Duct tape, that sticky silver magical elixir on a roll, has been hailed as a tool that can fix anything. Broken radiator hose on the Honda, no problem – wrap some duct tape around it. Fender flapping in the wind – piece it back together with some duct tape. Hole in the tent and a thunderstorm looming – patch it with a ribbon of duct tape. Co-worker that just won’t shut up while you’re trying to meet a critical deadline – well, never mind.
But what about moist baby wipes, affectionately known as wipeys? Is there a toy-strewn minivan on the road that doesn’t have at least one pack under the seat? A changing table not armed with a Fort Bragg-esque depository of wipey rounds? A refrigerator top without a wipey bundle next to the box of Frosted Flakes?
I’m guessing right about now you are nodding and shouting “Yes!” And I’m also guessing you are probably not more than a few paces from a half-depleted pack of your favorite brand. So, as I realized when I was recently saved from dropping off my youngest at daycare with an upper lip of crusty boogers, I say it’s past time to anoint the wipey to duct tape status. Let’s give them their due.
Like duct tape, which was originally intended to seal ventilation ducts, the wipey had a primary dedicated use (think, hiney). But they have since morphed into an indispensable sign of good parenting. Gone are the days of licking a thumb to remove the chocolate ice cream evidence on your child’s chin. No more cheap fast food restaurant napkins dipped in water, only to fall apart into little clumps of spitballs. Heck, never mind the kids, I won’t go near a saucy chicken wing without first making sure the wipey pack isn’t empty.
Still, as great as they are for cleaning on the fly, they can offer so much more. In a pinch, a dozen wipeys tied together could form a makeshift belt if your kid’s Carter corduroys are falling to expose their underwear (with all apologies to the hip-hop world). Disabled car on the side of the road, hang a few wipeys from the window to create a makeshift distress flag. Tired of licking the Christmas card envelopes, swab ‘em with a wipey.
Problem is, which one do I choose? Duct tape is pretty much duct tape, but wipeys come in a range of sizes and varieties. The choices on the shelf can be overwhelming. Unscented, sensitive skin, cucumber-avocado-lemongrass-echinacea-green tea. Value bundle, travel size, wallet size. I’ve given up and just choose the pack with the picture of the cutest baby.
Even the wipey aftermarket is booming. Etsy and other sites offer artsy and designer wipey holders for those that wouldn’t be caught in public with a pack of Target brand refills (hmmm, do I go with the Swarovski or the hold the line at the Gucci – decisions, decisions). And now that winter is here, one can upgrade to a premium wipey warmer. You know, because DYFS might come knocking on your door if you subject your kid to a less than 82-degree wipey.
If I had to guess though, I’d bet it’s typically the first-borns that get treated to sequined holsters and wipey heating elements. At some point after a few more children you ask yourself, what the hell was I thinking?
I’m just afraid that wipeys are here to stay in my life, even after the kids are grown. I think it’s too late, I wouldn’t know what to do without them. Like that famous riddle from mythology, delivered by the Sphinx and where the answer is man – what walk’s on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening – I think wipeys will be close at hand until my face is wrinkled and my hair is grey.
This is an original post for JerseyMomsBlog by Andres.