Whew, Valentines’ Day 2014 is over. Thank goodness. Many parents were go, go, go as they sent their children to school armed with cards, sweets, and treats for a hyperglycemic overdose. We, too, were not immune from following protocol, sending Piano Man with a bag of handmade Charlie Brown Valentine cards to pass out to his classmates.
I tried to stay on top of blogging, sharing tutorials of various Valentine’s crafts and decorations to add a handmade and personal touch to the kids’ classroom, but I must say that the house looked more disheveled and in complete disarray like Tornado Betty had rampaged through, swirling bits of red, pink, white, and blue card stock scrap paper all throughout our kitchen and living room floor. I wanted to post one more tutorial, so that you had access to make your own Happy Valentine’s Day banner; but alas, time was not on my side.
Here is the end product of what it would have looked like, if I had posted the tutorial:
After quickly photographing the banner, I carefully took everything down only to place it back up in the kids’ classroom, giving a festive look on a fun and action-packed day.
The party began with games. Our classroom parent came up with fantastic games, courtesy of other blogger posts. (See sources below.) I don’t know the name of this one, but I call it the Send Down the Valentine Heart via Cloth Pin Game.
The kids were surprised at how fast they played, leaving some dissatisfied. A few were quick to inform of us of their opinions. Okay, so it was only just a warm-up.
Next, came the Toss a Marshmallow in your Teammate’s Mouth Game.
That yielded some pretty interesting facial expressions and a nice glossy coat of sugar on the teacher’s carpet. (Parents were on hands and knees helping to dissolve the deeply embedded marshmallows from the floor.)
Finally, the kids played a Minute to Win It styled game, moving an M&M from one container to another in under a minute.
Everyone relished over deli meats, cheeses, bagels with cream cheese, fruit, and veggies. Of course, as usual, the veggie platter is usually left unscathed at any kids’ party. I should know, since I made the same fatal mistake at Piano Man’s Legends of Chima birthday party last year. Those poor cucumbers didn’t know that their lives were lost in vain. Oh wait, the adults partook of those delicious veggies!
Lastly, while some enjoyed personalizing their homemade white frosted sugar cookies, others immediately went to work on their bags to carry home a Valentine’s Day card from a classmate.
All I can say is that I had not seen that much chocolate, sugar, and paper flying around since the Valentine’s Day Disaster of 1984 when I first took notice of the sheer number of Hershey’s chocolates or famous Sweet Tart Valentine’s candies being handed out at my elementary school. Children lost teeth, wore a black eye, or both trying to retrieve a specially made sweet or treat from a beloved classmate.
I kid. I kid.
But after helping out at our son’s Valentine’s Day class party, I wish I could say that it was my last. I felt completely drained from supporting the teacher and classroom parent along with several other parent volunteers. However, it wasn’t the activities, food, or decorations that bothered me as much as the thought of what we’re teaching our kids about Valentine’s Day. Is it the point to receive a name on a tiny 2″x3″ card with your child’s name on it? Or can we strive to help them to care deeper for others and in a more thoughtful manner?
If I could make one recommendation next year, I’d probably ask the other parents and teacher to be counterrevolutionary. Why not ask kids to focus on one or two classmates, writing a heart felt letter that encourages the other person? Maybe more like a secret Valentine buddy. I’m not saying to scrap the entire party. There’s intrinsic value to sharing a common experience, memories to be made at school parties, such as Billy catching 100 marshmallows in under a minute or to have kids work together in team games.
Come on now. I’m not trying to be a Valentine scrooge.
Finally, when I attend these parties, I see a different side of our teachers and parents. Like at a holiday office party, we can let our hair down and share in conversation about personal lives. Plus, I appreciate our son’s teacher even more, watching her demonstrate love and encouragement in those unspoken moments. I have no idea how Piano Man’s teacher does it everyday. She truly has a gift in teaching to come back everyday and make sure these kids receive a quality education in a loving environment. All my respect and love goes out to my son’s teacher and fellow parents who make the school a beautiful and special place for every single child.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
From my hometown to yours,