Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Prety Sure This Ain't What Cupid Had in Mind

When, exactly, did Valentine's Day morph from being a holiday where a girl had a reasonable expectation of getting some flowers, chocolates and a romantic dinner out, to being a last minute scramble of coordinating and assembling close to a hundred kiddie baggies for a jillion kiddie Valentine's Day parties? All of my boys were required to decorate Valentine's Day receptacles to hold their many Valentines, and I can tell you that a boy's interest in decorating a Valentine's Day box is about equal to his interest in, say, attending a princess themed tea party.  So I thought we had conquered the whole Valentine monster this weekend, when I had the boys write out all their Valentines and decorate some semblance of a love box.  Or, with Keane, cajole him into at least writing his name on a box instead of just bringing a Walmart bag. 

Colette, on the other hand, is obsessed with her Valentines.  She only had eight to prepare, so decided to do extra, and has been carrying them around and stuffing them in so many odd places that this morning I had to actually REDO a few of hers because who knows where they went?  And then Rory, right before the bus this morning, decided he wanted to include more candy for his friends in sandwich baggies - Rory taking anything very seriously that involves the quick ingestion of refined sugar - so we scrambled to give his friends MORE candy. 

And then!  The parties themselves!  I had signed up to bring drinks to Will's class, so I had to attend that party.  But the older boys' parties were during Sylvie's nap time, and since I really didn't want to pay a sitter to sit with the baby while I go watch my uber-talented 7 and 9 nine year olds EAT COOKIES, I told them I couldn't go to their parties.  Oh, the complaints!  "You only care about WILL!  You never come to anything of OURS!"  (Just last week, people, I hired a sitter to go to lunch with my older boys and help in Will's class.)  AARGH. 

My sole respite from the kiddie Valentine tsunami:
  PVT's gift of Moonstruck Chocolates

But I just don't feel like feeling guilty.  Perhaps because I just read Pamela Druckerman's rather excellent book, "Bringing up Bebe:  One Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting," that I'm inclined to think we Americans overdo the whole kiddie thing.  While French parents dote on their children, take their educations and diets (of course!) very seriously, and have high expectations of them, they don't let their children subsume their very existence.  In fact, they assume that it is both necessary and healthy for parents and children to have a bit of privacy and separateness from each other.  So I very much doubt that there are gaggles of French mothers today (do they celebrate Valentine's Day in France?) opening up juice boxes for their kiddies and hovering while they inhale Pixie Stix.  No, the French woman just dropped her kiddie off at the neighborhood creche and is out getting various strategic erogenous zones waxed, buying new lacy underthings, and preparing for this evening's romantic five course dinner and a hot night of S-E-X. 

Maybe the Frenchies overdo the independence a bit; I would not be thrilled, for example, to send my four year old on a week long camping trip with his classmates.  But surely there is a happy middle ground. 

Because the thought of many more years of kid-centric Valentine's Day is enough to make me despair of ever needing to wear lacy underthings, ever again.

1 comment:

Scientific Housewife said...

That is so funny, I was sent that book to review in March and it's my next read! I miss Valentine's day as a kid, it was so stress free and fun.