I'm especially on board with the author's frustration with the leprechaun mythology being dispensed at school. At least when it comes to Santa, being that our kids attend Christian based schools, we're all on the same page about a man in a red suit coming down a chimney with presents to celebrate Jesus's birthday. Makes perfect sense. But last week I had Georgia coming home telling me that leprechauns are as big as your thumb, and June reporting that her class heard leprechauns stomping around upstairs only to return to their classroom to find pots of gold. I could see the puzzled look on Georgia's face while June showed off her rather fake looking gold. And I am supposed to reconcile all of these discrepancies as the arbiter of leprechaun facts?
By the way, I'm sorry if my mentioning "Pi Day" pressured anyone into celebrating yet another holiday. (I'm kidding; it couldn't possibly have, right?) I only heard of it myself for the first time last week.
I keep seeing all this fuss on the Internet about "100 Day" and am thanking my lucky stars that neither of our kids' schools (so far) make a thing out of that.
Can we talk Valentine's for a minute? The author describes it as "the new Halloween," and I think that's spot on. I'm not here to pooh pooh Valentine's Day, because first of all, the kids love it, and it's fun to witness their joy. But I think that's kind of the point - we as a family do very little to celebrate, and the kids *still* love it. Love is all you need. Okay, and maybe a *little* chocolate. ; )
I have learned to grin and bear it but just do not understand how so many of the other parents aren't doing the math. When you send a kid off to school with goodie bags as their Valentine thing to pass out, and each goodie bag contains 3-4 pieces of candy (or plastic trinkets), and there are anywhere from 13 (June's class) to 33 (Georgia's class (spread over different days)) children, then that equals....let's see...carry the nine...anywhere from 39 to 132 pieces of candy or trinkets! I may be a sugar buster when it comes to my children, but no three year old needs 39 pieces of candy in my book, not even spread over a week. Which is why I do two things: (1) Take advantage of their youth and make a ton of this stuff disappear to the "circular file" overnight, and (2) Become a free rider and send my children off to school with only a sticker (yep, like, a single sticker) as their "treat" to pass out. I've just seen how much of this stuff ends up in the trash, and seen how little my kids have any awareness of "who gave out what", to feel like it's worthwhile to do more. I know that as they get older that will likely change, and I'll probably play along to help them fit in in this case, but for now, they are perfectly happy with this arrangement. In fact, Georgia did not seem to care, while preparing the store-bought Barbie princess charm school Valentines that she picked out, when I told her that she had inadvertently ripped each one in half and stuck the stickers on permanently, rather than leaving them on the backing for her friends to enjoy.
My friend Sarah wrote a really interesting blog post about the pervasiveness of "cute" in our culture these days, something that I hadn't really considered but found very thought provoking. (You should check that one out, too, if you have a sec! See, I'm here to fulfill your pleasure reading needs.) Whether it's overblown holidays or just overdone cuteness in general, I think the overarching idea is that when special things become everyday, they cease to be special and are instead expected and ordinary. Or you can look at it from the opposite angle: ordinary, everyday days are crucial to making special occasions and special treats actually feel special. Sometimes it feels like half my job as a parent is depriving my children of things (e.g,. toys offered everywhere, an abundance of sweets everyday, and screens galore (TVs, phones, iPads)), (all of which are heavily marketed toward them and put in our faces everywhere we go), in the hopes that they will not get accustomed to such a heightened level of stimulation that their senses become dulled, leaving them turning to cocaine for entertainment by the time they are out of junior high. I'm exaggerating I guess, but only a little. All I'm saying is that it feels that way sometimes. I mean, I can't buy into the parenting philosophy of "Say 'yes' whenever possible!" to maximize long term happiness for all involved, but with the amount of crap being thrown our way daily, being a "no" woman can be exhausting. And totally un-fun.
But back to the holiday celebration thing...(sorry if this is the most disjointed thing ever written, I don't really have time to edit and am just going with it)... How do you make room for the people (both adults and their children) who actually have fun making those Pinterest worthy homemade Valentines, without letting it slowly become the standard that all other families are trying to meet (and often times feel like failures for falling short of)? I mean, Lord knows our family went all out with our coordinated Halloween costumes. And when I am in the mood, I have been known to enjoy taking on projects like making patriotic Fourth of July desserts, having the kids paint their own Christmas wrapping paper, or throwing themed birthday parties. The key phrase there is "when I am in the mood." Because one person's simplicity or frugality can be another person's pain in the rear!
I don't know. There is no question that on a societal level, all of these celebrations and holidays just keep getting ratcheted up, up and away, and I think we've reached or surpassed the "too much of a good thing" point. On a personal level, I try to go all out when I feel like it, and phone it in when I feel like it, and not feel bad about it either way. Easier said than done, but at least a reasonable goal.
So, anyhoo.....St. Patrick's Day. We had a festive one. We all wore green. We went to Tommy Nevin's Pub to watch our niece's/cousin's Irish dancing troupe. Our children were too timid to join in the dancing with the crowd but were more than happy to demonstrate their footwork at home afterwards. Can you even believe they've never had lessons? ; )
Georgia Irish dancing from Kate on Vimeo.
June Irish dancing from Kate on Vimeo.
P.S. This song will always make me think of Steph the Nanny. It was the closest thing we had on hand to accompany our tiny dancers.
P.P.S. Doesn't that look like the kitchen of someone who had a home showing the next day? Amazing the difference a day can make. It truly was flawlessly clean, no joke.
[ETA: The excerpt below is my favorite paragraph from the original linked post. The "ordinary" ain't easy! Especially for this lady, who by my standards is knocking it out of the park. Everyone bathed (relatively recently?), dressed (for part of the day? maybe?) and fed = my current definition of success.]
I don’t like the feeling of disappointing my kids. But I refuse to give into this holiday overkill. I’m overwhelmed enough as it is. Today I gave all of my kids a bath. We read with each of them for the recommended 20 minutes. We reviewed our Math Facts. We practiced guitar. We sat together at the table and ate a meal that was NOT procured at a drive-thru. We played outside. Most days, I’m struggling to achieve all these things. I can’t have these haphazard, once-monthly overblown holidays take over my life.