So, it was Saturday and my arms, especially my triceps, had that familiar sore feeling that you get from a recent workout. I did have a workout, I just didn’t know it was coming.
I was tired of keeping my children captive in the house all winter, and confident that flu season was nearly over, so I summoned up my bravery to take them to our local bounce place. You know the place, a primary colored wonderland, filled with giant inflatables for jumping and sliding.
If you’re asking yourself why I needed bravery, I’ll tell you. Twin toddlers are like a big bag of marbles. Take them somewhere without the stroller, let ‘em go and they scatter like marbles. Containment is laughable, and it brings out in me a woman with whom I am intimately familiar—the crazy twin mom. The crazy twin mom is the overwhelmed version of a mom who gets look that range from admiration to pity from bystanders who make comments like, “you’ve got your hands full,” “double trouble,” and a whole litany of other words that really don’t help.
Needless to say, I wasn’t interested in being the crazy twin mom at the bounce place. In truth, I never am. If I can bring a relative or friend for reinforcement, I will. But this time, if I wanted to go, I had to go it alone.
I created a buzz with the kids in the early morning. I kept asking “who wants to go to a fun place?” In true toddler fashion, I was met by a chorus of “me” “me” all morning. I was eager too, taking the kids to new places and watching them have fun is awesome for me too.
I was confident we could have a great day when we entered the lobby and the kids were already excited. They climbed on and checked things out while I hurriedly signed the waivers. (Note to self—Next time, download, fill out and actually read the waivers from the bounce place to avoid chaos in the lobby.)
As we walked into bounce room 1, I could hear the buzzing motors of the giant inflatables, and apparently so could my children, because they clung to me with fear. We took off our shoes and proceeded toward the bounce houses. With a near 40 pound child on each hip, I tried to encourage the children to loosen their grips from me and have some of that fun that I was chirping on about all morning. They weren’t having it.
I put each reluctant child into the first bounce house, assuring them I was not far behind. The review was a solid NO. I took them to the second bounce house and I even jumped around to show them what it was all about, but this one was just as much a dud as the first.
Then I saw what would be the bounce place salvation and my source of exhaustion—a slide. When I asked, both kids animatedly agreed to go on the slide. Massive air filled bounce houses may be foreign, but slides, they know. As a newbie to all things bounce, it totally freaked me out to see how high my kids and I were going to have to climb to get to the top of the slide. I kept my anxiety to myself.
I hoisted my son up the wall, remembering his lighter times. On my tippy toes, I wasn’t tall enough to get him to the top and on our first effort, I had to bring him down, regroup and start over. My second try got him to the last foot peg, and he was able to pull himself up from there. Charlie fearfully sat atop the climb wall and waited for his sister and mom. Giuliana, (see also the crib ninja) was a bit more skilled and assisted me in getting to the top by putting her feet on the pegs and climbing a little. I still wrangled and stretched to help her to the top.
Then it was my turn. Not a big climber, I made it to the top with a moderate effort, praying the entire time that the combination of my socks and the slippery surface did not send me sliding down the wall to land on someone else’s child. The ways I see it, it is inevitable that children injure other children in the course of play, but a grown adult falling on a child—that’s a whole different batch of shame.
I make it to the top, and the three of us joyfully slid down. I was elated that Charlie and Giuliana felt confident and safe enough to go down the slide independently. The unexpected consequences of this new found autonomy was that I got caught in a cycle of hoisting children to the top of the climb wall. This was where the crazy twin mom emerged. Naively I tried several times to climb down and take pictures of my giggling children, like the singleton parents seemed to be doing with ease. But, every time I stepped off the 2 foot step to the wall, one of my children was rounding the corner shouting “again, again” and it was time for me to get on my tippy toes and deliver them to the slide.
I kept this pace up for about a half an hour, constantly lifting my children to their perch atop the climb wall, my only break came when another child chose the slide. It was a slow day at the bounce place, so resting periods were rare. After a bit, we headed into the second room with a slide and obstacle course and at the end, I was one sweaty, disheveled and well worked out mom. And thus, my well earned sore triceps three days later. And yes, I can’t wait ‘til we go back!
P.S. Here are my best pictures!