Three Beefs


It’s not easy to stay indoors all day with three maniacs.

Apart from them getting cabin fever and destroying the entire house until there’s nothing left but the foundation, it’s not fair to keep them indoors all day, either. As much as I absolutely despise packing everything up like we’re getting ready to go on a two month expedition across Egypt, on foot, it’s necessary to get myself and the kids out of the house to do fun, kid-oriented activities, lest we kill each other if we stay indoors together too long. Anything to stay out of that orange jumpsuit and off the 6 o’clock news.

My kids love the playground, the library, and they love this indoor bounce house place we have nearby, as well. While all three are great, effective ways to get the kids out of the house and keep them entertained, stimulated, and happy, I have a serious beef with each one of these places. As much as I love to see my kids happy and enjoying themselves, each one of these places has aspects to it that make me want to stab myself repeatedly in the eyeball.

Last week, when we went to the playground, it was a beautiful, breezy day. Sun was shining, kids were pumped to be at the park, and I was glad that they were going to burn some energy. I’m kind of a helicopter parent, so I like to stay within 8-10 feet of them, making sure they’re not getting hurt or hurting anyone else. They were running around, having a ball, and I was just relishing a moment of peace.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not a caveman. This is not the stone age, I do not hunt and forage for my own food, and when I leave the house, I put shoes on, and keep them on my feet until I’m back at home. I’m thinking maybe there was an invisible sign at the playground that day that said, “TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES, KIDS. PUT THOSE NASTYASS MONKEY TOES ALL OVER EVERYTHING IN THIS PLACE! GO ON!” I certainly did not see the sign, but everyone else must’ve, because damned if every kid in the place wasn’t barefoot. I watched my innocent fifteen month old child grab the corner of a step, then stick her hand in her mouth. She might as well have been sucking on somebody’s toe. In related news, I just threw up all over my laptop.

I guess it could be worse. At least she wasn’t actually sucking on somebody’s toe.

We also like to attend library story times. When we attend these events at the library, I sometimes wonder if I’m some type of sick masochist, because getting Leland to sit still for a story is the equivalent of getting a wild goat from the side of a mountain and trying to read it a book. Usually, it’ll be me, corralling Leland in a corner, with Mallory in the Baby Bjorn, dangling there like a giant sack of screaming potatoes, and Carl attempting to listen to the story, while he and the rest of the children stare at the traveling circus that I’ve bestowed upon this story time group. Then you’ve almost always got a craft afterward, and did this library employee smoke crack before we got here? You think these kids are going to sit through your entire lame story about a caterpillar, then want to cut and color some caterpillar you printed off the computer five minutes before we walked in here? After I pick up the confetti that was once a caterpillar cut-out, I usually let the kids pick a few books to check out, and by that, I mean, walk to the check-out counter with 38 books, give the clerk 34 books to put away, and then fly out of that place like a bat out of hell with four books, half a caterpillar, and none of my dignity.

The biggest beef, though, has got to be with the indoor bounce house center. Every time I go there, I say a little prayer to the god of bounce houses, that some random kid didn’t leave a surprise in the form of a bodily function in one of those bounce houses. I’m just waiting for one of my kids to stumble upon a freshly laid turd, at which point, I’ll have to attach a fire hose to a vat of Lysol and just douse us all. Also, this is my second use of the word “turd” in two consecutive blog posts, so I’m thinking that deserves an award of some sort. In addition, this place allows kids up to the age of 12 to play in the bounce houses, and I’m not sure if any of you have seen the 12 year olds of today, but if you look old enough to have a driver’s license and a mortgage, get the fuck out of the bounce house. I’ve seen mosh pits that are less insane than some of the shit I’ve seen there. My oldest bounced out of the top of one of the bounce houses there once, and we had to take him to the hospital, but we obviously still haven’t learned our lesson, because we still frequent the place, but only on Tuesdays because that’s when it’s half off. And if I’m not in the damn mosh pit, I’m not paying full price.

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