A puddle of blue and sliver wrappers sat in the middle of the table, little white scraps of backing paper curled and drifted all around, and in the middle sat my 35 year old husband, triumphantly clutching a sticker.
I remember having a Panini sticker album as a child; I had the WWF one with a big panda on the front and I can remember the excitement of getting a new packet of stickers and opening them up to see what you’d got this time. If I had any others I don’t remember them but H had the works; Football stickers and Transformers stickers and Care Bear stickers and if they did a Panini album for it in the 1980’s it’s probably somewhere in Grandma and Grandad’s loft right now.
Since our little ones came along we’ve had dalliances with various sticker albums, although the Disney princesses one was the only one we finished (and very useful potty training motivation it proved too). But then came the day when it rained and it was cold and it was horrible outside and H, looking out the window and knowing that he really did need to go on a training run but desperately trying to think of every reason under the sun to avoid it, asked me to find him some motivation while I went to the shops for the milk.
And so it’s really all my fault. I came back with the Euro 2016 football album (“you can look at it if you go and put your running kit on”) and five packets of stickers (“you can have them when you get back and you can stick them in if you go further than 10k”). It worked a treat and 10 and a bit k later my very happy husband sat down to stick in the first set.
While he may have initially tried to pass it off as being a family activity with the children, none of the rest of us were under any illusions and it surprised only him that over the next few weeks both Kitty and Elma acquired their own albums (free from Sainsburys when you buy stickers). He and Elma are currently enabling each other – every time they go to the supermarket she brings over a little fistful of sticker packets and he looks adoringly at the beloved daughter who has him entirely wrapped around her little finger and puts them in the trolley. It tickles me that H loves it so much; I knew he’d been secretly longing for an album for a while.
Some people spend their Friday nights out at a bar, or go to see a film or even have a lovely meal at home to mark the end of the week and settle down to spend the evening together, but us; well this Friday H went out to play golf after supper while I put the little ones to bed and then when he came home (bearing a pyramid of chocolate profiteroles partly to ameliorate his absence and partly because, well, cake), we settled down to our evening; me alternating knitting and blogging, and he sat at the dinner table, having rounded up all of the last couple of weeks’ stickers from where they had become strewn around the house and in the footwell under Pip’s car seat to apply himself seriously to the task in hand.
We’re working on the basis that his album gets all of the first iterations and the girls’ get the swapsies. I’d had half an idea of sending the swaps to school with Kitty to see if she could cut her teeth with some playground trading but her school has banned football stickers on the basis that too much classroom time is being taken up with all the fights that they’re having over stickers during playtime (which doesn’t surprise me in the least!) so I’m imagining a school gate black market, with messages passed from parent to parent and hurried trades made under the shade of the lilac tree just before the bell rings.
It’s wonderfully silly but the children are loving it. And it seems that H is not the only one – from the comments on a couple of his Facebook posts he is not alone in being able to purchase both beer and stickers, so perhaps we won’t need the black market after all. Which is good, because apparently footballers are like buses when it comes to stickers – so what am I bid for a spare Jamie Vardy?
Joining Katie at Mummy Daddy Me for The Ordinary Moments
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