I love Pinterest, especially for holiday activities. I have a board named Be My Valentine, on which I have pinned many craft projects (that I’ll never make); elaborate food items, including a homeade heart-shaped cookie box (that I’ll never make); Valentine’s cards that require several hours to make; and elaborate Valentine’s Day card holders that no young child can make on his or her own.
For the past two years I have purchased Valentine’s templates on Etsy to create adorable little Valentines.
A tube of Burt’s Bees lip balm accompanied each of these:
I created these little darlings for preschool. I used Goldfish instead of Swedish fish. Bad move. The grease from Goldfish leaked leaked through Valentine. Ick. I no longer buy Goldfish.
And how can I forget these “cuties!”
All of these are completely adorable; however, my children didn’t pick them out. Nor did I include them in the cutting out of them. Why? Because I wanted them to look perfect. (In hindsight, I realized I had them miss out on an excellent fine motor activity.)
Granted, when they were really small, the didn’t really care about the Valentine card, but toddlers still know what they like. And I could’ve given a choice. So this year, I let my five-year old and three-year old pick out their Valentine’s. Fortunately, they both like trains so that made it easy.
We didn’t see any train Valentine’s at the store so we looked at Amazon. (Oh, I love Amazon Prime!)
Alas, the boys found their Valentine’s, complete with envelopes.
The teacher sent home a class list and I supervised while my oldest wrote out all his Valentine’s…..and decorated each envelope. (I highly suggest spacing this over a period of several days. It would be torture for both parent and child to have them completed in one sitting.)
Next, of course, is the Valentine’s Day card box. Being the Pinterest addict I am, I ventured online to find an adorable box we, ahem, I, could make. My son really wanted to make a train. I brought him a shoe box and a Kleenex box. He went and got an empty toilet paper roll (yes, I keep them.) and started to form his train. I brought out ribbon and scrapbook paper and let him create it himself.
He did it without Pinterest.
He did it without me helping.
He had a wonderful time.
He fished through craft supplies to see what else he could use to create his masterpiece.
And a half hour later, he was finished. And extremely proud of his work.
I would’ve covered the entire box.
I would’ve made sure it was loaded with hearts.
I would’ve not had it be a hybrid electric/steam engine. (Just in case you wondered about the pipe cleaner in back, those are the cables that attach to the wire for an electric train. And the pipe cleaner up front is the steam that would come out of a steam engine.)
I would’ve stolen an opportunity for my son to be creative and take pride in his work.
This year I had an epiphany. My children’s Valentine’s Day party is for them. Not me.
This isn’t my opportunity to say, “look at me!! I’m wonder mommy!”
This was his opportunity to take initiative, be creative, and let his imagination soar.