What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

As you may have heard, unless you’re boycotting or hiding under a rock, last week was Valentine’s Day, which is really just another opportunity for Piper and Augie to engage in their ongoing soulmate love fest.  I vote yes for any occasion that let’s me just say I love you. I don’t need flowers although I won’t complain about them either. I definitely don’t want to brave a restaurant and/or wrestle someone for a babysitter on a Tuesday evening when much of the rest of the country is trying to do the same. But I’ll happily eavesdrop on your personal valentine messages and appreciate the truth about love.

The truth about a long distance friendship between four-year-olds is that it’s hard and it’s work.  You miss each other and you don’t know when you’ll be together again.  Your parents are entirely in charge of scheduling and they seem to be busy doing something called “work.”  You don’t have a credit card yet so you can’t just buy a plane ticket.  You don’t drive, even though you really, really want to, so you can’t just hop in a car. You don’t own a boombox so you can’t hold it above your head and blare “In Your Eyes” like John Cusack in “Say Anything”:

Oh, swoon.  That gets me every time.

As a four-year-old in love, you have to rely on Skype, video messages, and the postal service to keep the flame alive. So, you work hard to express yourself to your valentine with the only tools you have: markers, glitter, heart stickers, and foam beads. Here is what Augie sent Piper this week:

Swoon again.  That Augie is sweeter than candy.  That’s a lot of glitter hearts and you and I know clearly what that means.  Nothing says I love you like a purple pipe clean molded into a heart. And any man who understands the importance of dotting your “i” as a statement is a good man in my book.  Piper went a bit more of the clichéd route and relied on jewelry to express her feelings:

As a girl invested in anything rainbow, making and then giving away an awesome foam rainbow necklace is the ultimate sacrifice. And look at the layering of hearts.  Clearly, a metaphor. Let’s look inside:

Writing her name is not Piper’s favorite thing to do, but for Augie, she will.  Happily. Because when you love someone, you work at it.  You tell them. And you hold on tight.

A Piper By Any Other Name

Piper mostly hates preschool.  Not the playground and the crayon thing but the academic thing.  If you have a preschooler, you may already know that they are doing long division by the end of the first week.  It’s insane.  Most of Piper’s classmates have been skilled and drilled since birth.  Half of them can already read. Piper can barely write her name.  It’s not that she doesn’t have the ability or that she isn’t bright, it’s that we haven’t really put our energy into her four-year-old academics.  She’s been busy making mud pies and memorizing Lady Gaga lyrics. Her father has taught her an array of armpit noise pitches.  We’re very proud. Every day her teacher sends home a note asking me to work with Piper on her name.  I haven’t paid much attention, but I’m pretty sure the note goes like this “Dear Lazy Mom Who Doesn’t Pay Enough Attention to Piper, Please take a few precious moments out of your busy day and work with this poor child on writing her name so that the other kids stop making fun of her on the playground. Thank you.”  I know that tone.  I’m a teacher, too. So, we work on the name thing.  We sit at the kitchen table with brightly colored paper and markers that smell of various fruit flavors.  And she does write a name.  It’s just not her name.  It goes like this:

So, I’m thinking of saving us all the headache and just changing her name.  “What do you think of going by Pirppirr?”  I ask.  Her face is hopeful. “Can I stop doing this then?”  “Yep.  Back to eating Playdoh and practicing armpit noises.” She happily runs from the table and I begin writing a note to her teacher informing her effective immediately of Piper’s new name. Problem solved.