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What's up With Kids & Band-Aids?

Photograph by Getty Images

It’s certainly not the worst obsession for my kids to have. After all, I’m grateful it’s not anything too sexist or dangerous or electronic. I was, of course, hoping they’d gravitate toward subjects that interest me, like Italian leather shoes or celebrity chefs. But I am slowly accepting that they are where they are, and they love what they love. And for today, they love Band-Aids.

OH MY GOD, THEY LOVE BAND-AIDS SO MUCH.

I thought their interest level was normal and age-appropriate until one afternoon in Target when I told both of my kids they could pick one toy under $5. Without hesitation, both of them selected their treat. “Band-Aids!” they screamed in glee as we passed Hot Wheels, princess stickers and balloons. “Are you sure?” I asked them 17 times on the way to the first aid section of the store.

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"This can't be normal," I thought as my children discussed where they would put their first Band-Aid once we got through the checkout line. “You can have one each,” I say, still flummoxed that no one wanted bubbles or a slinky.

The passion with which my kids embrace these little totems of healing continues to shock me. I’ve tried hiding our stash of Band-Aids in a cabinet behind tall medicine bottles and a Costco-sized bottle of Motrin. But they know they are there—they can sense them. And as soon as one of them so much as thinks about a Band-Aid, both of them are grabbing my leg and begging for a strip to cover their latest “boo-boo.”

I decided that if their ardor for Band-Aids was something they’d be willing to draw their own blood for, I should back down.

In response, I stare at the perfect patch of skin they are trying to convince me requires the immediate attention of a self-adhesive bandage. As I squint, I say, “Where? I don’t see anything,” which only encourages them to prove their pain by squealing and writhing on the floor. As I watch the theatrics unfolding, I decide that it’s simply not worth it. I’ve done the math: a Band-Aid costs about $0.15, so why can’t I just give them up? Isn’t peace and quiet worth at least a buck or two?

As their love affair with adhesive strips has grown, I have tried other ways to curtail the waste. I’ve tried instituting the boundary that they can only have a Band-Aid if they are actually bleeding. That worked for a few days until I swear my son was using a stick to exacerbate an old wound on his knee. I decided that if their ardor for Band-Aids was something they’d be willing to draw their own blood for, I should back down.

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So, I am officially surrendering. I’m resigned to spending half my summer picking up those little wrappers and the strips that come off the back of a Band-Aid. And I will spend the other half pretending that I see a boo-boo on perfectly healthy legs and elbows.

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