1. Get Mom out of the house.
On any other given evening, when given the opportunity for a night out, your wife would be out the door so fast that she wouldn’t even notice if you had shaved off one of your eyebrows and glued it to your chin. But for some reason, when you are trying to craft a surprise gift and need her gone, she’ll act as if the only place on Earth she wants to be is at your house. The only solution is to tell her that you’ve scheduled a surprise massage for her that night and that it starts in 20 minutes. This will buy you just enough time to have the kids make Valentine’s Day cards. It will also buy you enough time to make an apology card, which you will need to make up for lying to her about the massage.
2. Gather all the kids in one room.
If you have more than one kid, this is nearly impossible. By the time you get one kid settled into a chair, another one has gone missing, with the most likely destination being In Front of the TV. The best solution to keeping them in one room is to either bribe them with candy or threaten them with duct tape. These are two of the three most valuable tools you will ever have as a father (the other is a Dora DVD).
3. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies.
Making a Valentine’s Day card requires a lot of supplies, such as construction paper, stickers, crayons, glue, markers, boogers, scissors, gauze and Band-Aids. If you are missing any of the mandatory supplies, you will hear about it.
“There are no stickers, Dad?”
“No, but I’ve cut out all these red hearts from construction paper that you can glue on.”
“But I NEED stickers! Without them, this card is RUINED.”
“I don’t think the card is ruined.”
“I may as well give Mom a half-eaten lollipop for Valentine’s Day.”
If your wife is reading this then she will finally understand why her Valentine’s Day card is covered in approximately $11 worth of postage stamps.
4. Always work over a table.
If you don’t want to find marker stains on your couch and a remote glued to your fireplace, then make sure you’re crafting these cards over a table. If the table is at someone else’s house, all the better.
5. Never try to tell your kids which side of the card is the front.
It doesn’t matter what you say or how logical your suggestion is to use the front of the card as “the front of the card,” your kids will dismiss it--just like they dismiss your other wise, fatherly suggestions like “clean up your room” and “stop sitting there--my head is not a resting spot for your butt!” To them, every side of the card is the front. The front is the front. The back is the front. The inside is the front. Sometimes even your table is “the front.” Just be happy that they are settled in and finally working on the cards. Worry about your sanity later.
6. Prepare for multicolored arms.
Whenever markers or paints are involved, you can rest assure that your kids will unintentionally (and sometimes completely intentionally) draw all over their arms. By the time the Valentine’s Day cards are complete, their arms will look like the work of a drunk tattoo artist who was testing out a new design that he calls “the epic rainbow.” The best way to deal with this is put the kids to bed in long-sleeved PJs and giant oven mitts, and pray that your wife doesn’t notice when she gets home.
7. Make sure you spell “Mom” correctly.
Sounds simple, but if you turn away for too long the kids may accidentally add extra letters to “Mom” and spell something nonsensical like “MomIsStinky.” It won’t be the most pleasent of Valentine’s Days when you have to spend most of it explaining to your wife where they learned how to spell that. Also, your wife will not believe you when you say “Twitter.”
8. Have a predetermined card making start and stop time.
There are two types of cards kids make: Cards that are finished with just one scribble on them (so they can return to trying to break your iPad) and cards that will never be finished (so they can avoid bedtime at all costs). Explain to your kids that for the next 30 minutes (and only 30 minutes) they will be giving all their attention to making the best Valentine’s Day card for Mom that they possibly can. After five minutes, feel free to abandon this plan and send them to their rooms.
9. Clean up the evidence.
When the cards are finally finished and all the “fronts” are decorated, be sure to clean up all the materials and scraps that have overtaken your house. It’s amazing how a few simple cards can lead to enough paper waste to fill a bowling alley.
10. Hide the cards in a top secret location, namely a spot that Mom hasn’t looked in for so long it has cobwebs on it.
Hey, it’s about time you got some use out of her lingerie drawer.
Oh Boy, You're Having a Girl
(A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters)
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