Friday, June 28, 2013

Bouncy Houses (and other dangers)

Bouncy house, bounce castle, "soft" slide, ahhhhh! Whatever you may call it, I feel a trip to the emergency room coming on. Of course B is TOTALLY attracted to anything bouncy and absolutely MUST get a turn. So, I hold my breath, say a pray and feign a smile as I gingerly send my baby into bouncy world. 

There are a row of options. He chooses the one with inflatable soccer and basketballs on top (of course) and leaps in with reckless abandon. I look around for a paramedic. There is a sign adhered to the bounce house, presumably at the manufacturing level, with a list of WARNINGS.  These warnings are similar to what we see at hotel pools. Nothing completely out of the norm in terms of warnings. What I am remembering however, is an alarming news report I saw on how many children each year are injured and hospitalized from incidents inside of bouncy houses. Dislocations, broken bones and closed head injuries, to name a few. There was a little girl in this particular report that was on a ventilator because she bonked heads with another child while at a birthday party. I am imagining worst case scenarios, like I do best and a chill runs down my spine. Brrrrrrr!

There also a handwritten sign stating "ATTENDANT MUST TAKE TICKET". There is no attendant to be found. There is one teenager with a STAFF shirt on about five yards away, but he is on his phone, texting or playing a game, but definitely NOT attending to who is entering or exiting the bounce houses. We paid for our "ticket" before we entered, so he must've just been there to fulfill some insurance policy requirement. Bogus. My head is spinning with a thousand more scenarios, these now involving me as the righteous leader of a pack of really pissed off moms.

Meanwhile, B is inside happily bouncing. There is no other child in there, I feel safe for a moment. Then, seemingly out of nowhere a "kid" pushes past me, on his heels is an even taller "kid", both running full force into the very house B is in. These "kids" were BIG. They may not have been shaving yet, but they were man sized. I panic, where is B? My eyes are darting, I am squinting to see through the mesh, into the darkened bouncy house. I find him perched at the tippy top of the slide inside. At the bottom of the slide is an opening. I try to remain calm. All I can think of is B getting a closed head injury because Hercules was allowed entrance into a dang bouncy castle and collides with my little cherub!! I put what I think is a smile on my face and a song in my voice when I call "oh B, do you want a lollipop?". I am a desperate woman, I must get my baby out of there pronto! B makes eye contact with me and smiles. I feel paralyzing desperation creeping up into my facial muscles. My heart is racing, I'm feeling flush, I think, "is it really hot out here or is this a menopausal hot flash", when my little guy whizzes down the slide and safely into my arms. Yay!

I have B safely in my arms. I am relieved and calming down. As I am regaining my composure, B wriggles away and gallops toward another castle. Suddenly, as if he hits an imaginary wall, he stops, turns to look back and screams "lollipop, mama!!!", I start to panic again. I now have to fulfill the promise I made in a heightened state of emergency. Let's hope I remembered to pack the lollipop stash. 

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