Facing Our Fear of Bouncy House Places

This weekend we decided to head back to the place where all germs are welcome our local bouncy house facility because they purported to have lowered their prices and because my daughter finally decided that she was no longer scared to bounce.  So, we packed everything we needed for a family of 5 and headed off a little early to make sure we got there right when they opened in an effort to avoid the crowd of crazy kids.  We’re so smart.

Well, we got there about 15 minutes early.  Anyone with small children can attest to the fact that when kids know they’re about to do something fun, their ability to wait has a window of approximately 8.7 seconds.  It was time for distraction.  Luckily, there is a high-end grocery store right beside the “germatorium” so we went inside to browse.  Oh, the excitement that occurs when the kids spot the bountiful supply of Jelly Belly jellybeans in jars too numerous to count.  Then comes the inevitable, “can we get some, Daddy? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE?!”  (Notice, if you will, how politely they ask and how the question is directed toward Dad because Mom is “the mean one” who is able to say no and see through their wily charm).

I have already spotted the ridiculous price of these sweet treats and I’m wondering how long it will take dear hubby to notice.  Naturally, he says yes and the kids cheer in delight.  I then point out the $39.95 per pound going rate for gourmet jelly beans (I am exaggerating, but only slightly) and sit back to enjoy the moments to follow where Daddy tries to quickly formulate a plan to backtrack on his offer to buy an entire bag.  “Let’s just get half a pound; wait, that’s still $20 and we only get 8 beans?”  We went through a couple of other counter offers such as this one before I spotted tiny sample boxes for $1.19 stuck way on the bottom shelf where only a mother who is down on her hands and knees searching for the bottle that her sweet baby threw out of the stroller for the 3,000th time could see.  Hooray!  It was the perfect choice for everyone involved.

Having avoided a crisis at the way too expensive grocery store, we then walked back to the bouncy place where we had another 3 minutes to kill – time goes by SOOOO slowly when you are waiting for a kids’ place to open.  This is summer in Florida, mind you, where it averages about 312 degrees by noon, with humidity at 100%.  Naturally, there was no shade anywhere as we read the sign taped to the door which politely notified us that they had actually raised their “lowered” prices.  Lovely. 

While trying to keep our kids from banging on the door to notify the owners that we were there, a carload of Children of the Corn look-a-likes showed up and crowded all around us.  As the employee finally came to open the door, those monsters charged her, while my sweet boy (who at this point had been waiting patiently for several minutes to go in, a tremendous feat that did not go unnoticed by this mother) held the door open for them so that they could go first.  The mother of Draco Malfoy’s long-lost siblings said nothing as she walked right through the door in front of us.  No simple “thank you” to my tiny gentleman holding the door for her and her brood; no “hang on guys, these nice people were here first”; NOTHING.  To quote Stephanie Tanner, “HOW RUDE!” 

Shockingly, my kids were oblivious, so I let it go as we skipped down the long hallway to the inside entrance.  I believe it may have been hotter inside than it was outside, but I can’t be sure.  We finally paid and got our wristbands – nothing bad can happen when you have a paper wristband on, right?  Then it was off to see who was brave enough to get into the bouncy apparatus. 

My fear of this type of establishment stems from a different place than that of my children.  They have been scared of the loud air noises, the other wild children that might jump on them, the height, etc.  I fear the potential kidnappers/child molesters (I watch way too much crime tv, but you can never be too safe).  And since we are responsible parents, my husband and I follow our kids around like madmen, darting in opposite directions back and forth because our kids rarely choose to do the same thing at the same time; that would be too easy.  Luckily, at the end of these outings we feel as though we had a free workout at the gym so it’s kind of a win, win.  

In case you couldn’t tell, another fear of mine is public GERMS.  I’m the first to admit that there is no way I can keep up with all the stuff that needs to be cleaned in our house on a daily basis, and besides, a little bit germy is actually good for building an immune system, right? RIGHT? But those are our germs, not some random schmos.  And I swear public play places are so gross!  You know they never clean things like they should and you can see the years of grime and nastiness growing right before your eyes when you dare to enter them.  I try not to think about it too much so I don’t become one of those moms that won’t let their kids play for fear of them getting dirty, but it’s still pretty gross at the end when we thoroughly cleanse ourselves with the hand sanitizer that I carry everywhere!

I digress.  Back to the more rational fear of my daughter, the fear of the loud noise blasting from the air pump.  She assured me that she was ready to jump when we left the house, and even though I had heard that on several other occasions, only to have her cling like a rabid python to my leg once we got there, I was ready to try it one more time.  And much to my amazement, she really went to town on the huge slides and obstacle courses!  She got some assistance in the confidence area from big brother who has always been fearless and now she is a bona fide pro!  The baby has not decided yet and I think he may share my fear of the nastiness as he gave the place a sneer when I attempted to lay him down to bounce in the baby area.  Only time will tell if he enjoys it too. 

It only took about 45 minutes for the ginormous crazy kids (and by kids I mean the 12 year olds that are bigger than me and shouldn’t even be allowed in there) to show up so we quickly exited before one of them could smush one of my darlings, but the older kids had a blast, while the little man enjoyed watching.  For now, we’re happy to have conquered our fears and perhaps we’ll try it again sometime when I have fully recovered from this trip.  Lord, I’m old.

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One thought on “Facing Our Fear of Bouncy House Places

  1. I completely relate to all of that…I am glad that everything turned out ok though. I constantly think of all the bad things that could happen to my kids in those “bounce house” buildings…it sends shivers up my spine just thinking about it.

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