What The Hell Are Orbeez, And Why Are My Kids Obsessed With Them?

orbeez
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A few weeks ago, I was working on the computer (okay, I was browsing on Amazon Prime; don’t judge) when my son sauntered over and asked if he could buy some Orbeez.

“Huh?” I said, still entranced in my quest to find buttah-like knockoff leggings.

“I’ll use my own money,” he said. “Pleeeeassssee!”

He went on to talk about his friend So-and-So who had these little beads that expand in water, and he just had to have them — with water balloons. This was very important: Orbeez and water balloons.

“Yeah, yeah. Sure,” I muttered, eager to get back to my happy hour Amazon Priming. I added the Orbeez and a bag of 500 water balloons to my cart. “But you’re paying for them!”

He coughed up some of his birthday money, and I went back to browsing through “Today’s Deals,” and forgot all about the Orbeez — until they arrived right on time two days later.

Now I can’t get rid of them. I find Orbeez in the bathroom. They are in buckets in the kitchen. They are in water balloons making puddles around the house. I step on them in the middle of the night, and I almost ate one the other day thinking it was a grape. Heck, the other night, I came downstairs to find my son soaking his feet in a Tupperware filled with Orbeez.

RELATED: These Are The Best LOL Surprise Dolls And Toys To Collect

But even though these things are literally everywhere, and taking over my life, I’m still clueless about what Orbeez actually are, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why my kids are so obsessed with them. They look like marbles, but feel like eyeballs, as my brother-in-law so aptly described them the other day.

Orbeez are actually superabsorbent polymers that grow to more than 100 times their volume when placed in water. And just what the hell are polymers, you ask? Excellent question! Because I asked myself the same thing. The Orbeez website (which is about as scientific as I feel like getting about this), says that polymers are several molecules joined together and they grow when the water is absorbed in the spaces between the molecules. Apparently, polymers were invented way back in the ’60s to irrigate crops during droughts. Who knew! But we parents better know polymers as the tiny beads inside diapers. That’s right, Orbeez are basically just colorful diaper pellets.

So what’s the appeal? Why are my kids so eager to dish out $12 of their own money for these little beads that eventually look like grapes with their skins peeled off? My first and best response to that question is: Who the hell knows! Kids are weird, and they like weird things.

RELATED: These Are The Best Toys Of 2019 For Kids Who Can’t Get Enough

Then again, dipping your hands in them and letting the little eyeballs squish through your fingers is kind of relaxing and meditative. And that’s just the tip of the polymer gel iceberg. My kids like to put the unexpanded Orbeez beads inside water balloons so that they expand inside the balloon. This is a very big deal to them, and all their friends. Why? I have no idea. I’m more confused than ever.

In the name of research, I did a Google search for “things to do with Orbeez,” and well, let’s just say, that’s an hour I won’t get back. You can make Orbeez slime and Orbeez soap. You can put Orbeez in shaving cream or on top of light tables for sensory exploration. You can fill water tables and bathtubs with Orbeez (okay, is it just me or does an Orbeez-filled bathtub sound a little kinky to you? No? Just me? Okay then…).

There are Orbeez bracelets and Orbeez ornaments, and then there is the super-creepy baby doll in an Orbeez bath. Huh? I’m more confused than ever.

There are entire Pinterest boards devoted to Orbeez crafts, and I have to admit, flowers inside a vase filled with Orbeez is actually kind of cute. The Orbeez craze is just getting started.

At the end of the day, I’m no closer to understanding the Orbeez craze, but you know what, if it’s going to keep my kids entertained for an hour on a rainy afternoon, and they aren’t whining for more screen time, I don’t need to know details. The next pack is on me, kids.

These are the best Orbeez toys to buy: 

Assorted Orbeez Wow World Toy

cool orbeez toys

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Orbeez Ultimate Soothing Spa

best orbeez

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Orbeez Crush Sweet Treats Studio

orbeez crushing station

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RELATED: Kids Are So Obsessed With These 30+ Cool Toys In 2019

Our mom experts only recommend picks they really love. We may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site, but if we love it, we know you’ll love it. And we Scary Mommies gotta stick together. 

