Nothing sucks away the Valentine’s Day spirit like Valentine’s Day. This probably holds true in all situations, but it is especially evident when you have children in elementary school.
Valentine’s Day means school parties, which means preparing a bunch of those little waxed ticket Valentine’s cards.
Most public grade school classes contain twenty-some-odd students, making it perfectly natural that the cards come in boxes of 16. If you search hard, you may be able to scrounge up a box of 32 cards, but the prizes (and they need to have prizes now) are not as good.
The boxes I unearthed came with temporary tattoos and glow-in-the-dark stickers. These were not on the lollipop level, but gradeschoolers need additional sugar even less than they need tattoos.
Having limited the number of boxes to buy, and spared dozens of children’s parents from the effects of an added sugar rush, I thought I’d won Valentine’s Day.
I had not.
This became apparent when it came time to prepare the cards. Big Brother was able to address his by himself, but he needed help fitting the tattoos into the little slots in the cards. Those little slits were difficult to find, and impossible to neatly slip the corners of tattoos squares into. It would have been so much easier to ram a lollipop stick through there. Valentine fail #1.
Buster’s cards were worse. With his unconfident penmanship, he could not make his pencil write dark enough on the waxy paper. I gave him a pen that writes smoothly on wax. Valentine fail #2. The pen also smears smoothly on wax. I dictated the spellings of the names of his classmates to him while he wrote the letters and promptly smeared them as he moved his hand across the paper.
We used the extra cards to replace the worst monstrosities. Having learned our lesson, we let the ink dry and folded them so he could write his name without touching the recipient’s name. Then it was time to attach the glow-in-the dark stickers.
More tiny slits! Valentine fail #3. The stickers were harder to fit into the slits than the tattoos were, especially when attempting to do it without touching the ink already on the card.
Finally, we were ready to fold up the cards and seal them with the little sticker hearts universal to these kits. We’d just fold the names up inside and not worry about smearing anymore. Valentine fail #4. We got a good way through this process when it occurred to me that with names folded inside, Buster wouldn’t know who each card was for.
This must be a common mistake, because there are about four hearts for every card in the set. We ripped the hearts off the cards, folded them the other way, so Buster could try to interpret the smeared names on them, put them into a baggie, and tossed them in his school bag with the last of my Valentine’s spirit.