Valentine’s love a toddler’s way

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Toddlers are incredible little creations. They’re keenly focused on what they want, eternally positive it’s theirs to have, unwaveringly determined to get it, and shamelessly hilarious when they don’t.

I regularly marvel at how much energy pours from my daughter’s 25-pound frame every day. The best part — her loving hugs are as warm and inviting as a spring sunrise. That’s because they are filled with a special kind of power, especially during Valentine’s Day.

We gathered in the kitchen a few days ago for a special event. My wife had purchased a Valentine’s Day card packet for our daughter’s hourly care group, complete with cute pink and red cards and lollipop hearts. We asked our daughter to help her Mommy stick a lollipop through the two slots in each card. My job was to tape the lollipop sticks down so they didn’t fall out of the slots.

Mommy had completed four of the cards when our daughter chimed in.

“Here you go, Daddy,” she beamed after finally getting a lollipop threaded through the holes, backwards. “I did it!”

Valentine’s Day is a fun and sometimes bizarre little holiday for those who like going the extra mile in showing love.

Flowers, particularly red roses, are very popular during Valentine’s Day. Nearly one in five Americans buy gifts from florists, according to the National Retail Federation. Nearly 35 million heart-shaped boxes will be sold this year. Incredibly, an average of 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards each year get passed around, making the holiday the second largest for the exchange of seasonal cards.

History has conjured up some strange rituals over the holiday.

In 12th century France, men and women, matched randomly with slips of paper, would swear allegiance to each other for a year, according to a researcher at the University of Colorado. Medieval women would eat odd foods on the day in the hopes of dreaming about a future spouse. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl and wore those names on their sleeves for a week; hence, “wearing your heart on your sleeve.” During the Victorian era, it was considered bad luck to sign a card. Chocolate was considered by physicians in the 19th century as a soothing drug for those pining over lost love.

For my daughter, the card was a nice touch, so was the idea of passing out cards to her friends in the class. After all, she likes giving her friends gifts. But she didn’t see these as the best part of the holiday.

Big blue eyes widened as she smiled at me and cupped my cheeks in her little hands. “Can I have a lollipop now, Daddy — Please. Please. Pretty please?”

Score one for my little valentine.