First Birthdays And The Older Sibling

Posted 05-28-2015 at 07:55 AM by Matrivine

Your second child is turning one. Congratulations. You want to throw a great party for them and that’s your right as a parent. Your older child ( most likely in their toddler or preschool years) aren’t so sure what that means. How can we make their siblings birthday a special day without making or older child feel left out? Here are a few tips.

Plenty Of People Your Oldest Knows

One of the best ways to keep an older child from feeling left out at your one year old’s birthday party is to have plenty of family and friends around that they know. Even though your little one year old is getting a whole lot of attention, your older child will also have plenty of attention.

Make The Oldest Part Of The Ritual

Have your toddler pass the presents to their younger sibling to unwrap. Let them “help” unwrap some of the bigger items that you know your one year old just isn’t going to be able to tear into.

Let Your Toddler Play With The Presents

Often there are more presents than a one year old can play with at one time. Let your little birthday baby pick a few to play with and then let your older children play nicely with the rest. make it clear these are the one year old’s toys, but also let your child know that sharing goes both ways.

What Is The Oldest Looking Forward To?

If your older child is looking forward to cake on your one year old’s birthday use that to get them excited about the party. If they are looking forward to seeing grandparents, use that to help them look forward to the party. Make sure that they get plenty of time playing with Granny or that favorite uncle, or that they get a nice piece of cake. Older children look forward to the fun of a party, not the birthday baby turning one. That’s a parent thing.


Diaper Swapers

No More Naps

Posted 05-25-2015 at 11:01 AM by Matrivine

It’s finally happened. Your toddler has been put down for their nap. You sit down with a blanket and a good book. Then a shadow crosses the doorway. There stands your defiant toddler. Nap time is over before it began and this is becoming the normal routine. How do you adjust to the lack of nap time in your life?

Quiet Time

Try transforming nap time into quiet time. Your child doesn’t have to be in bed and the bedroom door doesn’t even need to be closed. It’s just a time for them to play quietly in their room. It gives them time away from you, the ability to entertain themselves and you a little peace and quiet. It can also lengthen the time that your child can remain patient. Don’t make quiet time as long a nap time, but forty five minutes to an hour can be beneficial to both you and your child.

Fun Time Afterwards

Quiet time should immediately be followed up by something fun and possibly out doors. It could be blowing bubbles or water play. It could also be going into the kitchen and making a snack with mommy. Use a child friendly recipe so you little one can be a big help in the kitchen. Another thing that you could do is give your child a choice between three activities after quiet time. This give them the opportunity to pick what fun activity to have, but leaves you in control of the choices.

Not A Punishment

Quiet time should never be used as a punishment. This doesn’t teach your child to play quietly or to keep themselves occupied. It teaches them they will be put in their room every time the act up and quiet time should be avoided at all cost. Instead, when putting a child in time out, use a chair the have to sit in rather than their room. Make sure there is a defining difference between timeout and quiet time.

Picking A Park

Posted 05-20-2015 at 09:01 AM by Matrivine

Picking a park used to be as simple as walking down the street to the park closest to you. It’s not quite so easy anymore. There are many other things that need to be considered when picking a park for you and your little one to visit.

Other Children 

One of the first things you want to look at when picking a park to visit with your child is the number of other children there. While you may not want an overcrowded park, you don’t want you child playing there only with you either. Make sure there are plenty opportunities for along side play. You can do this by picking a time after work hours or after school when more parents come out with their children. You can also schedule a park group with like minded friends to ensure that someone is there to play.


You need to make sure that the park area is clean and maintained regularly. This can be done by visiting a park a few times. Check for broken glass, cigarette butts and other debris. Also check for adult materials (used condoms or needles). Many parks are great at first glance, but under more scrutiny are not a place you want your child to hang out at.

Condition Of Equipment

Are the swings broken or unhinged? Is the equipment old? What kind of material will your child be falling on if the should jump out of the swing or go down the slide to quickly? Also consider the bar gaps of the play equipment. I know it sounds silly but you don’t want anyone one’s head stuck between the bars.

Partially Enclosed

You want the park to be a t least partially closed off from the parking lot. It keeps kids from running out in traffic. It also corrals them a little and makes it easier for you to keep track of them.


