How can our first-born be turning 18 already?

As our daughter’s birthday quickly approached, my husband and I have been wondering for the past few weeks, Can she really be 18 already? It really doesn’t seem like THAT long ago when we were taking her to the library for story-time and pushing her on the swings. Now, she’s borrowing the car, holding down a part-time job and graduating from high school.

How do you celebrate your child officially entering adulthood? What are the best gifts for teenage girls? My husband and I batted around birthday gift ideas for her. We thought about a mother/daughter trip or jewellery. We wanted something special to mark the occasion. We kept prying for ideas and asking her how she wanted to celebrate. She was really no help, until a few days before her birthday when she texted me that she knew what she wanted for her birthday. A tattoo. Yikes.

Not really being into tattoos myself, (read “From Catastrophe to Connection”), I reacted immediately with a, “Hmm…what ELSE do you think you’d like?” and tried hard to think of ANY other teen birthday ideas that might be the perfect gift.

On the morning of her birthday, I filled a special jar labeled, “18 Random Things About You,” with little slips of paper with all the amazing and quirky things that we love about her. She read each one and then lined all the pieces of paper up and took a picture of them. I wrote my traditional birthday letter to her recounting the previous year and marveling at what an incredible person she was growing up to be. We made plans for a special dinner out. My husband made the card below and handed her the key to the Mustang convertible to drive all day. She squealed with excitement, immediately got dressed, and headed out to visit friends and drive around town in the shiny red convertible.

And what about the tattoo?

As an official adult, she didn’t need our permission to get a tattoo. Knowing that she would be getting one anyway, we gave her a card printed with the lyrics to a Beatle song that my husband and I had at our wedding, along with some money tucked in for her tattoo. She made the appointment and a few days later got a tattoo that read, “In My Life” the same Beatles song from our wedding, something that she’d dreamt about getting for years. I hope she loves it forever and that when she glances down at it, knows how much she means in OUR lives and that we love her with all our hearts.

What’s the best birthday gift you’ve ever given one of your children? Do you have any special birthday traditions?

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

How To Tell Kids They’re Not Getting What They Want With Positive Discipline

How do you say no to these faces?

I have a busy house full of my kids, their friends, neighbourhood kids, and an assorted number of random drop-ins. I’d rather not sound like the meanest mommy on the block, so I have a few key phrases that allow me to say “NO WAY” to my kids, without using those exact words. Here are a few of my favourites:

“Asked and Answered”

You know that annoying habit kids have of asking you the same thing over and over again in hopes of wearing you down so they get their own way?  Rather than saying, “NO” a hundred times, I simply answer the question once. If the nagging child continues asking, I respond with, “asked and answered.” It shows them that I’m unwavering and saves me from saying, “NO” repeatedly.

For example:

Kid: “Mom, can Addie sleep over?”

Me:  “No, not tonight.”

Kid: “Mom, PLEASE can Addie sleep over?”

Me:  “Asked and answered.”

(End conversation)

“One per Customer”

One of the downsides of giving a kid a treat is that they don’t just appreciate that one treat, they always beg for more. When I have a houseful of kids and I have them all screaming for more of this or another of that, I feel like going all “Soup Nazi” on them and screaming, “NO WAY, you greedy brats!” Instead, I use positive discipline to smile and say, “Sorry, it’s one per customer.”  In other words, take whatever is being served up and move right along.

“Try Again With Your Cool Voice”

You know that whiney voice kids use whenever they possibly can? Rather than disciplining children by telling them what NOT to do (i.e. “Stop your whining, it’s driving me CRAZY!”) I try to be proactive and tell them what TO DO (i.e. “Can you try asking again with your cool voice?) That way I’m not whining, about their whining.

“No Opinion Shopping”

Opinion shopping is when kids go to one parent for permission to do something and when they don’t like the answer they get, they go to the other parent hoping for a different outcome. When my kids or their friends try this, rather than screaming, “No, you manipulative little freaks!” I smile and remind them that there is no opinion shopping allowed.

All these phrases tell my kids they’re not getting their way, and allow me to appear calm, cool and collected while delivering the message. Do you have any parenting tips or “go to” key phrases in your family?

 

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.

Bikes, Baskets and Blenders

June was such a fun month around the Mabelhood.  Here is a recap of just some of what we were up to.

We cycled for a cause!

The Big Bike ride was a great success!  Thanks to those made the ride in the heat and thanks to everyone who sponsored our team. Together we raised over $1800 for the Heart & Stroke foundation!

Everyone came but the ants!

What better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than playing and eating outside? Our summer kick off picnic complete with games, yummy food and camaraderie made for a great afternoon!

Ah…the perfect blend.

The Health & Wellness Committee’s  Lunchtime Smoothie Challenge was the perfect blend of competition and refreshment.  The winners? Warren & Julie with their tropical culinary combination of spinach, mango, pineapple, banana, vanilla almond milk & flax seeds. Yum!

All and all it was a great month. Happy upcoming Canada Day & Independence Day!  Summer is here!

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