In my defense, I’d like to mention that we moved to the States when I was twelve. Well past the age at which kids bring valentines to school for all their classmates. Which means I never got to make cards for my school friends.
It’s at least a partial explanation for why I get so uptight about the valentine-making process.
We did watercolored hearts last year. And the year before that. And, truth be told, the Gort was all set to do it again this year. But luckily I stumbled upon a cute idea while doing some ‘very productive internet research’. Fabric hearts on cardstock? And almost easy enough for someone with incredibly meager sewing skills?
I figured a trip to Michael’s was in order, so I rounded up the troops for a Saturday morning excursion. The Gort was standing at the door, ready. The Hen was still running around, refusing to put on his socks and shoes. Suddenly the Gort looked at me.
‘Don’t you want some time by yourself….’ and in the nanoseconds that followed I had two immediate thoughts:
- Am I a terrible mother that my son is familiar with the phrase ‘time by [myself]? Do I utter it that often?
- What a thoughtful, sensitive child I am raising (in spite of myself); to suggest that maybe I’d like to go to Michael’s. Alone.
But then he finished the sentence. At the time I didn’t know there was more to his phrase. But there was….
‘Don’t you want some time by yourself with just me?’
As in, without my younger brother.
My eyes searched for the professor’s face, eager to see his reaction at this masterful bit of manipulation slash brother ousting. I believe he said something like: ‘you just got played.’
And I did. Boy! I did not see that one coming. Who could/would turn down a request for a private audience?
So the two of us went to Michael’s, where I found a cute calendar with pictures of tin toys. In the clearance bin. I figured it could be useful.
Late afternoon we sat down at the table.
It’s tricky, this valentine making business. I mean, clearly I’m the architect behind the operation. I have an idea of how I want the card to look. And I have expectations that the work will be completed to a high standard.
But since they are the Kindergartener’s cards. To give to his friends. I feel obligated to involve him. In some way. Even if, frankly, his cutting and writing skills aren’t what I would call ‘card-worthy’.
So, he was charged with cutting out the cardstock. (Which necessitated some cosmetic repairs on my part. Let’s just say none of the cards is the same size. N-O-N-E.)
And I cut out the cloth hearts and sewed them onto the cards. ‘We‘ decided to cut out pictures from the aforementioned calendar, and put them in the ‘center’ of the heart, for the boys. And for the girls, ‘we‘ would cut out a smaller paper heart and put it in the center of the cloth heart.
So I charged him with cutting out the pictures and gluing them onto the cloth hearts. To ‘speed things along’ I cut out the paper hearts and sewed them onto the cloth hearts.
‘We’ also decided to make the classmates’ first letter (of their name) in glue and glitter. I did the glue letter and he went nuts with the glitter shaker.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it is obvious that he could not have written the classmates’ names upon such small cards. I had no choice but to do it for him.
I proudly showed the finished products to the professor. ‘You realize they’re just going to get shoved into the kids’ backpacks, right?’
(Oh, and yes, these would have been much cuter with red thread instead of white…..but I couldn’t bring myself to drive to the fabric store.)