Attendance is no longer mandatory

Each year, in the days leading up to Valentine's Day, I have big Martha Stewart inspired dreams of super cute handicraft valentines for my children to take to school.  The fact they are generally the only kids in the class handing out homemade Valentines never deters me.

I used to think my insistence on homemade Valentines might annoy my children.  In my head, they were secretly yearning for some Barbie or Phineas and Ferb crap.  This year with my husband's nomadic ways for work, my recent promotion and my time consuming as hell health kick, I was actually contemplating store bought Valentines.

We were even in Target while I was thinking it.  Just a couple aisles away.  And I even uttered the words, We need to get valentines to hand out to your class.  And I was referring to those store bought ones a couple aisles away.

But my 9 year old who has lived through many years of my whacked out handicrafting automatically thought that meant we needed to hit the scrapbook aisle to pick out some pretty paper and stickers.  I asked if she might like to just buy them this year instead.  She looked flat out confused followed by uninterested.

Handicrafting it is.  My attempt to be lazy was foiled by my own tradition.

We kept it simple this year.  Brownish looking cardboard hearts with doily-ish hearts glued on top.  It involved the use of a glue stick.  Therefore, it is by definition a craft. Here is my shirtless baby working on his.
His glue sticking is hit or miss and his doily placement is haphazard at best.  But there was candy and he successfully wrote them out to each of his friends with his own two hands.  I consider this an improvement over the early years in which his name was written in my chicken scratch.

Captain of the Craft squad this year was his sister though.  She went full tilt craftiola including a hell of a lot of heart shaped stickers.  She also cranked it out with plenty of time to spare to shovel several bags of M&Ms in her face while her brother was finishing up.  
Unlike her brother, she decided to go ahead and wear a shirt for the occasion.  And not just any shirt.  She wore the tie dyed shirt she made in her recent after school crafting class.  The same tie dyed shirt she wore for breakfast, lunch and dinner 5 out of 7 days that week.  She's quite proud of it.  She marvels at how it "matches" so many items in her wardrobe.  She seemed confused when I pointed out that using that rationale rainbows theoretically match everything, too.

We also cranked out a few items for the King of the House.  A special heart and a pig with wings filled with candy.
 Pigs with wings are a running joke in our household.  I have no idea what they have to do with Valentine's Day but as soon as we saw it in the Valentine section at the grocery store we knew we needed to purchase it.  And as soon as the world's most annoying dogs ate the first pig with wings and all the candy inside it, we knew we had to swing by the store to pick up a second one.

Our goofball handicraft valentines were handed out at school and much candy was bestowed on each of my babies.  I skipped out on an important work related function to hit up some class parties and attempt to resist the urge to inhale every heart shaped cookie in the school.

Every time I think about what a pain it is to take half a day off work to go perch on elementary sized chairs for an hour, I remind myself how much it means to my kids to see my face hustling in the door. Hugs and kisses and children that demand to sit on my lap.  Here's my toothless baby bear.  He agreed to take his blue lollipop out of his mouth long enough to get a shot of us at the party together.
But then it was back to rotting his teeth and coloring a picture for me.

He also took a perfectly good cupcake and covered it with sprinkles, gummy bears and icing with lots and lots of cooties in it based on the amount of plastic knife licking I saw going on at his table.   He thought his creation was pretty great and should be documented for eternity in a picture.  I suggested he shove his face next to it since odds are I'll delete a random photo of a cupcake by itself.  But my baby's happy face next to a half eaten hideous creation, priceless and must be retained forever.
Once that kid was done with me I headed to his sister's party.  I'd share photos of her and the ice cream sundaes her class was shoveling into their faces except I didn't get the memo about how 4th grade Valentine's Day parties don't require parents.  There were only 4 of us there.  And 2 of us were the ladies running the party.

I was busy hustling from classroom to classroom fearing my kid was the only one with no parent and that she would be scarred for life with every passing moment I wasn't there.  So it was odd to rush into a room with 3 other parents is what I'm saying.

So I slowed my roll and tried to play it cool.  That included skipping photos.  It also included wondering when attendance at these things stopped being mandatory.    The Christmas party was a crowded affair so this is apparently Valentine's related boycotting.  Either that or there's a quota on how many 4th grade parties I can attend per year and I'm exceeding it.   Oh, well.  More heart shaped cookies for me!   Good times!


Anonymous said...

My kids would not want me to show up at their parties. I guess they are to "grown up" for that now. :( I love the handmade valentine cards.

Megan said...

We need to make our own Valentine's...I don't know why I ever got suckered into buying them. Homemade are so much better!

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