Candy love - FamilyEducation

Candy love

February 15,2011
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

A teacher at T.s school remarked to me yesterday that the kids had been a handful all day--energized and excited about Valentine's Day. Of course, I'm sure it didn't help that the sugary treats had been flowing that day (despite reported medical evidence that there is no relationship between too much sugar and hyperactivity--I'm not sure I buy those reports). When I looked through L.'s Valentine Box from school I couldn't believe how much candy was in there--it rivaled Halloween! Somehow, in the years between MY elementary school Valentine experience and my children's the holiday became all about candy--not chocolate, which I can actually wrap my mind around, but candy and commercialism.

Blech. 

Of course, it didn't help that L. wrote this on the side of his school Valentine box:

In the car, while we waited for T. to get out of school, L. and I had a talk about Valentine's Day and the social world of school. Not long ago, when L. first read the Wimpy Kid books, he latched onto the notion of "ranking" popularity on a numbered scale. #1 is the most popular kid in his class, L. told me, while #65 represents the least popular. L.'s perception of his position on the  scale has varied from year to year, but yesterday, feeling good about his heavy box of cards and treats, L. put himself at a #25 on the scale.

"Well you know," I told L. "I was probably sitting at about a solid #45 for most of my middle school years."

He thought about that for a little bit.

"I think I turned out okay," I said. 

I know I'm still not that popular kid, that #1 person on that popularity scale. I don't have scores and scores of friends; I'm not the one who's the life of a party, nor am I the one who stands out in a crowd. I also know there's absolutely no way in a million years I can convey to my kids just how okay it will be, down the road, in the future, to NOT be a #1. 

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I really wanted to tell that teacher at T.'s school that if she thought HER kids were rowdy, she should have been in my 1:00 English class. Elementary school kids might get excited by thoughts of candy and cards, but with the touch of warm spring in the air, MY students were in a whole other place entirely.