Friday, February 12, 2016

Parent Torture and Valentines Day.

 Once again my now experienced parenting self would like to apologize for my child-less teacher self. This time it's for assigning a horrendous project that I had no idea was so painful to complete at home. I assigned it every single year, and often patted myself on the back for all the literacy skills I was able to sneak into the project. Childless Mrs. Lipstick thought that this project was a great, exciting, and organic way to at the very least encourage students to write their name, identify their friends' names, and practice basic literacy skills. At its best it encourage creativity, a chance for parent/child bonding, and problem solving.

I hate Childless Mrs. Lipstick.

My daughter's preschool teacher assigned the same assignment.

Valentines Day cards.
Innocent, no?
Childless me LOVED this assignment. I made a big deal about how the students were supposed to write their OWN names on the cards. I didn't want to see their parents' handwriting. I also sent home baggies of red, white, and pink squares of paper so they could create their own handmade valentines. Look! I'm saving mom and dad from spending money at the store on those cheap cards! No excuse for not sending them in. I had no idea you could buy them at the Dollar Store. Or how long it takes to create 25 valentines cards with a child who is really proud of their first card and now would like to go practice forward rolls or play in the doll house.

I hate childless Mrs. Lipstick.

My daughter's preschool class said nothing about making their own valentines, but I knew there was no way my daughter could write her own name on those tiny store-bought cards, and I also knew that I was not going to stay up late Thursday night writing her name 25 times. I saw absolutely no value in that. I figured she needs to practice writing her name, this is a great way to do it, so we'll just make our own valentines.

With materials we bought from the dollar store (I want to note it would still have to been cheaper to buy one packet of already-made valentines) we set about creating fun heart-based pictures. Most of these were her idea. She discovered you could make a butterfly if you put a pop-sickle stick on top of a heart with a pom pom for a head. I can guarantee you that she regrets that discovery now. That was a great idea if she wanted to make ONE valentine. But we needed 25. So, slave driver mom forced her to keep working. She'd finish one and proudly show me and I'd barely look up. "That's great sweetie, now do another one! We still have 20 to go!"

Once we finally finished and sat back to admire the 25 beautiful cards she still had to write her name on them. Three days. We spent three evenings after school encouraging, cajoling, begging, demanding that she write her name in a legible fashion. She may never write her name again.

The final product is beautiful, and more importantly finished. Just in time for her to take to school, proudly deliver to her friends, and for their parents to throw them in the trash with the rest of the store-made cards. AND I'm not even giving this project the time it takes to figure out how to rotate the pictures on the blog. Because, while I love her beautiful work, her wobbly little butterfly antennas and her random pom pom balls, we're done. Project complete.

Happy Valentines' Day.

Parents everywhere- I am sorry. I will never roll my eyes at store bought cards again.


turtlemama said...

It all comes back to haunt you.

Heidi said...

LOL I love this. As a mother of 5 kids my intetions are always good and I pin all the wonderful homemade Valentine's day cards and free printables on Pinterest with the HOPE that one day...just one day I will be that clever crafty mom that makes homemade cards.

The reality is, I stockup on the store bought cards each year the day after Valentine's day when they are 50% off (yes 50¢ at the dollar store) and my kids enjoy their My Little Pony, Star Wars, Hello Kitty, Minions and other store bought cards just as much as they would with a homemade card.

The reality for my kids is that Valentine's Day is all about the candy...they don't care a rip about the card...they remember the schoolmate who gave them Jolly Rancher lollipops.

So the candy is more important than the card. #truth

Jenny said...

My favorite line in this whole thing (full of many lines I loved) is "I hate childless Mrs. Lipstick." There may be teachers who become parents and don't change in any way, but I've never met them!

As a teacher I regularly look back on things I've done in the past and regret them, wish I had not done certain things or done them differently. That was true before I had kids and is still true. But having kids definitely increased those feelings, especially once they got into school.