I can relax today....finally. I have fulfilled my Valentine's Day responsibilities as a parent. Yes, as a parent - forget about being a lover and partner. Those things come second these days. Valentine's Day is big at my son's school...the parents make Valentines for their children and they are all displayed in the foyer of the school (the Valentines...not the children). A lot of these parents are overachievers with assets and the Valentines can get a little, shall we say, elaborate? If the school allowed, there would probably be numerous multimedia installations saluting some of the children. The teachers have tried to put some limits on the size of the Valentines but I did notice, this year in particular, that the limits were ignored by many. There is at least one Valentine that is about 5 feet long. Yeah, bigger than the child it celebrates because - keep in mind - these are 3 to 6 year olds. They are small children and maybe, just maybe, their Valentines cards shouldn't be that big. So, the trick (in my mind) is to create a Valentine that is not too big and not too small, not too ornate but not too plain, not too wordy but not too succinct - a Valentine that my son will enjoy and that I won't be too embarrassed to hang up for all of the other parents to see. We finished our Valentine for Miguel on Sunday and tacked it up in the foyer with some of the others. Miguel was so excited to see me hang his Valentine. He picked the place...down low, where he could really look at it. It was SO exciting and then, this morning, he ran right through the foyer and ignored it completely.
We also have to do Valentines for his classmates because they exchange cards today and then have a big party with an ice cream sundae buffet. Last year, Miguel wanted to make all of the Valentines for his classmates. I thought this was so cute and clever and I basked in the glow of his genius. Have you ever helped a 3 year old with limited drawing and glue application skills create 28, count 'em, 28 individual Valentines? It's terribly unpleasant for both the child and the supervising adult...there was nagging and prodding and bargaining. He laughed, I cried and gritted my teeth. This year, I did not want to put either of us through that so when Miguel told us that he wanted to make his own Valentines again - we had to come up with another plan. I didn't want to buy the cheap character Valentines at Target. We all know how I feel about the character thing (Did you not READ Abating Batman?). What to do? I had an idea...have Miguel make one Valentine, scan it into the computer, put 4 on a page and then print them out on card stock and cut them...mass produced with a conscience! Sometimes, my great ideas do actually work out!
And then, sometimes - not so much. Since we were doing all this stuff for Miguel, I felt that we should do something special for Zeca and her teachers for Valentine's Day. There are some little issues at her day care center right now...little, like they are being asked to leave the space they have occupied for 27 years. The staff are a wee bit stressed. So, I decided to make them a Valentine and some treats. The problem is that one of her teachers is a vegan. Yummy treats and the word vegan don't often occupy the same sentence. Still, I was undaunted and I thought, "Hey, I'm no stranger to carob and unbleached flour! I can make vegan cookies!" I got a recipe off the internet for Happy Vegan Cookies that had received good reviews. Turns out that if you have to call your cookies "Happy" chances are that the people eating them won't be. Let's just say that there is a stench permeating my home right now...a stench that can only be described as one of sugar coated burning hair. It looks like I can't make vegan cookies after all:
The pictures actually makes them look good. I have never been so horrified by a baked good. Fortunately, Luisa ran to the neighborhood bakery (The Mayday Cafe) and got some truly fabulous baked goods, including a vegan scone. As usual, Luisa saves the day or at least saves me from my own, overreaching, visions.
As for the Valentine for Zeca's teachers, I wanted to do a little handprint on a card but I forgot and then she was in bed. It is really hard to get a child's handprint while they are sleeping in a crib. There are the slats and the child moves around and the child gets ink all over the sheets. The sheets are Valentine's Day red and it looks like Zeca had some sort of horrible accident in her bed...like maybe she was run over by a trike. This morning, at 6:30 a.m., Zeca woke up and I whisked her downstairs and dunked her sleepy little hand in a big plate of paint and she had made her very first Valentine before she even knew what had happened.
Both kids are at school with their related Valentine's Day paraphenalia. I am at work eating conversation hearts. Life is good...