Cal has two great loves – drawing and girls.
He’s been that way right from the very beginning. Even as a baby, he would flutter his long eyelashes at females and smile in a way that would just make them putty in his tiny baby hands.
As soon as he could hold a crayon, he was creating beautiful pictures that he would spend ages working on…..and then he would hand them out to every girl that he knew. And whatever girl that was would ooooh and aaaaah over his artwork and he would grin from ear to ear as he fluttered his lashes at them again. What a flirt, I’d think to myself. What a clever little flirt.
But the thing about Cal is that he’s also very thoughtful and never wants to see anyone left out. So as soon as he was done handing over his newest masterpiece and smiling sweetly at the object of his affection, he would toddle over to me and give me tons of smooches as he told me that I was his favorite girl and someday he’d marry me. And then I, too, would be putty in his sweet little hands.
Let’s be honest, we all know grown men who aren’t that smooth.
So for a kid with a fondness for art and females, Valentine’s Day is like his Christmas. He loves any day where you can make dozens of colorful cards and hand them out to every girl that you know.
And every year he seems to turn it up a notch and put in even more effort.
Yesterday, I walked into our pantry and there was a count down calendar taped to the wall. I instantly recognized Cal’s writing when I noticed “Valantime’s Day” written across the top of it (and frankly, that wasn’t a bad spelling attempt for a first grader).
“Umm, Cal, what’s this?” I asked him, pointing to the calendar.
“That’s my countdown for Valentine’s Day,” he explained nonchalantly, “so I know how much time I have until the big day.”
“The big day?” I asked him.
“Yeah, you know, Valentine’s Day,” he said. Oh, of course. Silly me.
“Oh….ok, then. So, what do you have planned for the big day then?”
“Well…” he said as he walked closer to me. “I’m going to finish making all of my valentines and then hand them out to all of my girls. And you’re going to make heart cookies for everyone that I know.”
Pardon? I’m going to what?? And did he really just say ‘my girls’?
“I am?” I asked him. “When did we agree that?”
“I decided when I was planning that it would be a good thing for you to do. ‘Cause, you know, girls like cookies.” He smiled up at me and tilted his head to the side.
“And when were you going to ask me about this?” I asked him, putting my hands on my hips and trying to look stern. But let’s be honest, he knows I’m a sucker for him and he knows that I love baking. The deal was in the bag and the little Don Juan knew it.
“Uh, I don’t know. Next week or something. I’ve been busy.”
Busy? With what? He’s six!
“Doing what?” I asked him.
“Making my valentines,” he explained as he walked back to the kitchen table. “Oh, and we need more glue. I used it all on my pop-up hearts.”
“You made pop-up hearts? For who?”
“My teacher. She gets the biggest valentine.” He held up a big white card that was covered in dozens of little red hearts. He opened up the card and sure enough, a big heart popped out at me.
I felt a pang of jealousy in my gut. His teacher gets the biggest valentine? I know she’s great and all (and has amazing hair that never looks frizzy or out of place), but what about me? Aren’t I supposed to be his best girl? And, not to pull the labor card and all, but I went through MANY hours of excruciating contractions to bring him into this world! So shouldn’t I be getting the card with the cool pop-up heart?
I didn’t want him to notice my petty jealousy, so I admired the card and told him how beautiful it was. Because it really was. That kid can make an outstanding valentine (and I’m not just saying that because I’m his biggest fan).
“So, will you be making me a pretty valentine as well?” I asked him.
“Uh, no.” He picked up a red crayon and began drawing more hearts on his teacher’s valentine.
“No?” Ouch. That one stung.
“No, Daddy will take care of you. He’ll make you a valentine.”
“He will?” I asked him. I’ve never actually seen Gregor draw any red glitter hearts, or craft a pop-up heart for that matter. And now that I’ve seen a pop-up heart, I’d really like one. What girl wouldn’t? Perhaps Cal will give him some art lessons.
“Yeah, that’s what he has to do. Because you’re married,” he explained as he continued drawing hearts.
“You know, Cal, you used to tell me all the time that you wanted to marry me,” I mentioned as I fluffed the top of his hair.
He stopped drawing, looked up at me, and dramatically rolled his eyes. And then he smoothed down his hair because he hates when it gets messed up.
“So you won’t be making me anything for Valentine’s Day?” I asked him as I pouted my bottom lip at him.
He looked up at me and thought for a moment. “If you make the heart cookies, I’ll give you a hug. And maybe a kiss.” He really does know how to work people.
“Deal.” I’ll take whatever I can get.
“On Valentine’s Day…” He paused and looked at me with a very serious look.
“Yes?” I stood in front of him waiting for him to finish.
“No kissing Daddy.”
“What? Why not?!” I demanded. Kissing is what you’re supposed to do on Valentine’s Day!!
“Because it’s gross,” he said. “No more kissing. Ever.” He rolled his eyes again and went back to coloring.
I’m pretty sure that if you’re not grossing out your kids, then you’re not doing your job as a parent. So clearly the Hubby and I are doing something right.