My Plea to End Valentine’s Day Parties

Posted on Feb 15, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool

My Plea to End Valentine’s Day Parties 2

Hi Friends,

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.)

This was as festive as we got.

This was as festive as we got.

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.

Option. Overload.

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:

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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.

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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.)

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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?

 

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#SickDay

Posted on Feb 3, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool

#SickDay 1

You’ve probably heard by now, but the Washington, D.C. area got hit by a blizzard over a week ago. It was kind of a big deal. Schools shut down for over a week. Or for parents, an eternity. And then, this past Monday, the clouds parted, a chorus of angels sang down from the heavens, and schools reopened! Hallelujah! After a week mostly spent stuck at home with both kids pretending to have fun playing in the snow and baking and watching Frozen 15 times, I dropped Elisabeth off that Monday full of excitement and joy. But when I picked her up a few hours later, she appeared a bit… peaked.  No. Nope. Not happening. She’s not sick. Yes. Yup. Happening. She was sick. Full on fever, and later that night, puking. And James – who has had The Cough (you know, that nagging cough that kids get in October and doesn’t go away until March) – was particularly mucous-y and gross. So I called it: Tuesday was a sick day. Baton down the hatches, we were staying home. I get it. Kids get sick. It happens. It’s just that the timing of this sick day was a particular affront. Both kids sick days after a week of school closures. There is no justice in this world. #sickday — Diana Loveless (@DianaLoveless1) February 2, 2016 Really? REALLY? Elisabeth gets a fever and upset stomach THE FIRST DAY BACK TO SCHOOL IN OVER A WEEK. Could they not have gotten sick when we were snowed in? I love my kids. But being stuck inside with my 20-month-old boy and four-year-old girl ALL DAY because it would be morally wrong to expose their snotty, feverish, germ-y selves to the outside world is… trying. Sort of like being stuck inside all day with the Tasmanian Devil and Regina George. I started the day off as any good parent would – letting Elisabeth zone out in front of the TV. Unfortunately after that, severe sleep deprivation clouded my judgment and I took out the craft supplies in an effort to “do” something with...

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How to Headbutt (According to a Toddler)

Posted on Jan 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

How to Headbutt (According to a Toddler) 0

James here. It’s been awhile since I’ve made an appearance on this blog, but I’ve been working on my headbutts lately and I think I’ve really perfected my technique. I’m here now because I want to share my skills with you. It just doesn’t feel right to keep this knowledge from my other toddler friends looking to fight the man. Or the mom. You know when your mom is all up in your face, trying to snuggle and smother you with kisses and you’re just like, “WOMAN, I NEED MY SPACE!” but you can’t quite talk yet? (I like my snuggles when I like my snuggles, okay?. Usually around 2:30 AM. Get over it.) Or maybe you’re happily coloring on the walls, expressing yourself, and your mom tries to take away your Sharpies. Or, like, you’re scaling up bookshelves and your mom decides she needs to remove you. I know you have so many things you want to say to her that you just can’t. Well, the headbutt is the perfect form of nonverbal communication to get your point across.  And there are so many ways to do it! These are my top three favorite. I hope you find them useful. 1) The Head-to-Head Headbutt: This is the classic headbutt. Simple, but powerful. Say your mom is all up in your grill – and you are NOT having that – this is the fastest way to get her to back off. First, as she nuzzles up in your face flash her your cutest smile. That way she won’t know what’s coming. You want the element of surprise here. Then quickly – speed is key – arch your neck back and WA-BAM! Connect your forehead to hers in one swift movement. The best part of this headbutt is that it will totally stun her, but won’t hurt you a bit. I can’t explain why. Just God’s gift to toddlers, I suppose. 2) The Backwards-Butt: This one is a little more tricky, because you’re usually attacking from a defensive position. Like if your mom tries to get you out of the bath...

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A Look Back at 2015

Posted on Jan 1, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute, Travel Traumas

