Making Friends on a Saturday Morning. Quick and Easy Pancakes

When our little guy woke up on Saturday we asked the questions we always ask.

Me: “Did you have a good sleep?”
Him: “Yes”
Me: “What did you dream about?”
Him: “Pancakes”
Me: “What?”
Him: “Pancakes”

Challenge accepted. Here’s the recipe I used. It was quick, easy, didn’t make too many and clearly idiot proof as I pulled it off.

Ingredients:
In one container, whisk:
    A couple tablespoons of sugar.
    1.5 cups of milk.
    A couple teaspoons of lemon juice (I used Reallemon…)
Then mix in:
    1 egg (I was told room temperature. No idea what difference that makes).
    About a tablespoon of melted butter.

In a second container, whisk together:
    1.5 cups of flour (I used white as I didn’t have any of the ‘healthy’ stuff.
    1 teaspoon baking soda.
    Around 2 teaspoons baking powder.
    A pinch of salt.

Pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff and mix with a fork. It’s ok for it to be a bit chunky.

Now spoon its out onto a pre-heated (i keep it on medium to medium-low to avoid burning) greased heavy frying pan and cook. Flip them when you see bubbles bursting on the pancake’s upper surface.

Done!
By the way, our son prefers his with either almond butter or guava jelly.

Blast Off! Let The Terrible Twos Begin

Our son has decided that he’s not going to listen to us anymore. Well timed given that he turned two a little over a week ago. He’s now got either this scowl, or a blank stare for those times that we’ve caught up to him and are explaining the need to listen to mom & dad and respond appropriately. Good times.

Some recent examples:

Walking home from daycare and he suddenly runs toward the intersection. As we state, “Slow down please” and eventually “Stop” over and over, instead of slowing down as he once did, he continues head down into the street… or he would have had we not physically prevented him from doing so.

Time for bed. Notsomuch. Conveniently chooses to not hear us and continue playing with his toys (admittedly this one isn’t so new).

Going down stairs to bed. Where before he happily reversed down the stairs, for some reason he has a desire to proceed down forward on his bum. While in itself this might not be so bad, it is paired with his apparent inability to understand that he can fall easily from great heights.

And on and on it goes. Time to sit down with our daycare provider for some coaching.

Wrap these up in a couple of the better temper tantrums we’ve seen in his two years and there you have it.

Favorite Book Picks For Our 2 Year Old

So we just hit the big two years and man, as we looked back through some of our old photos and video it’s remarkable what has transpired in 24 short months. The size of our toddler’s vocabulary, range of interests and general behavior is mind blowing.

We chalk much of the advancement to his daycare provider and her approach to childcare, as well as the fact that he’s in a daycare environment that consists of only 5 children and so brings consistency and the ability for her to provide close attention to the children. Additionally, there is a range of ages so the younger ones have opportunity to learn from the older ones.

Despite the amount of change, there are also many themes, or areas of consistency. Some, such as our toddler’s infatuation with vehicles, in particular emergency vehicles and garbage trucks persist and are unlikely to disappear from what I see of other children. In the case of books he seems to churn through some, but maintain a love for others. Those children’s that have shown particular staying power are:

Baby Beluga (Raffi Songs to Read) by Raffi.
For a long time this book was a mandatory read, or rather ‘sing’ before bed. Even today if our toddler’s not quite ready for sleep we can hear him singing his version of Raffi’s Baby Beluga over the monitor from his crib. A classic.

Super Duck by Jez Alborough.
This one was new to me, and was given to us by my mother-in-law. Initially skeptical, I soon started to recommend it to friends given how quickly our little one took to it, starting to memorize the lines. This was made easier by the consistent cadence and rhyming used by the author, Jez Alborough. While a short book, this is a fun read and definitely a favorite.

Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough.
The second book we have from author Jez Alborough is also a hit. Like Super Duck this one makes use of rhyming and fun pictures to bring your child along on the ride. Good fun. There appear to be numerous other Jez Alborough books available, and while I think we’ll buy a few of them, I will have to update this list if they prove as popular as these first two.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.
This book has been much-copied with variants like Good Night Canada, Good Night World
and other books in the Good Night Our World Series series. Very simple, easy to follow and easy to participate this one was a particular favorite in the 1 year through about 18 month period. It’s since been displaced a bit by some of the books above, but still features periodically in our night time routine.

