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Silly Bandz are not so Silly (or How $6 Can Save you Thousands)

A mommy friend of mine and I were talking about the Silly Bandz I bought my daughter. “You know,” she said, “those cost 2 cents to make.”

I hadn’t really thought about this before but it made no difference to me. $2 or $6, with a company making a 2000% or 200,000% profit, Silly Bandz have done wonders for my 3-year olds self-esteem. As I see it, the $6 I spent for two-dozen of them may save me $60,000 in therapy for her later. That’s less than an hour of minimum wage pay well-spent.

Anyway, what is it with moms who will cheerfully spend $420 on a Kate Spade diaper bag but negotiate the expense of some cheap plastic bracelets?

For moms who don’t know what Silly Bandz are – quite possibly only the empty nesters who read this – they are shaped silicone bracelets that come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. But, you can’t see the shapes when they’re worn, only when they’re laid out flat. My daughter’s are Disney Princesses with shapes that include Ariel, Jasmine, Tiana and what I know is Snow White only from studying the picture on the packet.

She loves that the older kids come up to her and ask to see her bracelets. She already knows how to take them off and lay them out for comparison with Home Shopping Network type flair. She talks about her Silly Bandz and makes sure to show the grade schoolers – and college kids – that she has them too.

I am so proud that my little girl is old enough to actually participate in a fad!!!

We’re about 9 months behind the fad but three-years olds will never be the opinion leaders of the schoolyard. The teens get it first, then the tweens, then us. I’m certain our entry will kill this fad cold, but it will be a good few months before it gets buried in the fad graveyard, and goes straight to VH1’s I Love the 00’s heaven.

Silly Bandz are already available for us masses at the knock off stores. If $6 is too high to boost your toddler’s self-esteem, I’ve seen them for $2 a pack. The real laggards can always wait to scoop up all the Silly Bandz that’ll be at the garage sales.

Schools may be banning them, but these are learning tools. The Bandz are teaching her counting, colors and organization. She counts her bracelets. She sorts them into color piles. She organizes them into groups. She counts how many other kids have and tells me how many more she needs. She learns not to chew the inventory as they lose their value AND mommy will take them away forever. She watches other kid trade them with great interest.

And going back to the counting part, my three-year old doesn’t want 20 or 50 bracelets. To her, they’re the same number. So 20 is just as good as 50 which might as well be a million or as low as 10.

Thank goodness for fads. Especially the ones that are inexpensive and inclusionary. I’m also glad my child is learning that all-important lesson of needing material things for social success at such a young age. She won't feel taken by surprise and I believe it will teach her obsevation skills. However, if she ever comes home “NEEDING” a $5000 Chanel bags or (god-forbid) a tattoo to fit in and feel good about herself, I AM springing for the therapy first.