Posts Categorized: Julie Cole

Three’s Company

There have been studies that indicate that three children is the most stressful number of kiddos to have.

Three is no easy feat. As the picture shows, I had my hands very full back when I had only half the number of kids that I have now. As you can see, I’m sitting in my yard, looking happy but a bit tired and maybe like I could use a good meal. That time was a bit of a blur – new baby, a toddler with a broken arm, and a bigger toddler smack dab in the middle of getting an autism diagnosis. Those were trying times.

Despite those trying times, I went on to have three more kids. I guess it goes to show that there’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to having kids. So, what makes a parent think they’re ready to go on and have another baby?

There are so many factors in determining how easy or difficult it will be to add another to the family.  The three biggest factors for me included:

1)      How close in age the kids are. Packing them in tight is my preference but it means several consecutive years of diaper changing and night time feeds. Although the years seem to zoom by, trying to get through a day with children after having only a couple hours of sleep can drive a mama towards the edge.

2)      Is there a bigger health or developmental issue to be dealt with? Raising babies is tough enough. Imagine having to go to appointment after appointment, sitting in waiting rooms, having your baby poked and prodded, living in fear of what is going on – all this while possibly dragging small siblings along to all of these appointments.

3)      What is the child’s personality? I’ve often seen first time parents experience the joy and pleasure of a settled and uncomplicated baby. I’ve seen these babies develop into sensible and fairly unadventurous toddlers. Parents of these children take great pride in their parenting savvy, wondering why all parents don’t have the mad parenting skills they have. Then the most amazing thing happens – they have a second child and are faced with the shocking reality that not all kids are the same. Not all the same strategies and tactics work for each of them the same way. I hope it’s not wrong to say that I get a bit of pleasure watching these parents tumble off their parenting high horses when they realize that some little personalities are more difficult to manage than others.

What helped you decide you were ready for another one? Do you have children with very different personalities, making you have to parent each one very differently?


About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. Happy Hockey season – grab your Hockey Label Combo today!

My Santa is better than your Santa.

What's on your kids' list?

There is one big problem with the awesome and much adored Santa. Mainly, that he is fictional. This becomes problematic because it means every family has a different Santa, which causes consistency issues.

We’ve all run into this problem with the Tooth Fairy as well. I know a kid who gets $20.00 for every lost tooth. Short of banning said kid from my home, I had to do some expectation management with my little tooth losers. Unlike their friend, they would not be able to save enough Tooth Fairy money to buy a laptop. With six kids, dishing out that kind of coin for pearly whites would require a house remortgage. I tell them that I’ve got a deal with the Tooth Fairy – she knows I don’t think it’s appropriate to deliver more than a few coins so she honors and respects that.

The same can be said for Santa.

Did the kids down the street get a puppy from Santa last year? Did the cousins all find laptops and iPads under the tree? And lucky you – now some of these big ticket items have turned up on your kids’ lists, too.

Around here, my kids know that mama has final approval on all lists before they go off to the jolly guy. Kids may attempt to sneak a secret list past me, but I’ve got that system beat.  My kiddos know that I always consult with Santa before present delivery day and Santa always respects a parent’s wishes.

So, if you don’t think electronics, live animals, or trips to Disney are appropriate gifts from Santa for your little ones, tell them so. Remind them about the Christmas spirit and help them form a list that is more reasonable and affordable. I’d avoid telling them that the elves don’t make electronics or other items because undoubtedly they’ll have a friend who gets the very thing you say the elves don’t make.

Have you had some unreasonable requests from your kids or perhaps some unfortunate Santa precedent set by other families? How have you dealt with it?


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. Happy Hockey season – grab your Hockey Label Combo today!

Birthday Party Politics – How to Avoid That “Left Out” Feeling.

Sass birthday party

Kiddo birthday parties are a landmine.

Throwing a kids’ birthday party is high-risk behavior in the department of offending or excluding people. Clearly, no one intends to exclude kids from birthday party fun, but unless your party planning involves inviting every cousin, classmate and neighbour, there is no way around it.

If you are looking for ways to avoid that sinking feeling you get from leaving a child out, here are a few easy ways to try to prevent it:

  • Don’t send paper invitations to class. I e-mail the parents of the children coming to my kids’ birthday parties. If I don’t have an e-mail address, I send a note into the school to go home with the child simply asking the parent to contact me.
  • Back-up plan: Invite everyone. If you want to send paper invitations, probably best you plan for a big party and invite the whole crew.
  • Have a talk about not talking. Talk to your children about not discussing their birthday party outside of the actual party. No child wants to go to school on Monday to hear all the kids talking about a party that they were not at. It’s fine to have this discussion with little party-goers as well.  Remind them how they would feel – it’s a good lesson in empathy.
  • Help your kids understand. Let your children know that not everyone can go to every party. This helps them realize that it’s not personal if/when they end up as the excluded kid. Not getting an invitation doesn’t necessarily reflect the friendship – it most likely has to do with the size of party the parent has planned. Often when one of my kids is invited to a party, the parents feel obliged to invite some siblings as well. I remind the parent (and my kids) that it’s not necessary – everyone gets their turn in their own time. It’s a good lesson to learn early in life.
  • Mind the Facebook sharing. If you’re going to post birthday party pictures on Facebook, remember that some of your Facebook friends may have children who didn’t get invited to that party. While the rational mind knows that it’s no big deal, it can sting a Mama’s heart to think her little darling was not taking part in the celebration.

Keeping the politics out of parties helps to make the day a success for parents as well as kids. Have you encountered any birthday party politics since becoming a parent?  How did you deal with it?


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. Happy Hockey season – grab your Hockey Label Combo today!

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