Posts By: Julie Cole

Not on my watch Waterboy!

I avoid behavior issues by keeping my kids on the ice!

Last week I had to step out of the arena during one of my daughter’s hockey games to take a phone call. As I was talking on the phone, I noticed a kid had plugged the indoor water fountain and was allowing water to spill over onto the floor. He was also spraying the water from the spout causing a tsunami like effect which also wet the floor.

There were about a dozen adults sitting in the lobby watching this go down. Clearly, none of them were his parents. As I was trying to wrap up my call, I looked at each one expecting someone to intervene and put a stop to Destructo-Boy. They all just looked blankly at me and did nothing. Water was everywhere and they just sat there like nothing was happening.

I cut my call short and immediately said, “Hey kid, cut that out – you’re making a mess.” Then he looked at me and said: “I don’t have to. You’re not my mom.”

Well, I must have shot him the look that only my kids can tell you about. Within a few minutes I had him on the floor with paper towels wiping up the water mess he made. I praised him for doing such a good job then went back to watch my daughter’s hockey game.

Clearly there are a few issues with this situation:

  • Where were the parents? While this is an issue that bothers many people, I actually don’t mind seeing kids wandering around unsupervised. But, if parents are going to let this happen, they had better be prepared to allow other parents to step in and address their child’s behavior with their own discipline technique or arrange for child care if they can’t supervise.
  • Why didn’t any of the other parents shut it down? What were they afraid of? Were they afraid that the kid would say, “You’re not my mom” and they would have no response? Or were they afraid he’d go running to his parents and get an earful for “parenting” their child?
  • I have to say, I was in complete shock when he spoke those words to me. Of all the children in my life – friends, neighbours, cousins, nieces, nephews – no one has ever said that to me. When I told my kids the story about my little water loving friend, their eyes all bugged out in disbelief that a kid would say that to an adult. They all wished they had been there to see my face.

How do you feel about dealing with other people’s kids? Am I the only one who expects you all to give my kids a swift kick in the butt if they are misbehaving? Heck, I count on you for parenting help. Would you have stepped in or left it to the parents to deal with?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

Mean Girls: Sexist Stereotype or Reality?

My gals live in a drama-free zone!

We’ve all heard the term “mean girls.” It refers to the notion that tween and teen girls are exclusively and irrationally mean to one another. A notion so popular that it was made into a movie, which was so popular they followed it up the sequel, Mean girls 2. Personally, I find the term bothersome – though any generalization, particularly when it targets young women, makes me twitchy.

Sure, I’ve heard some girl bullying stories and I know that friendship, emotions, social lives and defining one’s place in the world are all complicated issues for young people. As they develop into tweens, then teens, it’s no longer about making friendship bracelets for one another and fawning over their pop idol. Sometimes along the journey, kids find themselves acting in a way that might not reflect the kind of person they will be once they mature.

Honestly, with three girls ages 9, 12 and 13, I have had no personal experience with “mean girl” situations. None have them have had any friendship drama, issues with exclusivity, cyber bullying, or experienced general “mean girl” attitudes from their friends and peers about a girls clothing or status.

I tried to reflect on why maybe we’ve been able to avoid this drama that we hear and read so much about.

 

  • Role modeling. My girls don’t see me act petty or gossip about people. I don’t speak badly of my friends or other women. I try to role model good behavior.
  • Resilience. I find that if my girls have a problem with a kid, they tell that kid and move on without holding a grudge. Perhaps that is a result of being a part of a big family. We HAVE to deal with our issues and move on in our family or we couldn’t function otherwise. With so many people in one household and so many personalities there is too much room for conflict. Perhaps my girls have generalized that skill with their social groups outside of the home. I’ve also noticed that if a kid is being a goof, my daughters are not desperate to gain that kid’s acceptance or approval. They simply move on to their other friends. They don’t try to hang out with kids who don’t want to hang out with them.
  • If my girls do tell me about a child at school who is not acting kindly to others, I remind them that something is likely going on with that kid or their parents, at home or otherwise, that is making them feel vulnerable and insecure. Their behaviour may be reflecting that. We need to be patient, but also speak out and self-advocate.

