Can you feel the love?

Is there a secret, underground society that teaches mothers how to put together cutesy little valentine's bags to hand out at school? Did I miss a memo? What happened to the giving out of valentine cards, and JUST cards? When I was young, I remember looking at all the different types of valentine's, and loving the characters, and just the fun of getting 25 different cards at school, and then your teacher would give everyone a box of conversation hearts, and you'd sit at lunch and trade those around based on the phrasing on each heart, and try to sneak the boy you had a crush on a particularly naughty heart, like 'love ya' (but don't let him know it's from you!) and valentine's day was a blast! Today, my children get so much candy, you'd think it was Halloween, except they didn't work for it. And, not a single box of conversation hearts to be found! No, I look for them every year, because, on principle (yes, I have very strange principles), Necco wafer candy conversation hearts are the official candy of St. Valentine. And so I want to give those out to the people in the various classes, because I understand that 'bad Mommy' points are given out to moms who send their kids to school with just a card for their classmates. Candy must be involved somehow, or, you, like, get impeached or somehting. I'm not really clear on the punishment, but I'm sure it's very bad for both parent and child. Anyway, this year, those hearts were nowhere to be found! I finally found some that I thought were authentic, and then I got them home, and they were like 'extra tart' or something, and yes, they had phrasing on them, but they were nasty! NOT THE FLAVOR OF VALENTINE'S DAY AT ALL. My kids did not understand my disappointment. Candy is candy. Also, I am paying money to send my child to ballet class, to be taught ballet, only to be told that Thursday (the 9th! A full five days before Valentine's!) is a Valentine party day, so please bring a treat to class for everyone in the class! I pay money for the privilege of having my child get loaded up on sugar an hour before dinner, and I also pay to hear the joyous fight in the backseat as my 5 year old tries to keep Toddler-Man from stealing all her candy. After all, she has tons, and he has none. I can see his point. "When YOU take ballet, then you can have candy." "MINE!! WANT SOME!!" "NO! You didn't go to ballet today!" "Honey, that logic's not working on him, let me hide the candy up front until we get home?" "But my teacher said I could eat it in the car!" ($#$ teacher!) "MINE!! WANT SOME!" AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA "Stop pulling your sister's hair!" Do you feel the love? Same argument, essentially, on Sunday, only this time it's in Sacrament meeting because some Primary leaders felt it would be fun to hand out a Valentine treat at the end of sharing time. Except Toddler-Man doesn't go to sharing time, due to the fact that he's a toddler, and hair is flying all over the pews in Sacrament Meeting as we try to look like a loving family who never invites the spirirt of contention. My 5 yo (just turned! I can't stand it!) received her third bag full of candy Monday at preschool. The day before Valentine's day. She is so excited for Valentine's because maybe she'll get more candy! She is wrong. There will be no more candy forthcoming. My 6 yo is excited to get treats in school today, which is OK with me because it's actually on the holiday. But she will be handing out suckers taped to a card. (I could not bring myself to send those nasty, fake, trying-to-be-the-real-thing conversation hearts). I know she will come home, and her valentine box will be filled with bags filled with candy, tied with raffia and ribbon, and beautifully prepared by mothers who didn't miss the memo. I know there will be fights as she tries to hide them from Toddler-Man, whose candy radar is so keen he can sense it a mile away. I know there will be sugar induced tantrums, and I know I will be throwing out candy after everyone's asleep. Or...maybe I'll just eat it.


Blogger Liesl said...

We have an opposite problem. The preschool where my daughter attends sent home a memo stating explicitly that children could bring valentine cards for the class, "but please no favors, treats, or goody bags".

I am a firm supporter of this because my daughter has a nut allergy and parents who don't have that on their radar inevitably include reeses peanut butter cups and Mr. Goodbars. Even my friends who sympathize all the time "that must be so hard to completely rid your home of nuts" bring brownies with nuts as the dessert when they come over for dinner. (sorry for the nut rant)

My point is, when there is an explicit memo, why do people ignore it?

This all being said, I am totally with you on the treats at church thing. Our primary restrained itself and only gave treats at the Saturday primary activity. The nursery however has been doing valentines treats for three weeks now, including big frosted sugar cookies on fast sunday. What's the big deal, you ask? Well, we are one of those "lucky" wards with Sacrament Meeting last. So little 2yo is joyfully smacking her lips and dripping gooey pink cookie bits all over the chapel. 5yo is crying because she didn't get one and the shreiking with glee when 2yo breaks off a big piece for her. All the kids in the row behind are giving 2yo the lean and hungry look. And I am trying to figure out how I can sneak a bite without incurring the wrath of the 2yo or the disapproving eye of the bishop on the stand directly in front of us.

