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notes…lots of notes…

March 26, 2012

At 6 am on Saturday morning:

  • Maya woke up with a bundle of energy, 5,000 questions, and an obnoxiously loud voice.
  • I woke up with a headache and a mile long To-Do list.
  • Ali realized things were going to get ugly and quickly beat a hasty retreat to a “work meeting.”

Maya: “What are we doing today Mama?”

Me: “We are writing your thank you cards,” I told her. “All 25 of them.”

Things started out peacefully. As I researched addresses and made labels, Maya ran with her creative side and decided to make shoe-shaped cards out of construction paper. Ten cutouts and an hour later we were having some serious quality control issues.

Me: “You can make crappy cards Maya but I’m just going to make you do them over. And we’ll be here for another 6 hours doing them over.”

We agreed to scrap the homemade card idea and pulled out Hallmark’s best instead. Two more hours later and comments like:

Maya“Are we finished yet?”

Me“If I hear one more complaint out of your mouth I’m returning every single gift. Every. Single. Gift.”

And then at last. We were finally done.

I’m not going to lie…it was painful. And I think it goes without saying that I would have rather cleaned the kitchen 5 times over than spend 3 hours writing thank you notes. But Maya will not be that kid who doesn’t acknowledge each and every gift she receives. Or worse…Maya will not be that bratty kid who sends a misspelled 100 character text thanking someone for their gift.

True story.

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122 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2012 7:46 am

    This is something I am totally making our kids do….even though it kind of sounds like three hours of hell, ha!

  2. March 26, 2012 7:56 am

    Good for you! A thank you note goes such a long way. I’m glad that you’re teaching her that.

  3. March 26, 2012 7:59 am

    Thank you notes were SO painful as a child. But I agree- it’s important to teach kids to do them. They really do mean a lot and are a very polite, yet rare, gesture.

    • March 26, 2012 8:43 pm

      I remember my mom making us do them…and now it’s Maya’s turn. It’s just evolution, right?

  4. March 26, 2012 8:04 am

    i still like to send handwritten thank you notes. It’s a good value to instill in her and it will always be more appreciated than a text. (really?)

    • March 26, 2012 8:43 pm

      Me too. :) At least in this instance I do actually practice what I preach to Maya.

  5. March 26, 2012 8:15 am

    When I was little my mom made me write thank you notes to Santa Claus. I swear it. And every Christmas she takes it from her crazy stash of random paper goods the five of us are responsible for, and we laugh ( because I’m the oldest, therefore the ONLY one that had to write thank you’s to Santa Claus).

    So glad to know I’m not the only one that says crap like this to my kids. Your scolding made me think of this: http://sugardishme.com/2011/11/04/forgotten-homework-and-brownies-2/

  6. March 26, 2012 8:30 am

    Thats how she will learn and when she grows up she will thank you for teaching her the RIght way :)

    • March 26, 2012 8:44 pm

      I hope so Bikramjit! Either that or she’ll hate me. :)

  7. March 26, 2012 8:33 am

    I will take this as a lesson for the future – when I have children. I hope by then we are more into this digital world so all the cards can be done and send digitally.

    • March 26, 2012 8:45 pm

      They have digital thank you cards! Evite has them for sure…

  8. March 26, 2012 8:59 am

    I am so aweful with thank you cards maybe because they were never a part of my polish culture and now I am trying to remember that it is unpolite to not send them in US. So I am teaching my kids as much as I am teaching myself. Of course my kids birthday comes minutes before my birthday, thanksgiving and an hour before christmas, not the most time free part of the year (excuses)

    • March 26, 2012 8:46 pm

      They were never part of our Indian culture either so I know what you mean. Luckily my mom taught us her Canadian culture so we actually do the thank you notes!

      Laughing at the timeline here…you have your hands full!

  9. March 26, 2012 9:18 am

    thank you notes??? i never knew those existed..lol…my mom just packs food for the guest when the parties are over lol

    • March 26, 2012 8:46 pm

      Trust me…nobody would want me to pack up my sad little leftovers. So they get the thank you notes instead!

  10. March 26, 2012 9:21 am

    I still ask the “Are we finished yet” question when whatever activity my mom and I are partaking in loses my interest! It annoys her to no end!

  11. March 26, 2012 9:23 am

    Completely appreciate what you do Ameena. I am taking down some notes right now.

