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Valentine's day across the age groups

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

With Valentine's Day just a few days away, I have some organizing to do. Not only do I need to pick up some trinkets for my family from me, but I also need to be sure that each kid is ready for their respective days at school.

Valentine's day across the age groupsSunshine is the easy one. Her preschool class will have a simple observation. Maybe some heart-shaped muffins for morning snack, putting little valentines in each child's sack … and that'x it. Mercifully. Because it's so simple and anti-fuss, I actually enjoy making some homemade Valentine's for her classmates. It will be something easy, but it will be fun, and Sunshine and I will make them together. Woody's class has a more elaborate celebration planned. It's fussy enough that it has totally turned me off. I (along with the other parents) received an email from the class moms asking who could bring in milk and dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries and/or white-chocolate dipped pretzels. Excuse me? That's more elaborate than anything I do at home. And I'm not exaggerating on the details — the email really did specify milk and dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries. And half the Valentines Woody will bring home will have some kind of chocolate taped to them. Since when did Valentine's Day become a mini Halloween? I don't go to any homemade effort for Woody's age group; neither he nor his friends would appreciate it right now. We'll go get boxed commercial Valentines at the local discount store, and that's it. I refuse to add to the candy stashes.Alfs is another situation entirely. When I asked if he needed to do anything for Valentine's Day, he quickly — almost too quickly — snapped back, "No!" Okay, then. Given his age, and his grade, message received. I'm dropping the subject.At home, I like doing little things for the kids and my husband. I'll make sure we have something a little special for breakfast like dried cherry scones or cranberry muffins. They'll each get a small thing at their breakfast place that includes just a few small pieces of chocolate. We might have a slightly nicer-than-usual dinner, but nothing over the top. I might pick up a nice dessert for my husband and me to share after the kids are in bed. Or not. I tell my kids and my husband that I love them every day of the year, and in that sense, Valentine's Day is no different from any other day. I don't go overboard for it, and I don't expect grand gestures from them either. I never say no to good chocolate, though.

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