Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Some things I didn't understand as a child

Watching my children address their valentines has been fun this year. I'm sure most of it is personalities, but my children seem to follow stereotype--if only I had believed it as a girl.

My girls spent hours considering each message and each person they were meant for. They made homemade envelopes just because they could. Some valentines were considered too girly for the boys, others were too weird or too big. And the heart stickers used to seal the envelopes were carefully rationed to prevent too many boys getting pink rather than red. (Except the boy in Miss E's class who reportedly likes pink. He got probably4-6 pink hearts on his. Do you think his parents will tease him about his girlfriend?)

My boys didn't do it that way. Of course, Young M was instructed not to personalize his to make delivering them easier for his class. But Young A simply went through the list. The next valentine at hand was the one the person got. A couple designs were rejected so they would all be uniform size. He was more interested when the stickers came out evenly to three rows of eight used and three rows of eight left than what color was used for any of them. He also loved to see the top half of the heart sticker sealing one valentine lie next to the bottom half of another make a whole heart. So much fun.

As a girl (especially towards the end of elementary school) I always wondered if (hoped) the boys carefully chose this one or that one for me. I would carefully consider what somebody might think the valentines meant--especially if it was for someone I particularly liked (or didn't). Later, as a teenager, I would try to read meaning into almost anything a male did that seemed to involve me. Apparently, it was all for naught. The boys didn't mean anything, but the girls caught all sorts of messages from them. And the girls gave out all sorts of messages that the boys didn't even notice. No wonder everyone was so confused.

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