Dealing With The Violent Tendencies Of Toddlers

Posted 05-18-2015 at 07:53 AM by Matrivine

We would all like to say that our children would never do that. My child would never bite, hit, scratch or kick someone. If they did it was in self defense and the other child must have done something to instigate it. It’s sad when we are faced with the reality that’s just not true.

Toddlers can be violent. I know from experience. My little one went through a phase where he seemed to want to knock my teeth out with the back of his head whenever he didn’t get his way. How do we deal toddler tantrums and nip that tendency for physical violence in the bud?

More Violence Is Not The Answer

In many countries corporeal punishment for children is outlawed. In many states in the US the same applies, and the number is growing. Whether you believe that spankings or hand slaps are a proper form of punishment or not, you have to acknowledge that this way of punishment will soon not be accepted by our society.

It’s just as well. It’s incredibly difficult to teach children the value of not behaving violently by behaving violently towards them. The only thing that teaches our children, is that violence is not acceptable until you are big enough to get away with it. They may obey you for now (for fear of physical retaliation) but they will start testing that line again when they are old enough. Not only that, they may incorporate it into their parenting style later in life.

The answer is not getting our way by acting in the way we are telling our children is not acceptable.

What Then?

There are many ways to get through to a child without the use of physical punishment. There are time outs, taking toys away, or removing them from a fun situation. Insist on apologies when a child does something wrong. Take away television, internet or device privileges.

Set rules and limits as well as consequences and post them in a place your child will see often. Make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page and work together. Together follow through with the consequences. Remain calm as you explain to your child why they are being punished, even when the child is having a melt down over the consequences of their actions.

When all else fails call in the professionals. I don’t mean your parents. Talk to your pediatrician about tactics to use with your child.

This will take a great deal of patience and, most likely longer to get through to your child, but it will be worth it.

When Toddler’s Help

Posted 05-13-2015 at 11:28 AM by Matrivine

We all love it when our little one displays any evidence of becoming an upstanding citizen… Well, mostly. Toddler’s have a way of helping, and sometimes not in the best ways. They break things, spill things, and make huge messes all in the name of helping. How do you help your little helper become less of a disaster and more the hard working little person they want to be?

Points For Trying

Little ones should be complimented on the things they are trying to do right. Did they help put the laundry away (in all the wrong bedrooms and drawers)? Compliment them on helping with the laundry and teach them the proper places for the laundry to go. You can also compromise your routine to make helping easier. For example have then carry the socks to a family member’s room and place them on the bed, even if previously you have put the socks into a drawer yourself. This way your little one has something to help with that comes with simple requests.

Smaller Jobs

Little ones are okay doing a different job to help out when you make a big deal about it. They may come in ready to help cut vegetables for dinner, but when asked to stir the salad until the ingredients look really mixed they can puff out their little chests and do that instead. Be sure to lather on the gratitude for helping you and the praise at dinner time. Little ones love to know their help was well received.

Say An Age Limit

There may be a certain activity that your little one is really excited about helping you with. The only problem is that they aren’t old enough and it’s not a safe job. Instead of telling them that they can’t help, tell them they can when they reach whatever age you deem appropriate for that activity. For example, if  my toddler wants to help me pull things out of the oven, I tell him he can when he’s five, but for now he can get me the pot holders out of the drawer.



Fashion Observations From A Three Year Old Boy

Posted 05-11-2015 at 07:56 AM by Matrivine

My little son and I had a conversation about clothing the other day as I was picking out my outfit for the day. I learned a lot about his point of view when it comes to clothing, make up and the purpose of wearing clothes. Here are a few of the the things he told me ( cleaned up and clarified).

Make Up Is Stupid

Mommy  was in the bathroom putting stuff on her face. It takes time and she’s worried about getting it just right. The problem is she’s also trying to look like the stuff isn’t on her face and I really don’t see the point. Why put it on at all if you want to look like your wearing it? Now I’m all for the dramatic look accomplished by smearing the lip stick across your face, but if you just wearing it to wear it, don’t bother.


Mommy should wear flowers. They need to be bright colorful flowers. It needs to be flowers because flowers always smell good. Oddly the flowers on your shirt smell like your perfume. It makes sense since I think perfume comes from flowers.


If you aren’t going to wear flowers you need to wear something equally pretty and colorful (because you’re a girl, and regardless that you have taught me color has nothing to do with gender, I still think mommy is prettier in color) like butterflies.


