I took Nathan on his very first visit to a bounce house the other day. For those of you who are unfamiliar with bounce houses, it’s basically a bunch of really large inflatable houses (and slides) that kids can jump and bounce around on. I thought that all that bouncing activity would get some of his energy out.
I thought wrong.
The bounce house we went to was pure mayhem. There were probably 75 or so kids there. Ever one of them seemed to be loaded up on chocolate and sugar. They were running amuck, screaming, crashing over each other, kids were getting injured, it was a mess. The parents all sat dumbly at tables, engrossed with their phones or staring emptily into space. There was no adult supervision. None. There weren’t even any attendees. My friend (who brought her two kids) and I were the only adults following our kids, keeping an eye on things.
It was hot and loud. Shrill screams echoes angrily off the concrete walls. Giant fans blew warm air throughout the room, but it wasn’t enough to help Nathan’s flushed cheeks or alleviate his dripping perspiration. Plus it smelled like feet.
There was a giant inflatable slide that Nathan wanted to go down. Seeing the maelstrom of overly hyper kids clamoring all over the slide had me on edge, so I told Nathan we would slide the slide together. Seriously, these kids were like monkeys on crack. It was distressing.
So I grabbed his little hand and we slowly started up the inflatable stairs/ladder. The stairs/ladder were so narrow that I pretty much filled the width of it. And I’m not fat… it was just that narrow. So Nathan started getting a little scared because of the violent bouncing from kids hurling themselves down the slide. He clenched the rail (rope) tightly with both hands and imploringly asked to go back down. I looked over my shoulder. We were halfway up and bottle necked- the entire “stairwell” behind us was packed with little monsters who were pushing and shoving each other to steal spots in line. What a bunch of brats.
“We can’t go down, sweetie,” I said. “You can do it! Almost there! Just hang on tight and force your legs to keep on moving!” I tried desperately to keep my balance while simultaneously keeping a calm, reassuring hand on Nathan’s back. Right at that time, a kid behind me slammed his or her head into my butt and screamed “GO!” I didn’t look behind me to see who it was. Without meaning to, I instinctively kicked at the kid to get their head off my ass. I was in full-on Protect Mode. I knew that if I got trampled or knocked down onto Nathan, he would get hurt.What the hell is wrong with this kid- who slams their head into someone’s butt? Seriously.
As I was trying to reclaim my ass, another kid squeezed his head in between my left leg and the wall, his spindly arms reaching for the stairs and clawing at Nathan’s foot. I leaned to the left to counteract him as he struggled to push me out of the way in an attempt to get in front of us.
“STOP,” I commanded as he attempted to burrow past us. He ignored me. “Hey, dude. CHILL OUT.” I wasn’t ging to let any of them pass because letting one by would open the pushing-and-shoving floodgates. The kid still kept trying. Finally, clinching my teeth and hoping no one else butted my my rear, I bent over to his face. “I SAID STOP. WAIT YOUR TURN, YOU’LL GET TO GO SOON ENOUGH.” Finally, he looked up at me with a completely dumb, maniacal look on his face. I couldn’t help but think he’d have a perfect expression to be the zombie apocolypse spokesperson.
After what seemed like an eternity, Nathan and I made it to the top. We held hands and zipped down the slide together. Before we had time to even get up, the kids behind us hurtled down, crashing into us. By this time, I was furious and on the verge of having an anxiety attack.
“What’s the matter with you?” I barked at them. “Wait for people to get off the slide before you go down! You’re going to hurt someone!” They all looked at me with that dumb, blank look on their faces. Like they were unthinking robots. Or maybe they just weren’t used to being reprimanded. There were a lot of older kids there, like ages 9-14. They were the worst. They crashed around like a bunched of cracked-out maniacs, falling over the little kids while all the parents continued their listless stupors at the tables.
What a mess. Don’t get me wrong, the concept of a bounce house is really cool, but there NEEDS to be some sort of adult supervision. I don’t understand why the parents just checked out. I could and would never, ever allow my child to behave in such a discourtious mannor. Maybe I could try another one at a different location or perhaps go in the morning when (hopefully) less older kids will be there, but for now I’ve had my fill of bounce houses. Just… wow.