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Why Am I the Last Mom to Hear About the Rainbow Loom?

Photograph by Getty Images

Usually, when something takes my Facebook feed by storm—especially something family-oriented—I’m right there nodding my head. But when my timeline started filling up with posts about this Rainbow Loom, all I could say was, “Huh?”

Apparently, it’s all the rage among school-age kids, of which I have a couple. Maybe it’s an East Coast thing. In Manhattan’s Upper West Side, one school banned the bracelets—and the contraptions that make them. It’s like Silly Bandz all over again.

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Then I started asking around to my parent friends, hoping they’d confirm that this fad hasn’t hit California yet. I was shocked to find out that a lot of my people actually do know about Rainbow Looms.

“How is it that I am the last mom to find out about the Rainbow Loom?” I lamented on Facebook.

One of my friends, the dad to two young boys replied, “For the same reason you knew about Pokémon X and Y.”

Oh.

I have to admit, the loom itself is fairly gender-neutral.

Gendered toys strike again. As the mom of two boys, I’m surrounded by Y-chromosomes. Their friends are mostly boys, and those boys mostly have brothers. It’s great when my older son has a friend over, and that friend brings a brother who can play with my younger one. My (mud-stained) house is filled with Legos, Nerfs, and the Nintendos. When the new Pokémon games were released in early October, I had to convince my 11-year-old to get a good night’s sleep so we could wake up early to get in line at Game Stop. When I overhear terms like “day care” and “evolving” in the carpool chatter, I know the kids aren’t debating work-life policy or Darwinism. They’re just talking about their video game characters.

I’ve been through my fair share of toy fads: Webkinz, Bakugan, Skylanders, Ninjago and, now, Disney Infiniti. We’ve even had some crafty things. (Remember Perler beads? I’ve got buckets of them in my garage, if anyone wants some.) I know the difference between a Bionicle and a Hero Factory. Want to compare the Nintendo DS, 3DS, DSXL and 2DS? I can talk specs like other people debate Samsung vs. Apple. But I don’t have any girls in my life to keep me in the loop about the pink aisles of toys. Not that I’m advocating that playthings be divided along the lines of glitter and camouflage, but that’s a story for another day...

Finally, I got a chance to take a closer look at the Rainbow Loom. It’s just a strip of plastic nubs! Remember those potholder weaving contraptions we had back in the '70s and '80s? Only, instead of making trivets out of strips of nylon, the Rainbow Loom uses colorful rubber bands to weave friendship bracelets with lots of different kinds of weaves, such as the Fishtail and the Diamond. And they’re not all fuchsia and sparkly, either. The bands come in a variety of shades—mostly bold primary colors, and I have to admit, the loom itself is fairly gender-neutral.

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I stopped and looked at a display of Rainbow Looms while at Michaels—there’s a limit of buying 24 kits at a time, in case you were wondering—and asked my 8-year-old if he wanted one.

“Um, maybe.”

Maybe I’ll buy a Rainbow Loom after all.

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