Silly Bandz — Giving In To A Fad

Before I knew what happened, Silly Bandz, those shaped, silicone “rubber band” bracelets that are the hot new fad item, swept into my life.  My kids are not usually into fads — in fact we were probably one of the few families not looking for ZhuZhu Pets this Christmas — and they are quite young (4 and 6) so I was blissfully unaware of these items until a few weeks ago when I was the helping mom at my daughter’s preschool and noticed several kids wearing them.  One of the boys in the class had apparently given them out to some of the other kids and my daughter showed some interest in them.  When I saw a package of animal-shaped ones at a local bookstore for $4.50, I bought them and both kids gleefully split them up — JavaBoy informed me they were very popular in Kindergarten.  So imagine my surprise when their college-aged babysitter showed up wearing an armful of them as well!  Wouldn’t I have loved to have been the marketing genius who could come up with a fad that appealed to ages preschool – college!

I picked up JavaBoy from school early today to take him to a doctor’s appointment and noticed older kids at the school with LOTS of Silly Bandz on — 20 or more per wrist.  Both genders.  Apparently trading them is all the rage as they come in lots of different shapes and when I checked out their web site, some styles have already been retired.

But the real kicker came for me when JavaBoy had to get a shot at today’s visit and in order to quell the tears that started to well up in his eyes, the nurse promised him…not a lollipop… but his choice of a Silly Bandz.  Wow.  (It did the trick, by the way, JavaBoy was thrilled — apparently one of his bands had broken.)

JavaGirl is quite proud of her Silly Bandz…because they are “like my brother’s.”  I see where this is headed.

As for those ZhuZhu Pets?  Yeah, JavaGirl got one for her birthday and JavaBoy got one as well because Toys R Us was having a BOGO sale.  And they love them.   They never even asked for them before, but apparently after so many Show And Tells at school, they decided they’d really like them, so when they saw them, they did ask.  We got the hamster ball too — as most of our house is carpeted, but that’s where our ZhuZhu investment will end.  Seriously.

So much for avoiding fads.

First Wheels

As a mom, there are some things that come naturally, and there are some things that definitely do NOT.  Teaching my kids to ride a bike is one of those things.  I wasn’t even aware I was supposed to be teaching my kids to ride a bike yet.  For whatever reason, my parents didn’t teach me to ride a bike at the “normal” age — I didn’t learn until 5th grade.  Now, this may have something to do with the fact that my mother is a bit legendary in her klutziness (which I inherited) and I have a searing childhood memory (prior to my sister’s birth, so I had to have been a toddler) of me sitting in a seat on the back of her bicycleand her running us along a chain link fence and me having a very painful, very bloody knee and screaming and crying inconsolably on a sidewalk somewhere.  That could have something to do with it.  A little.

No, I stuck to my tricycle and my Big Wheel and I think I was quite happy in my non-bicycle-riding status until two things happened.  1) There was going to be a bicycle rodeo in the fifth grade. 2)  All my girlfriends were starting to ride their bikes to Woolworth’s to buy lip gloss.  Neither of these activities were things I wanted to be left out of.  At this point my parents were separated but I believe my mother decided my father had the responsibility of teaching me to ride my bike.  This was probably wise on her part because my memories of it are awful.  It seemed to be a series of collisions and bruises and scabby knees and moments where I was certain I would die.  The only positive part was my pink Barbie bike with a banana seat, pink and white streamers, and a basket.  Which I am sure would mortify any self-respecting fifth grader these days.  I don’t think they even make banana seats any more, do they?

The point of this bit of self-revelation is to show you just how ill-prepared and how emotionally scarred I was in this area when it came to the chapter of parenting called Teaching Your Children to Ride a Bike.  JavaDadwas no help.  According to him, he just woke up learning how to ride a bike at some age.  Big help there, buddy.  So a couple of years ago when my son’s preschool teacher’s end-of-the-year scrapbook included pictures of four-year-olds riding bikes, I came home and said, “Oh my goodness honey, we’re supposed to be teaching him to ride a bike!!”  And JavaDad rolled his eyes at me as if I said, “Oh my goodness honey, we need to do the chicken dance!”

Because I somehow became Her Royal Highness, Purchaser of All Things, I had to select the bike, though my husband was probably much more qualified.  Since it was consignment season, I thought how easy, I’d just pick a bike that looked high enough at the next sale, and get it at a good price.  I had no idea there were different wheel sizes for goodness’ sakes!  I was looking for a blue, green, or red bike about yay high.  Yay high being a technical term, of course.  Some wheels were gigantic, some were itty bitty.  Some bikes had training wheels, some did not.  I finally settled on a blue bike that had little wheels but I hoped not too little, and training wheels.

JavaBoy was ecstatic.  He couldn’t ditch the trike fast enough.  Pedaling down the cul-de-sac was great, pedaling back up (hill) not so much.  But he was determined.  Sadly, it was tough for me to keep up with him (I was so worried about the multiple driveways) and also entertain his sister, two years younger, who didn’t want to be pushed along in the Kettler tricycle, didn’t want to pedal a tricycle, and didn’t want to just run back and forth behind him (neither did I, really, but that’s beside the point).  So his bicycle lessons were few and far between.  The logistics were too tough and weekends always seemed so busy or the weather wouldn’t cooperate.

