Custom pink puffy hearts

I tasked the children’s father with the annual Selecting Of The Valentines for the kids this year, in part because I hadn’t gotten around to it and he had them with him this weekend, and in part because the entire exercise makes me want to shove sharp pencils into my eyeballs.

When it’s up to me, we go to the Dollar Store and have a choice of maybe six different kinds of cards. When the children whine that they want something that isn’t there, I try to look sympathetic. Then I tell them to hurry up and pick because we have to go get groceries.

The REAL stores have entire WALLS of valentines cards, though, and because Daddy is much nicer than Mama, the kids got to pick just what they wanted.

At the Dollar Store, the cards all just fold in half and seal with a sticker or maybe just a little cardboard tab. There’s a TO: line and a FROM: line and that’s all we have to fill out. But out in the real world, man, there’s a billion different character sets to choose from and dozens of different formats. Some have envelopes! Some come with candy! Others have stickers! The set Monkey came home with has TATTOOS! (Because nothing says “I dig you” like slapping a cartoon puppy on your arm.)

One year I talked Monkey into a set of scratch-n-sniff Shrek valentines. I don’t know if they make them anymore, even, because these were VERY special cards. They were—brace yourself—OGRE SCENTED. I kid you not. I have no idea how these ended up at the Dollar Store, because ogres smell exactly like butt. And what little boy doesn’t want to give everyone cards that smell like that?

No matter what the cards, of course there are four or so different sayings on them, and then comes the second wave of torture. Assuming that you’ve survived the actual SELECTION of the cards (“I want the Care Bears. No, the Hello Kitty ones. No. Wait. I can’t deciiiiiiiiide!”), now you have to supervise the sitting down with the class list and deciding who gets which card. And you don’t want the wrong kid getting the wrong card. Oh no. Maybe one of the peppy little “I like you lots! I’ll share my tater tots!” lines would cause an international incident if given to a BOY when deemed appropriate only for GIRLS. Or vice versa. Oh, it’s complicated.

This year, I see Chickadee really settling into the beginning of what I think of as the Girl Wars. She’s doing alright—better than I expected, actually, in part due to having been precocious enough to go through a bit of this in previous years, already—but let’s face it: girls are little bitches to each other, and not many of them outgrow it, either. She is mastering staying away from the girls with whom problems tend to occur, but she definitely has her opinions about some of the other girls in the class. And of course, boys are still icky, so she stays as far away from ALL of them as she can.

In contrast, Monkey loves EVERYONE, male and female alike. Some of his classmates find him less than desirable, I’d imagine, owing to his penchant for completely spazzing out over what appears to be absolutely nothing… but in his mind, all the kids are wonderful and must necessarily see him in the same way.

So Chickadee is wary of sending a “too nice” message to a boy (gross), or a message that appears to be too fawning to a girl she wants to see her as cool. Monkey is only concerned about getting everyone’s cards exactly right in a way that will express how much he loves each and every one of them.

I’m guessing it’ll only take us about ten hours to get all of the cards done.

Me, I don’t much care for any of the cutesy messages in any of their cards. I think that if you’re going to acknowledge a manufactured holiday like this, you should say what you mean. Seriously, is there any other day of the year when it’s so clearly sanctioned to speak from the heart?

Here is but a small sampling of a few ideas I came up with for the kids to distribute.

For Chickadee:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
You have glittery pens,
Please can I have at least two?

Valentine, your mom let you get your ears pierced!
That’s really cool. My mom sucks.

This Valentine’s Day, I just wanted to tell you…
I don’t care about your stupid secret club.

And for Monkey:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Sometimes I fret,
because you made my feet wet.

Valentine, I think you’re nifty!
Here’s a cute picture of a puppy and I’ll try not to call you a stupidhead today.

Will you be my Valentine?
Check yes if you’re hungry. I never eat my lunch.

My kids are so lucky to have a mom who’s a writer.


