I found myself drinking coffee with a handful of other women earlier this week. The topic of conversation was the Rainbow Loom. ‘I’m so sick of finding tiny elastic bands all over the house,’ was the general consensus. ‘My daughter gets home from school and wants to do nothing but loom until it’s time to go to bed,’ sighed another mother. I laughed at the realization that loom had shifted from noun to verb. ‘Yeah, I keep seeing these posts on Facebook about failed bracelets (and the drama that ensues)…no way am I getting a Rainbow Loom,’ I insisted.
Five hours later….I bought a loom.
Towards the end of last year – October or maybe November – I noticed the boys bringing home little rubber-band-bracelets. ‘Gifted’ to them by generous classmates, I presumed. And then, while doing some early Christmas shopping at Michaels, I noticed an entire shelf dedicated to Rainbow Loom and its accoutrements, with a photocopied sign insisting its products were not coupon-eligible.
As if, I snorted and kept walking.
Fast forward to January 22, right after I had essentially boasted about how I hadn’t fallen prey to the plastic-peg-rectangle-craze, when the Gort returned from school and said ‘can we get a Rainbow Loom?’
I agreed, on the condition I would not have to spend more than $20 and, as ‘luck’ would have it, that’s exactly how much I spent on one Loom and a pack of 600 tiny elastic bands. (Though the figure doesn’t account for the years of my life lost due to enduring a Percy-sized tantrum when I refused to buy him a stuffed animal.)
That’s how it goes with kids – you try to set up parameters, and approach a potentially volatile situation with very clear guidelines: ‘I will only buy the Loom if it’s $20 or less and I will not buy anything else’….and then before you know it you’ve got a kid wailing rather loudly about the injustice that is you not buying him yet.another.stuffed.animal.creature.thing.
We returned home with our merchandise and a very put-upon younger brother and the looming began. The Gort loomed. The Hen loomed. I tried to loom (I sucked!) and then it was done. Perfectly manageable, I thought; watching with pride as my oldest boy-child put away his loom for the night. The only hitch being my having to explain that he could not wear a bracelet and a necklace during basketball practice.
And then it was Thursday and all loom broke loose. The Gort churned out multicolored bracelet after multicolored bracelet. He attempted an online tutorial (with little success) though his attitude remained positive on account of the ‘discussion’ we’d already had about that.
And then it was Friday morning and when the Gort came to say goodbye to me before school, I noticed he was wearing a necklace, a ring on every finger and 4 or 5 bracelets on his arm. ‘I made you and dad some more bracelets,’ he announced cheerfully, ‘where should I put them?’ ‘Uh, on the dresser,’ I muttered, feeling the tug of two bracelets already on my arm.
Certain it was something of a mirage, I checked in with the professor: ‘was he…..’ ‘Oh yes, he was wearing a ring on all five fingers.’ And when I walked out into the kitchen, I found another ten freshly made rings lying on the floor, seemingly discarded by their 4 year old owner.
I picked the older boys up from school, reminding them we had to drive to preschool to pick up young Percy. ‘That’s fine, but we have to come home right after because I have to make 7 or 8 bracelets,’ the Gort informed me; proceeding to list off the names of people for whom he’d be making bracelets in the immediate future. I thought of those ‘jenerous classmates’ I mentioned earlier. They weren’t generous, I suddenly realized, they were simply loom-obsessed and had run out of bodily real estate to display their wares. ‘You’re obsessed,’ I stated the obvious. ‘I made a bracelet after I was supposed to be in bed last night,’ he confessed, ‘and I got up early this morning so I could make some more.’
An hour or so later, while the Hen and I played Dutch Blitz, and Percy ‘ripped’ his brothers’ Beyblades, the Gort watched a youtube video from a girl named Ashley Steph, whose ‘fishtail bracelet tutorial’ had over 4.5 million views. I smiled at the way the Gort earnestly replied to her instruction, as if she was sitting in the room with him. ‘Uh huh, okay, yeah.’ I smiled at the sparkly pink nailpolish of (faceless) young Ashley Steph and the unsteady hand of whoever was holding the camera. And the sound of her mother calling ‘Ashley!’ smack in the middle of filming.
‘That’s some astounding cinematography,’ I joked, jerking my head away from the screen to keep my retinas from being assaulted by a too-close image of a loom. Before Ashley wrapped things up with a ‘don’t forget to ‘like‘ this video’ reminder for the millions of Loominati out there.
‘Now I want to learn how to make a double single,’ the Gort insisted, pleased with his fishtail success. I dutifully supervised the youtube search for the necessary tutorial. I sat back; my eyes darting between the computer screen and my ‘Loomerace’ child thoroughly decked out in various configurations of tiny elastic bands.
I couldn’t help it, I started laughing, nay howling. But as silently as possible so as not to offend or upset his Loomtastic experience in any way. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I suddenly had an idea – the best idea of 2014, even.
Me, singing a song about Rainbow Loom, to the tune of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball.