Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Valentine's Day Primer

Christy at Fountains of Home is collecting Five Favorites (for Hallie who is battling a nasty stomach bug). Here I offer a Valentine's Day Primer, five brief observations on our recent holiday:

1. The Gender Gap

Though my only girl is but four years old, I think I can confidently say the sexes view this holiday differently. In my defense I offer three pieces of evidence.

Exhibit A - Valentine's Bag, eleven-year-old boy:

Exhibit B, Valentine's Bag, ten-year-old boy:

Fine print reads "I don't really love you. You are just a friend."

Exhibit C, Conversation with fifteen-year-old boy:
"Is the high school doing Valentine's Day," I asked Tim.
"We did it last week," he said. "The girls brought in a bunch of food, and the boys ate it."

It's all about the food. They breeze right past the love business. At least for now. Praise the good Lord.

2. Scheduling

Valentine's Day should fall on a Monday, if you have any say in the matter. Addressing all those Valentines? Time consuming. Oh, no, you say. Your child will address his own Valentines. Ha!, I reply. But there may be a few purists out there. If you are among unjaded, be sure to allow plenty of time (ergo, Valentine's Day should fall on a Monday), and you just might, perhaps, lay in a generous supply of adult beverages to ease the pain which, trust me, will be plenty.

Oh, I remember the year the idealistic folks at Ainsley's school sent home a class list and suggested the child cut out the names. Ainsley was all about it. After she successfully severed the fourth or fifth name, I felt a nervous twitch coming on and took over.

When John was in pre-school, the kindest teacher ever (really, she was) suggested we encourage the kids to sign their own cards. We made it to the third name before raising the white flag of surrender. I dried John's tears and commandeered the whole production. No apologies, no retreat.

Pick your battles, people. Pick your battles.

3. Nerds versus Fun Dip

A great debate rages: Which one is merely evil and which one is the veritable spawn of satan? This is the question, and though the jury's still out, I think spawn = Nerds. John painstakingly collected his Nerds into one container yesterday afternoon, and wouldn't you know Ainsley managed to kick it over. I will be vacuuming up Nerds until All Saints' Day when the little people will gleefully gather a fresh supply.

Please don't think Fun Dip was relinquishing the title without a fight. No, no. John came to me this morning holding a severed package of ye olde Fun Dip and confessed, "I spilled it, Mama, but I cleaned it up. At least I think I did . . ." Insert worried look. At first blush, Fun Dip appears to leave a mess with a smaller spill radius than the Nerds, but this, friends, is a trifle misleading. Trust me when I say I'll find sticky residue on faucets and doorknobs, stray pencils and piano keys. Insidious, just insidious.

4. Pinteresty Mothers

Another one for the younger, more idealistic mothers. Maybe I'm just growing up a little here in mid-life, but I don't compare. Just don't do it.

5. Joy

As I wrote last year, kids bring an element of joy into so many, many facets of life, Valentine's Day included:
I confess I could be a complete curmudgeon about this whole commercialized affair, saturated as it is with artificial dyes, landfills of red plush, loads of the really, really unattractive lingerie. But I have a three-year-old girl who is thrilled -- clapping her hands, jumping up and down thrilled -- with her Hello Kitty mailbox and a five-year-old boy who loves -- loves -- his Batman cards and an eleven-year-old who eschews the whole mess, too, but is all about the candy.
And, gosh, they make life so much more fun! Nearly everything is more fun with kids. Okay, maybe not folding laundry or painting the molding or doing the taxes, but nearly everything else is more fun with kids. I am tearing up as I type this, overwhelmed by the simple, unsophisticated, childish delight that touches me every single day. These crazy little hooligans flat slay me with their affection, their enthusiasm, their joy.
Ainsley has now finished Valentines for everyone in the western hemisphere including all her stuffed animals and every single doll under our roof. I've cleaned up the dining room table at least six times and am feeling that familiar nervous twitch returning when she sidles up to me and says, "Happy Valentine's Day, Mama" and hands me a slip of paper. It's a simple Valentine, just four scraps of paper held together with at least seven ounces of Elmer's glue.

It has no hearts, no flowery message, just the word Mama written in Ainlsey's precious four-year-old script.

I plan to put it in my drawer and keep it forever.

(First I'll let the glue dry).


Christy from fountains of home said...

Valentine's is the same for us. I couldn't force the boys to make any, or even write their names, but Gemma made one for every person she's ever met!

Kris said...

I hate Valentine's Day with a passion - for all these reasons and more! I am completely NOT crafty and neither are my boys. And they couldn't care less anymore, thank goodness. Our homeschool group does a Valentine's party every year and we just quietly skip it. And in the spawn of Satan category, I have to go with Fun Dip. Although the Nerds spill, they are infinitely easier to sweep up. Fun Dip gets ground into everything.

Natasha said...

Love it!

Julie Baldwin said...

This is such a good post. Yes. Amen. And all that love jazz.

Kelly Dolin said...

Thanks, gals!