Thursday, February 17, 2011

love for sale

No sooner have I got through the nagging anxiousness that permeates Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas yet another holiday creeps up on me. Maybe I find the Valentines madness excessive because its mid February arrival coincides with both of the children's birthdays, or maybe it is just because it feels like another excuse for the card and candy companies to hoodwink us into yet more wasteful spending. I suppose I should be thankful that we are not Chinese, at least we don't have the lunar new year celebrations to throw into the mix.

Still, I'm a joiner and not a renegade when it comes to this type of thing, but I just couldn't bring myself to endorse the packets of Disney or Nickelodeon preschooler themed cards for the preschool classroom card exchange.

My long buried inner artist was channeled, and we cut potatoes into heart shapes, and stamped out some home made cards.  I was amused to see Geekygirl carefully select a card with the most hearts, five, for one little boy in the class, and equally carefully ensure that another boy got a card with only one. I'm hoping the recipients didn't notice this subtle declaration of preference. Geekyboy's cards I wrote myself, though he did put the glitter on them, and over most of the surrounding area.

Geekygirl actually wrote the names of all her classmates and signed her own name on all fifteen cards. There may have been cupcakes and bribery involved in that achievement, I must confess. I wasn't sure how many of her classmates would be writing their own cards, but I sure didn't want Geekygirl to be the only one who didn't.  As it turned out many but not all the kids signed their cards themselves, but very few kids wrote the recipients name too, so I think we overdid it a bit with our home made, child written cards. I confess that I compare the handwriting of the other children to Geekygirl's whenever the kids exchange cards like this. I was ridiculously and secretly gratified to see that she seemed to be one of the best.

Her cards were at least presented in a plain old ziploc bag with a drugstore Hershey candy. If I had gone the whole hog and offered organic home made free trade carob cookies in valentine cellophane I may have faced ostracization from the other parents for overreaching.

On valentines morning I arrived at preschool with two children, two sweaters, two sheets and blankets for naptime and no valentines cards. I had carefully put them right in front of the door the night before to make sure they didn't get forgotten, but I must have stepped over them when I put the kids in the car, since when I drove us all back home to fetch them they were still sitting right there.

When I picked the children up they had big papers bags that they had decorated with hearts filled with valnetines from their friends. At home Geekygirl pored over them, telling me who gave her which one, so excited by the little pictures, pencils, stickers and of course candy. The cynic in me I softened a little. Preschoolers get pleasure out of such simple things. I pinned all the little cards to a ribbon and festooned our mantle with them. They look rather sweet alongside all of the Chinese New Year crafts that came home last week, I have to admit.