  12. March 26, 2012 9:28 am

    ahhh, the perils of motherhood. Thank goodness I don’t have to relive those days!!

    • March 26, 2012 8:55 pm

      I envy you! I can’t wait until I can say the same thing…

  13. March 26, 2012 9:28 am

    You’re a good Mom for teaching Maya the proper etiquette. Frustrating, I know, but she’ll thank you when she gets older.

    • March 26, 2012 8:55 pm

      I hope so…otherwise she might just hate me for it!

  14. March 26, 2012 9:32 am

    That’s some intelligent parenting!

  15. March 26, 2012 9:45 am

    Oh thank you cards!! I’ve been here Ameena thinking, “you’ve been able to write now for two years, why are you complaining about having to write six thank you cards in one sitting?” It’s not that many and compared with 25, I’m book marking this post so my children have nothing to complain about next time. :)

    You are a great mom Ameena. I appreciate reading about the time you take with your daughter to teach her correct principles. Take care,

    Shauna

    • March 26, 2012 8:56 pm

      You are the great mom here Shauna…you have 6 kids! And you make sure your kids write thank you notes? Which I am sure you oversee? Amazing.

  16. March 26, 2012 9:46 am

    Ah, a future Emily Post in the making. I love how you tolerate and endure through humor, and yet lovingly support Maya in doing good. I love receiving these cards…they make me feel hopeful in our generation to come :)

    • March 26, 2012 8:57 pm

      I love receiving the cards too! That’s another reason why I make sure Maya keeps writing them…

  17. March 26, 2012 9:55 am

    That is really sweet that you make her send Thank You cards. Next time you should probably open a bottle of wine to make the process a little less painful. Then again, you might not be as good as a proof reader, but it’s the thought that counts.

    • March 26, 2012 8:58 pm

      I think proofreading was the least of our worries…especially towards the end of the batch. We had some serious QC issues…

  18. mommakiss02 permalink
    March 26, 2012 10:05 am

    My boys send for all gifts received, too. Some people EXPECT a text, like “hey, didja get the package we sent?” And I’m tempted to reply back “yes, you instant gratification hound, we received it, but it takes time for the US Mail to deliver a thank you.”

    The boys love doing it, and I love snail mail – we all win :)

    • March 26, 2012 8:58 pm

      Your boys love doing it? How did you make that happen? Tips please?

  19. March 26, 2012 11:17 am

    I’m not sure we ever wrote thank you notes as kids, but I think it’s such a good idea. Especially these days when no one seems to have any appreciation for anything anymore. I do remember my parents making sure we always called family members to say thank you when they sent us something though. I hated doing it because I have an unreasonable fear of the telephone, but I’m glad they made me. Showing appreciation is so important.

    • March 26, 2012 8:59 pm

      How funny…I have an unreasonable fear of the telephone too. I avoid it at all costs. Like today at work I chatted with someone on the computer instead of calling them up. It would have saved me 10 minutes but I just preferred typing??

  20. March 26, 2012 11:45 am

    Kids are texting thank you’s nowadays? Sadness. :(

    • March 26, 2012 9:00 pm

      Ali says I should appreciate getting any acknowledgment, even in the form of a text. When he puts it that way…I sort of see his point?

  21. Marcee permalink
    March 26, 2012 11:59 am

    Ameena ….. You are a wonderful momma! Truly.

    Today, most children are not taught to send handwritten notes of thanks for gifts they receive. Just lazy …. that can lead to greed.

    Your insistence definitely instills manners. When someone takes the time to pick out and send a child/them something special …. it needs to be recognized.

    When I was a little girl like Maya, my auntie and grandma sat us down at the dining room table to write whatever thank-you’s was necessary. Yes …. it was difficult. We learned though. All of us kids did.

    I am a big-huge gift giver. Always was. There have been many times when thank-you’s were not sent. Very upsetting. Especially for big wedding gifts + money. If a bride doesn’t send thanks …. you wonder if they ever received your gift.

    In some instances ….. eventually, I did receive a thank you. Sadly, I had to talk about the situation to another family member to find out why notes were never sent. Other folks complained also at the lack of selfishness. Or whatever you want to call it. The bride made the statement: “oh …. we were too tired to write them.” Send the gifts back then!