Trump’s Response To Nobel Prize Winner Who Escaped ISIS Completely Lacks Empathy

President Donald J. Trump
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

He asks where her family members are immediately after she tells them they were murdered

Yesterday, Donald Trump had a meeting with a group of Yazidi refugees from Iraq. The group met with him in the Oval Office, where human rights activist and refugee Nadia Murad described in harrowing detail how ISIS attacked her village and killed her family. Trump’s reaction to her story and the following exchange are, at best, breathtakingly awkward and at worst, horrifying if not surprising.

Murad, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, tells Trump that ISIS killed her mother and brothers, then took her and other women in her family to hold as prisoners. Murad was among 27 other refugees and survivors of religious persecution in her home country.

“Now there’s no ISIS, but we cannot go back [home] because the Kurdish government and the Iraqi government, they are fighting each other [over] who will control my area,” Murad told the president. “They killed my mom, my six brothers.”

Just before Trump posed the question, the woman, Nadia Murad, a human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, told the president how ISIS attacked her village, killed her mother and brothers, then took her and other women in her family as prisoners.

Murad’s entire story is worth a listen (and Trump’s demeanor throughout the exchange is extremely cringe-worthy and infuriating), but here’s the part that will make you say, “WTF is happening?”

“They killed my mom, my six brothers,” Murad tells him, referring to ISIS.

“Where are they now,” Trump asks. [WHERE ARE THEY NOW. Oh my God. Because he is incapable of listening, empathy, or doing his job in any real way.]

“They killed them,” she repeats. “They are in the mass graves in Sinjar. And I’m still fighting just to live safe. Please do something.”

“I know the area very well you’re talking about,” Trump says. “We’re going to look into it very strongly.”

Murad was raped and beaten by members of ISIS and had to endure the horrific murders of her family members before escaping. She was the first woman from Iraq to win the Nobel Prize for her activism in fighting against sexual violence and abuse, which has helped raise global awareness about sex trafficking and how it’s used as a weapon of war.

And this is what she has to deal with? From the leader of the United States? It’s mortifying. His aloof, closed-off body language alone is maddening to watch. He makes no effort to show his disdain for powerful women, especially powerful women of color. But this is still awful to see.

The intention of the meeting was for Murad to ask Trump to put pressure on the Kurdish and Iraqi governments to protect the Yazidis as a religious minority. This portion of the meeting went completely over Trump’s head and instead, his brain seemed to suddenly remember she had won the Nobel Prize

“That’s incredible,” he told her. “They gave it to you for what reason?”

What…reason? Kudos to Murad for keeping her composure and not letting the throbbing veins inside her head explode right there in the Oval Office. She patiently reminded him that everything she endured at the hands of ISIS, including her own escape, is the reason. Not to mention all the human rights work she’s done since. And yet she’s still considered a refugee without her freedom.

Murad’s sister-in-law was kidnapped by ISIS, and she was unable to escape. As were her niece and nephew after being kidnapped as well. She hoped Trump could assist in the matter, as the three of them are now missing.

“Let me look. We’re going to look, okay?” Trump said. “Thank you very much.”

While he most certainly does have the power to do so, and should use that power for this humanitarian crisis in addition to the one he’s created at our borders, he won’t. But Nadia Murad proved who the true leader in the room was that day, that’s for sure.

When Your BFF Lives Far Away

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mentatdgt/Pexels

When I talk about a BFF, I mean the person you can call crying, the first person you call laughing in hysterics about that time your husband accidentally touches your vulva with hands covered in jalapeño pepper residue and you put ice cream on it to make it feel better. Yeah, that kinda friend.

A BFF thinks about you first (like when my BFF Facebook Lived me in the middle of a New Kids on the Block concert and wordlessly held up the phone while they played “Hangin’ Tough,” and before that, texted just to say the DJ was playing my all-time favorite song during the preshow). A BFF might go quiet when she’s too busy to talk, and you understand. She unloads the shit she needs to unload, and you do the same. You just get stuff. If I had to pick a person that ticked all these boxes, it’s her.

My BFF lives 700 miles away, and I’m envious of everyone who has BFF who lives close by.

