Posts Tagged: mama time

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.

What you CAN say to a parent of a child with Autism.

There are often discussions about what NOT to say to parents about their children with autism. I wrote about it myself – how some innocent questions and comments can actually be painful for a mama raising a child with autism. Although well meaning, some comments have the opposite of the intended effect.

But please say something. Saying nothing can almost be worse. Someone recently asked me: what CAN someone say that is considered kind and helpful? That simple question stopped me in my tracks. Just asking it was a huge first step. I had a few simple suggestions that would go a long way with sensitive mamas. I’ve listed them below.

1) Ask the mother if there are any resources or books you can read to learn more about autism. That tells her you are interested in, and care about her child.

2) Ask the mother if a play date would be helpful and that you would be happy to host. Our guys need social interaction and an opportunity to practice their social skills. Sadly, they are often the last ones to get invited on a play date. Offering to host tells a mom that you’re not afraid of her child and that you are open to fostering a friendship between the child with autism and her own child. Feel free to step it up and make sure to invite the child to your kiddo’s birthday party. Those invitations can be rare occurrences as well.

3) Compliment her child. Mamas with kids on spectrum seem to only hear the negative stuff. Many dread what they’re going to read in the school agenda and worry that every time the phone rings it will be the school reporting yet another “incident”. Like every mother, we want to hear that our kids are awesome and it’s nice for someone to notice. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Here’s some examples:

“I noticed your son’s language is really coming along.”
“Your daughter was really kind to my child today.”
“I was volunteering in the class today and noticed your son sat really well in circle!”
These are just a few simple suggestions that will make a tremendous difference in the life of moms of children with autism. Don’t be afraid to talk to us. We’re moms just like you, and like all moms, we love to talk about our kids – even the ones with autism.

 

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.

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