Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine Plagiarism, Gender-Specific Images

As a first-time preschool mom, I read the school newsletter very carefully for instructions on how to proceed with Valentines cards. We were supposed to bring enough Valentines for our child's small group (six children), labeled "To My Friend" instead of the actual names of the kids. Obviously, experienced minds were in charge, because someone must have spent a lot of time at previous parties sorting out which card belonged to whom for a roomful of toddlers who can't yet read.

I'm not particularly crafty, but Valentines cards are one thing I can do! Mrs. Longino, the aide in my own kindergarten class, made beautiful cards of graduated sizes of construction paper hearts in red and pink, glued together, and topped with a sticker. So basically, I've clumsily stolen her idea for the last thirty years, every time I need to make Valentines.

I cut out paper hearts and figured it wouldn't be hard to convince Q to "help" me stick them together, since he's fascinated whenever I need to glue something together. Nope. The pencil I was using to trace the hearts was much more interesting, so I was left to glue them myself. With a lot of coaxing over a few days, I did manage to get him to help place foam heart stickers on the top and scribble a bit of crayon to "sign" them.

When he brought his little bag of Valentines home from school, it was fun to see the creativity of the other parents. They hadn't gotten their kids to do much of the actual Valentine-making either, but one had included a decorated pencil and another included a tiny puzzle. I'm still getting the hang of this kid-level gift thing.

Tonight, I was wondering whether his disinterest in the heart stickers was the texture, color, shape, or something else, so I brought out a set of foam stickers in the shapes of footballs, soccer balls, and basketballs. Would Q be more interested in these? Yes. He immediately started placing them in different piles, asking me to help him peel off the backing, and making a picture with them.

Was it coincidence that he was disinterested the four times I brought out the heart shaped stickers, but the sports stickers were a hit? It could be, but I don't know. He's not quite three years old, but a lot of gender influences show really early. At least he still requested Riverdance as his DVD treat before bed, so I know he hasn't gone all macho on me yet.


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Bon said...

mine is still young enough that he's really into the cartoon kitty stickers and the hearts we plastered all over last-minute Valentines this morning.

but i know you're right...the gendering starts early. i wish it wouldn't.

Mayberry said...

Jo picked out two different kinds of valentines for the boys and girls in her class. Last year, all the boys got Hello Kitty!

wayabetty said...

Wow! You are very creative! I had to do for all 3 kids so store bought stuff is what they got.

Alex Elliot said...

Your valentines are pretty impressive!

Mamacita Tina said...

Ian is definitely into trains and cars, maybe I should have had him make cards with those instead of hearts and he would have put more time into the craft.

ewe are here said...

My Ramekin loves to stick stickers... ANY kind of stickers.

kittenpie said...

stickers of all kinds are big around here. But girly ones more so. Three is, after all, the dawning of the age of gender. Gack.