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Sunday, August 20, 2017

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It was the words I’d been waiting to hear for several long months of navigating my kitchen with what looked like contractor dust everywhere, but was actually corn starch. “Mommy, making slime is sooo over.”

Slime-making was all the rage this year. For a while, living in my own state of ignorance, I thought it was a concept invented by my children, and was later shocked to realize how far this trend had spread, that even Staples was selling gallons of Elmer’s glue on a prominent display case with a slime recipe, to appease the hobbies of my own kids. Turns out, other homes were knee-deep in slime, too.

Most playdates were mottled with cleaning out my pantry of all of my corn-starch; using up every fancy and non-fancy conditioner, shampoo and body-wash from the showers; draining every last bit of the food-coloring I’ve owned since my wedding 14 years ago; and occupying all of my Tupperware with a blob of slime that would invariably dry out and turn into a rubbery pellet a few days later. Then, I would be handed a lengthy shopping list that included: more glue, Borax, contact lens solution, glitter, shaving cream, aloe vera gel and whatever any other tutorial video expressly swore would give you the best, fluffiest, smoothest, sleekest, glitteriest slime ever.

“Feel this one, Mommy!” they’d urge me, holding a shampoo-scented handful of purple gluey slime close to my face. I really don’t like the feel of slime. It’s wet, and reminds me of placenta, not that I’ve ever really poked some afterbirth, but I can imagine that’s probably what it would feel like. So I tap the slime, enough to make an indentation with my finger so that my child can demonstrate the amazing “springy” quality of this batch, a character trait that is also very desirable in this exotic field. And then I run to wash my hands, to rid myself of the lingering vernix feeling it has left on my pointer, as my child rolls and smooths the slime across my kitchen counters, spreading it with a knife and slicing it up to evaluate it’s “butteriness,” and I hope and pray that she will hose down my kitchen because soon I will be cooking in that very spot. With a residue of glue and Tide.

As younger sisters are wont to do, in our home, my second daughter eventually picked up on my first daughter’s newfound hobby, as soon as it had begun to fade. Just as I was rejoicing in the end of this annoying era, there it was, resurfacing again. And so, I recently found myself toting home a gallon of Elmer’s glue and a giant container of contact lens solution (I hope the recipe is okay with a generic brand). But this whole thing leaves me in a constant state of wonder. Is the thrill in making the slime, or in having it and playing with it? And why is making the same thing, again and again, captivating? Or is there a hope that a certain recipe will yield a new product, like a glow-in-the-dark variant, the “slime of all slimes,” or a Golem?

And so, I sat down to interview my 8-year-old daughter on this subject, to really uncover the deep meaning to this activity. “It’s fun,” she simply said, while stirring some glue in the last of the stack of salad containers I had bought explicitly for my husband’s lunches. There it is. Nothing else but fun. Like going up and down a slide again and again. Or using a coloring book. Or collecting seashells. Perhaps the thrill lies in the fact that it is something so strange, the almost magical transformation of shelf-items into a new, usable substance. Or that it’s exotic and bizarre. Or that it feels like a combination of witchcraft potion mixing and cooking, at the same time. In the meantime, I keep my fingers crossed and remind myself that just like Rainbow Loom, this too shall pass.

 By Sarah Abenaim

 Sarah Abenaim is a writer living in Teaneck. She can be reached at [email protected]