Anti-Valentines: My Latest Million Dollar Idea

While I am taking an unwilling  break from blogging, please enjoy this festive Valentine’s post that originally ran last year.  


Sadly, after the kids left preschool, these adorable anthropomorphic plums were never able to find work again.

Sadly, after the kids left preschool, these adorable anthropomorphic plums were never able to find work again.


Apparently, sixth grade is the cut-off for school Valentines. Lucy told me, in no uncertain terms, “Bleccchh. No way am I bringing Valentine cards to school.” No ambiguity there. She wanted to bring candy, though. Apparently that is still within the realm of social acceptability for kids her age. So we trotted out yesterday in search of lollipops. She selected a box from the conveniently located Valentines display at the front of the store, we paid, and headed for home. We were halfway home when she ripped  open the box and was horrified to find out that the lollipops all had messages on them.

And not just any messages. These were emblazoned with gems such as “I Love You” Kiss me” Be mine” You’re Hot” You’re Cute” “Date me” “Totally Yours”, among others.

“Gaaahhh! What am I gonna do? I can’t hand these out, I’ll never live it down!”  she yelled, fully aware of the social devastation that would most certainly occur. Serious business, apparently, to send the wrong message.

I, of course, was laughing too hard to be of any help.

Industrious girl that she is, when we got home she grabbed a Sharpie and blacked out all unacceptable messages. Y’all, she was as efficient as CBS blacking out Katy Perry’s cleavage at the Grammys. Problem solved.

Note to the Valentines Candy People: You are leaving money on the table! Because unless you’re making expensive, exquisite artisan chocolates, most of your market is elementary school children. And children of this age? Mostly think the opposite sex is “meh”, if not downright yucky.

In that light, might I suggest a different marketing strategy, geared specifically for the 2nd through 6th grade buyer?We’ll call them Anti-Valentines.

Here are my ideas for alternative messages:

“You’re not totally gross.”

“You’re okay, I guess.”

“I’ll sit next to you because I have to. Just don’t talk.”

“Best Friends Forever. Or at least until next week.”

“I like you, but I don’t “like you” like you.”

“You could be worse.”

“You have Cheetos stuck in your braces.”

“Kiss me and I’ll slug you and then tell the teacher.”

“I guess you’d be cute if you weren’t so short.”

“Dad says I’m not allowed to date until I’m 30.” “

“You have nice handwriting.”

“Sometimes you can be kinda funny I guess.”

“You are okay at square dancing. Just try not to touch me.”


These will fly off the shelves, I guarantee it. You’re welcome, Candy Manufacturers. You get working on this right away, and I’ll see you next year.


What to Expect When You’re Expecting Tweens

What to expect when you're expecting a tween


Congratulations! You’ve made it through the newborn phase, the infancy phase, the toddler phase, the terrible threes, preschool, and even early elementary! “I’m exhausted”, you say. ” My work here is done”, you say.  Not so fast. You’re entering a whole new phase… the tween phase. I am currently in possession of two of these beasts lovely darlings, girl ones even, so I am here to help you through with  this handy list of What You Can Expect. And don’t worry, with my version there is no special, impossible- to- follow diet involved. Unless you count wine. Lots of wine.

1. Your things will go missing – your hairbrush, makeup, nail polish, shampoo, and even your shoes. Some of these items will eventually be found under your tween’s bed, or possibly at the bottom of a backpack should you dare to venture there. Don’t bother looking for the “expensive” shampoo you bought at the salon – she’s used it all. Resign yourself to using the drugstore shampoo until she leaves for college. Meanwhile revel in your unkempt, un-manicured, shoeless state.

2. She will express horror upon seeing your undressed, or semi-undressed body. You will hear ”Eeeewww! Gross, Mom!” Or “Gawd, Mom, that is like totally inappropriate!” despite the fact that you are getting dressed in your own room and 10 seconds ago the door was closed.

3. The subtle sigh and condescending  pat on the shoulder before she has to step in and help you with your computer.

4. Never getting to choose the music again, either at home or in the car. You will know you have been beaten when you find yourself in the car alone, yet somehow singing along to Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepson, or Katy Perry because you know EVERY DAMN WORD.

5. An endless loop of being asked, “Can I have a sleepover?”

6. An endless loop of being asked, “When can I get a cell phone?”

7. Remember when she was little, and her pants had a tendency to “head south”, so you were constantly pulling her pants up or reminding her to do it? It’s payback time. If your refusal to submit to high-waisted mom jeans means  sitting, standing, squatting or movement in general leads to occasional  unintended  exposure,  you’re  in for a treat. And by “treat”  I mean your tween flapping her hand, averting her eyes, and  shouting, “Eeewww! Mom, pull up your pants! Gawd!”

8. 30 minute showers during which there is much singing of Bruno Mars and also all of the hot water is used up.

9. Questions such as, “They had movies when you were a kid? Oh. But, they were black and white, right?”

10. Soliloquies about who is in and who is out of which group at school, who is now BFFs with whom, and who got an iPad for Christmas and thinks she is so hot!

11. Cries of “I’m staaarrrrving! We don’t have any fooood!”  Usually heard within 48 hours after you have grocery shopped. This is due to the consumption of a week’s worth of snack food in a one day time period. Note: despite her extreme hunger, she never seems to be hungry when dinner is actually served. Then, food is picked at and left mostly uneaten, with an “I’m just not really very hungry tonight”. Until about 9:30 p.m. when she is staaarrrving again and needs a bagel.

12. A sudden tendency to abbreviate phrases that don’t really need to be abbreviated, e.g.  “Totes adorbs”. As if the extra time necessary to pronounce the other four syllables of “totally adorable” will really throw off her busy schedule. (By the way, whoever made “totes” happen? See me so I can punch you in the neck.)

Good luck as you traverse this new and exciting world of tween-dom!  By the way, I welcome wine deliveries, preferably by the case. Just leave it on the front porch – I’ll be in the house hiking up my jeans and learning the words to the latest One Direction song. TTFN, CYL, AARGRMPFX and all that…


What to Expect When You're Expecting A Tween

See these? She won’t hear another word you say for the next nine years.