It’s stupid lonely when you have to sneak phone conversations in between parenting and real life. If we lived near each other, we’d have more time, the way my friends buddy up and parent — they volunteer together, go to kids’ soccer games together, go grocery shopping together, have dinner together. My BFF and I are stuck with random, often scheduled phone calls, plus whenever we can manage to be on the internet at the same damn time. And Facebook is no excuse for actual human interaction. You never hear people laugh. My BFF can usually make me dissolve with a word or two. When you’ve known each other so long, the backlog of ridiculous situations has accumulated so much you can’t help it.

Thought Catalog/Unsplash

Other people’s BFFs can help them. If her mother-in-law were coming over, sure as hell I’d be there with a Swiffer Wet Jet. And she’d show up at my house to scrub the baseboards or bake a cake. I definitely cleaned my last BFF’s bathroom on numerous occasions before she also moved. I brought her food when her family was sick. My BFF would do the same damn thing. I’d do it for her. We can’t, and it sucks.

Guess I could order her pizza delivery. I”ll have to try that sometime when she’s having a shit day.

Other people have BFFs whose kids play together. There’s something special about watching your kids hang out with your best friends’s kids. My BFF and I? Our kids have never met. Hell, we’ve never met each other’s kids. When her son wins an award for being the kindest kid in his grade, I can’t be there personally to celebrate with her.

No birthdays. No drinking — god, would I love to put back a few with her when I got a publishing contract or the time her proposal won over everyone else at work. She could have held my hand when I got my tattoo. We could sing extra loud in our minivans and laugh about it.

The worst is seeing people with their BFFs. You know, when you hang out with other moms, who is BFFs with whom. You know you depends on whom to clean their damn bathroom, who shows up at whose moms’ night out. Who shares her snacks with whose kids. It hurts to watch. Just one more reminder of your loneliness. Sometimes I text my BFF while it’s going on. Which is sort of comforting and sort of depressing: I get some BFF time — I don’t really tell her what’s up — but at the same time, I’m reminded, once again, that’s she might as well be on the goddamn lunar module.

But her friendship means more to me than most of the surface mom friends I see going on around me — and the shallow mom friendships that I mostly have. I’ve known my BFF since I was fourteen. Fourteen. Who gets that? We used to sprawl out on our friends’ beds and write endless novels that she edited (I wrote all the sex scenes, which were probably laughably inaccurate). This isn’t to cackle that my BFF rocks more than everyone else’s, but instead to ask: who gets proof of concept like that? Fourteen years old. I had just gotten my freaking braces taken off. She was so much cuter than me and so much snarkier and sure of herself. We were sort of frenemies for a long time. But we grew up, and time smoothed out the rough edges.

I value the quality of that friendship more than the shallow friendships I could make with other people. We talk about our kids sometimes. But we also talk about music and TV and husbands and writing and books and real life things and god, aren’t we fucking old?! It’s good to have this friend who’s more than an ally in spit-up and baby food. We can have a real conversation.

I just wish we could have it face-to-face. And when I see all the other moms in their neat little pairs, I wish it even harder.

Why I Stopped Saying These 2 Things To My Husband

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Science & Society Picture Library/Getty

By the second week of motherhood, I found myself keeping a mental tally of every time I said “thank you” or “can you” to my husband.

“Can you grab me another diaper from the closet? Thank you.”

“Can you hold the baby so that I can take a quick shower? Thank you.”

“Can you unload the dishes before our guests get here? Thank you.”

Whenever I spoke to my husband, I was either asking him to do something or thanking him for completing some menial task. It made me resentful and anxious. I was overly conscious of the fact that every time I opened my mouth I was asking for a favor. Meanwhile, my husband rarely asked anything of me, rarely needed my help. So I had to be the problem. Right?

Lack of sleep kept me from seeing my situation for what it really was. My husband wasn’t asking me for anything because he didn’t have to ask. He didn’t need me to grab more diapers because I always made sure they were stocked. He didn’t need me to hold the baby so that he could shower because I was already holding the baby. He didn’t need to ask me to wash the dishes because I washed them the moment they hit the sink. And so on.

After more than a few venting sessions with some fellow mamas, I realized I wasn’t alone — far from it. One mother’s metaphor about her partner’s lack of proactive behavior really resonated with me. She said something like, “I feel like my husband is a robot. His natural state is ‘turned off.’ So, if I need his help, I have to go over, flip his switch, and give him a task. Now ‘turned on,’ he stands up and [usually] completes the task. But if I don’t flip the switch, nothing happens.”

