Monday, February 14, 2011

The Valentine's Day Shakedown

I'm not a big Valentine's Day person.  I don't hate it or have anything in particular against it.  I'm just indifferent.  Partly because it's the day before my birthday, so my whole life it was just the day before a big day.  Partly because I'm not particularly romantic or sentimental.  J and I will say, "Oh, yeah! Happy Valentine's Day!" when we remember it, and then go about our day, just like any other.

But now both kids are in preschool.  And I'm telling you, the Mob could learn something from the way preschools are able to get parents to toe the line when it comes to bringing in treats for everyone in the class, having little cards "signed" by your kids (neither of whom writes yet, so who are we kidding here), participate in parties, etc. 

Only instead of the threat of broken kneecaps, they use guilt.  Because no one wants to be that one asshole parent who doesn't contribute.

As I was getting the kids dressed this morning, I suddenly realized it was Valentine's Day and that I had completely spaced on the fact that I was supposed to bring 24 signed Valentine's for the kids in Zeke's and Josie's classes, plus treats for the party.  (Attending the party itself was out of the question -- I have a job, which is why I pay almost 2 grand a month for daycare in the first place.)

When I dropped the kids off, I took Zeke into his classroom, where his teacher was busy putting together elaborate goodie bags for the children.  There was Valentine's stuff everywhere.  I was thankful that I had thought to throw on a red sweater, so I could fake looking the part.

"Hi, Ann.  I totally forgot about Valentine's Day.  I don't have any Valentines."

She gave me a withering look.  Robert DeNiro could totally play her in the movie scene when the enforcer is shaking down the babbo who's into him for 10 large.

"But I'm going to Safeway right now to pick some up.  Should I get other stuff as well?  Is there anything you need?"

I'm totally pathetic at this point.  She's got me by the proverbial balls.

"Well, sure, whatever you'd like to contribute..." she says, in a voice dripping with sugar.  Laced with arsenic.

"Oh, of course, of course!"

And off I scurry.


  1. We spent part of yesterday doing the same for Hazel and Lydia.

  2. Wow. That's really irritating.

    I had no idea it started so young. I am going to have to make notes on my calendar (with multiple reminders!) when it gets to that point.

  3. It is really irritating. But I should have known better. All weekend, I kept thinking, "oh, gotta go get the valentines," but I never got around to it.

  4. I remember those days. Thank goodness we've transitioned from cards and treats to a dance on Friday. Or not.

  5. Yeah. I barely remembered myself and I'm the room mom for my second-grader's class. At least he can address them himself.

    And I don't know about your preschool, but here they don't let you put names on the cards, just who it's from. Because, you know, the kids can't read yet, but want to pass the cards out themselves.