Nothing says "I love you" like a handmade Valentine, but only a 6-year-old boy would think that the ultimate way of expressing just how much you mean to him is a crayon rendering of the fart gun he saw in the movie "Despicable Me 2."
My son has always had a penchant for bathroom humor, but being able to share this through his drawings is a newly explored medium. Much like how I imagine a Jedi slowly realizes he is coursing with "the Force," my son has felt this dark awakening in being able to express his love of flatulence-based comedy via art. Whether it's recreating a fart gun or defacing pages of his mother's magazines to make it so that everyone in the photos has a stink cloud emanating from their backsides — Declan has really been exploring and heightening his "talents."
It would seem making valentines for his school buddies was just the opportunity he needed to really let his burgeoning skills shine.
This year for Valentine's Day I asked the kids if they wanted to buy or make cards for their friends. I was surprised by a unanimous vote in favor of crafting. I don't think that either of my children realized that Star Wars and Paw Patrol-themed, pre-made notes were available, and I didn't really push the store-bought angle because I was also unbelievably relieved to be making them.
What crazy person is relieved to be creating 40 handmade valentines? The person who is looking for any way possible to use up the industrial block of construction paper purchased at Costco back in October. In my defense, the price was to die for. I just didn't really understand how long it would take to go through 648 sheets of paper, 54 of which are black. So when faced with an opportunity to put all those pink and purple sheets to some practical art project use, I was elated.
We cut out hearts and the kids went about coloring them with what I was hoping would be cute Valentine's Day themes. Both kids started out in the spirit with Mara drawing lots of hearts and flowers and Declan doing the same, so I felt confident to "leave them to it," working unattended at the kitchen table.
Parent tip: Never turn your back on children and a half-finished art project.
When I went to check in on their progress, Mara's hearts kept to the holiday motif with her own little spin: colorful and abstract. But Declan's cards had taken a turn to the bizarre — swarms of smiling hearts had morphed into happy TIE fighters attacking an exploding Starkiller Base. Another card featured ghosts and a spooky Halloween jack-o'-lantern, and then there was the aforementioned fart gun.
My son couldn't have been more pleased with himself and no amount of reasoning (more like begging) could get him to alter his artist vision.
And so I did what I think any parent facing a hard Valentine's Day party deadline and no other card options would do, I put them all in bags filled with colorfully wrapped candy and let him take them to school and hand them out to his friends. Well, all but one; who knew a way to a mom's heart was through a fart gun heart?
Molly Cavanaugh of Omaha's Channel 94.1 FM's Big Party Show is a mom to two children living in Chicago. She writes weekly for momaha.com.