2/14/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

You guys, I worked at Wal-Mart till 9 pm last night and it was non stop. I am so sick of the smell of chocolate.

The other cashiers told me it is the second biggest holiday after Christmas. You would have had to have been there.

I find the whole deal of Valentines to be ridiculous and probably the only reason Hallmark still exists.

2/14/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Colee said...

I have to say amen to the overdone Valentines day. This is the first year that it has been so overdone at church--of all things! I don't mind if the primary teachers give a small Valentine to the kids in her/his class but this Sunday the kids got Valentines from their teachers (my middle child got nerds, a card, suckers, and hershey kisses just from her teacher)and half their classmates. (I admit though that I liked the Valentine I got from one of the primary teachers.)

I worry sometimes that kids are so bombarded with SO MUCH at holidays that it sets unrealistic expectations. I want my children to appreciate the small pleasures in life but how can they learn this if every holiday is so overwhelming.

On the other hand, I need to remember how blessed we are to live in such a prosperous land. I guess we overdo because we can. Really it isn't that big of a deal to buy Valentines cards and candy for a couple of classes-atleast for most. So I guess I should just count my blessings.

2/14/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I absolutely LOVED Valentine's Day in elementary school - particularly making the "mailbox" for them to go in. There was something so fun about that! At that time, it seemed unheard of to get candy and a card, but our classes usually had a party consisting of a cupcake and cookie.

I had sharing time this past Sunday and I didn't even think about doing anything for Valentine's day - but church was cancelled due to snow and power outtages, yeah! We have a primary activity this Saturday and are doing games and then a decorate-your-own-cookie dessert. They will be heart-shaped, which is fine. It seems all of our activities have to have a decorate-your-own dessert because of the tradition of the presidency before us. We tried skipping it once to much upset among the kids!

2/14/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

I'm so there with you. I'm agro on the overdoing of EVERYTHING these days, and I refuse to participate. Just call me Grinch!

My kid had a party at school today- totally fine, since today is THE day, and I sent him with his little valentines in a zip lock bag. He was totally happy with that, and so was I. I saw all the other mom's going into school with the doilies and the ribbons and all that- Bah! Im a bad mom, but I just don't get it!

My thinking is this: if we give our kids so much of everything, what do they have to look forward to as they grow up? The will be jaded and cynical by third grade! Things won't be special when REAL milestones come up, because they will be so overdone on the little things.

Personal pet peeve: Mortarboards and graduation ceremonies from preschool or kindergarten! What for?!! Mortarboards and tassels are for when you graduate from high school or college, when you have actually acheived something and get a diploma. Harumph.
*Grumpy Rant Over*

2/14/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Last year Jacob and I spent about an hour making homemade Valentines for his preschool class. I didn't buy a single candy heart--after all, these are 2 year olds we are talking about, right? Moms aren't going to be giving out gobs of candy to 2 year olds. Preschool is about friendship and creativity, not sugar, right?

Boy, did I miss the memo.

I was highly embarrassed to see that not only was Jacob the only one with homemade cards, his were the only ones without candy. Well, except for the ones provided by the teacher to the girl who's mother is from Gutamala and totally didn't get the whole Valentine thing at all. The teacher like Jacob's lacy card, but I'm sure the kids felt pretty jipped when Jacob's card came without food. And of course, Jacob had no idea candy was a part of the holiday at all, so he was thrilled.

This year, sadly, I did the little bag of candy thing. Jacob picked out some Spiderman Valentines, wrote all over them, then I put them in a little sack with a few candy hearts, and tied it with a ribbon. Yes, it did feel overdone, until, of course, Jacob got home with some of the stuff the other moms got. A bag full of goodies, complete with a BIG box of candy hearts, a pencil, some chocolates, and a tatoo. Wow. My little bag of candy seemed mightly small compared to that. And now Jacob does think the holiday is all about candy. (sigh). I hope someday he will want to decorate home made Valentines again. I wished I had kept the one he made for me last year.

2/14/2006 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Em said...

Yeah for homemade Valentines, down with sugar! Can we keep the good parts of the holiday and only boycott the recently hatched icky ones? I think maybe I'll lie to my kids' teachers and tell them they are kleptomaniacal phenylketonurics so that NOBODY in their class gets candy... bwa ha ha.
I still make handmade Valentines every year, and even though they are not impressive works of art, they are one of the things I look forward to every year. Hope I can pass that on to my kids.

