An article I wrote about something….

It all started very innocently I suppose, but then it gradually turned into an obsession, sort of…

The first inkling of this future obsession came when Kyra (my first daughter), like any usual 3-year-old child, got in touch with cartoons. First it was the television shows. Her interests for the characters from Nick jr., Disney and Cartoon Network gradually turned into merchandise like books, figurines, stationery and of course stickers.

Stickers were the most fun for Kyra. Regardless of where she was, be it walking back to the car or sitting on the supermarket trolley, she would just peel one off immediately.  The princess sticker would land on my arm, if I’m lucky, if not, my face. These stickers will all be gone almost immediately leaving only the empty base which somehow I have the responsibility of disposing it. Weird it may seem, but I always feel a kind of emptiness looking at that piece of paper, with shapes cut out, sometimes leaving only a hint of what was supposed to be there.

Just like school on a weekend, deserted, and the quiet canteen that is usually filled with children in queues. Stadium in the middle of the night with rows and rows of empty seats, you can only hear the sound of the wind. A play that no one come to see, that embarrassing feeling whoever is on the stage. Worst, a nest that’s left empty, those small birds finally have the courage to test their wings. Like an empty house, kids finally grew up. Living their own lives, moving out. Oh no… I guess that is the feeling that I fear the most.

Self-adhesive label, which was later known as sticker, was invented by R. Stanton Avery in the 1930s in response to paper being an insufficient labeling solution for shop items. They have been around for many years to convey messages, including political and informational. But it wasn’t for fun until Ford introduced the first bumper sticker on one of its car model. And as a result, stickers became more widespread, practical and fun. R. Stanton Avery’s company, Avery Dennison Corporation, is still around today producing stickers.

The memories I have of stickers are those on my skateboard, in the 80s, those were stickers that make you feel cool regardless of your skating skills. Those were stickers that I kept the top, not the bottom. Now they also function as part of a reward system in school. Stickers in the shape of stars are often placed on children’s work to reward them for doing a good job.

Many years on, my second daughter was born. As she turned 3, I went through the same process, television shows, figurines, books, stationery and of course stickers. Only this time the characters had changed. And so did the materials of the stickers.

There are now metallic paper. More shiny than most silver and gold, more sparkles than real diamonds. There are 3-dimensional stickers with layers of paper. Just imagine a butterfly with 2 extra wings popping out, or a princess with her dress embossed, complete with laces. There are those filled with water, like a small bubble that sticks. And most times there will be cute little things like sparkling stars or colourful fish floating about. And also stickers that are made of velvety material, plywood or even latex, where you can mould the shape you want.

Sizes are becoming smaller too. There are sushi ones as small as a grain of rice. Little heart shapes that need a tweezers just to peel them off. Stickers for a small child’s fingernails and even a teardrop for their faces. The stickers I find most interesting are those scented ones. Fruit stickers like banana, strawberry and orange. But then again, the action of sniffing a sticker on a surface is just uncool.

But all these, will be gone. Pasted on everywhere or rather anywhere. And I am left again with the job of disposing the empty base. I remember having a sticker with at least 20 pop-up butterflies. And all I see now is one stuck on the wall near the light switches. Looking at the base I wonder where are the other 19 butterflies?