  1. hillz

    those poems are awesome.

    we never gave valentines when we were in school. im 25 and ive only ever had ONE valentine. thats right, ONE. cry for me now if you want

  2. Heather

    I bought Sesame Street valentines for myself last year, but then never used them. Comment triste. Perhaps you should start a line of unique eloquent Mir valentines.

  3. LyndaL

    Kids give each other Valentines where you are? We don’t do that here. In fact, I am such a super duper Mum that my kids didn’t even give Christmas cards to their classmates last year. I don’t think anyone noticed!

  4. Rachel May

    Oh, my. Thanks for the encouragement.

    I sat with Jet and did his last night. He’s only two, though, and I had picked up a box of Elmo cards at the grocery store weeks ago.

    In fact, the plan was to use the stickers inside the box as rewards for Jet for staying in his own bed. HA! That didn’t work, BTW. Fortunately, though, we did NOT end up with stickers all over the house. Just all over him.

    At any rate, we sat down last night and I helped him write names on the cards (meaning that we both held the pen and I did the writing). I feel like I should go buy a bag of suckers or something to tape to the cards. Two-year-olds can’t even READ, for Pete’s sake, so I didn’t bother to see what the cards said. The cards are shiny, though. What two year old doesn’t like shiny Elmos?

  5. Sara

    I’m in line to buy the cards with the pierced ears and the stupidhead remarks. I believe they could be best sellers and the manufacturers will be ringing you up soon.
    I made my kids do theirs over the weekend too. No way was I going to saddle myself with supervising homework AND valentines! I may not always have the right answers, but I’m no rookie on this one….

  6. LadyBug Crossing

    I hate valentines too! I wonder if LLB is going to do them this year – It might not be cool to do them in Middle School…

  7. MomCat

    Thanks for the Monday morning giggles – those are the best and most accurate Valentine’s Day poems I have ever read. (Can I please buy the rights for my daughter to add some of Chickadee’s poems to her cards this year?) ;)

    You’re so patient to sit with them and help with valentines. Patient and also pretty.

  8. Bob

    I shudder for Otto.

  9. Brigitte

    Back in my day, they were all like the generic Dollar Store ones (if they were fancy, there was a bad knock-knock joke on them or some-such).

    One of the few Valentines I got was from a boy whose mom MADE him give them to everybody in the class, so nobody would be left out . . I guess a pariah like me was supposed to be grateful.

    Oops, my issues are showing!

  10. Mir

    Brigitte: I remember when we could pick and choose who to give them to, also. Nowadays the kids have to give to everyone—school requirement!

  11. Jen

    I was being thrifty this year and bought one box of cards for my daughter, one box for the twins to share, and one box for the youngest to give at dayschool. Turns out that daughter had exactly enough for her class, the twins were each 2 cards short (uh oh), but younger brother had extra – yay, we’re saved!

    Except the twins were less than thrilled when they realized they had to throw some “Go, Diego, Go” cards in with their “Pirates of the Caribbean” … oops!

  12. Melanie

    I love those Valentines – much more realistic than the cheesy cards you get at the store. I don’t think we’re doing them this year, thankfully – my son hasn’t mentioned anything, which I guess is the joy of being 4 and going to a preschool that doesn’t do holidays.

  13. tori

    My kids aren’t yet allowed to address the cards, they are only allowed to sign their name on the from line. It sure makes it easier to fillt hem out that way. I think in 4th grade the school allows them to choose which Valentine is for who, which will make things so much more complicated, I am sure.

    I love your Valentines though. Where can I buy some of those?

  14. Amy-Go

    Roses are red, violets are blue…I hate valentines, how about you?

  15. Ei

    Have you copyrighted these? I could totally send a few of those myself.

    Is it wrong I sent the Valentines to their father’s house to be addressed this year?

  16. Aimee

    Truth-in-Valentines. I love it! I would *totally* buy those.

