco like twice a month so don’t think they live on a diet of churros and ice cream every day. Sometimes they have pizza too. 

I used to like grocery shopping. I would spend more time than I should wandering the aisles, thinking up dozens of fancy, tasty plates to make for the week’s dinners and what new fancy coffee my husband and I should try for our special Saturday breakfasts.

Now, with two young, mobile children, going to the grocery store is basically the very last thing I ever want to do with kids in tow. However, and this is NOT to brag, I’ve had multiple people come up to me and congratulate me on how well-behaved my children are in the grocery store. This befuddles me every time, because these compliments usually come at the rare moments between the kids screaming to get down, or get up, or for juice or cookies, or “ICE CREAM NOW MOMMY NOW WAHHHH” and I’m always like, “Did you seriously not hear my kids five seconds ago, because I’m sure they could be heard in the next town over?” After some thought, I do realize that while I wouldn’t say every grocery trip comes smoothly, we’ve gotten to the point where I don’t feel like picking up a keg on the way out to self-medicate from the trauma. Here are a few tips that have worked for us.

Toddler Snack Tray Ideas

Posted 02-18-2015 at 03:56 PM by Banana Cat

Toddler Snacks Featured

I mean, not to brag or anything, but my daughter used to eat everything.

And do I mean EVERYTHING. Pickles? Steak? Mango? Yes. She’d eat half a bag of steamed green beans for dinner. Her favorite food for the longest time was pickled ginger, something that even me with my Asian taste buds could only eat in tiny bites, but she scarfed it down by the spoonful. I was super proud of my amazing kid. Chicken nuggets and French fries never saw the inside of our kitchen.

And then one day—she didn’t eat everything. It was like the universe knew how smug I secretly felt about my Kid Who Ate Everything, and overnight turned her into the pickiest eater on earth. Mealtimes started becoming battles, and I didn’t want to be battling with my toddler over food.

Enter: The snack tray.

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?

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.