    Regardless of all the pain and suffering …. the “project” was accomplished. Your daughter was taught something highly important to carry her through life. One day she will pass these manners on to her children.

    Way to go mom …. applause!

    • March 26, 2012 9:04 pm

      I love this comment…and not just because you gave me virtual applause. :)

      I always wonder if someone received my gift when I don’t get a note or even a call…but I always think it’s weird to ask so things sort of remain…uncertain.

      The bride said she was too tired to write them? I hear you get a whole year after a wedding…not sure how that’s not enough time to recover and write notes?

  22. March 26, 2012 12:08 pm

    You are stirring memories :-)

    • March 26, 2012 9:04 pm

      Good or bad memories?

      • March 26, 2012 11:22 pm

        Will have to ask my daughter that :-) Just kidding….lots of good memories!

  23. March 26, 2012 12:26 pm

    Thank goodness thank you cards for birthday presents are not de rigueur in these parts. I’m sure the other parents would look at me like I’d grown an extra head if I made my kids do that. I like the idea, though!

    • March 26, 2012 9:04 pm

      Love the word “de rigueur.” Just had to throw that out there… :)

  24. March 26, 2012 1:34 pm

    You know what. After reading this. I wish there was a video of you both. :D
    You’re a great mom. And you have a wonderful daughter. Actually with threats like these I would have obeyed too. :P
    But no really, love how you’re instilling the values in her. :)

    • March 26, 2012 9:05 pm

      Ali has been telling me that I should do a video post but I am a. way too self-conscious and b. a bit too lazy. :) So I’ll spare you!

      But thank you for the very nice comment! You just brightened up my whole day!

      • March 27, 2012 6:39 pm

        My pleasure.
        About b) being lazy I don’t know, doesn’t seem like it from your stories … but a) self-conscious why? You’re so beautiful and you’ve got poise.
        Next up… a video post ;)

  25. March 26, 2012 2:14 pm

    Ah, I have thank you notes to sit with for my younger son (that sentence makes no sense). I think he has 4 to write for his sleepover. OK will do them, I am now overcome with guilt.

    • March 26, 2012 9:06 pm

      I’m so sorry I made you feel guilty! While you are on vacation no less. :( Forgive me!

  26. March 26, 2012 2:52 pm

    I think I laugh in all of your posts :)
    Totally agree w/ about thank you cards!
    I help my nephew do his sometimes bc I actually enjoy it…weird!
    Katie

    • March 26, 2012 9:07 pm

      So glad I could make you laugh! And on March 16th of 2013 I will be shooting you an email to see if you want to help Maya with her thank you cards… :)

      • March 28, 2012 7:31 pm

        And I would say absolutely :)

  27. March 26, 2012 2:57 pm

    you really are a good role model as a mother.. i would never even think to make my kid write thank you cards, it’s such good manners. she’s so sweet. :-))

    • March 26, 2012 9:07 pm

      Thanks my friend…not sure if I’m a good role model but it means a lot that you think so!

  28. March 26, 2012 3:24 pm

    My mom made me do this too! I’m so grateful to her for teaching me things like this, as I’m sure Maya will be to you too. Although, one of the nice things about getting older and getting less gifts is less thank you notes to write!

  29. March 26, 2012 3:52 pm

    Ah, the art of thank you notes is slowly fading and being replaced with thank you texts. Thanks for keeping this up!

    • March 26, 2012 9:08 pm

      So you’ve received the thank you texts too? Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned to realize that they are commonplace now and I need to get over myself?

  30. willgoh2 permalink
    March 26, 2012 4:09 pm

    We write TY notes in this household too. If the kiddo has a lot then I split it up into two or three sessions. It can be a painful process indeed, however, it’s not only good manners but it helps with spelling, penmanship, and motor skills so writing TY notes serve double duty here.

    • March 26, 2012 9:09 pm

      We tried to do 2-3 sessions but Maya is sort of an all or nothing kind of kid. She does the best with deadlines! So Saturday morning, 11 am was our deadline. :)

  31. March 26, 2012 6:22 pm

    You are a good Mama.

    & I So much Love your honesty & your “Say it how it is” Attitude. Xx

  32. March 26, 2012 6:40 pm

    You are such a good mom :)

  33. March 26, 2012 7:40 pm

    If nothing else, my mother imbued an enjoyment of correspondence and thanks-giving in me. But it takes time! And we definitely learned after more than a few homemade card-debacles that store-bought is more than just fine. Things start to lose their sparkle/shine after you’ve attempted more than five.

