How I celebrated Valentine’s Day

I have never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. (This opinion has been true regardless of my relationship status at the moment.) Fortunately, my husband feels the same way, so neither of us expects any super-special display of affection on that day. (We have a private joke about it. I ask him several times during the day, “Where are my diamonds? And my flowers? And chocolate? And balloons with a stuffed animal—ideally a teddy bear? Don’t you love me?” and he rolls his eyes. Heh.)

p2136239allcookiesftf.jpgMost people in our society do engage in a “traditional” celebration of Valentine’s Day, though. As Sylvia has grown into a fully talking-thinking-soaking-it-all-in individual, Jan and I have realized that the two of us, as adults with a lifetime of experience and some ability to analyze popular culture, can critically examine and resist the consumerism-driven aspects of Valentine’s Day, but that she doesn’t yet have the tools that we have—and that her own life experience will involve exposure to all sorts of cultural concepts and practices. We can’t shield her from all of the ones we dislike, but we can try to mediate their impact on her by discussing them and, we hope, teaching her how to think critically about them.

Last year we started explaining to Sylvia that Valentine’s Day is a special day when people like to tell people they love them (taking care to point out that that’s a nice thing to say to people on any day you like). We talked about valentines, too, and the idea that people often do special things on that day.

Now that she’s in preschool, she had her first-even valentines swap on Friday. It was rather sweet (even though nearly all of the cards given were character-branded items that are basically advertisements for the latest Disney/Pixar/Barbie endeavor), and she really enjoyed making cards at home and passing them out at school. She made a card for her dad, too, a few days ago—and could barely keep the secret. (Example: “Daddy, don’t look on top of the bookcase, okay? It’s a secret!”)

p2136242cookiesftf.jpgThe best part was when the three of us made these shortbread cookies together. As a vegetarian, Sylvia can’t eat traditional conversation hearts (they contain gelatin), so these are a nice substitute. As a future geek (she has two geeky parents, so she doesn’t stand a chance; she already has her own dice bag) we figured we should give her some early lolcats exposure. And of course she just loved seeing her name on several cookies!

5 Responses to “How I celebrated Valentine’s Day”

  1. Shannahon 15 Feb 2009 at 11:41 pm

    I’m a vegetarian, too… and those hearts look fantastic! What a great valentine’s day.

  2. Katie Jon 15 Feb 2009 at 11:52 pm


  3. Chrison 16 Feb 2009 at 10:17 am

    She’s a lucky little girl. :) What wonderful traditions you’re developing!

  4. Frankon 16 Feb 2009 at 8:28 pm

    LOL her own dice bag!

  5. Marshaon 16 Feb 2009 at 10:11 pm

    @Frank: Not just her own dice bag, but a whole collection of dice, too. Jan thought it was important that she have one of each shape, so she’s got everything from 4-sided to 20-sided. She doesn’t have a 100-sider yet, but really, those are pretty useless. :)