  17. Susan

    Imagine the tattoos Mir could market with her valentines . . .

  18. Crisanne

    One thought on the girl wars, esp with a move in the future: try to find a friend for Chickadee that does not go to her school. My best friend lived next door, but because we went to different private schools, I didn’t have to worry about her knowing what happened that day. I’ve long thought that this was key to my survival of the middle school years. I could tell her as much or as little about school life as I wanted. I always knew she would be waiting for me when I got home. I will be praying for good friends for your kiddos in the move as well as good schools.

  19. Melisa

    Get this, Mir: we had Littlest Pet Shop Valentines this year! The kind with the sticker seal! Georgie just finished addressing them last night. Yes, one for EVERYONE in the class and she didn’t care who got which one. Nothing says “Happy Valentine’s Day” like a big bobble-headed poodle.

  20. jenn2

    You think the other girls are bitches now? Wait until boys aren’t icky anymore. Whooo boy.

    This year, no V-day party at school. There was a dance last week, but 6th graders weren’t allowed. Drama Queen bought Happy Bunny valentines (which are alarmingly similar to yours, by the way. I’d investigate copyright infringement.) for her friends. She also asked if I would make heart shaped frosted sugar cookies decorated with candied violets and edible pearls for her buds. I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants. Turns out she saw the cookies in a magazine and there’s a recipe and everything and they are SO TOTALLY easy. Besides, it’s not like I work anymore.

    Yep, I gave her to the gypsies. They brought her back though. Damn.

  21. Margaret

    My nephew (3 1/2) calls everyone “stupidhead” too!!!

  22. Damselfly

    I’d buy the “stupidhead” Valentine’s. Oh, and if you do shove pencils in your eyes, please post a pic of it on your blog! ;)

  23. Cele

    there are places that don’t do Valentines? How sad, it is for fun and joy. Everyone needs fun and joy, and yeah what the heck some good old American commercialism.

    I would like to order two boxes of the Mir Delight Valentines

  24. Cele

    I do think the ogre scratch and sniff would go well with any citing Butthead remarks

  25. Rachel May

    Roses are red,
    Violets are sticky,
    You don’t get a valentine
    Because you’re a boy and you’re icky.

    I could so totally waste a ton of time at work doing this today.

  26. Rachel May

    Roses are red,
    Violets named Bob,
    Your club is stupid
    And I think you’re a snob.

    Okay. Really now. I’m off to work.

  27. Woman with Kids

    I think your valentine ideas are perfect! Boy 1 refuses to even sign his sign or address, he’s so cool he’ll simply pass them out. Boy 2 has laborously written every name Just So, only to discover he’s accidentally given a boy a girl card and the world will end and does this mean he can eat the candy that came with that card? Since it’s ruined and all?

  28. JayMonster

    Oh dear, if you can get away with just cards, you are doing better than we are doing here.

    It has (it seems) turned into a case of one-upping each other with some of the parents. Who gives, the coolest cards, who gives, stickers, candy, freaking goodie bags. It is just out of control.

    We still stick to just the card though, except for the teacher, she gets a present that my daughter bought out of her own allowance. I will bake something to send into class, to avoid being completely ostracized.

    Oh and LyndaL… they noticed… at least some of the parent’s did. Trust me. There are always a few that “keep score.”

  29. Sophie

    Man, parenting is so complicated. My kid is only 4 — how am I ever going to survive the intricacies of Valentine’s sentiments?!?!?! I might have to quit my mom job. Oh that’s right; I can’t. Well, I wouldn’t anyway.

    For Monkey:

    You love most everyone;
    You sound terrific.
    If I knew you any better,
    I could be more specific.

    I’ve got to get back to work, too.