    Way To Keep Calm And Power Through.

    • March 26, 2012 9:10 pm

      Yes…in the future we will be going solely with store-bought. We’ve learned our lesson!

  34. March 27, 2012 12:22 am

    I’m kind of thrilled to see I’m not the only one who believes in old-fashioned, hand-written thank you notes. Or thank you notes at all come to think of it. I was going to add a “haha” at the end of that last sentance when it occurred to me that the tragic ungratitude of some folks is not, in fact, funny…

    • March 28, 2012 8:32 pm

      Great comment Ellen…I love that others share the same feelings on this!

  35. March 27, 2012 5:24 am

    You really are a great mother Ameena…a lot of kids sure should take a page out of Maya’s book, thanks to you! As wonderful as technology is, handwritten thank you cards are one of the few things which proves that old school still is the best sometimes. But for what it’s worth, as terrible as misspelled thank you texts are, they sure beat a ‘thank you’ email forwarded to all those who sent a gift!

    • March 28, 2012 8:33 pm

      I haven’t received a mass thank you email…yet. I’m sure I’ll be as shocked as you when it actually does happen!

  36. March 27, 2012 5:54 am

    I must echo Khushboo’s words Ameena – Maya’s a very lucky little girl to have you as a mother! As much as I love my tech, nothing beats hand-written cards for sure.

  37. March 27, 2012 6:41 am

    I did the same thing too with my son. He’s not allowed to play with his Wii or 3DS or any of his other toys/games until he neatly & correctly finished writing his ‘thank you’ notes.
    And I told him that he only had an hour to do them.
    That way I didn’t have to suffer longer than I need to :-)

    • March 28, 2012 8:33 pm

      So next time I need to give Maya a time frame? Good idea. :)

  38. March 27, 2012 9:53 am

    Awesome! I still do thank you cards. My husband however is an ingrate and does not write thank you cards. His mother claims she taught him to do so, but I don’t believe it for a minute.

    • March 28, 2012 8:34 pm

      My husband doesn’t write them either. Somehow I think men can get away with it though…not sure why?

  39. March 27, 2012 8:16 pm

    As an adult, I send thank you cards for everything. Everything. Oddly enough, my mom didn’t really make me do them as a kid though…

    • March 28, 2012 8:34 pm

      You are one classy lady Caronae…especially since you write them just because!

  40. March 27, 2012 8:21 pm

    Love your style chicka!

  41. March 27, 2012 11:30 pm

    I am going to remember this for future reference, when i have a kid. Hand written thank you notes should never go out of style.

    • March 28, 2012 8:35 pm

      I hope they don’t go out of style! I love receiving them!

  42. March 28, 2012 6:12 am

    Good for you guys! Hand written thank yous are the best kind.

  43. March 28, 2012 8:49 am

    Eweeeeee sounds like your headache turned you into a monster for the day… Poor maya ;(

    I usually get my nieces and nephews to phone up and thank in person. They think I’m evil but then again they always think that and hell… Who cares. As long as the job gets done. ;)

    • March 28, 2012 8:36 pm

      Poor Maya is right. But even when I don’t have a headache I can easily be a monster anyway. :)

  44. March 28, 2012 1:25 pm

    I get it, I really do. I am big on thank you notes but inevitably they are sent late. Getting the address’ making the kids sit still, finding note cards that are fitting. Ahhhh, but she did it. I also have been the mom threatening to return gifts. Good job Ameena. And I agree that it should be handwritten, there is no such thing as thank you texts.

    So I guess the whole WP glitch worked itself out. I don’t even know what I did (cause I didn’t do anything). I am just glad I can comment on your posts again.

    • March 28, 2012 8:36 pm

      Better late than never though, right?

      I’m really glad you can comment again…I have no idea what is going on with WP?

  45. March 28, 2012 9:44 pm

    yea I make my kids do it too…even though it’s complete hell!

