Hope you all are enjoying your long weekend. Have you recovered from Valentine’s Day yet? Or how about your kid’s Valentine’s Day party last Friday? Do you have a hoarder, who makes his Valentines treats last until Easter? Or is your child the type to dump her bag of cards and gorge on the candy the moment she gets home? (We were actually out-of-town on Friday, so Elisabeth won’t receive her Valentines until Wednesday. It’s just TORTURE for her to wait.)
I’ve gotta be straight with you – I am not a fan of these Valentine’s Day school parties. At least not at the preschool level. Have you made Valentines with a stubborn four-year-old girl? No? Lucky you.
I remember sorting through Elisabeth’s V-day haul after her class party last year in a state of shock –what were these elaborate creations her fellow three-year-olds had gifted? How much time did they take to construct? Why did they all include candy and gifts? Was that a requirement? I was briefly overcome with shame and embarrassment at the boring, unadorned Valentines I had sent to school with Elisabeth. I must have looked like I didn’t even care!
Oh wait, I didn’t even care. I know some parents who truly love the special time bonding with their children while fashioning festive cards with tasty treats. And that is great for them. But really, there is not enough heart-shaped chocolate candy in the world to make me want to craft homemade Valentine’s Day cards with Elisabeth. (Or anyone.)
Even though I didn’t want to put much effort into cards this year, I also didn’t want Elisabeth to have the lamest cards in class again. So I trekked off to Target in search of stress-free (but fun), pre-made Valentines. I walked in and went straight to the stationary section. And found nothing. Surely Target wasn’t sold out of class packs of Valentines a week before the holiday? Surely I hadn’t procrastinated enough that even Target couldn’t provide for my holiday needs?
I desperately scanned the stationary section for anything, ANYTHING, I could use for Elisabeth’s cards. Nothing. I walked a few aisles down and continued looking, until my eyes fell upon a kit. A DIY card kit. A kit that requires scissors and glue and time and patience. I sighed and slowly picked it up. Maybe it won’t be so bad, I thought. Maybe it’ll even be fun, I tried to convince myself. I threw it in the cart and moved on.
As I aimlessly wandered the home decor section, resigned to my crafting fate, I remembered that Target has a designated holiday section! With hope restored, I marched to the back of the store, turned into the holiday aisle, and immediately had an anxiety attack.
I steadied myself against the onslaught of cartoon faces and candy hearts and cellophane-wrapped gift baskets and reminded myself of my mission: Class pack of cards. Class pack of cards. Class pack of cards.
I started sifting through the stacks of cards: Sofia, Frozen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and this gem:
Notice the 3+ Age rating. Nothing says “Love!” like skull tattoos for three-year-olds!
Gender-neutral, non-character themed cards were apparently non-existent. As were cards in any reasonable quantity. I needed 10 for James and 12 for Elisabeth. I found 8-packs, 24-packs, 32-packs! Really, Target? In an entire two aisles devoted to Valentines cards were there no 10-packs? This was all I could think about:
WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR ALL THESE SUPERFLUOUS CARDS?! I was beginning to get angry at Target and realized I needed to check myself. The whole point of shopping at Target for cards was to make this a stress-free experience, and here I was getting frazzled. Besides, a few extra cards was not worth ruining my relationship with this shopping giant. I grabbed some simple cards and stickers for Elisabeth and some Mickey Mouse cards for James. Done.
Onto treats. (Treats are what make the cards not totally lame, right?)
I picked up a bag of Reese’s chocolate hearts. Because obviously if I’m going to give out candy, I want it be something that I’ll eat the leftovers of.
Then I remembered – Elisabeth’s class is nut-free. No! I grabbed Hershey Kisses. But those seemed too difficult to attach to a card. And was chocolate allergy-approved? What if some of her classmates have dairy allergies, too? Why is life so hard? I found boxes of conversation hearts. But these kids are 3 and 4. They can’t read. Plus, conversation hearts are gross. I began to get frazzled again. WHY CAN’T I FIND AN APPROPRIATE, ALLERGY-FRIENDLY VALENTINES TREAT!? Then I saw it, a lone box, hiding amongst the oversize bags of chocolate.
I quickly grabbed it and put it in my cart before anyone else riddled with food-allergy guilt could take it. Ugh, I cringed. I’m going to be the mom giving out organic fruit snacks. That’s not the kind of mom I want to be. What’s next? Raisins on Halloween? But alas, this is preschool in 2016 and so organic fruit snacks would have to do.
I made my purchase, emotionally exhausted after the stress of selecting these Valentines. And I hadn’t even assembled them yet! It should go without saying, Elisabeth had a meltdown around card #7, and James took no part whatsoever in his. All-in-all, this was still a frustrating, joyless experience for everyone involved. (Me.)
So I’d like to propose we ban holiday-themed parties for preschoolers. Not parties. I love parties. Let the kids have parties. But how about parties that don’t require anything of parents but a store-bought fruit platter? No cards, no allergy-friendly candy, nothing that requires crafting unless it’s done by the children during the celebration. Who’s with me?
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?