Monday, February 15, 2016

Year of the Fire Monkey

Gōngxǐ fācái

(That's said "gong sshee faa-tseye")

From my two little monkeys.  (Technically, their Chinese zodiac animals are NOT monkeys, but they certainly are my little monkeys.)  

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Bah-Humbug of Valentine's Day

My husband and I have never believed in Valentine's Day.  Not even a little bit. It is a big marketing ploy and (before we had kids) we frequently went on dates without any commercial holiday telling us when to do so. (I understand that exchanging Valentines is not a modern invention either, as it dates back several hundred years, but even within my lifetime, it has warped into absolute craziness.)

But now that I have kids, my soapbox is a little taller and my bullhorn a little louder.
I completely abhor Valentine's Day. 

This is because Valentine's Day is the new Halloween.  Kids have to exchange Valentines under the pretense that it helps them practice their handwriting. (This is what their teachers tell us.) We Gen-Xers did that too, 30 years ago, but we exchanged stupid paper things that we threw away when we got home. The modern child, however, exchanges Valentines made of candy, attached to candy, wrapped around candy, or just affixed to gruesome red treat bags full of candy.

I understand that I am not the only person who doesn't want their kid all hopped up on sugar, but my reason goes far deeper than that.

My kids' baby teeth formed and began to erupt through their gums while they were in orphanages. While their peers in families were slurping down milk, formula, and breast milk, both of my children were given warm sugar water in bottles. They received formula too, but it was cut; it was maybe half-strength. While their peers in families were exploring new foods like steamed spinach, small bites of chicken and mashed banana, by kiddos were eating watery rice and still more warm sugar water. This means that we have a huge struggle to keep our children from developing cavities. Between them, they are already up to 7. And we brush. And we floss. But we are not working with the strongest enamel so when someone thinks it is appropriate to give Starburst to 2 and 3 year olds, I want to go a little nuts.

This means that I'm the bad guy. I'm the one who goes through their bags when they get home, tossing the Starburst, Skittles and Fun Dip in the trash. I am the mean mama who has to tell my kids that they can't eat the 3 pounds of sticky sugar they just brought home for a holiday that has uncontrollably morphed from martyred Christians to hand-written letters between lovers to mass-produced chintz. So out went the last of the Halloween candy, Christmas candy, and today's cache because, don't look now, but Easter is going to be here before you know it and we have 2 more cavities to get filled before then.