The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton.
Another one that’s slowly falling off in favor of the Super Duck and Tuck in the Truck books, The Going to Bed Book featured prominently until recently. There wasn’t as much memorization that flowed here relative to say, Good Night Moon, but our toddler found humor in the illustrations, as well as the bedtime theme of the volume.

That’s it for now. I’ll aim to provide some additional top picks in the future as our library shifts with our little one’s development. Would love to hear if folks have other books their children particularly liked at this, or any age.

Sippy Cups No More. Bring Forth The Little Bites Silicone Tumblers.

At the time of this writing our little guy is almost 2 and until recently we’ve been giving him his drinks in various sippy cups. Stainless steel pop top bottle for water and a squat sippy cup for his morning shakes. At one point a couple weeks ago I realized we hadn’t even tried him with a traditional cup and so decided to give it a shot. Not a drop spilled. My primary concern was that I could hear is teeth against the side of the test cup.

That afternoon I used my lunch to walk down to a local children’s store and see what they had in the way of cups. After chatting with them I settled on the Kinderville Little Bites Cups which came in a four-pack colored, somewhat squat, soft silicone cups with a fairly heavy base to prevent them from tipping. He loved them and has hardly spilled a drop since starting to use them. I’m now thinking of getting another set to keep at Grandma’s as well. The price seemed a bit high, but I see that they’re currently discounted on Amazon to about 50% of what I paid at the local shop.

I’ve since gone back and picked up a matched set of Kinderville Little Bites Stackable Bowls and we’ve moved entirely from his old, hard plastic plates and bowls to these new ones which do a much better job of preventing spills. Again, these are soft, silicone and have a pretty heavy base which allows them to stick in place on his highchair table and not move around as he attempts to scoop up his food. As with the cups, Amazon seems to be discounting them pretty significantly, at least compared to the price here locally in Canada.

My only issue with the plate set is that the red plate/bowl doesn’t match the red of the cup. The cup is a traditional red while the plate is more of a burnt red shade. The other colours, yellow, green and blue are properly matched between the cup and bowl sets. Not a big deal, but wanted to call that out as I found it odd that they weren’t matched.

Finally, both the cups and the bowls are microwave and dish washer safe. It was suggested to me that I only place them on the top rack however.

Toddler Birthday Grab Bag Irritation

So we have a toddler birthday coming up in a few days and while we’re in pretty good shape at this point I’m trying to steel myself against the irritation that’s starting to creep up on me.

Why?

No good reason probably, but I’ve always thought that the huge theme birthdays or massive bouncy castle rentals are overkill for very young kids. I’d rather put the money towards an education fund or daycare or something than toward trying to out do the last birthday. So far so good. No toddler birthday themes for us this time around. No bouncy castles or ball pits scheduled to arrive hours before. In fact I think we’re doing pretty well.

– Renting a local ‘neighbourhood house’ to host the event. The cost is extremely reasonable and the place is fully equipped with a kitchen for food prep, downstairs full of toys and a gated, fenced yard with climbers, sand box and various other toys.
– Providing food ourselves. From drinks to fruit, to finger foods to cupcakes etc it looks like we’ll be able to do this on our own, though we haven’t settled on the cake.
– Toys and entertainment – see above as the location we’ve rented is stocked with a massive number of toys for boys and girls of various ages.
– Schedule. Keeping it brief. Two hours with an expectation that folks will trickle in and out over time. No expectations.
– Grab bags. Gah! This is where I get irritated.

When I was a kid you could go into a convenience store and they would sell ‘grab bags’ or ‘loot bags’ or whatever you choose to call them. Now I couldn’t even find the bags for sale at the local toy stores. I went into a drug store across the road and they’re charging $4 for the bags alone… EACH! As for the contents, dinosaur or smurf action figures apparently cost $9.99 each!?!? A single Thomas train costs $18.99?!?! A small book of stickers costs $5.99!??! Across 16-20 kids I’m now expecting it to be $100-$150 for grab bags full of crap. Tiny Play-Doh containers, cheap sheets of stickers, tiny containers of bubble soap, rubber bouncy balls etc. Few items that will be used, most will end up polluting landfills.

It would be awesome if someone would revisit the ‘grab bag’ idea and provide recyclable, compostable, safe, useful, enjoyable items at a reasonable price. Even if that last requirement couldn’t be met I’d much rather spend MORE for something that wouldn’t go to waste and not have to hunt and search myself. Colour me lazy. Meh. Irritated by toddler birthday grab bags.