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What I Learned in PreSchool - The Valentines Day Edition

February 12, 2013 - Jen Zbozny
When I think about Valentines Day in school, I think about passing out Valentines to the other children. I loved the old Valentine boxes and I still love those sugary conversation hearts with goofy sayings on them.

For Eve's Valentine party I was convinced we were ready. I volunteered to make cupcakes (pictures and recipe tomorrow!) for the party. I got out all of Eve's heart patterned clothes for her to pick from all week. I bought boxes of little paper Valentine cards. What could I have been missing?

We love decorating anything around here. I was thrilled to get out our pack of Valentines and explain to Eve how we could write each person's name on them and sign her name. We could even decorate with a few stickers or get out our favorite collection of markers.

Eve informed me we were NOT going to do that. Instead she insisted we had to hand make each individual card for each child in the class. There went the lovely fantasy in my head of a tidy little stack of cards each with the same simple message for each classmate. I had liked the idea of that tidy uniformity and I liked the idea that it would be fairly quick and not too messy. There are 18 kids in the class. That's a lot to do, you know?

I tried to reign it in. I tried to explain how we needed to make each card fairly similar. I came up with a good sort of plan. I cut card stock into small uniform cards. I cut out a bunch of uniformly sized heart shapes. I got out heart and flower stickers. I got out the markers. I put names on each card and made a prototype. I showed Eve how she could paste a heart onto the front of each card and put some stickers inside. Then I would write Happy Valentines Day in each card and she could sign her name.

Nope. Vetoed. Eve got out glitter and spangles and plastic jewel decorations. She got out her scissors and other stickers.

I tried to re-explain and reign in the mess. Eve ignored me and had glue and papers and stickers and glitter (one can never have too much) everywhere. I thought I would have a shiny Valentine heart attack. Then I looked at what Eve made and I remembered what I'd forgotten in my perfectly tidy Valentine plans.

Eve had thought about each person in her class and made something special for each one. She remembered what they had brought for sharing day or thought about what they liked to play with best at school and drew that. Some children's cards had monsters inside. One had a truck sticker on it. Some are covered in pink plastic jewels. Some had lady bugs she made by sticking her thumb into an ink pad and making a red thumb print, then coloring black spots on it.

They are far from uniform. She probably used a liter of glue. Some of them are upside-down. They are magnificent.

In her simple determination, Eve reminded me what I had clearly forgotten. Valentines Day is for showing your love by being inspired, thoughtful and kind. This is what I learned from a 4 year old today. I couldn't be more grateful for her patience in trying to teach me, clueless as I am.

I hope your hearts are as full as mine this Valentines Day. I hope your kitchens have less glitter.


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