When he was seven, our son returned home from Beaver Cubs carrying a pile of what looked like bit of paper.
"What's all that?" I asked.
"Valentines Presents for <girl X>"
"Oh", I replied looking askance. To be honest, the pile of paper didn't look too promising as a Valentine's gift for the latest object of his affection.
Bits of coloured tissue paper, scrunched up with a paper tail sporting a very wonky "I lov you" (sic) motif. A bright red Valentines card with two loving bunnies and also a couple of dinosaurs on the front, which sadly wouldn't open as it had been glued together. Finally a coupled of small packets of Love Hearts.
"We did make our girlfriends a Valentine's biscuit with loads of icing and sprinkles on top too," added 7yo. "But we all decided they were too nice to give to girls so we ate them ourselves."
The course of true love clearly runs shallow, very shallow, when you are 7!
A couple of days later, when I picked up 7yo from school on the afternoon of Valentine’s Day he seemed a little downcast.
”How was it?” I asked, knowing how he had been preparing his Valentines gifts for the current object of his attention.
”Rubbish! Girl Y hated card” Oh dear. However, I was a little confused: ”I thought you were giving card to Girl X”
7yo:”I changed my mind, I crossed out Girl X's name and wrote in Girl Y's” OK, that didn't sound good!
"How did Girl Y take that?" I asked as gently as possible. "She wasn't happy, she gave me the card back" replies 7yo.
Ah. "Well," I say, ”I'm not surprised Girl Y hated the card. It's obvious that by crossing out Girl X's name that for you Girl Y was your 2nd choice”
7yo is unconvinced:”Nah she’s just picky!”
She's clearly picky unlike 7yo!
"So, what did you do?" I ask.
"I rubbed out Girl Y's name, rubbed out the crossing out and gave the card to Girl X."
I'm not sure of his morals, but OK, that was one solution. "What happened?" I ask
"Girl X was really happy." Ah, that's nice, "get a kiss?" I enquire.
"No way!" says 7yo. "She kept rubbing my back and wanted to hold my hand. It was horrible. Bleugh!" I'm kind of relieved that the 7yo boy's instinctive dislike of anything girlie and sentimental remains strong in my son.
"Did you get anything back?"
"Yes," says 7yo. "Girl X gave me a card too, and I got this cake from Girl Z. I don't really like Girl Z, but I thought I would bring it home and share it with my family."
I think that's the best Valentine's present either of us could have!