The shrieking shrew sends her love
By MendesMusings on February 14, 2014
Valentine’s Day seems to have gotten a lot more complicated since having kids.
Tonight, at approximately 6:33 p.m., I was at my neighbourhood drugstore - along with 86 other last-minute Valentine shoppers – perusing the boxes of kids’ cards (you know, the kind you buy in a pack of 30). I was picking up some little cards for the boys in my six-year-old daughter’s class, because the two packages that I’d bought from Wal-Mart earlier in the day were deemed “too girly.”
Fair enough, and an easy enough problem to fix. But first, I just have to say wow…kiddie Valentine offerings have totally gone off the rails these days. It seems it’s not enough to give just a simple, little card to your classmate; there is now a vast array of Valentines with “special features” like temporary tattoos, scratch-and-sniff pictures, window cling-ons and hologram pictures. I have to admit I was a bit bedazzled by a package of bug-themed gel clings – I figured those would get the boy-stamp-of-approval.
Now, if buying an assortment of little Valentine cards – and helping the kids to organize and address them – was all that constituted my Valentine prep, I would be laughing. But as this Valentine’s Day approached, our two daughters have been charged up about a school fund-raising dance. In fact, my nine-year-old was so concerned about wearing something theme and colour-appropriate that I set out last week to find her a new outfit.
I need to preface this by saying that this is something pretty new; until recently, Elissa was pretty thrilled with whatever clothing I chose and put in front of her. So to have her request something special – and for her to be so concerned about looking nice – is different and admittedly a little bit scary; it’s a poignant reminder that she’s growing up.
After hitting several kids’ stores last week – and coming back with the wrong sized shirt (darn it – there’s that growing up thing again!), I finally came home with an outfit for her that was a hit. Of course, I couldn’t buy for one daughter and not the other – so they both have cute, new threads in red, pink and white colours.
I also put together some Valentine treat bags for them – finding some inexpensive, little items like heart straws, heart-themed Kleenex and some mild-scented body mist. I love doing this type of thing – it’s fun for me to hunt for special stuff, and it’s a thrill to see their little faces light up when they receive it.
While there has been a lot of fun moments planning different Valentine surprises for the family, I got a sharp reminder today that parenting is not just fun and games.
It was while I was bustling both girls out of the house – for evening activities which start at 6 p.m. – that Elissa made some sharp comments to me. While I was starting the car and preparing to back out of the driveway, she yelled, “Hey, WOMAN! Don’t start driving yet – I’m still buckling up!” Hmm…being called “woman” doesn’t sit so well with me, especially coming from my own sharp-tongued nine-year-old. I quickly warned her not to call me that – and not to speak to me in that tone.
After picking up her friend en route to their activity, I got back in the car to hear another comment. “You took too long – I’m going to be late! You spent too much time talking at the door.” OK, let’s back it up here, kid…in fact, I put the car back in park and suggested that she could walk to her activity. “I’d probably get there faster,” came her too-quick, brazen reply. “OK, great,” I snapped. “Feel free to get out and walk then.” Suddenly, it didn’t seem like such a good idea and Elissa got quiet.
After dropping them off, I drove home feeling irritable that I had done so much for the kids today (albeit a lot of it being surprises they don’t yet know about) and not feeling appreciated for it. I felt like I was the big, mean mom – even though I knew I was in the right. Of course, that also took away a bit of the lustre of all the fun things I’d planned for Valentine’s Day.
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