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Valentine’s Day in the world of parenting


Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s a big holiday for a lot of moms and dads out there — and not because they are celebrating a romantic occasion. In <a href=”http://parentsplace.lohudblogs.com/2008/02/06/who-is-getting-your-valentine-love/” target=”_blank”>an earlier post</a> on Valentine’s Day, I mentioned that I was writing a story for today’s paper about how the holiday is breaking out of the old definition of romantic love and into a broader sense of love among friends and family. <a href=”http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080214/BUSINESS01/802140335/1066″ target=”_blank”>Here’s a link to today’s story</a>. To report this story, I sent out a raft of e-mails to the great people I’ve met as a reporter and blogger. I heard back from quite a few of you, and many people had an interesting story on the topic. Here are some of them that I wasn’t able to fit into my story for the paper:

The dog ate my Valentine: That was the case at the home of Eleanor Petigrow of Goldens Bridge, a mother of three daughters ages 7, 10 and 13. Knowing her daughters like to give presents to their friends, Eleanor planned ahead and right after Christmas bought a bunch of presents, including a huge chocolate heart and jellybeans. The only problem was she stored them behind the TV set in her office — a location reachable by the family’s 90-pound yellow lab. “I got a call at work. The dog had eaten everything and was really sick. We had to take him to the hospital and have his stomach pumped. They had never seen so much chocolate in a dog,” said Petigrow, who was scrambling earlier this week to replace the gifts with homemade chocolate lollypops.

Romance, what’s that?:
Just ask Anne Colluci of White Plains, who nixed the idea of a fancy night out when she considered the cost and logistics of being a mom. “My husband and I had a fleeting thought of going to dinner at our club, Westchester Hills Golf Club, on Valentine’s Day. They are having a special dinner with a band and all. However, after thinking about how much money I would spend on a sitter and the work involved in coordinating it all on a school night, I quickly dismissed the idea!” she said. Anne did, however, buy red bookmarks and pencils for her children to give as class gifts. And, when I talked to her earlier this week, she was planning a trip to the mall to buy red attire for the kids to wear to school today.

Staying home is the best Valentine: Scott van Niekerk, who runs Wholistic Physical Therapy in Brewster, is fittingly scornful of the material side of the holiday, given his line of work. He and his wife were planning to spend a family day with their “2-year-old bundle of joy and a 3-month-old bump in the tummy.” “We will do a ‘stay home from work’ day to spend with each other and our beloved first born — the BEST family gift ever,” Scott wrote in an e-mail to me.

Baby comes first: Sasha Oxman Solow, who runs Sasha’s in Rye, put together a Valentine’s gift for her son, Michael, including a stuffed animal, a book about love and a red Slinky. Michael — really Sasha, of course — is giving a box of Valentine’s Day goodies to his daddy, who will be away on business today. Sasha also bought cards from her son to his grandparents and great-grandparents. “In my store, I sell a lot of Valentines Day gifts from parents to their kids. The most popular gifts are Valentines Day pajamas with hearts on them. Moms also purchase a lot of jewelry as Valentine’s gifts. We also sell Valentines day novelties like heart-shaped lipgloss, rubber heart rings, red & white Rubik’s Cubes, Valentine-themed stuffed animals, band-aids with hearts on them and heart-shaped playing cards,” she said. Among the customers: young boys coming in for Valentine’s Day gifts for their “girlfriends.”

No ideas for the hubbie:
Like me, Pound Ridge resident Lisa Brotmann, a mom of two, was behind earlier this week on the buying-for-the-husband front. But she had already lined up something for her parents and the kids. “I think that for people who are married with children, the holiday becomes more of a family holiday. For single people I am sure it is still all about the romance and flowers. I can’t imagine at this stage of my life taking time out on a Thursday night to get a sitter and go out to a romantic dinner with my husband. In fact, I was already thinking about what meal I could make that was festive for the holiday, perhaps heart-shaped pancakes or heart-shaped mini meatloaves,” she said.

Big day for busy moms:
This e-mail from Gretchen Menzies of Bedford says it all: “I have spent the last two weeks decorating shoe boxes, turning them into fabulous Valentine mailboxes, working on class Valentines and planning the kindergarten class Valentine’s party (I am the crazy mom who signed up to be class parent), a festivity full of cupcakes, pink icing, games and knick knacks. I am usually not one for over-doing Valentine’s day for the family, but the kids’ school life seems to require making this the momentous occasion of the year. By the time I have iced, mailed, crafted and discussed with the kids, what’s left for romance? And to be honest, this body? Not gonna wear any lingerie any time soon.”

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2008 at 10:19 am by Julie Moran Alterio. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Family, Gifts, Holidays, Parenting




About this blog
Parents’ Place is a hangout for openly discussing the A’s to Z’s of raising a child in the Lower Hudson Valley. From deciding when to stop using a binky to when to let your teenager take driving lessons, Parents’ Place is here to let us all vent, share, and most of all, learn from each other.
Leading the conversation are Julie Moran Alterio, a business reporter and mom of a toddler, Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, a reporter and single father with joint custody of a 9-year-old son, and Len Maniace, a reporter and father of two sons.


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About the authors
Julie Moran AlterioJulie Moran AlterioJulie Moran Alterio, her husband and baby girl — “Pumpkin” — share their Northern Westchester home with three iPods and more colorful plastic toys than seems necessary to entertain one tiny human. READ MORE
Jorge Fitz-GibbonJorge Fitz-GibbonJorge Fitz-Gibbon has been a journalist for more than 20 years and a father for nine. READ MORE
Jane LernerJane LernerJane Lerner covers health and hospitals for The Journal News in Rockland, where she lives with her husband and two children. READ MORE
Len Maniace.jpgLen ManiaceLen Maniace is a reporter and father of two sons. READ MORE