Sugar Lemon Fizz
Mango Berry Sparkler
Papaya Melon Scoop
With names that conjure images of new Pinkberry flavors or exotic sorbets, Anti-Bacterial PocketBacs are fashionably dangling from tween belt loops (in rhinestone-studded custom "Pocketbac holders") everywhere.
Not only are these trendy hand sanitizers the must-have accessory for the tween set, they are also an official collectible. From duct tape jewelry to Silly Bandz and now fashionable hand sanitizers, 9 to 12-year-olds are once again redefining collectibles in today's bursting consumer world.
A self-proclaimed fashionista, my 9-year-old daughter J's look is Selena Gomez-meets-Punky Brewster. She shares my love of accessories. From bags to bangles, she artfully combines pieces to make one of a kind, colorful, unique looks full of her personality.
I consider myself an informed consumer and shopper and parent. But when J recently asked (begged) to use her allowance at Bath & Body Works to buy fancy, scented antibacterials, I was concerned (and confused). Was my constant reminder to "Do Purell" transforming my little girl into a pint sized Howie Mandel ? Thankfully, J explained that she and her friends collect these tiny (1 oz/29 ml) connocotions of water, alcohol and fragrance.
But wait, there's more...
The collections are not complete without the containers -- called PocketBac Holders. These stretchy silicon cases feature Poodles, Rhinestones, Bats, Bees, even Footballs. Each one has a belt hook, too, for backpacks, purses, and of course, belts.
When I was 9, the collectible du jour was stickers (preferably Mrs. Grossman's ) and Bonnie Bell Biggy Lip Smackers. I saved every penny to go to our town gift store to buy one or two of the rare adhesive gems. (In fact, I still have my sticker album housing pages and pages of acid-free preserved rainbows, clouds and ladybugs.)
It seems self-indulgent to analyze the scented sanitizer movement. But since I felt compelled to blog about it, I can't help admit that I am secretly celebrating what feels to me like the G-rated version of 2012 girlhood. J's harmless $1.50 habit (five for $5.00) is teaching her about money, consumerism and community. It's age-appropriate and fun. And while many of her friends are starting to wear make-up(!) at age 9 and accessorize with Rihanna size earrings, J is content to organize her collection and map her next haul. The fact that she's firmly rooted in being 9 makes me hopeful that she'll embrace the now and not rush growing up and growing older.
When I glance at J's proud display of her rainbow of sanitizers in her bedroom, I can't help but think there are worse things than germ-free tangerine-scented hands.
(Note: I have no affiliation with Bath & Body Works nor is this an endorsement of the company or any of its products.)
Follow Laura Rossi Totten on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@bookprgirl