Wasn’t it just Christmas? It seems like we just took the tree down. And watched the ball drop. But the new year, she is a harsh taskmistress… and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
(Okay, fine, you have about three weeks to prepare. Plenty of time! No, I’m not laughing, honest!)
If you have little kids, you either already know or are about to be introduced the fun of the Box O’ Valentines. It doesn’t matter if your kids go to public or private school, it doesn’t even matter if you homeschool (or so my friends who do so tell me), if your child ever leaves the house for an organized educational-type thing, you will need to do the Valentine’s Day card thing.
When I was little, I seem to remember carefully choosing who would get which card. Oh, not the one with the bunny for the boy I thought was cute! Never! He should get the smirking puppy. Clearly. And I seem to remember that we got to pick and choose to whom we gave cards, resulting sometimes in some children getting very few (or none).
Nowadays, the good news is that most schools declare that everyone give to everyone else, so no one ends up left out. (While I am often opposed to these sorts of blanket rules, this is one I stand behind. There are plenty of opportunities for children to be cruel to one another; let’s not like some brightly-colored little cards be the agent of meanness, shall we?) The bad news is that—unlike when we were kids, and you could go choose from maybe four different varieties—there are almost limitless card choices available.
There are simple cards to be folded over and sealed with a sticker, there are cards with envelopes… nowadays there are cards meant to hold a lollipop or other treat, or small packages of candy meant to be giving in place of a card. The cards themselves can feature practically every cartoon character you might imagine, as well as various pop idols. (I’m running a pool—be sure to get your guess in before the big day; how many Hannah Montana cards do you suppose my kids will get?)
What do you do? Do you take your child to one store and have her pick something there? Do you give her free rein, no matter the choice? Do you pick something for her? Whatever your habit, if you need to buy cards for your kid, get a move on. Pretty soon only the “reject” cards will be left, and then you could have a crisis on your hands. A whining, complaining crisis.