A recent trip to the grocery store reminded me that Valentine’s Day is upon us. As I cruised down a particularly pink and red aisle I saw wall to wall sets of movie themed Valentines for kids. Which made me realize that as my spawn starts to become an actual kid certain things are barreling down on me. Valentines. Birthday parties. Teacher gifts. And all of them cause me to think – what the hell?
When did teacher gifts become a thing? I don’t remember my mom having to essentially tip any of my teachers. Teaching is an arrangement in which someone gets paid to show up and tell things to small people. It was a nice arrangement with very clear cut guidelines – show up, learn/teach, go home. Now all of my friends with older kids are dithering about teacher gifts around Christmas. I recognize that teachers aren’t paid enough, but crappy set of lotion at Christmas is not going to make up for that.
And suddenly if you have a birthday party for your kid there have to gift bags for the children who attend. Birthdays are the day when everyone shows up and gives the person celebrating a gift. Why are we now bribing people to attend? If I have to bribe you to show up then you are not my friend. I suppose the alternative theory is that the small children cannot handle the sight of someone else receiving gifts. But… Isn’t that the entire point of parenting – teaching your kids to manage their own emotions? So wouldn’t gift bags just be me supporting your poor parenting?
Valentine’s Day has now become a flashpoint for grade school bullying. Better give a Valentine to everyone or you’re a bully. Sounds lovely. You know what that means in reality? It means that I have to buy Valentines. A kid can make four or five Valentines, but no grade schooler is going to hand-craft an entire classrooms worth of Valentines. So now I’m stuck supporting the Hallmark industry? Swell.
Can someone figure a way out of this for me? Can I just carbon freeze my kid at three? Or can I start a social revolution for those of us who are anti-social? Somebody help!