Leila came home a couple of days ago with some rubber elastics on her wrists.
Silly Bands! she exclaimed, My bus buddies let me borrow them! (that’s what she calls the group of kids she rides the afternoon bus with.)
There was a purple unicorn and a yellow banana and a blue person and a sparkly pink tree. She happily played with them and stretched them and let Alena look at them and then she put them in her backpack to trade with her bus buddies again the following day.
Steve and I smiled because our little girl was into the newest thing and I commented that they’d be a good stocking stuffer and Steve thought we should buy er some this weekend and I remembered that I had seen them at a craft store and then that was that.
Then I tweeted about it and someone told me: They are banned from a lot of schools because of their connotations . Of course, I knew exactly what connotations she meant and then remembered someone telling me about them a couple of weeks ago – what shape (or colour?) you wear determines what sexual acts you’ve done (or are willing to do?) (this whole advertising sex things came after my days – back when I was in high school we were still at the point where no one wanted to be called a slut). And then I also remembered this whole story she had told me where a junior high girl was giving a boy head in the middle of the school field surrounded by her “friends” watching so she could earn more Silly Bands.
(Let’s just leave that whole heartbreaking story alone, lest this post turn into a novel.)
The point is: Now I don’t feel comfortable with Leila playing with the stupid bracelets. There is no question in my mind that Leila’s “bus buddies” are just playing with funny bracelets, but it’s like they’ve been ruined for me, you know? What if the girl who gave Leila the bracelets got them from her older sister? Obviously they are not banned from Leila’s school (and heaven help us if we were at the point where this problem happened at an elementary school), but… I’m just not comfortable with them anymore.
It might even be the threat of sexuality that scares me, honestly. I mean, things are really messed up for girls right now. People watching you give head in junior high? That is absolutely incomprehensible to me. Do you know how far from sexually active I was in junior high? Let alone the fact that none of my friends were going through that (and that’s not to say it didn’t happen in my school/community, just not with my group of friends), but my friends and I would sneek home after school and played Barbies. And if you’re still playing Barbies, you are a thousand emotional miles away from being ready for sex (in any form).
At the same time, junior high was a long time ago, and I don’t want to be a mother who just clucks and shakes her head at how things are so different now. I want to be a mother who can at least understand a little because I remember what peer pressure and not fitting in feels like. I want to have an open relationship with my girls, where they can talk to me about what’s going on in their lives. And I really feel that we’re on the right track to achieve that. But at the same time, half of this shit scares the crap out of me.
So, back to the original question: What to do about the Silly Bands? Let an innocent girl play with an innocent toy? Or let my own fears block this all out?