A Look Back at 2015 1

Hello, Friends. This blog has not seen much action this year.  Mainly, because of this rascal: I’d love to write more, and hopefully will in the upcoming months. In the meantime, this post is my attempt to recap everything I would have blogged about this past year had I had the mental capacity to do so. Here it is, 2015 in one blog post: January: The stressful end of 2014 – unending remodel, constantly sick kids, overworked husband, extreme lack of sleep, etc. – continued on into January, but things slowly turned up. The remodel wrapped up, we sort-of sleep-trained James (though it didn’t quite take), we began to settle into a routine. Now that James is a walking, running, climbing little boy, it’s hard to imagine that just a year ago he was still a baby, but it’s true, and this month saw him teething and cruising (or, the beginning of the end for me.) February: Snow, snow, snow. School closures, school closures, school closures. I don’t know if Elisabeth saw the inside of her classroom that month. Instead, she watched a lot of Frozen. I’m a good parent.  I also had an unfortunate incident in a Trader Joe’s parking lot involving my Toyota Highlander, a pole, and a personal injury lawyer’s BMW. Can we talk for a second about how it’s like a requirement that every Trader Joe’s has the worst parking lot in the city? Seriously. Every. Single. One. Anyway, moral of the story is don’t go to a Trader Joe’s on a holiday the day before a massive snowstorm.     Oh, we did have an exceptionally beautifully warm and sunny day in the early month that happened to coincide with our wildly successful housewarming party. Win! March: March was a good month. Mainly because I stopped nursing James. If you read my blog last year, you may remember I basically ate birdseed for the majority of his infancy due to his allergic colitis. Well, that sucked, and he and I were both hungry all the time. So I began eating cheese again and he...

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Summer Days, a Song

Posted on Sep 1, 2015 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool

Are any of you still on summer “vacation”? What. The. Heck. My daughter is only three, and yeah, technically she doesn’t even need to be in school. But I need her to be in school.  Like, yesterday.  However she doesn’t start for two more weeks.  It’s September, people! By the time she goes back to school, she will have been on break for FOUR FREAKING MONTHS. In the meantime, my son is getting his molars and has been waking up multiple times every night for the past few weeks.  Between that and the endless summer, I have officially gone crazy.  In my madness, I penned a little ditty to the tune of Grease’s, “Summer Nights.” Unfortunately I don’t have the technical skills (or the musical skills) to film a cute YouTube video of me singing it, so you’ll have to sing it to yourself. And don’t pretend like you don’t know the song.  I know you do.     SUMMER DAYS Summer vaca, kids having a blast Summer vaca, it just lasts and it lasts I swear it’s true, I’m losing my mind Kids don’t care, they think it’s fine   Summer days, not drifting away, no no Endless summer days   Well-a-well-a-well-a, huh Two weeks more, two weeks more Camps are making me poor Two weeks more, two weeks more Moms start drinking at four   The college kids have all left town There’s not a babysitter to be found Go to the park again and again Tell me why we paid this month’s tuition?   Summer sun, school has not begun, oh no Endless summer days   Well-a-well-a-well-a, huh Two weeks more, two weeks more How can days go so slow? Two weeks more, two weeks more These kids really must go   My kids’ new parent is PBS I simply could not care less Four months of summer is just plain cruel Our neighborhood doesn’t even have a pool   Summer fun, can it please be done, but no Endless summer days   Well-a-well-a-well-a, huh Two weeks more, two weeks more Don’t think we’ll make it...

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Seek and Destroy: Everything My Toddler Son Would Rather Do Than Read

Posted on Aug 30, 2015 in My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

Seek and Destroy: Everything My Toddler Son Would Rather Do Than Read 2

My daughter loves to read. She always has. As a baby, she would sit contentedly on my lap looking at board books. As a toddler, she would page through her stories for an hour at a time, if I let her. (Of course I let her. An uninterrupted hour to myself? Heck, yeah!) Even though she cruelly gave up naps weeks before my son was born, I could at least rely on her to read to herself during a mandatory quiet time. It was – and continues to be – my saving grace.   I thought James would inherit this love of books. As usual, I was wrong.  The kid has zero interest in reading. Like, none. I am partially to blame. I was far too tired to read to him as a baby like I did with Elisabeth. Perhaps I missed the opportunity to instill a love of literature in him. I’ve surely stunted his future academic achievement as there is no way he hears the recommended 30,000 words/day necessary to ensure literary and language success. Unless hearing, “Stop!” or, “No!”, or “That oven is hot!” over and over 30,000 times counts, in which case he’ll be fine. His future intelligence aside, I mainly wish he would read because reading usually involves sitting still.  Sitting still means not destroying my house or finding new ways to hurt or kill himself.  But, no. Books – boring. Electrical cords – fun! Reading – nerdy. Death defying stunts – exhilarating! So, what exactly does he like to do, if not read? Almost anything. Here you have it: A list of everything my toddler boy would rather do than read. 1) Sniff his lovey. It’s super weird but super cute, and notable because it’s the only time he is ever still. And while he absolutely loves sniffing his lovey, this unfortunately does not account for much time in his day. 2) Climb into bookshelves. (Which of course requires removing all the books from the shelves first.) 3) Climb up the bookshelves. 4) Eat crayons. Really, most of the greens in James’ diet...

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