Sunday, February 8, 2009

Isn't Valentine's Day supposed to be about romance?

I don't understand how kids got involved in Valentine's Day at all. Isn't this holiday supposed to be about love of the romantic kind? I mean, I get that we live in a culture where we try to avoid excluding anyone from anything. Ever. But, seriously, what does Valentine's Day have to do with kids?

I know. We handed out Valentine cards when we were in school, too. This ritual, however misguided, is nothing new.

(Note: This was, by the way, before schools created these rules where you must give one to every child or you can't give them out at all. Whatever happened to the hurt feelings and bitterness that were the essence of an elementary school valentine card exchange when I was a kid? That whole Charlie Brown thing wasn't just fiction. And, seriously, if we want to get kids involved in a "romantic" holiday at a young age, we might as well let it be something that will prepare them for what life will be like when actual "romance" is involved. Make everyone give them a card now, and they'll just be in for an ugly rude awakening come high school.)

So, anyway, the big party day at school is Wednesday. I've been planning to take Josh to Walmart and pick out some cards . . . probably Tuesday. On the way home from soccer practice when we should be eating dinner. Because I will have forgotten until then, and that's why God made Taco Bell.

So, here I was lying in bed last night looking through Parenting magazine, and I saw an article about "Valentine's Day Craft Ideas." What follows is one of those ideas. (Don't bother reading the whole thing - just pay attention to the parts I put in red and my own commentary, added free of charge, in blue.)

Hand-painted clay pots and saucers filled with Valentine candy are a sweet treat for your child's teacher, grandparent, friend, or even for mom! Create endless design combinations with just a few simple tools and techniques.
Age: 3 and up (This project is rated VERY EASY to do.) (Yeah, I know a lot of 3 year-olds who can do this.)

What you need
(Any craft that involves NINE supplies is not getting filed under "very easy" in my book.)

  • Terra cotta clay pots in various sizes
  • acrylic paints: pinks, reds, purples, white
  • Valentine stickers
  • paint brushes, one small and one medium
  • new pencil (Why the heck would it have to be a new pencil?)
  • household sponge
  • acrylic sealer spray, matte finish (Again, this craft is for a THREE YEAR OLD?!)
  • lace (optional)
  • raffia and/or ribbon (optional) (I had no idea what raffia was, so I looked it up, and the article says it is like hemp! Dude, a craft for a three year old should not involve pot.)

What you do
1. Paint clay pot in desired color and let dry. Apply a second coat, and if needed (especially with lighter colors), a third coat as well, allowing sufficient drying time in between coats. Paint inside and outside of pot. (This is only step one, and it already would have taken like hours.)

2. Once painted, it's time to decorate! Here are some ideas to make your pot look great:
* To give your pot a polka dot design, use the eraser of a new pencil and dip into desired paint color. Dab once to remove excess and dot onto pot. Each polka dot will need a new application of paint. For smaller dots, use the end of a paintbrush applying with the same method.

* A household sponge can be used to add a contrasting color. Wet the sponge and squeeze out all excess water. Dab into paint then dab off excess onto a piece of paper towel. Use a dabbing motion to sponge on a light coat of contrasting color.

* Stripes can be applied by simply loading a small paintbrush with paint and painting downward. Stripes do not need to be perfect, so don't fret if you "go outside the lines" so to speak. (Thanks for that heads-up. Without it, I may have fretted.)

* Stickers can be used to decorate your pots. Stick over dry paint and press firmly to be sure they adhere.

* You can tie ribbon or raffia into a bow and glue to the front of your pot, or tie around the rim. Hot glue will work better than white glue for adhering ribbon or raffia to the front of the pot.

* Lace can also be used to accent your pot. Glue lace around the rim for a fancy finish.

3. Once decorated, apply a coat or two of acrylic sealer and allow to dry overnight.

4. Fill with various candy and enjoy your creations!

I'd like to note, for the record, that I didn't put the "VERY EASY" at the beginning in all caps myself. It was all-capped already, so apparently whoever wrote this REALLY believes that this is a "VERY EASY" craft. I think she must have been smoking some raffia.

Now, admittedly, I'm not the crafty type. Hot glue guns and me . . . we don't mix. (Well, actually we usually do, and that's what causes the burns.)

So, imagine my horror to learn recently that handing out those little store-bought valentine cards has become passe. Nowadays, moms MAKE things like heart shaped crayons, bookmarks, and apparently painted terra cotta planters filled with candy.

I hate to break it to my kid, but the only thing his mom makes are trips to Walmart.

Don't worry, I still encourage creativity and craftiness in my kids even though I lack them. I will let him choose his own store-bought cards. I'll even let him pick what color he uses to write all the kids' names on them. Heck, I might even bust out and let him tape a lollipop to each one.

But, that's IT! I will not buy card stock or lace or sparkles or hot glue sticks, and I sure as heck won't buy terra cotta planters . . . or pot.


Farrin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tonya said...

I am SO with you on this one. I will be taking Jonah to Target at some point before Friday (party day) and will let him choose the cards he'd like to give this year. We may even include...*gasp*...pencils!

Anonymous said...

Around here the handmade valentine isn't super common. My kids who love crafts made them last year and were the only ones in their class. If it makes you feel better... I passed you a note on bbc, but just know that we ARE in SR, next time you visit VA.
~Tammy (suabel)