Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Mother Was Right

...yet again.

When I was a kid, my mom kept things like permanent markers and scotch tape, not exactly under lock and key, but we had to ask permission to use them. And I sure thought she was mean. Really, what the heck kinda damage did she think we were gonna do with some clear tape? Not like it's the priciest stuff in the world either. It's not expensive now and it wasn't then. What gives Ma?

Enter my own motherhood. From the outset I was gonna be the cool mom. I bought the good tape dispenser and decided to leave it on the cabinet top next to the pencil sharpener I mounted where the kids could use it. Right next to the stapler, the paper and the crayons. My kids will have access to all these items and learn to use them responsibly. I am not insane... the glue, glitter and paints are hidden in my private stash or up high, but the tape? Puh-leeeze. It's tape.

I never counted on how badly my kids desire to rearrange my world to their own liking. How much they would need to personalise and shift. I never counted on exactly where and how they would make use of tape.

Scotch tape.

Yards long swaths connecting their beds to the dresser, criss-crossing to form spider webs. Clothing taped together to make new fashion. Hangers with the corners taped up solid till they looked like the web feet of ducks. Inch long bits that never made it anywhere (I guess) other than to form an irregular skin upon the tile flooring, the table top, down the legs of chairs.

I expect to awake any morning to find my eyelids taped shut, my arms taped to the bedsheets like some 3M solution to my Gulliver.

It's like web worms in a tree, and my house is the tree. Every extremity and light fixture seems to acquire a scum of scotch tape, every toy is ready for the tape party with teensy little crayoned triangle hats taped on their heads. Anything not tied down is fair game. A Pokemon card taped to the walls in the hallway. The plastic ring that you remove from a new gallon jug of milk, scrounged from the trash and taped just in the entryway to greet our guests. Darling, did you find a wee little key to an impossibly teensy padlock? Tape it to the doorframe. Of course.

All this done while the tape dispenser is not allowed to leave the kitchen where it belongs. There is much scurrying and scuttling about with every new project as they run back and forth to the kitchen for a fresh length to shore up a beavers damn of sleeping bags and Littlest Petshop figurines.

I no longer cut or file my nails, my near constant habit of picking off stray bits of scotchtape off of any surface that is not wet, keeps them manageable.

Yesterday Lilac took a hanky and taped it up to make herself a "Trick or Treat" bag and tried to get me to raid Dadguy's stash of treats that he uses to bribe the Elders in his Quorum. Today as she walked into the house from the van she grabbed an empty ice cream bucket with lid off of the junk pile, and with a plastic spoon she found in the van, created a "Bird Feeder" using copious amounts of.... tape. She taped the lid upside down onto the bottom of the bucket, she used the spoon as wobbly perch with a knob of scotch tape joining it to the rim of the bucket..

She next wanted to go to the store for some bird seed.

If scotch tape was more aggressive I guess I'd end it here and now, but since the main casualty to the encroaching scum of tape is my sanity, as some new and incomprehensible place gains a filmy layer for whoknowsWHAT purpose, I guess I will let the madness continue. It's just sanity. Not like I'm gonna have anything to my soul or reason left at the end of this child-rearing, tape or no tape. I know that in the end they will take me away in a scotch tape straight jacket. It will look like a chrysalis, and when the time comes I will leave my filmy cocoon as a Granny and I will gift all my grandchildren with their own private tape dispensers and many, many rolls of refill.

But there is no doubt in my mind, my Mother was right to limit our tape access.


Nobody™ said...

Based on this post, I would strongly advise you to NOT get a stapler.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I remember having to ask Mom for tape when we were little. This is a really funny post.


Amy F said...

You remember the scene from the Pee Wee Herman movie? I wonder if his mom let him use tape whenever he wanted....probably not...otherwise he probably wouldn't be making pig noses on himself as a grown man. Hmmm..best to not give the kids even more ideas.

elizasmom said...

Our house is covered in a similar film that occasionally incorporates stickers and elmer's glue, as well.

anne nahm said...

lol! Our Mommy & Me teacher used to recommend a roll of tape as a stocking stuffer for kids. Now I see she must have been getting revenge on our class for something!