I’m pretty sure I violated the Child Labor Laws once or twice. To quote the Biebs, “and by once or twice I mean maybe a couple of hundred times.” When we give out Thoughtful Pinches to my kids’ teachers, which is every holiday during the school year, I find myself going thru this exact scenario every time. First, I will admit, there is never a good time to start the process of wrapping gifts and attaching personal messages/cards for each teacher. The very last thing my kids want to do is sit down at an assembly line and put together pinches. Understandably, they’d rather be playing or reading but against their will, I make them sit down and “produce” thoughtfulness. I usually start the conversation with shame: “How could you not want to do this for your teacher? Do you know how much your teacher does for you?” Or the classic line, “Your teacher cares so much about you, this is the least you can do to show her that you care about her.” Oh and btw, the situation just reeks of urgency because I’m always the last minute gal. Even though I may have bought these pinches months (sometimes a full year) ago, I don’t start the process until the eve of the holiday and because of that, everyone has to feel the stress with me. So in addition to pulling them away from something fun and shaming them, my kids are usually under the gun being forced to write something nice to their teachers. Lovely. When my kids finally surrender and sit down, their writing is messy and the messages are about as warm and thoughtful as fingernails down a chalk board. I mean, let’s call a spade a spade - signing twenty-two cards under pressure, even if it’s just “Love, Beau”, is not very fun and takes a lot of time. You may be wondering besides slimy shame how do I motivate my kids to do this? Well, I stoop even further down and use motivational tactics like telling my son that all of this is good practice for when he becomes famous and he needs to sign autographs. The enthusiasm usually fades by the fifth card but lucky for me he always pulls thru. Most eves of holidays I’m up at midnight finishing up the pinches and getting them ready to give out the next day. And as each of these wise teachers receive these thoughtful pinches it's always awkward because we all know that I wrangled my kids into doing this. End of scenario.
I have come up with a plan for a happier ending with the End of the Year teacher pinches. Similar to last year, we bought Stella & Dot bracelets. However, this year each of my children really enjoyed picking a bracelet for each of their female teachers from the latest catalog. I loved to hear what my kids said about each teacher and why they thought the teacher would like the bracelet they chose. Last Monday evening, after we carefully selected the bling, my awesome stylist, Wendy Witherspoon, put in my order. The entire order arrived the same week last Friday! My timing was perfect because Wendy was donating her proceeds to Every Mother Counts. It’s a win-win-win. The teachers receive a well-deserved bling gift, mothers globally benefit from the proceeds and my kids felt empowered because they chose their gifts (last year I chose everything). I’m thinking since it’s Stella & Dot there’s a good chance some of these teachers will actually like their bracelets but if they don’t, I’m not worried. They can call up Wendy and return it for whatever they want. I’m hoping this pinch is something that they wouldn’t buy for themselves but sure glad someone else did.
We can’t give something sparkly to female teachers and not do the same for the male teachers so we went with Amazon gift cards. Wait, what? Originally, we were going to give them shiny Visa gift cards but to activate each one it costs $5. We’d rather give the teacher the $5 even though Visa is more practical. I thought about it, what is the next best gift card? Amazon because sooner or later it all comes back to buying it off of Amazon anyway, am I right? We’ll include a box of sparklers with a note that says, “You deserve something sparkly for the amazon job you did this year.”
Regardless of the grueling process, I think everyone (including my kids) is happy that we give out thoughtful pinches for all the holidays. I mentioned that I have a plan for this last pinch of the year. I’ve decided to pay my kids minimum wage and apologize for violating the Child Labor Laws. Is it too late now to say sorry?