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Lifetakes: The Stuff That Sticks

Libby Rubinstein

For just under a dollar, I can dispense TLC, validation, and the easing of rules where they don’t really matter

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

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T here’s no question that Scotch Tape can hold up the world.

It systematizes our lives, organizes our documents, and keeps our minds and our memories in check with a tiny strip. When you need your glasses fixed, that thin little piece of adhesive plastic restores your sight. When your hem is falling down, it can salvage your dignity in the quietest of ways.

Lesser known, however, is Scotch Tape’s pivotal role in promoting child development and fostering family harmony.

The first few times my kids finished a roll of tape in under ten minutes, most of it stuck to itself in an unidentifiable mass, I chafed at the violation of my kitchen drawer and the inexcusable waste of its contents.

No, you have to ask. And no, you don’t need more than a few small pieces.

Well, I guess my words didn’t stick, because one morning, just a short while later, they were at it again. Tearing my last roll of tape to pieces, attaching it to flimsy paper that littered the kitchen floor. They were sitting engrossed, in their pajamas, a creative gleam in their eyes.

And that’s when I realized that I’d better buy more tape. For the early mornings, the long afternoons, for itchy little fingers and curious minds. It’s amazing how they can make creations that look like nothing, yet describe what they are in detail. (“And here’s where the balls go in, and this is the button that says stop, and this is a special container to help you pour shampoo.…”)

Truthfully, though, Scotch Tape is not unique in its emergence as unlikely toy. There are other seemingly random household items, tossed into your cart without thinking, that moonlight as favored forms of entertainment.…

Like baby wipes. Oh, the joys of wiping down a dollhouse, a kitchen cabinet, or a leather couch. You can even lie down on the clean couch afterward and rest for a good 20 minutes while they find something else to do, like filling up every bag in the house with scrunched up wipes and hanging them on the doll stroller. A babysitter is still more expensive.

Like Band-Aids. Somehow, this motherly voice in me says, “No, you don’t really need it. And we don’t put Band-Aids on our ears.” Or, “You’re taking a bath after supper and it will just get wet. Let’s wait.” But then I wonder if that’s the motherly voice I want them to remember. Instead, for just under a dollar, I can dispense TLC, validation, and the easing of rules where they don’t really matter. 

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 583)

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