  30. carolyn

    We have reached middle school nirvana – we do not have to do valentines for the whole class. It is a blessing. 6th grade boy says he is not doing anything for anybody. 8th grade girl will get candy for her best friends only. There is always someone in her crowd that goes all out, but most of them don’t do anything.Next up for us?? A boyfriend or a girlfriend, which is a whole different can of worms, and I am not looking forward to it at all.

  31. The Other Leanne

    Violets are blue
    Roses are pink
    Here’s a Shrek valentine
    because you stink.

    Yeah, this could be a great new angle on Valentine’s Day.

  32. ishouldbeworking

    The Girl Wars are soooooo much fun. I get a daily update from the battle front when I pick my daughter up from school.

  33. Tracey

    I don’t know whether to be relieved we don’t ‘have’ to do the valentines thing like that here, or be horrified that more ‘good ole American commercialism’ will inevitably wind up here as well.

    I’m not even into Valentines Day as a grown up!

    In the face of it all, I like your angle on it.

  34. elswhere

    Can I sign up for a box of the Mir Special Valentines?

    MG is working with some leftover Hello Kitty valentines from the last couple of years, plus a brand-new box of Pixar cards. You can imagine the indecisive mental gymnastics that are ensuing, especially since this week her HOMEWORK, real live homework from her teacher, is to address valentines to her whole class. We’re doing our best to stay out of it.

  35. BOSSY

    Around Bossy’s house the preferred Valentine is Scooby Doo: the first name in Lust.

  36. Dawn

    We went with BRATZ valentines and OVER THE HEDGE valentines…same dilemas and concerns. We are still living parrallel lives except your in love and getting married.
    Hope Otto does something wonderful for you for V-day!!

  37. Jessica

    I read this post earlier today, but did I heed the warning? Noooooooooooo…. I decided to take a 5 yo and a 2 yo shopping for Valentines, making an extra stop in a winter storm before heading home. Upon being told that no, she could NOT have a big red teddy-bear….or a giant frog…..or every piece of candy in the Valentine aisle, she threw a fit to end all 2yo fits, which is actually pretty unusual for her.

    I blame Valentine’s Day.

  38. Lisa

    Ogre scented Valentines. I needed that laugh today. I just finished FIFTY valentines cards with a 4yr and a 2yr old. My 4yr old daughter cannot write names on the valentines (school rule), apparantly a concept she cannot wrap her mind around. Why can’t I give this one to “G”, and why can’t I give that one to “M”. Aaarrgh!
    My 2yr old just wanted to draw on himself and eat cookies. More power to him…I wish I could use his coping mechanisms.

  39. Laura

    Here’s one for my husband:

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Though we’re too tired for sex,
    I still love you.

    (Our daughter, not quite two, has decided to stop sleeping through the night.)

  40. DDM

    *Snort* Awesome.

  41. Barb

    Hey, I get the Valentine’s card fun from both sides this year! Boy #1 is at preschool and must bring a card addressed to each child in his class – something of a challenge when he professes to hate all girls and that he would rather die than give a girl a valentine. Finally I told him to pick out the cards he liked the least and we would give those to the girls. Boy #2 is at daycare and must bring 30 cards signed with his name but not addressed to any specific child. AND I teach K, which means I will get to spend a good chunk of tomorrow helping overly excited 5s and 6s hand out cards to friends who’s names they can’t quite read, necessitating my help with each and every child’s cards for each and every other child in my class (all 18 of them!). Any wonder we don’t celebrate V-day at our house?!?

  42. Carson

    I hate all girls. While DD was in her social skills group, a mom & daughter came in, and the girl was insisting to mom that Girl A really was her friend, because “she only picks on me when [Girl B] is around!” Heartbreaking. I have a 5yo in my CBS class who is a mean girl, and I totally have her number, and I totally make her toe the line.

  43. Jeana

    Wow, since Daddy’s so great at the Valentine card shopping, I think he should do it every year!

    My five-year-old Dawson wrote my favorite poem ever:

    Violets are blue
    Some flowers are pink
    You are a sweety girl.

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest