Our house is all SillyBandz, all the time. In case you're not a parent of a child age 5 to 15, SillyBandz are thin silicone bands that come in various shapes. You wear them like a bracelet, and when you take them off, they return to their original shape. The cost? $4.95 per pack of 24 if you order directly from Brainchild Products, about $6.95 from Amazon and local stores. Insanity, yes. But they are kind of fun. Kids trade them before school, after school, and during recess, if the school still allows it, but many districts have enacted emergency anti-SillyBandz legislation.
This, as far as I can tell, is why we give kids an allowance: To fuel the fads that come and go and keep them busy for a few intense hours at a time.
It's been about a month since the craze hit the Allentown area. We're lagging well behind most of the country, but now all the local stores are sold out of them. Finally, a few days ago, we happened upon a Hallmark that had just stocked up. The day after we procured that first pack, the door to our bedroom pushed open at 6:15 a.m.
"Are you ready to trade SillyBandz?" Leah asked.
"What, no 'Good morning, Mom?'" I mumbled.
"Good morning, Mom," she said. "Are you ready to trade SillyBandz?"
Breakfast distracted her for a few minutes while I managed to start the coffee and sneak off to the shower. I thought I heard knocking, but I ignored it. After I turned off the water, I watched through a crack in the shower curtain as the doorknob turned and a nose peaked in through the door.
"What is it?" I growled.
"Do you want to trade SillyBandz?" she asked.
"I'd like some privacy," I said.
"But don't you want SillyBandz?"
"I'd settle for a towel."
The transactions between kids are serious. Thankfully, my friend Judd had told me he limits his daughter to wearing no more than 12 of them to school, and he advises her to keep to one trade per kid, per day. Even so, Leah came home in tears the first day she had them, having been swindled out of one of her Bandz by a kindergarten Alpha girl.
I'm not sure what's more mystifying - that my daughter is crying over a glorified rubber band or that a 6-year-old would try to trick another kid out of a glorified rubber band. Should I put the kibosh on this? On the other hand, last night Leah did a full audit of her SillyBandz, the first time she has ever organized anything in her room. If the way you are with SillyBandz indicates anything about your career path, maybe Leah will work for the IRS. Or be GM of the Boston Red Sox. Alpha girl is headed straight for Goldman Sachs. Or she'll be GM of the Yankees.
My son, Ben, has a pack of SillyBandz because his sister does, but at 3, he's still too young and sweet to be bothered with trading them, counting them or hoarding them. I asked him if he'd share with me, and he gave me my two, just because I'm his mom, and he still likes me. Leah, who has appointed herself as his agent, jumped in.
"Well, Mom, you have to give two back to Ben because he gave you two," she announced.
"Well, I don't have any others besides the ones he gave me," I said.
"Then you have to let him do something special because he gave you SillyBandz."
"Like let him stay up until 9 o'clock."
"Well, that's not happening."
Forget about the IRS; Scott Boras better watch his back. At that point, I cut her off and sent them to bed, SillyBandz on their arms. I noticed Fuzzy, the teddy bear, is wearing them, and I saw one on my husband's arm as he took out the trash. When the bargaining finally stopped and the house was quiet, I ordered myself a pack of SillyBandz ballplayers. Any luck, and they'll be here next week. I'll be ready to deal.
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