This year for Valentine’s Day, I decide to revive a tradition from my childhood: Scandi-inspired heart ornaments fashioned from homemade baking soda “clay.” My friend Alexandra and I used to make them with her mother, Marnie. I remembered those tomato red hearts with such affection, and was excited to pass the experience on to my own children.
But Oliver wasn’t interested. For the first time ever my boy firmly stated that he did not want to make Valentines for his class. Since we always make our own cards, I questioned why. Turns out some boys in his class have been teasing him all year, and he just couldn’t see his way to giving them a card. I started to give him the standard PC parent lecture about love conquering all. But then I paused. For I realized that this was likely not the reality he experienced navigating the trenches of third grade. And part of me understood; it would be hard to give a piece of yourself to people who make you feel so small. So I didn’t press him.
Later though, as Solvi and I began our production, Oliver did join in. He even came up with the idea of painting an arrow piercing the heart. (Fitting, no?) So maybe love doesn’t conquer all. And maybe even as I want to provide my kids with all the rich and wonderful experiences of childhood, I can’t protect them from the fact that life hurts. But in the end, I was happy to see that it takes more than a few mean words to stifle Oliver’s creative spirit.
In case you are wondering, here’s a recipe for making your own hearts using baking soda and cornstarch.
leaving some unpainted created a more Scandi-modern version, complete with Angela Liguori’s wrapped cotton twine