Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen all the Valentine candies and decorations in every store imaginable. Okay, maybe not tire stores, because heart-shaped tires would make driving a bit challenging. But they’re everywhere else right now, gearing up for February 14th.
And I love Valentine’s Day. I love pink and red, I love lace, I love sweets, I love the whole shebang. My daughter was even due on Valentine’s day. Of course, like the others, she came a week or more late—I already told you how I should have an entire extra kid, based on all my pregnancy overtime.
But I digress. What I want to do today is to warn you against making a particular Valentine. It is darling, it is tempting, but it is deadly. At least it seems deadly if you are a Room Mother and try to teach it to a classroom full of third graders.
I fell in love with this Scandinavian tradition the minute I saw it—a little paper heart-shaped pocket cleverly woven into a checkerboard pattern. You can fill it with candies, and make a handle for it so you can hang it on a doorknob. Cute as a button, right?
And it’s not that hard to weave the parts and make one. I mean, if I can do it, anybody can, right? So I thought I’d teach it to my son’s class as a wonderful Valentine activity. Eagerly we cut out the two sections.
Happily they watched as I showed them how to weave it.
Then it was their turn. They couldn’t do it.
And then all hell broke loose. I’m sorry to say hell, but that’s what it was for at least half the class. One girl bent over her desk, sobbing. One boy ripped his apart in fury and frustration. Some got tangled and quit. Some just stared at me like I was the devil incarnate, for suggesting they do something so utterly impossible. Don’t even ask me about the looks I was getting from the teacher.
Finally I asked if they’d like to make a flat, woven placemat instead—much easier. But it was too late. My time was up and my activity was a disaster. I gathered up my construction paper and left. That one girl was still sniffling.
St. Bob, of course, has assured me for years that I drove at least 14 kids into therapy because of that day. But are you telling me that all Scandinavians are smarter than Americans? Because they’re churning these devil puzzles out by the hundreds, just like the Japanese are making those origami cranes. Okay, maybe these people are smarter.
Maybe I should have shown the kids how to make heart-shaped souffles, instead.
You can avoid sending countless children into fits of despair, just by subscribing to this blog. Then you can read about my disasters and know what not to do. You’re welcome.