Thursday, February 14, 2013

And Then They Sucked the Fun Right Out

"People are getting just too carried away with their safety rules these days."-Luke, age 8 and 10 months.

This from my son while we sat in the car pool this morning and lamented the fact that the absence of treats on Valentine's day put a bit of a damper on the fun. Now families with food allergies, don't go getting your knickers in a bunch and zing me a nastygram. This post is not about you.
My complaints about public school are few. For now. We're still new to this party and not super involved, so I'm careful about airing my grievances publicly. But this. I can't let it go. Sure it's petty and silly and in the grand scheme of things, who really cares about celebrating Valentine's day at school, anyway?
However. I had to sign a release form for my kindergartener stating that IF we participated in the class celebration of valentines, my signature acknowledged that my son addressed all of the valentines himself and that he possessed a valentine for all twenty-three of his classmates. Oh, and don't include any treats because we aren't going to do that here. And there certainly won't be a party. We ain't got time for that.

A release form? For reals? Preventing what, exactly? And by the way, isn't the packet of fun dip and that stick that comes with the whole point of Valentine's day? (Raise your hand if you chucked the fun dip and only ate that sugary stick of candy goodness?)

So hop in the DeLorean and travel back in time with me to rural Alaska, early 80's-ish, when we wrapped our shoe boxes in construction paper slapped on copious amounts of paper hearts, sliced a hole in the top and prayed that the cute boy dropped a valentine inside.  Because he wanted to. Sure the girl who smelled really bad and didn't have running water and was the unfortunate recipient of many a prank didn't get any valentines. And that was mean. I get that. Bullying is real and its awful and it was wrong then and it's still wrong now. Snotty little first graders we were.

But we also had real teeter-totters on the playground and monkey bars so high I still break out in a cold sweat just thinking about them. And get this. We were allowed to run at recess. And the boys shot at each other with imaginary weapons, flipped the swings over the bar purely for our own amusement and ice skated without helmets. Okay, so that last one was stupid and I had the concussion to prove it.

I'm digressing, but my point is this: when we create so many rules and restrictions about even the most trivial events in the school year, just what exactly are we trying to accomplish?

Since my boys had to be content with giving non-edible valentines (or no valentines at all, which is the choice my kindergartener made), I took my disgruntled self to the place where they still know how to do it up big:

That's right. Preschool. Where they feast on strawberries, juice boxes, sugar cookies with sprinkles and it isn't a party until somebody cries over the empty Pringles can. Happy Valentine's Day.


  1. We were allowed to put a candy treat on our kids Valentines but we also got the same note. What got me was the list was numbered so Susie Lions was # 18 and so it looked like (To: 18)(From: Lauren Cox)
    This way the teacher could distribute them instead of the kids. What a time saver that is!

  2. Heidi! You are just a fantastic writer! I love following your blog and HERE HERE to the little shoe boxes with construction paper, and YES Fun Dip is way more about the Dip than the stupid stick!
    Nuts to the restrictions, It's Valentines Day for crying out loud!