    • March 29, 2012 8:44 pm

      So true. And one doesn’t fully understand the hell until they are immersed in it…

  46. March 28, 2012 9:55 pm

    Thank you notes are really something I have to get better about! My parents never made me do them as a kid so I am awful about it. :(

    • March 29, 2012 8:45 pm

      We all have things we need to get better about…and if yours are just thank you notes I’d say you are in a great place…

  47. Deeps @ Naughty Curry permalink
    March 28, 2012 11:31 pm

    u must have the patience of a saint.. what a wonderful mother u are :) ofcourse im sure it helps that u have an angel of a daughter

    • March 29, 2012 8:45 pm

      I have zero patience! Zero. But thank you for thinking I am still a wonderful mother. :)

  48. suruchiarora permalink
    March 29, 2012 2:47 am

    It is soooooooooooooooooo nice to teach her to write Thank You notes, something that even we as adults should do-seriously, I think you are raising Maya is one of the best-est ways possible :-)

    • March 29, 2012 8:45 pm

      Thank you Suruchi! I appreciate your kind comment. :)

  49. nazarina permalink
    March 29, 2012 12:32 pm

    Oh horrid! I don’t think that my little one will ever display obedience just like your Maya did here by painstakingly writing “thank you” cards. I shall however, take your queue and persist that he do this! Maya is one lucky little girl to have received so many gifts!

    • March 29, 2012 8:46 pm

      I don’t know if it’s obedience of just resignation. I don’t give her much choice. :)

  50. March 29, 2012 6:06 pm

    A thank you card means a lot…good for you for teaching Maya to appreciate the people in her life. :)

  51. March 29, 2012 6:09 pm

    Hallelujah! Someone still teaches their children how to write a proper thank you card. My mother is “thank you” queen. I still get thank you cards in my christmas stocking! You know, so I can turn around and write one for the very cards in which I scribe. :)

    Nothing beats a proper, heart felt, pen to paper, stamped thank you!

    • March 29, 2012 8:46 pm

      Thank you cards in the Christmas stocking? I love it. So appropriate!

  52. momatthebarre permalink
    March 29, 2012 9:46 pm

    I love that you’re instilling such great values in Maya. I’m going to start bookmarking these posts to refer to for once Z gets older and I need a reminder!

    • April 1, 2012 8:56 am

      Thanks Sam… :) I’m headed your way this week…I’m sending you an email to see about your schedule!

  53. March 30, 2012 1:22 am

    those important meetings of men just come in so very conveniently at such times :P …notice the trend here.

    • April 1, 2012 8:56 am

      The trend didn’t escape my attention…I assure you of that.

  54. tandra permalink
    March 30, 2012 9:13 am

    Wow this is really awesome Ameena…I am sure Maya will never ever forget to feel grateful and say thank you…The notes looked cute…belated happy birthday to your little darling…I was out for a long time and just caught on some of your posts recently…as always your posts put forth very honest stuff in such a casual matter of fact way…love it !

    • April 1, 2012 8:09 am

      Thank you for the compliment Tandra! And most importantly, thank you so much for reading. :)

  55. March 31, 2012 11:16 pm

    hahah.u have ocd.i love it :P

  56. April 1, 2012 12:07 am

    No one, absolutely no one in France does thank you cards for gifts (especially children’s birthdays) and I’m not one to go against the tide.

    woo HOOOOO I’m freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Move to France.

    • April 1, 2012 8:57 am

      Really? I am so surprised to read this! And I’m ready to move to France in a second…thank you notes or not. :)

  57. April 1, 2012 5:09 am

    I used to really hate the whole thank-you-note-with-the-kids thing. But it is necessary, so I always did it.

  58. April 2, 2012 5:37 am

    Hi Ameena,
    I go through some what the same ordeal. My daughter gets tired after some time and I feel like a nag telling her to finish up writing the thank you cards so that’s done with and one less thing to worry about.

  59. April 4, 2012 7:05 pm

    First off, I just have to say WOW!! I love that you respond to all the comments.

    Secondly, whenever you get a chance, you should checkout Thankster.com. It’s a startup I work for and we make it easy to send thank you note. We do the stuffing, sealing, and mailing for you. You just have to pick a card and write you message (In a font made from your own handwriting of course!!!) We would love for you to try it out.

    Thanks and keep up the great posts.

    • April 6, 2012 6:34 pm

      Congrats on your startup…it sounds like a fantastic idea! I’m all about thank you notes. :)

  60. April 14, 2012 6:09 pm

    I think it’s great that you have her do thank you notes. And just think, in a few years she can write yours for you :)

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