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Me or Them

February 26, 2011

I started off writing “us or them” but there is no “us”–and that is precisely the problem.

Lily got invited to a birthday party. Hurray! It wasn’t even on a Sunday–double hurray! I actually R.S.V.P.ed in a timely manner (perhaps the first time in my life I have successfully done so), and we had the present all picked out and purchased, one that I didn’t even have to shudder at the thought of, or apologize to the mother of the birthday girl for sending it to their house. It was all shaping up to be the best birthday party ever (aren’t they all?) with nary a stress for me.

Except: the party was at Bounce-It-Out. If you are not familiar, it is a place about the size of a large basketball court, full of inflatables, with the added horror of arcade games and really terrible expensive food. But that hardly does it justice–that is the description of nighttime there; you have to add in the hoards of loud, sweaty children running from inflatable to inflatable, screaming for their mom or their friend or just to scream. All kids seem to feel the presence of the inflatables cancel out any and all social norms: manners are left outside with your shoes. Paying to get in is akin to paying for a few hours on the Lord of the Flies island, without the mosquitoes. Lily was ecstatic. Why not? It is heaven for kids.

I can’t tell you how I fantasized about taking her there and handing her off to another adult with my signed permission slip that I know she is risking death and I agree that it is a good idea.

But of course, I couldn’t do that. How could I POSSIBLY take her there, allowing the boys to also see where Lily would be, without them also wanting (demanding) to go inside and play? I just couldn’t figure out a way. I even offered to take them to my parents house to play VIDEO GAMES–I was THAT desperate not to be among the bouncers. It all came down to this: do I protect my own sanity by not taking the boys to play there (on a Saturday evening, may I add, in the winter, at the end of winter break, when everyone is totally stir crazy and eager to get their kids OUT of the house?), or do I torment the boys by just taking Lily inside for the time of her life? I knew we couldn’t all be happy, so I had to chose between me or them.

Obviously, since I am reporting to the public here on my blog, I made the “right” choice and sacrificed myself to the bouncing inferno. Just promise me I don’t have to go back for another year or so, please? Maybe next time I fond myself in one of these wouldn’t-it-be-nice-to-have-2-of-me situations, I’ll look into hiring a taxi for Lily. That would fly in Brighton, wouldn’t it?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2011 10:11 pm

    I swore I’d never go back there after such a day (for the same reason I refuse to return to Chuck E. Cheese). However, on a, say, Tuesday at 11 a.m. — it’s fantastic. Graveyard. Three or four kids. Call in sick one day (easier said than done, eh?) and try it again. Better yet, go to Jump Club just down the street from you. Fewer bouncers, padded benches up the middle where you can watch everything without worrying which insane piece of plastic just swallowed your child.

    • February 27, 2011 12:35 pm

      Spoken like someone who hasn’t had a job in about half a decade! When my sicks days actually have to function as the sick days for four people, they aren’t used lightly. But I have heard good things about Jump Club–I’ll have to give it a shot sometime not very soon.

  2. marta permalink
    February 27, 2011 12:14 am

    and use earplugs.

    • February 27, 2011 12:32 pm

      At least the dull roar of the air pumps deadens the screams to some extent.

  3. Wende Domm permalink
    February 27, 2011 9:34 am

    Um, call your lovely neighbor whose son was invited to the same party and would be glad to give Lily a ride….just a thought.

    • February 27, 2011 12:32 pm

      As soon as I saw Aiden there, I thought, “Doh! Why didn’t I think of that?!” I hope I remember that for next time–no promises, though.

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