Some people are competitive.  Some people care a lot about how they measure up against the rest of the world.  I am not competitive.  I don’t really care that much if you are smarter or funnier or better-looking or can run faster.  (I can pretty much guarantee that you can run faster.)  It’s all good.  I’m comfortable in my mediocrity.

But then there’s Valentine’s Day.  I can’t explain what happens to me around Valentine’s Day.

Actually, I can totally explain what happens, or at least why it happens.  The week before Annabel’s first Valentine’s Day at day care, I received a list of all the kids in the center.  I looked at Michael that night and said, “Surely no one is going to bother with valentines for babies. This list is for the parents of older kids.

Valentine’s Day arrived.

We were the only parents who didn’t do valentines for the babies.

We are terrible, terrible people.

I guess I don’t enjoy feeling like a terrible, terrible person, because the next year, I discovered that I had gotten competitive.  So I made homemade glitter cards. I was quite proud of them.

Everyone else did homemade cards plus candy.

Sigh. Mutter. Grump.

It’s okay, fellow parents, I thought.  You want to play?  Oh, I can play.  This year, this year, I was going to make it happen.

I got the glitter paints out.  I made homemade heart stencils.  I planned on making mini-heart shaped sugar cookies but then our oven broke (sabotage, anyone?), so I purchased chocolate instead.  I forced Annabel into endless rounds of valentine making “fun” as first we painted, and then stenciled, and then glued, and then wrote.  And in the end, it was good:

I mean, it wasn’t great.  But for a three-year old who is severely handicapped by the fact that her mother is a Crafting Moron, I thought it wasn’t bad.  Points for authenticity, at least, eh?

I was really looking to score big time points with Sam’s class, though.  First, I felt pretty ahead of the curve because this time I knew that, yes, they really do valentines for the babies.  But I wasn’t sure how I could make a splash with no candy and no little toys and no stickers.  Just a card didn’t seem like enough.  And then it hit me.

How about I knit heart toys for everyone?

Because surely that doesn’t look like a desperate woman who is trying too hard?

When the kids came home tonight, I immediately pounced on their bags.  I’d been anxious all day and I had to know the truth.  Where did I rank in the Great Valentine-off of 2011?

On Annabel’s side, I was strongly holding my own against homemade cuteness and sugar.   And then I saw this:

Well, that’s just ridiculously adorable. It was homemade, contained sugar, and could double as a plaything.  It was like the Valentine’s Day trifecta.

Dang it.

But wait.  Wait.  What is…that?

Oh, you mean the fake ice cream cone filled with hot chocolate mix, chocolate chips, and marshmallows?

I just… I’m totally… I don’t even know what to say about this.

Other than, you are the winner, Ms. Fake Ice Cream Cone Mom.  Big congratulations to you, indeed.  You are the Queen of Craft.

And Sam’s hearts?  Well, they were cute but in the end I’m not sure a bunch of misshapen hearts made from scrap yarn held up against:

Rubber ducky and his glitter heart card.

Fine.  It’s over.  I lose again.

Next year I’m buying everyone ponies.

Just you wait.

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