I'm on the radio, and labeling things

I was interviewed for the internet radio show Jumping Monkeys with Meg Morrone and Leo Laporte! You can hear me and my flat Midwestern accent here. (I don't know if I should admit this: I said yes to the interview request but then forgot to go listen to all their other shows. So 5 minutes before the interview started I had this panicked thought of "What if they're the Ali G of internet radio shows with parent bloggers and are going to ask me a bunch of prank questions?" Fortunately, they are very nice, funny, sensible people who asked me genuine questions, none of which involved the words "punani" or "bum.")

In other news, let me give you all this important tip: Put your cell (mobile) phone number on all your kids' stuff. I wrote my cell number on the inside of my older one's school backpack (as I do with most of my kids' stuff), which then got left on a bench at the playground Friday afternoon. With his new Laptop Lunchbox inside (which yes, would mean that he lost it the very first day he used it) and all the weekend notes from the teacher, etc. But Saturday morning I got a call from a very nice lady who works at the playground telling me that she had the backpack.

One of my theories is that most people really do want to do the right thing, so putting my cell number on the kids' crap is a way to let people return things to us if they want to (you all know the frustration of finding an obviously-treasured child's item and not knowing how to return it). But this was the first time it was actually useful. I'm not at all surprised that the lady returned it to us, but I am grateful.

Of course, not everything is labeled as easily as a backpack is. For instance, plastic containers (like, say, Laptop Lunchboxes). And I'm not the only one wondering about this. Katherine writes:

"My daughter just started daycare & I have to label everything.  When I wrote her name on her sippy cups with a Sharpie it washed right off!  What do I do?"

I think certain kinds of plastic accept Sharpie but others don't. (I know the name I wrote on the bottom of one of my Rubbermaid containers 4 years ago with Sharpie is still there.) I wonder about those fancy labelmakers--Are they just big stickers? Or would they adhere to plastic? And how can one label a Sigg bottle? They're enameled aluminum, with bare aluminum on the bottom. Am I going to have to resort to the old nail polish trick (that works for labeling keys)? Or is there something a little easier to work with?