Beware the Moonbounce: Parental Torture Device in Disguise

Ahh….moonbounce….giant inflatable parental torture device…..how naive I was to your ways when we first met.

How unprepared I was for the blood pumping, heart racing, stress inducing powers you wield behind that inviting mesh door and bouncy facade.

A Parent's Friend or Foe?

How blinded I was by your large happy slide.

How distracted I was by your ability to burn off my crazy children’s energy and make them glee with delight.

So naive.

So unsuspecting.

So unprepared.

Is anyone ready for the reality of a moon bounce? How could I have ever been so unprepared for the possible outcomes that accompany a large jumping device that encourages small children to jump, bounce, fall, and generally act crazy?

But see – it’s not so much the children and their unwillingness to ever leave said parental torture device that presents the greatest challenge to moi – it’s the other parents or caretakers hovering around or IN the moon bounce that leave me fraught with stress, anger and frankly, in yesterday’s instance, RAGE.

Pure Wired Momma rage. I should bottle it up.

C’est vrai.

You’ll have to tell me what you think of what happened yesterday – will you be Team Wired Momma or Team Grandma? And if you’re Team Grandma, please, seriously – weigh in – because I want to know. I promise I won’t unleash my bottled WM rage on your doorstep.

Even though I left the moon bounce with my blood boiling all the way down through to my toes….

As we’re in spring break and generally taking it easy, on Tuesday I found myself at Montgomery Mall with my 2 girls, ages 3 and 6. We really had no plan and no place to be, so we made our way over to Bubble Bounce adjacent to the kids play area. I’ve gone a few times with my youngest and it’s pretty much always empty, sparing me of much of the Moonbounce drama that is inevitable at larger gatherings like say, Butler’s Orchard at Halloween Time. (nightmare – I’m talking to you, parents, who use the Moonbounce as your own personal babysitter while small children wait in unnecessarily long lines to have a turn because you don’t make your kid get out.)

Per the usual, the place was mostly empty but my youngest was squealing with glee because she finally had her older sister there to jump and play with. The girls were getting their shoes off and prepping for some hardcore jumping when I noticed a Grandmother enter with her 18 month old granddaughter in the stroller and inquire if there is an age requirement. The women at the front desk just noted if she’s comfortable with it, then by all means, go right ahead – just sign this waiver here.

A bit later, my girls were jumping in the extra-large Dora/Diego moon bounce and that grandmother was in the moon bounce with her 18 month old. Any time either of my girls jumped within proximity of her grandkid, she made eyes at me – like “get them away from my kid”

I just glared back. Her kid isn’t my problem, and my girls were doing what one does in a moon bounce – which is jump. Please, weigh in now if you disagree with me. I think we can all see now where this story is headed…..

Soon after my girls ditched that one for another moonbounce and frankly I was a little relieved.

Nearing the end of our 30 minute session, they decided to head back into Dora/Diego to test it out again. This time Grandma was in the way back of the moonbounce with her grandkid. My girls ended up that way – jumping past them  (why must children gravitate to each other in one square inch of an otherwise 40 foot moonbounce?) – and Grandma says loudly to my 6-year-old “Be careful!” as she passed by the grandkid.

Immediately, like the grizzly mama that I am – I am on ALERT because my 6-year-old’s job is NOT to worry about her grandkid. Now – don’t get me wrong – of course she knows to be careful when babies are around and to let them go first, not push them, etc etc — but if you are in a moonbounce then you know that children are going to ….JUMP…around you.

Now I was on high alert because who was following my 6-year-old but my admittedly high energy 3-year-old who absolutely does not give a shit about a baby.  She isn’t going to try to hurt a baby but she absolutely is not going to take an extra precaution because there’s a baby around her. She’s three.

As she is happily jumping right past the baby, this grandmother raises her voice at my 3-year-old – not quite shouting but one decimel below it – and says “BE CAREFUL THERE IS A BABY RIGHT HERE”

Imagine the camera panning to my face…surely it flushed bright red with seething anger as I very firmly and angrily barked across this enormous Moonbounce to my new enemy
DO.

NOT.

RAISE YOUR VOICE

AT MY KID!

If only I had Gumby arms, they would have practically been wrapped around her neck by then.

I could feel the blood boiling seriously all the way to my toes.

This woman barks back at me “She is just a baby, they need to be careful!”

I was FURIOUS. I said “Excuse me, my kid is also little, she is three, and need I remind you that you are IN A MOONBOUNCE where children jump!”

Then suddenly, out of Diego’s backpack turned into life boat, another Mother pops up – I didn’t even see her there – it’s like I am Dora-Diego hell. This woman is holding ANOTHER 18 month old.

How could there be TWO of them there?
And she pipes up in defense of Grandma, barking back at me “She’s not yelling at your kid but when there are babies, they need to be careful.”

Clearly I’ve got no dog in this fight and as I am raging mad, I’m considering the example I’m supposed to be setting for my kids and I’m wondering if I could be in the wrong here – are they right? Is it my 3-year-old’s responsibility to worry about babies in a moonbounce?

Or is it their responsibility to PICK UP THEIR BABY when they see other kids coming their way if they are worried about the outcome?

Team Grandma or Team Wired Momma?

Fortunately our 30 minutes were up, so I had an easy out, which was to corral the girls out of the moonbounce and leave but if you know me, you know I wasn’t leaving them with the last word and I huffed “When you opt to go into a moonbounce, you invite children to bounce around you, that’s what it’s here for.”

Then as luck would have it, my precious, innocent angel of a 3-year-old chose that moment to throw an epic tantrum, complete with Speedy Gonzales running legs as I’m lifting her out of the moonbounce and her old favorite tactic – the try to claw mommy’s face because I am so mad but I refuse to use my words – fit.

Ahh…spring break bliss…..and proof that my demon child was out to hurt their babies……..

Thank you moonbounce.

So – what say you – of the politics of Moonbounce Spring Break 2012? Team Grandma or Team WM?

And am I alone in this tortured relationship with the Moonbounce?

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One Response to Beware the Moonbounce: Parental Torture Device in Disguise
  1. […] my series on Parental Torture Devices, let’s move beyond the Moon Bounce into other items that appear innocent, fun, age […]

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