Call me a curmudgeon, but I think it is totally ludicrous to make preschoolers “write” thank-you notes for presents received at their birthday parties. I’m all for teaching children to have nice manners (after all, Akiva makes it a point to say “damn it” every now and then…) but the practice of sending thank-you notes for birthday party gifts strikes me as just too much. At age three or four (and on?) I think it’s enough if the birthday child says “thank you” at the party and lets the guests join in playing with the gifts. It’s a special bonus if the child opens the card first.
But thank-you notes? For the last-minute trip to Plastix ‘R Us? Give me a break.
It’s basically another thing for the moms to do, so that all the other moms can feel guilty and inferior and ineffectual. (“Oh gee, Francesca’s mother got her thank-you notes out within a week; I’m such a bad mother.” “Golly, Dylan’s thank-you notes were hand-calligraphed with purple glitter on Japanese rice paper; I’m such a slacker.” “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if I can get little three-year-old Juniper to ‘sign’ forty thank-you notes without a huge fight; I must be raising a narcissistic jackass.”)
For special gifts sent from grandparents or other relatives, I make sure that Akiva sees me writing a thank-you note, and I encourage him to make a picture to send along in the envelope. I let him see me appreciate the gifts I receive.
I really think that’s enough for now.
Of course, if this gets out, he’ll never be invited to another birthday party. And it’ll be all my fault.