Emily has 22 kids in her class. Eliza has 19. This means that Valentine’s Day lasts for a week or more with leftover candy and sweet sentiment (and wrappers and sugar highs.)

Today in the car, Eliza, who is three, opened a little packet of candy hearts–the chalky kind with the little sentiments like “Hug Me” or “I’m Yours.” She wants to be like her big sister, so she often pretends that she can read.

“I know what this one says!” she announced, holding up a pale orange heart.

“What’s that?” I asked, glancing at her via the rearview mirror.

“It says, ‘I really like you and you’re my friend and I gave this to you for Valentine’s Day!'”

We all paused.

“And that’s all!” she said.

“All that fits on the heart?” I asked.

“Yes!”

Emily giggled behind her cupped hand. “Elizabeth! That’s too much!”

“It is NOT!”

She popped the candy in her mouth as if to prevent authentification.

“Guess what this one says!” She held up a purple candy.

“Let me guess–shot through the heart and you’re to blame, you give love a bad name?”

Both girls giggled. Mama and her 80s lyrics.

“NOOOO! It says, ‘You’re a stinky-poo!'”

“What?”

“Stinky-poo!”

“Nobody says that to somebody on Valentine’s Day!” I turned to look at her, kicking her legs in excitement. We were stopped at the light.

“I did!”

“You called someone a stinky-poo on Valentine’s Day?”

“Yes.”

“Was that nice?” I asked, gearing up for a teachable moment.

“It was just a boy. Daniel. Boys are stinky-poo.”

I almost defended boys. Came within an inch. But really, I couldn’t argue with that.

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