This was a recurring theme in my conversations with other mothers. No matter who I talked to, my situation and others like it always seemed to come down to the same thing: two different types of personalities fiercely and frequently clashing.

While often differentiated by gender, to avoid stereotyping all men and all women, let’s just call these personalities Type A and Type B.

Type A maintains a running to-do list. The trash needs to go out tonight. The laundry needs to be  taken out of the dryer and folded. Baby has an appointment tomorrow.

Type B needs an assignment. Take out the trash. Fold the laundry. Take the baby to the appointment.

My husband has been a Type B since the day we met and I have been a Type A since the doctor told my mother, “Congratulations, it’s a girl.” Our different personalities have caused more than one skirmish throughout our decade-long relationship, but it wasn’t until we had our first child that the skirmishes became something that had to be addressed. After months of arguing, I finally took it upon myself to step back and figure out what needed to change. Here is the mantra that saved my marriage:

Give yourself a break and give your partner room to step up.

Instead of letting myself feel burdened by the dirty dishes that had been in the sink for an hour, I kept them out of my mind for a day or two. After a couple days, I found that my husband — unprovoked — loaded the dishwasher himself.

Debrocke/ClassicStock/Getty

Instead of asking my husband what his plans were for the day and then adjusting my own plans, I would tell my husband what I needed to get done. My husband was happy to stay with the baby while I ran my errands.

Instead of arguing with my husband about all the tasks he hadn’t managed to complete, I made a conscious effort to always show my appreciation for what he did get done. It only took a matter of days before my husband was mirroring my behavior and thanking me for my work inside and outside our home.

Bottom line: instead of focusing my energy on trying to change my husband, I took a step back and critically examined my own behavior. And it turned out that as I changed, so did my husband. Our house may look more lived in than I may like, but the family making the messes inside is much happier and healthier. So, if you find yourself in a situation like mine, I encourage you to give yourself a break and give your partner a chance to step up.

We are Scary Mommies, millions of unique women, united by motherhood. We are scary, and we are proud. But Scary Mommies are more than “just” mothers; we are partners (and ex-partners,) daughters, sisters, friends… and we need a space to talk about things other than the kids. So check out our Scary Mommy It’s Personal Facebook page. And if your kids are out of diapers and daycare, our Scary Mommy Tweens & Teens Facebook pageis here to help parents survive the tween and teen years (aka, the scariest of them all.)

These Effective Stretch-Mark Removal Creams Are Really Worth Buying

best-stretch-mark-removal-cream

Stretch marks, as the name suggests, usually happen when you gain weight and your skin is pulled at a faster rate. When you’re growing a human inside of you in a 40-week span, it creates the perfect breeding ground for stretch marks. It’s a good idea to use specialized stretch-mark removal creams and body butters and oils to care for your skin during and also after pregnancy. These formulas can help fade existing stretch marks and prevent new ones from forming! Plus, simple things like staying hydrated or applying sunscreen prior to a day out in the sun can also help minimize those warrior lines, too.

Listen up: Your body will never, ever look or feel anything like it did before you were pregnant. Like, ever. (Hell, your brain won’t ever think the way it did before, either.) But you know what? That’s okay! It’s key to take care of your body during pregnancy and love on your body postpartum, always.

When I look at nutrition labels for food, if there’s an ingredient that has too many letters, is hard to pronounce, or is not familiar to me in any way, I leave it on the shelf and keep walking. When it comes to beauty and haircare products, I’m not as picky. In fact, I like to see things like biopeptides and Hyraluronic Acid on the label. A beauty product gets major bonus points with me if the ingredients are also something that I’d find in any natural setting, algae and Jojoba for example. I digress.

Check out the best stretch mark creams to try:

basq NYC Intensive Treatment Stretch Mark Butter

PEPTIDES, SILICAS, AND PLANT EXTRACTS, OH MY!

stretch mark cream basq nyc intensive treatment stretch mark butter

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Remember those peptides I was talking about? This Intensive Treatment Stretch Mark Butter has those bad boys. The formula also contains a bunch of other wonderful ingredients that boost collagen renewal and enhance skin’s elasticity, and help improve the way those stretch marks look. The familiar Shea and Jojoba butters blend nicely to create a consistency that feels nourishing, but not greasy. There’s nothing worse than feeling lubed up all over your body. (Unless you’re into that sort of thing.) 

