I wondered when Sticker Mania would set in around here.
You see, a few months ago, when people would ask Owen if he wanted a sticker (doctors, the cashiers at Trader Joe’s, older kids trying to be nice to a little “baby”), he would shake his head and back away slowly like they were trying to hand him an explosive. He didn’t like they way they stuck to his skin and he would put his hands out defensively and shout, “No! No! No!”. I really have no idea where the paranoia came from, but secretly I was kind of happy to be putting off the inevitable kid moment of finding stickers stuck all over my lovely dining room table legs or his playroom window. Ugh, cleaning sticker adhesive has got to be one of the most annoying and frustrating tasks.
As for me? I LOVE stickers. My sisters and I used to collect stickers in laminated books like the ones old men collect stamps in. We would save and trade and steal and lust after stickers. Our binders and notebooks were covered in Lisa Frank unicorns and ponies and stars. I went through a stage of serious scrapbooking in college and made good use of lots of teeny tiny themed stickers. I made my own stationary with them and decorated store-bought cards. I still do sometimes. It’s funny, though, the main thing I remember doing with stickers was SAVING them. And gazing at them. And talking about them. But never sticking them on things. They were too precious, apparently.
Maybe it’s my nature of being a saver instead of a spender. I’m a “save it for later”, delayed gratification type of girl. And maybe that’s why I don’t know exactly how to handle Toddler Sticker Mania now that it’s here.
At some point in the last few weeks, Owen’s view of stickers changed. When we were at the doctor last Friday, he got so excited at the prospect of getting a sticker with a choo choo on it that the doctor and I could barely talk over his “It ‘ticker time yet, Mommy? ‘Ticker wif CHOO CHOO! ‘Ticker puh-lease!” chatter. Once I found him a sticker with a choo choo, though, he immediately wanted another one, with a car on it. Since he had gotten a shot and was being truly a little angel at the doctor, I gave him a car one too. Then after we got his blood taken, the tech offered him another. He immediately wanted them stuck all over his body and grabbed them by the handful out of the sticker bowl before I told him he could take one and had to leave the others for other kids. He covered his forearms and hands and even put one over the bandaid where the blood was taken. In the car he asked for “More ‘tickers, Mommy? I LOVE ‘TICKERS!”.
When we got home I knew just which birthday gift I would pull out for him to
distract him play with while I made dinner. It was a book about fire engines that came with a page of stickers at the front. He immediately wanted me to peel every one off for him. He laid them, one by one, on our carpet in a row. He didn’t seem to care in the slightest that they wouldn’t be sticky anymore after that (or he didn’t understand the concept). He ripped a few and was SO SAD when I put them in the trash can. The others he gingerly lifted from the carpet and laid on the table. Then he tried to stick them back in the book where they came from. Though they were wrinkled and totally not sticky anymore, he closed the book so gently and laid it on the table so they wouldn’t fall out. Every day since then he has run over, taken every one out and talked about them, and then put them back for safekeeping.
Apparently he got the memo that saving stickers is the cool thing to do after all.
But here’s the thing. I still don’t want stickers stuck all over my furniture. So other than these totally not sticky fire engines, I’ve been keeping stickers out of reach and rationing them. But then part of me feels like I’m sucking all of the joy out of stickers. THEY ARE FOR STICKING. Duh. Why the lockdown?
What do you do with stickers? Are you a saver or an immediate sticker? Which is your kid? Have you had any sticker disasters? Do you give your kids free reign with stickers?