A parental Valentine’s Day in real life
“Listen,” I told my husband the other day. “We can have a romantic Valentine’s Day at home, even with kids! I read all about it in a magazine. Three simple steps!”
Step 1: Get in the mood while the kids nap! Slip into a bubble bath with cucumbers over your eyes and relax!
As soon as my youngest was asleep, I ran a bath. I couldn’t find bubble bath. Just tangerine-vanilla eczema baby wash. I poured it in.
At the five-minute mark, my dog barged in and ate a cucumber off my eye.
At the six-minute mark, my daughter’s school called because they needed the field trip waiver before the bus left in 25 minutes.
At the seven-minute mark, my little one screamed that she was done with her nap and had “to go pee right now—oh wait—never mind.”
Step 2: Watch Your Wedding Video with the Kids
When my husband got home from work, we all gathered to watch our wedding.
My husband sniffed me. “Why do you smell like a Creamsicle?”
“I didn’t have bubble bath—never mind.” I beamed at my kids. “Isn’t this great? You get to see us get married!”
By the time I’d finished my walk down the aisle, my 3-year-old started wailing: “Daddy’s marrying someone else!”
“You’re WHAT?” I shrieked at my husband. “Who?”
“That lady! That lady!” my daughter yelled, pointing at me on the screen.
“That’s me!” I told her. “Mommy!”
“No it’s not!” she cried.
“Yes! That’s me! Your mother.”
“You’re not that lady! She’s young!”
I snapped off the TV.
Step 3: Once the kids are in bed, watch an entire season of a favorite show and snuggle!
We’d gotten to the opening credits of Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 1, Episode 1 when daughter #1 came down the stairs. She was hungry. We told her she’d eaten dinner, and it was bedtime. She persisted. We denied. She screamed, “I can’t believe you starve your own child!” and flounced up the stairs.
One minute into the episode, daughter # 2 came down the stairs. She needed a Band-aid. We failed to find any cuts or abrasions of any kind. We got her a Band-aid anyway.
Daughter #1 stomped into the room, threw a paper airplane at us, and ran back upstairs. It was a note:
I know you think you are perfect because you are old, but you’re not. You think kids should starve because then you can have fun. You are mean, but I love you anyway because I am nice and should be allowed to eat apples or something healthy like pretzels.
After a few more minutes, we heard crashing upstairs.
“What’s going on?!” we hollered. No answer.
Another thud. We ran upstairs and found daughter #3 amid overturned furniture, cupping her hands. “I caught a ladybug!” she said. “I need a jar.”
“I don’t have a jar!” I said.
Tears rolled down her face. “Then Mirabelle will escape!”
“Mirabelle has a husband and wants to watch five minutes of television with him uninterrupted,” my husband said stonily. “So let her fly. She must go to him.”
We went downstairs but couldn’t hear the TV. The house reverberated with heartbroken wails caused by Mirabelle’s departure.
Daughter #1 came down. “She’s screaming. Now I’m starving to death, and my ears hurt.”
Daughter #2 came down. “My Band-aid fell off.”
Daughter #3 came down. “Mirabelle’s gone, and you don’t care because you’re too busy enjoying your happy Valentine’s Day!”