Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bouncy Houses: Kinda Like the Titanic Sinking. Only Worse....

Today Colt attended a very close friend's fifth birthday party. It was amazing! His parents rented the kid's play area at a local gym, and the kids had access to the entire play place (think McDonalds without the gut-rotting food) and the multipurpose room where the gym had a bouncy house set up.
Colt fell asleep in the car on the way there and took a while to wake up and get involved, but he eventually came to and started mingling. Pinata? Fun. Food? Tasty. Kids? Entertaining. Bouncy House? .....hear the crickets? 
After initially declining my invitation for him to go in the bouncy house, Colt finally relented and  along with 5 other kids listened with rapt attention as the Bouncy House attendant covered the rules. No shoes, no hanging on the mesh, no bouncing into one another, five minutes of bouncing at a time. Sounded pretty simple. Either I missed the "should we encounter a water landing on our trip from Seattle to Spokane, your seat backs double as floatation devices. Air masks will drop from the overhead bins. Secure your mask before helping others" or emergency landings weren't covered in our brief introduction to bouncing. And, in retrospect, it would have come in handy.

About 30 seconds into what looked like a very fun bouncing episode is when shit went downhill. And quick. The blower suddenly detached from the air inlet and the canvas ceiling dropped down on the kids as the house deflated. I saw the face of one 4 year old as the roof was caving in and it was sheer terror on his little face! The entrance to a standard issue bouncy house is tiny. No adult could fit through there, so as another mother tried to hold it open I reached in blindly and started the Kid Extraction 2012. I pulled a total of 5 kids out and when I realized someone was still screaming from in there, I ALSO realized it was MY kid! Colt had been bouncing near the back of the house when it started deflating, so he was trapped a ways from the opening. He eventually made it over near me so I could pull him out. Traumatized. And definitely not going anywhere near that thing ever again.
After all the crying and explaining that simply the air blower disconnected and trying to cajole him back in there - he simply wouldn't go. In fact, he walked around and around the bouncy house looking at it, inspecting the air blower and then spent the rest of the party perched on the inflated step of the bouncy house with his arms stretched inside saying, "It's not safe in there. Come out. I'll help you!"
Might he grow up to be an OSHA inspector? Maybe. But one thing's for sure - he's never going in one of those things again!

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