As I tried to avoid hoovering up a loom band s-clip this morning, I was forced to ponder the relative strengths and weaknesses of this ubiquitous new craze. If you are a parent of children aged 5 and above and you have yet to come across loom bands, then seriously, get with the programme!
In our household we came fairly late to loom bands; the girls never mentioned them and I eventually started them on the loom band path myself when I noticed friends on facebook commenting on how they had brought harmony to previously fractious sibling relationships. ‘I’m having some of this magic formula’ I thought and went straight onto Amazon to purchase a box. A box of 300 bands and a ‘loom’ duly arrived and we were off….
Now, as I mentioned, this craze is not without its merits. I admire the skill and dexterity with which my children ‘knit’ together the bands, and the speed with which they have both mastered various complex techniques makes me wonder if I should perhaps, be putting my children to work in some more useful capacity within the family home (sewing on the ever growing pile of Brownie badges for example).
It is also true that, at times, sibling rivalry is subsumed underneath a tranquil wave of calm as both children sit quietly in rapt concentration creating an ever growing chain of bands…..but….
..there is indeed, a ‘but’, or a few in fact…
1) They won’t do it properly and it drives me mad!
Now you may, rightly, feel that I shouldn’t actually care what my children do with their own toys, but as a person with an irrational adherence to rules and convention, I can’t help but be frustrated that my children are so disregarding of the friendship bracelet concept that is at the core of the loom band craze. They rarely make bracelets, preferring instead to create a chain as long as possible, suggesting that it is the process of creating, rather than the desire for any kind of useful finished product, that they enjoy. I know….that’s fair enough, right? But I want a bracelet that my child has made me…is that really too much to ask?!!
2) It creates another source of division and manipulation:
My children are masters in the art of using any means available to them to be top dog and get others to do their bidding and the loom bands are just another weapon in their armoury. Faith, in particular, has attempted to employ her loom band supply as a means of bribing her sister and peers to ‘be her friend’ i.e. to play the games she chooses and let her go first at everything. This is not always a successful strategy. You may remember in my earlier jail post (http://motherinferiorblog.com/2014/07/06/do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-200/) that Faith was brought in from the garden for incessant screeching; this was the result of a failed attempt at loom band bribery when she discovered that the others were more interested in bouncing on the trampoline than in any contraband deals she had to offer.
3) It has furnished me with new ways to reveal my seriously deficient parenting:
So sometimes we say stuff without thinking, right? That’s not just me, I am sure and that’s understandable and forgivable. But other times I say things which, in the back of my mind I realise have serious bad parenting potential….but I say them anyway.
I was forced to face the consequences of my contemptible actions recently when my husband came downstairs to reprimand me about one such poorly executed comment (actually, he didn’t reprimand me at all, what he actually said was ‘ I think I have some material for your blog.’ showing that he is as callous as I am and our children have no chance!).
Anyway, the problem had come when Faith called out to say she couldn’t sleep. Upon further investigation, Mike discovered that she was worried that her fingers might fall off in the night because ‘Mummy told me a story about a girl who fell asleep with a loom band on her finger and her finger fell off.’ Ana then piped up from her room to inform her that ‘Mummy told me the fingers had only gone blue and didn’t actually fall off’ thereby revealing two unavoidable truths: firstly, that I knowingly attempted to scare both of my children on separate occasions with loom band horror stories (read on the internet so they must be true) and secondly, that I was unashamedly prepared to exaggerate the consequences when retelling the story to Faith for even greater effect.
Shame on me, you may say, and I would agree, but just remember Larkin’s poem ‘They **** you up, your mum and dad’ http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178055 and you’ll realise I am only doing my job…..
…and I did stay at the start that loom bands have some surprising perils….