Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Happy Euphamism Day

Happy Belated Valentine's Day! 

For those of you whose husbands weren't out of town or whose children didn't fight endlessly over who can execute the most authentic armpit fart, I hope your day was filled with romance and relaxation.  And for those of you with a Valentine's Day like I had, there's always wine.

Between Joel being gone and V-Day falling on a wintery Sunday, there wasn't much festivity this year.  In fact, the only real celebrating we did came last week in the form of creating the boys' valentines to pass out at school. 

Once upon a simpler time, this was one of my favorite activities.  In 2013, Cael was my only child in school and I still had the ambition (and energy) to Pinterest the heck out of every creative opportunity that presented itself.  We chose a theme together, and then I gave up sleep for two days to make it a reality. 

In 2014, we bought bags of googly-eyed rings and set out to craft our own Valentines before discovering that some enterprising mom with fewer kids and more sleep had beaten me to my own idea.  I went into a bit of an existential tail spin knowing that my own creativity was no longer, well, creative. 

Nothing says love quite like mom's mental breakdown. 

Last year was my first Valentine's Day with three kids, so the bar wasn't set too high.  I was looking for an idea that would still qualify as "homemade" without involving any real work on my part.  Bulk packs of sticky gel hands seemed like a perfect option until the extra hands started turning up in various dusty, unmaintained corners of my house.

"Mom, is Oscar eating a mouse?!?"

"No, Cael, that's a fuzzy blue middle finger hanging out of his mouth."

It seems that no matter my plan, each set of valentines pose their own unique set of problems.  I just had no idea how risqué 2016 was about to get.

Working with limited free time and picky children that are in the phase of being overly concerned with what's cool, I headed to the store with a chocolate box full of rules.

Don't get hard candy.
Don't get anything too girly.
Find something red.  No, blue!  Wait, red.  Or yellow!
No hearts, flowers, flying babies, arrows, lips, X's or O's, references to kissing, being in love, or getting married.
Maybe something with swords on it.

You can thank Cael for that last one.

Eventually I located some miniature pinball-style games in the party favor section, and knew that it would meet all of the boys' qualifications, minus the weaponry.  I bought eight packages and decided that I would postpone my concern about creating a corresponding card for later. 

Thankfully, the boys liked the games, but as I sat down at the computer to design the card itself, what seemed like an easy project morphed into something decidedly more difficult when Cael and I couldn't agree on what phrase to write on the card.

"Mom, why does it say 'You're a winner, Valentine'?"

"Because you're giving them a game, and I thought it made sense.  You know, like they won the game."

"Nope.  Don't like it."

I'm not one to let me kids order me around, but since this was supposed to be the boys' project, I thought it would be best to let them have a say.  I got to work thinking of alternatives, but quickly found that anything game related was also wildly inappropriate for a child's valentine.

I hope you "score", Valentine!

Looking forward to "pinning" you, Valentine!

This Valentine's Day, go "balls to the wall"!


Just as I was about to make an executive decision and go with my first suggestion, Cael thought of "Game On!", and while it didn't relate to Valentine's Day directly, I thought it was better then fielding phone calls from angry parents.  Game on, it was.

After that, things went pretty smoothly.  I designed and printed the message, had the boys glue it to colored cardstock, and cut around the edges with child-sized craft scissors that made my hand bleed.  

Thankfully, blood is red.  How festive!

Finally, the boys wrote their names out on the cards and we stuffed them into plastic treat bags along with the mini pinball games.   

With the valentines completed and feeling returning to my hand, I was able breathe a sigh of relief.  The valentines were cute, homemade, and while not as personal or unique as 2013 Mary would have produced, I could sleep well knowing my boys could still say that their Mom made them custom valentines every year.

But with this year's project teetering on the edge of lewd, I'm afraid of what 2017 will bring.

"Mom, next year I expect something with swords, you know."

You're a real cut-up, Valentine...

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