Flash forward to today.  On a post-birthday visit to Toys R Us, we took JavaGirl to redeem a gift card, when we wandered by the bike section.  “Let me just try something out,” I said to JavaDad.  ‘I just wonder, maybe she’d do better on a bike instead of a tricycle…”  And so we tried her on a few bicycles and once we found one the right size, although she struggled, indeed, she pedaled it with more enthusiasm than she did the tricycle at home.  JavaBoy, meanwhile, whipped around us in loops on a larger bike.  We finished what we came to the store for, but at home, we reassessed the bike situation.

A neighbor had given us his son’s bike — a larger two-wheeler, which we had been hanging onto for when JavaBoy was ready.  JavaBoy is not yet ready to have the training wheels off, but was definitely ready for a larger bike.  Would our daughter go for his smaller, blue bike?

At first she was a little afraid, but she actually pedaled it better than in the store.  Better than JavaBoy did when he first got the bike, even though he had been the champion trike pedaler.  She could do it, but she almost seemed reluctant to.  I knew just what would make her heart sing — a bell.  Since I had to go get training wheels for the other bike, I had already made up my mind to get her one when she sidled up to me and asked, “Mommy, can I have a ding-ding bell?”  I leaned down and kissed her and told her I would go to the store right now to get her one.

JavaBoy accompanied me to the store.  We picked out his training wheels, a bell for his sister, two cup holders (as I have grand visions of all of us biking to the library and the pool), and then a bell that he could earn as a treat for “when (I) learn to ride without training wheels.”  He proudly carried his bell to the register.

Once everything was assembled at home, JavaGirl announced they were having a bike race and took off, not even waiting for her brother.  Ding-ding-ding. You could hear it going up and down the cul-de-sac as her brown hair flew under her pink helmet.  Sure, she still gets stuck, but she’s got her brother to help her out.  Two kids, learning to ride their bikes together.  No bloody knees, no terrifying memories.  Maybe it’s not quite “on time” but they’ll get there and they’ll have fun doing it.  Once they have the hang of it, I’m going to get myself a bike again.  Probably not pink.  And I guess it won’t have a banana seat.  I suppose I’m too old for streamers now.  But  I’m definitely getting a bell!

What Do You Do When He’s Sassy…

… but he spells everything correctly and even uses a hyphen appropriately? And it makes you laugh every time you see it?

I’m still not clear on the details, but apparently JavaBoy (almost 6) was a bit overly tired and wanted popcorn while JavaDad was also overly tired and getting ready to make dinner. JavaBoy asked for popcorn, JavaDad said no because he was about to make dinner, and I guess in a fit of frustration, JavaBoy whipped up this sign that says, “Go and get pop-corn! Got popcorn?” (Hyphenated pop-corn because he ran out of room –I’m quite impressed!) He then found masking tape in his secret stash of masking tape and put this on our bedroom door.

While the sign is inappropriately sassy, I am quite proud of his spelling and use of punctuation. Would it be wrong to send it in to school as a writing sample for his teacher?

Is The Cat In The Hat Visiting You Tonight?

What’s that you say?  The Cat In The Hat hasn’t visited you today?  How sad, how terribly, terribly sad for you!  Come to our house, and join in the wackiness too!

Okay, Dr. Seuss I am not — but JavaMom’s silly mom, I am!  I am.  Here and there, and everywhere. (Oops, sorry, read Green Eggs and Ham a few too many times today!)

In case you have been under a rock — or don’t have very small children — Dr. Seuss’s birthday is March 2, and for the past few years my son’s preschool and now his kindergarten has used this as a time to celebrate all things Seuss.  His preschool (now JavaGirl’s preschool) used to also have Wacky Wednesday the first Wednesday of Seuss week — the kids would show up dressed crazy (two different shoes, mismatched clothes) and were quite delighted to find that the for some reason their classroom was topsy turvy as well.

Somehow this morphed into wacky things happening in our house as well on these Wednesdays and when a very young JavaBoy asked who was responsible for such shenanigans, we shrugged our shoulders and asked him, and he said, “I think the Cat In The Hat did it!”  And thus, a new tradition was born!  Sometime late Tuesday night, while we are all asleep, the Cat sneaks into our house and makes things wacky!

The Cat In The Hat seems to like to do a lot of things with shoes — he’s put them up on walls, on ceiling fans, and on the legs of chairs and tables.  But he’s done other things like put dolls and stuffed animals in all the chairs and seats in the house, turned things upside down, and made some subtle changes to see if JavaBoy will catch on.  (JavaGirl is just now old enough to start enjoying Wacky Wednesday.)

Since JavaGirl’s preschool is not have a Seuss week this year, I had almost forgotten about our annual visit from The Cat until I heard JavaBoy mention it to his kindergarten teacher. Apparently this visit holds a lot of meaning to him as he not only mentioned it yesterday, but many times today. Fortunately I was able to confirm with The Cat that he does have us on his schedule for this evening.

I wonder what he’ll do tonight…

Our Own Winter Olympics

These are the kind of photos my husband bring home that make my heart stop.

“Look at the AIR he got under him!”

Oh. My. Goodness.

He’s supposed to be sliding down a smooth school hill, no one said anything about AIR!  Apparently some teenagers decided to add some moguls or whatever they are called (I’m from Miami, remember?) to the “gentle” sledding slope.

“Look, see that shadow, see, he’s lifting off from the snow there.”

Great, honey.

“And then he got very, very far away…”


“And he said the cutest thing… He said, ‘Daddy, can you see me?’  And I said, ‘Yes!’  And he said, ‘Am I really, really small?’ And I said ‘Yes!’ And then he said, ‘Is my voice small like an ant’s?’

So what did you say?

“I said ‘Yes!’ because I didn’t want him to go any further away.”

At last, sanity prevails.