The Thing

When you live with children, you also live with The Thing. The thing is any random craze that grabs your kids. They want the thing. They talk about the thing. They collect the thing. They trade the thing. They covet the thing. The thing is beautiful, funny, fascinating and totally cool. The thing is awesome. The thing makes them feel fantastic but also anxious. They need the thing. They need the thing now. Everyone else has the thing! Why can’t I have the thing? The thing is making me crazy! The thing, the thing, the thing!

Some past things: Littlest Pet Shops; My Little Pony; Lalaloopsy dolls; Monster High Dolls (still a thing but not The Thing); Beanie Kids;  Trash Packs (not really a thing in our house but on definitely on The Thing radar about two years ago); Nerf Guns especially Nerf Super Soaker pump action water pistols; Pokemon cards (an uber-Thing, banned at local primary school four years ago); Mighty Beanz (also banned at school, we had few, some households had hundreds along bendy rubber tongues for Mighty Beanz to roll down); Moshi Monsters and Moshalings (still Things, definitely, we get Moshi magazine and there is the website plus the adorable plastic figurines); Furbies (fluffy owl-doll things with big eyes that “activate” themselves and make horrible cooing noises, sometimes they activate in the middle of the night and giggle and sigh in some hidden spot and if you find it and squeeze it the Furbie goes “ooooh” and starts to vibrate); those squishy, coloured decorative pebbles that people put in pot plants were also The Thing last year at school “but then they banned them because kids would squeeze them hard and then all this goo would come out and go everywhere”; Onesies (furry animal body suits with hoods – we have a cow one and a chicken one and I hope that is it); Snapbacks (peaked caps with the names of American basketball teams on them. These were The Thing in New Zealand in 2012 but the hats could only be The Thing if they still had the stickers on them. Our friend Fee’s dog chewed and ripped the snapback on our oldest’s purple Charlotte Hornet snapback and … I can’t write about the aftermath of that because quiet, profound despair is terrible to witness in a child).

Apologies to The Things I have left out. I will remember you next time we have a big clean up.

Now there is a new thing. The Thing is “bandalooms”, loomies for short. I had never heard of them until yesterday afternoon when my two younger ones burst into the house and started asking about the location of the $2 shop. Each child wore a bracelet woven from a rubber band – a bandaloom – and apparently the $2 shop sold the kits. The children needed to go down there right away and get some.

They were so desperate that they rode down to the shops on their own. Fifteen minutes later they were back. “They only had one box left!” they shouted. “They were all sold out!”

The spoils were divided. My youngest one demonstrated what to do. “You get the red band and put it on your pointer,” she said. “And then you pull it and then you twist it so it looks like an 8 and then you get the other knot and put it on your rude finger but don’t point it at anybody.

“And then you get the other colour that is not at top and then you get the bottom colour and pull it over your pointer and your rude and then you get the next colour and you pull it over and pull it down, pull it to see if it looks right and if it looks like that you can keep making it and then you just keep doing what I said.”

In a flash, she had made me a nice bracelet (pink and blue, chain link) and a ring (green and purple also chain link). Then the oldest figured out how to make a “fishtail” and they started to make those.

I just typed “children toy and loom” into the search engine and the first result was a story posted on USA Today only 10 hours ago. ‘Rainbow Loom sensation starts in Mich. living room’ was accompanied by two photos: one of Cheong Choon Ng, the inventor of the Rainbow Loom, and the other of ABC talk show host Jimmy Kimmel wearing a fabulous rubber suit made entirely from loomies. This Thing is bigger than I had imagined.




About rachelbuchanan2000

Journalist, historian, mum. 'Stop Press: the last days of newspapers' (Scribe, 2013). Creative fellow, State Library of Victoria. Project: 'The Melbourne Sirius' an artist newspaper (2014). First book, 'The Parihaka Album: Lest We Forget' (Huia, 2009). New project, about doctors and doctorhood, is on the go now.
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