Happy 'Valenstime,' Hippo!

It’s the night before Valentine's Day, and I’m taping miniature plastic Pteranodons onto crudely cut, peace sign-adorned love notes at bedtime. We are a well-oiled assembly line, my daughter and I. She writes. I tape.

From the assortment of Jurassic lovebirds, she carefully picks out dinosaurs to match her classmates’ personalities. I’m not sure how I’d feel about being paired with a lambeosaurus. The hooting, crested guy is such a “lame-o” on PBS’s Dinosaur Train. Only a handful of buddies get the T-rex taped to their name-bearing card. Must be special! I love those little glimpses into my daughter’s sandbox friendship dynamics.

Anyway, I’m slightly peeved at having to tape and double tape the triceratops. He’s on the heavy side. Why am I doing this when we should be brushing teeth and get ready for bed? Ah, right, because a little foresight is simply lost on me and usually ends with an expired CVS coupon in my purse.

Earlier that Night...

With a 30-minute window to shop for Valentines cards before dinner is ready, the countdown was on. My husband is a precision chef, so he gave us the green light to head out quickly for the cards, and we were off! Purchasing a crowd-pleasing, seasonal anything is ill-fated when you head out after the retailers have already given up on that season.

My daughter wanted cards of the Monster High variety. How hard could it be? Let me tell you. Unless you bought them right after Christmas, you’d better settle for Disney’s Cars or princess posse. Seriously?

We tried Target’s seasonal goodies corner in the back but we couldn’t find a single pink heart beyond the rows of Easter bunnies. But wait, there it was! A single box of cards left alone among the cleared shelves: Disney’s Cars and princesses.

So off we went to another store, and then another, and then to Giant, because Giant has, at the very least, yummy pastries that would be a perfect closure for the dinner Dad is preparing at home.

We found the entire Valentine merchandise cleared off the shelves. There were plenty of Easter eggs though — and an abandoned shopping cart full of Valentine stuff in the back. Taking advantage of the clerk’s potty/coffee break, we dove right in and yanked merchandise out of the cart.  Bingo! The Valentine cards were at the bottom. It seemed like there’s a little love going around after all.

Alas! There’s the car and tiara assortment. We also found puppies with disturbingly large eyes. Ugh. We were outta there.

On our last stop at the local pharmacy, we hit the jackpot and found peace-sign cards. To tell you the truth, we would have settled for things with four wheels, blue ball gowns and puppies by now, but we lucked out.

Home at Last

Back at home, my husband greets us at the door, slotted spoon in hand.

“What took you so long?”


“What’d you get?”

“A bag of dinosaurs and peace signs.” I tell him. (And a hissy fit as I briefly entertained the idea of a retail boycott, but I hold that one back.)

 So we have spaghetti, and afterwards, write the cards, tape the dinosaurs and head to bed.

Once upstairs, my daughter reads a book to her little brother. As my little guy snuggles up to her, he hugs his hippo and wishes him a "happy Valenstime,” and I want to eat them both.

Marion Kase is a Berks County, PA mom of a preschooler and a 4th grader. This post was adopted from her blog, Helicopter-Caterpillar.

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