Bio-Oil

WHO CARES IF IT’S NOT AN ACTUAL CREAM?

stretch mark cream bio oil

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To anyone in the know, Bio-Oil is a miracle skincare product that is synonymous with stretch mark survival. It’s an award-winning product that works to improve the appearance of stretch marks (and also any scars), while nurturing and hydrating the skin. I love that, despite the name, it’s not greasy at all and absorbs pretty quickly.  

StriVectin SD Advanced PLUS Intensive Moisturizing Concentrate

SAY THAT THREE TIMES FAST 

stretch mark cream strivectin sd advanced plus intensive moisturizing concentrate

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This hydrating moisturizer is packed with the power to reduce lines, wrinkles, and stretch marks in 15 days. It works to target Collagen I and Collagen III, something known as Youth Collagen. (This is starting to feel oddly related to parenting.) Remember my desire for ridiculous ingredients in these types of products? Well this doesn’t disappoint. We’ve got some Copper Tripeptides (what?) and proprietary Marine Ferment (uh?) which work in synergy to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, so yeah… let’s do this.

Honest Organic Belly Balm

IT WILL HONESTLY HELP YOUR STRETCH MARKS GO AWAY

honest belly balm

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This Belly Balm 101, as I like to call it, is gentle, hypoallergenic, and free from anything related to a peptide. Inside, you’ll find cocoa butter, coconut, olive and tamanu oils to help with the itching and moisturizing of your growing belly.

ELEMIS Japanese Camellia Body Oil Blend

OHH, JAPANESE CAMELLIA OIL? GOT IT.

stretch mark cream emelis japanese camellia body oil blend

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This easily absorbed oil is rich in plant collagen to keep skin moisturized and supple. Designed with pregnant and postpartum women in mind, the blend of ingredients works to prevent stretch marks. Also, the bottle is a really pretty red and will look great on your vanity. So there’s that.

Belli Skincare Stretchmark Minimizing Cream

THEY SPELLED IT ‘BELLI’… HOW CUTE

Belli Skincare Stretchmark Cream

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Belli’s lotion is made with Darutoside and Regestril, which are clinically proven to reduce appearance of stretch marks. The brand promises applying twice daily for four weeks and once daily thereafter will make those fine lines magically disappear. Unfortunately, there is no such cream to make your kids disappear when you’d like them to.

Skin Owl’s Body Oil

THE NEWEST ADDITION TO YOUR POST-SHOWER ROUTINE

stretch mark cream skin owls body oil

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Your skin is thirsty. Quench it! This body oil contains highly absorbent antioxidants and pure plant oils that are intended to replenish and rejuvenate the skin. Use it post-shower to visibly reduce the appearance of stretch marks, wrinkles, and dark spots. Honestly, I’m wondering if this will work on the bags under my eyes.

The Stork Bag’s Bellie Butter

DOUBLES AS A CREAM FOR THE BABY, TOO

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Organic raw shea butter and essential oils infused with peppermint make this another natural option for your growing belly. I absolutely love that this formula doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals or parabens and that it doubles as a body cream for babies when the time comes as well. I love to lather up my little boo in (safe/crunchy-type) lotion during the dry winter months.

Love AnyBody Stretch Mark Cream

WITH HYALURONIC ACID

stretch mark cream love anybody cream and serum

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With a choice of cream or serum, Love Anybody promises to refresh, soothe and smooth your skin. Powerful antioxidants, Arginine, Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E work to treat the effect pregnancy has on skin.

Tulip

ANTI-STRECH MARK AND ANTI-CELLULITE CREAM

stretch mark cream tulip natural

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This nourishing formula is packed with skin essentials like beta-carotene and other vitamins, minerals proteins and amino acids. It promises to keep stretch marks at bay and prevent aging. But the most important thing, in my opinion, is that this brand gives you a lifetime satisfaction promise that if you don’t like the results, you can return it for a full refund. Sold!

Read More:

Let’s Stop Pretending Stretch Marks Aren’t A Normal Part Of Pregnancy

Why I’m Proud Of My Stretch Marks And Post-Baby Body

Mom Of Six Writes An Ode To Stretch Marks That Will Make You Appreciate Yours