You will notice that I like to rub your back. That’s because I like the various ways your clothes feel. I like when you wear soft velvet like clothing in the winter months. It’s like petting a rabbit when I pat your arm. In the cooler months you wear rayon. It feels smooth like I imagine a snake would feel. That was a compliment.

Stop Matching

The object of getting dressed is not to wear the same color together. It is to get as many colors into your outfit as possible. This can be done with mismatched socks and bright neon prints. If you also want to throw in a Ninja Turtle or a super hero (Hello Kitty counts) you can’t go wrong.


Mommy… What happened?

You Know You’re a Mom When…

Posted 05-8-2015 at 12:19 PM by Matrivine

Mom painting with child

The art of Motherhood seems to be a thankless job (unless, of course, you threaten to make your spouse do it for a week) but there are some moments that define the job. In fact it isn’t likely to happen anywhere else, except in the work place of mom. You just have to laugh and chalk it up to motherhood.

You know you’re a mom when:

– You yell “Don’t put the dog’s tail in your mouth!” in a public place.

– Your toddler is following so closely that when you stop they bounce off your backside and into a wall.

– Part of your laundry system involves disassembling a car seat, washing the cover, and reassembling it again. If you have more than one child you can do each car seat assemble in about five minutes.

– You wake up at 5am without setting an alarm clock.  You also wake up to little eyes and a teddy bear staring at you from the side of the bed.

– Part of your toilet routine is attacking the little fingers that appear under the closed door.

– You still feel anxiety and guilt coupled with exasperation for closing the bathroom door.

To Post or Not To Post: Bad Parenting In Social Media

Posted 05-7-2015 at 05:31 PM by Matrivine

child with laptop and mobile phone

There are a thousands of cute little memes and articles floating around on our social sites. There are also some very disturbing videos and pictures, and some of them involve the interactions between a parent and a child. With these clips of parents and their children comes a number of questions we are asking ourselves.

Why Would We Want To Pass This Stuff On Anyway?

Most of us have no desire to watch other people be bad parents, not to mention pass these videos on to our friends. So why do some of us choose to? Mainly because we a scared of what may happen when we don’t. We don’t want a little one to be harmed by their parent either in neglect or physical abuse. A first response for us may be to protect the child by posting. We hope that by posting we will create awareness and bring the parent to justice.

On The Other Hand…

We may find ourselves pausing with a finger hovering over that send button. What if this is what the parent in question wants? Is this a way to get attention for them? Are they trying to rack up Youtube views by producing something scandalous.

Looking Back At My Parenting Style Before Children

Posted 05-4-2015 at 09:09 AM by Matrivine


Do you know who can be the most critical of parenting? People who don’t have children. I’m sorry to say that I was no different. I would look at parents struggling with their children in private and public places. I would analyze their parenting style. And then I would wander off to future land where I would deal with my children in a more productive, less damaging and much more selfless way.

Yeah… I miss thinking I was going to revolutionize the art of parenting.  Now I’m a real parent to real children and much to my surprise I remember all those moments of judgement. While ashamed of my judgmental point of view, I’m glad I was paying attention. I needed some of the lessons these parents taught me.

I’m Crazy Because I Love Them

Posted 05-1-2015 at 12:59 PM by Matrivine

worried mom

I taught my child a new word yesterday, and it wasn’t a good one. While I do my best to keep such words to myself there are times that they come out anyway. Yesterday he brought me a bottle of medicine (which had been stored too high for him to get to) and opened it right in front of me (even though it was “child proof”). The word slipped out and my child regarded me with a skeptical eye. “Mommy say a bad word?”

“Yes,” I answered. “Mommy said a bad word.” He let it go because I had told the truth, but still he had the look of mommy is crazy in his expression.

I’m Crazy With Worry

The truth is I can’t let worry go when it comes to my babies. It’s severe. It comes from mommy imagination. Like what happened yesterday, except while I’m in the bathroom. I imagine chairs being dragged to a counter and used for climbing. He could fall. He could break his arm/leg/neck. I imagine the contents of the upper shelves. He could get into cleaning solutions/ medicines/sharp objects. I can see in my mind’s eye the end result very clearly. At times it has made me cry before I remember I’m just imagining and resolve to take all steps possible to prevent it.