Strike Up the Band(Aid)

There is a long held saying that "Hindsight is 20/20". Basically it means that when you can look back on certain choices, judgments, and decisions, you could make better choices, judgments, and decisions. Information is power, and unfortunately people are pretty powerless until they stumble, goof and misstep through the events in their life.

For example, in retrospect I would have asked for my epidural in my eighth month rather than waiting till my daughter was halfway out -- too late. And what about those people who scoffed at financing a nerdy young upstart, name of Bill Gates? Iím sure they kick themselves in their hindsights every time they pass a "Window."

From that financial perspective, I think the biggest mistake I have ever made was in not investing every penny I had prior to children, in all the products children require in order to function. The list of stocks is endless: Pampers, Huggies, Kleenex, Fisher-Price, Playskool, Nickelodeon, Barbie, Crayola, Kraft, and so on. I would be Bill Gates, or at least his bank account. There is one stock, however, that stand outs above all the rest. For while children grow out of diapers, lose interest in big busted dolls, and eventually rate macaroni & cheese as only slightly more edible than baked worms, their need for and fascination with Band-Aids is endless.

If I had only listened when Smith & Barney whispered, "Johnson & Johnson."

A childís love affair with this first aid staple begins with the first "boo-boo," generally their initial round of vaccinations. Once their screaming subsides, they take note of their fat little thighs encased in colorful strips of Barney, Bugs Bunny and Rugrats. As each month of shots passes, they realize that extra attention comes with these badges of courage. Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, even perfect strangers, coo and babble with more frequency.

Once they begin toddling, the inevitable first scratch or scrape takes place. Egads! Iím leaking! Quick! One of those colorful boo-boo covers, only kindly make it Elmo and Big Bird this time. Again, all and sundry comment on the wound, further reinforcing the idea that these are great attention-getters.

And so ensues the non-stop siege on the Band-Aid box. No longer reserved for leakage, mere bumps and bruises suddenly require a Latex Daffy Duck to mark their existence. Armed with this Technicolor map, a child is like an old war veteran entertaining his family with a band-aid-by-band-aid account detailing the struggles and traumas of the day. See this Star Wars one on my arm Dad? Got that in the Bay of Pigs (what Mom calls my playroom). And this Charlie Brown on my knee? Took some shrapnel (gravel) during the Bataan Death March (walk to the mailbox with Mom).

What happens next is natural. They become more coordinated, therefore incurring less boo-boos. So now they want to wear them for decoration. íFess up. All parents have applied band-aids simply because it was easier than fighting over not applying one. No longer a badge of courage or leakguard, they are now a piece of body art. Much like a Hellís Angel tattoo is to a biker, a Snoopy Band-Aid is to a child. Something to be proudly displayed as they zip around the driveway on their trikes.

The bad thing is when you get a boo-boo and actually need one. You never have just the regular bland, beige kind. My husband felt ever so manly the day he gave an important presentation with Baby Bop wrapped around his cut index finger. And I always enjoy the humiliation and stares as I write a check at Wal-Mart with the Little Mermaid on my arm.

With three children, I estimate we have gone through approximately 432,683 band-aids in just under ten years. Multiply that by all the families in the world. If I had only bought that Johnson & Johnson stock back then ...

Youíll have to excuse me now. I have to ask my four year old what works best for a headache, Angelica or The Lion King?