I’m pretty sure there are many mothers out there doing these same things, yet have kids who seem to attract drama and conflict in their social situations. Is the mean girl phenomenon one of many stereotypes or has this been a real issue in your family? What has been your experience and what lessons do you have for how to deal with mean people?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

A Floor that makes “Cents”?

About a dozen years ago, my siblings talked me into buying a cottage with them. It has worked out great – we share the cost and the work among the four of us, and the property gets a lot of use! On the rare occasion we’re all there at the same time, it makes for eight adults and 12 kids enjoying all the good stuff cottage country has to offer.

Now, I’m not one to blog about home renovation or crafts, because I’m just not very “crafty” or “house-y”. But, I have a sister who is and she recently completed a DIY project at our cottage that is so fabulous and worth sharing.

IN HER WORDS:

Since the penny was being discontinued last year, I wanted to pay it homage with a special DIY home décor project. Our not-so-special bathroom  seemed like the perfect spot where the penny could live in our consciousness long after its demise.

What’s needed?

  • An ugly floor*, preferably vinyl or laminate flooring and small, depending on your commitment to this project
  • Wax stripper
  • Floor cleaner
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • Pennies, but if you’ve got deep pockets, loonies would be cool
  • Polyurethane cuz it’s a hard finish
  • A Sealer – I used BeautiTone Epoxy Clear Coat 2 part Sealer

*pennies also stick to pretty floors

 

How I did it

  • We started with a vinyl floor that was in pretty good shape so I didn’t have to remove it.
  • I stripped it of wax and gave it a good washing. 
  • I then painted it with a flat black paint, but you can use whatever colour you want to show through. 
  • I used Weldbond glue to adhere the pennies to the floor, but any good glue would work – don’t go with the super expensive stuff -  it really isn’t necessary since you’ll be sealing the whole thing down anyway.  The Weldbond was good because it didn’t dry immediately so I was able to fix any oopsies, but once it dried the pennies really stayed put.  Put a small dot in the middle of the penny.
  • If you’re fastidious, the trickiest part is laying that first line of pennies down.  Since it was a cottage, I wasn’t really fussed about the straight lines, and would be putting down quarter round to cover up the rough edges anyway.  If you start off with a straight wall, you’re laughing.  If not, you’ll have to draw a straight line on the floor.  At some point you’re going to have to temporarily remove the toilet in order to get a smooth look to the pennies around it.  Our toilet was raised a couple of millimeters so I was able to slide them under it.
  • Once that first line is down, it’s just a matter of continuing from there. 
  • As far as colour goes, you can wash all your pennies through various means: vinegar & salt, lemon, baking soda, coca cola, etc. to get a nice shine, or just live with their current patina.
  • You can create designs based on the colours of the pennies, but I just laid them down as they came to me.  Some were vandalized, painted red or white, they went down.  Some came from our friendly neighbours to the South, they went down.  We have Irish roots plus English and Australian relations, those pennies, though different sizes, made it into the corners of the floor.  We’ve got Queen Elizabeth from when she was a girl to her current state of being.  We’ve got King Edward.  We’ve got Maple Leafs and Rock Doves (yup, pigeons).  We’ve got a row of pennies representing each child with the year of their birth, tails up.  No matter what you do, it’s bound to be beautiful.
  • Once the pennies were all down, I covered them with a coat of high gloss polyurethane to make it hard and shiny.
  • Then the epoxy sealer.

Staying down there on the floor was hard on the back, but since it was the cottage I did it over the course of a week and took lots of breaks…trickier to do this on a floor that you use every day.  

Just make sure you let each stage thoroughly dry, (which I didn’t mind, because I did my waiting down on the beach.)

 

And there you have it! A floor that makes a lot of “cents”!  So what do you think? Are you ready to beg, borrow and steal pennies to create this thing of beauty in your home? What’s your favourite DIY or home décor project?

Because my sister is not only crafty, but a little crazy – her next “paying homage” DIY project involves a “Good-bye Letterman Clock”. I’ll let you know how that one turns out!

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