I should have read the signs. I mean, I've got 6 years under my belt in this parenting gig so this ain't my first rodeo. I KNEW. And yet....
Noelle came home from school on Wednesday hopped up on excitement for her 100th day of school/Valentine's Day party to be held on Valentine's Day. She made Dyl, Noah and me close our eyes so she could hide something under her bed. (No, we didn't peak but I hope she keeps that hiding place always. Muahahaha!) She wanted to tell me the secret about what was under her bed so! bad! but I didn't let her. No no I said, keep your surprise for tomorrow!
This is also known as 'foreshadowing'.
Thursday morning she practically bounced out of bed, quivering with excitement to share her surprise. She rummaged under the bed and pulled out what looked to be a white paper bag. "Let's go get Noah!" she chirped. The poor boy had barely blinked his eyes open when she shoved the package at him, "Here, Noah! Happy Valentine's Day!" Well that woke him up right quick."But you have to save the wrapping paper 'cuz I decorated it." It was the cutest little love bug creature with her picture in the middle. "Mrs. Richmond said to give it to someone special you love a whole lot and I wanted to give it to Noah!" My heart melted into a gooey puddle at that. But knowing my kid, the follow up was coming and she didn't disappoint:
"When do I get my present?"
Now, we aren't raising overly materialistic kids (I hope). (We are actually trying very very hard to raise the exact opposite.) (It's a work in progress.) But she had made a gift to give so in her mind, someone probably had one for her. And we do. Just not at 6:30 in the morning. That wasn't the way things were done in my family; gifts for whatever reason (except Christmas, naturally) were given in the evening so I tended to keep to that.
"Oh baby, you'll get your Valentine's surprise after dinner." Mostly because I ended up spending evening before cleaning up from dinner and prepping for the next night that I never got around to wrapping their gifts. And also because I didn't have bags yet. I'm clearly aces at this whole planning thing.
"Why, Mommy?" she said with a catch in her throat.
Even to my own ears it sounded lame, "Because that's how we do things" but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that with little ones, the excitement is RIGHT NOW and I was an idiot for not recognizing and planning for that. She accepted it but later while brushing Noah's teeth, she came into the bathroom in tears.
"What's wrong baby, why are you crying?"
"I'm sad" she sobbed "because you like Noah better than you like me!"
Again, like an idiot, I responded to the symptom, not the cause. It had nothing to do with Noah and everything to do with how we completely misjudged how important the day was to her.
And this is why $40 worth of candy is now melting in my car.