2/14/2006 04:26:00 PM  
Anonymous jamisue said...

Are you kidding me? I was supposed to put candy with the card? Sheesh. I thought I was doing well just to get the blasted things purchased on time.

2/14/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

I don't get Valentine's in general, but I'm not a romantic sort at all. (We don't even really do anything for our wedding anniversary.)

My kids are too old for exchanging Valentine's now (except my daughter got a--hastily scrawled on ripped notepaper--note from a secret admirer today in seminary). I always wanted them to include candy in theirs, because I remembered what a thrill it was for me as a kid to receive one with candy, but they were never very gung ho about it. But maybe that's just because they grew up with a diabetic mom and aren't big on sugar.

It seems like all the holidays are just about candy now.

2/14/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger HLH said...

I'm with Heather O. I too missed the "please insert candy into the envelope" memo. My son is in preschool and I thought it would be cute to let him make his own valentines day cards for his friends. He made a huge glitter mess in the kitchen but had a great time. I was so dissopointed when he came home with only store bought valentines- full of candy! I don't feel the least bit bad for not giveing candy, but I was suprised that no one else let their preschooler make valentines. I suppose when he hits grade school and there are like 30 kids in his class I am not going to have him make the cards, but sheesh- 10 homemade valentines...not too hard.

One mom did put minature granola bars in her son's valentine...not a bad idea if I HAVE to put food in there....

2/14/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Hi Andrea Wright! I too, am Andrea Wright. I enjoyed your articles as I have a 4yo and was also taken aback by the elaborate valentines the other children sent about while I meerly wrote my daughter's name on the card and sent her out in untested waters. What we got back was unbelievable.

Anyhow, check out my site...hope you enjoy!


2/14/2006 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Wow, two Andrea Wrights? Kinda freaky....

2/14/2006 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Bek said...

My daughters kindergarten class did a fun (but pain in the rear) activity this year. About a month ago, each of the kids made a mailbox. Then, starting a few weeks ago, we sent one or two Valentines a day to school (remembering that was the kicker). They had a post office. The teacher taught them about buying stamps, canceling stamps, etc. Each child got a different job every day. They got to sell stamps, sort mail (we sent envelopes and put the home number on it), cancel stamps, deliver, etc. I can't believe how much she learned.

We didnt' get the bags of candy, which suprises me because the school we go to is in a chi chi area. The kind of houses that give regular candy bars at Halloween. We got some homemade cards, some purchased ones. It was fun. Maybe the trick is to string it out!!

I am also primary teacher and have sharing time this week. I was going to give treats to the primary, but now I am not going to. Thanks for the heads up!!

2/14/2006 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Ok, when I picked kid #1 up from school, I learned I am seriously the ONLY mom who didn't put candy with the valentines. Definately missed the memo on that one.

And the car ride home was awesome, with kid #2 screaming for candy, because he didn't get any. FUN!

2/14/2006 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tigersue said...

I guess I'm one of those bad moms out there that does the store bought cards. I found it too much stress to try to make cards, and same with making the "Mail Box" When I was in school we made little envelopes for the valentines to go into! Remember the books that you could cut out the valentines and put together, and all were very different so you would think about what friend to give it to! In Canada we only gave it to certain friends, and we didn't sign who they were from. When we moved here, I was embarassed, to find out I was suppose to give valentines to all the kids, and sign the cards. I was mortified because I hardly knew anyone!
I'm also one that sticks candy in the cards, but usually not much. This year my son gave a valentine that was already candy, it was cheeper than regular cards by far and buying separate candy, and all the other cards had tatoo's and I won't do those.
Hang my head in shame for being one of those moms.

2/15/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

Heh. Well, I have you all beat. At least you all GAVE OUT valentines. It didn't even OCCUR to me to purchase/make/whatever any valentines for my daughter's daycare. All the other little kids come trotting in with their bags of valentines to hand out, and my daughter has nothing. I felt like the worst mommy in the world for a good half day yesterday. Luckily, my daughter's only 20 months old and has no idea that her mom dropped the ball!

And also lucky that DD got several valentines from kids whose moms are better prepared.


2/15/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Tigersue said...

I wouldn't think about it for a two year old. Elementary schools don't let you forget! Neither will your kids!

2/16/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous claire said...

em wrote:

I think maybe I'll lie to my kids' teachers and tell them they are kleptomaniacal phenylketonurics so that NOBODY in their class gets candy...

em, that was the best phrase I've read in a while!!! I love it!

2/16/2006 01:45:00 PM  

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