If there's one thing I know about 4-year-olds, it's that they love to tape things.
For her fourth birthday, I gave my daughter two rolls of tape.
She was ecstatic.
"My very own tape?" she said as she hugged it to her chest. We laughed, but I knew this was going to be her reaction. If there's one thing I know about 4-year-olds, it's that they love to tape things.
When she was very little, it wasn't uncommon for her to open a package, cast the present aside and climb into the box. My wife and I certainly wondered if we just should have given her an empty box to begin with.
Kids are fantastic in this way. When I was a kid, many of my favorite toys were sticks I found in the backyard.
Before Christmas, my wife and I bought enough rolls of tape to get us through the holidays, and then some. Then we had to go buy more.
The phrase, "Where did all the tape go?" has bounced around our house for two months.
Both of our daughters got into the giving spirit and wrapped everything. Our little one would scribble a note, fold it up, and cover it in wrapping paper and enough tape to ensure it could never be opened.
"This thing could stop a bullet," I said when she handed me one of her presents.
"Yeah, I taped it really good," she replied.
So when I was out and about and passed a tape display that read "two rolls for $1," what I really read was "$1 for the best birthday present ever."
Sure, she liked the roller skates and other gifts, but the tape was golden. And I think it's because it made her feel powerful. No longer was she weighed down by the limits of the civilized wrapping world. No, now she could use as much tape as she wanted with no concern of how she would be judged by the rest of the house.
"Go wild," I said.
How does a 4-year-old wield such power? She shares it.
While my oldest daughter was working on a project the other day, she pleaded out loud for tape to put it all together. From deep down the hallway we could hear her little sister yell, "I have some I will share with you!" This was followed by her little feet pounding on the wood floor as she came to save the day and deliver the much needed supply.
Later that night, I needed a piece of tape and could not find one. So I tip-toed down the hallway and stole a piece from her. When I got back to the kitchen, my wife laughed and said she had to borrow a piece from our daughter earlier in the day.
In the morning, I admitted my theft. She told me it was OK. Her tape was for all to use.
"Why do you like tape so much?" I asked her.
She shrugged and leaned on the couch. "I just like to give people presents," she said.
Reach Dave at 330-580-8490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @DaveManley