Balloons. Who doesn’t love balloons? Me, that’s who. Here is why:
1. No matter how many times you tell your child to hold onto it…
No matter that you tied it on their wrist. Or the stroller. Or any other stable object. Or used knots and loops any sailor would be proud of. That balloon is going to take off like a baby bird from the nest. Slowly at first and then once the wind gets under it — gone.
This loss will only occur once you are at least a half mile from where you procured said balloon and cannot return for a replacement. You brace yourself for the actual end of the world as your child freaks the freak out like they lost a limb. If a sibling has a balloon, your only hope is to distract them long enough to disengage their balloon into the sky as well.
2. If it doesn’t float away, it will pop.
Loudly. This will most likely happen when you are in the car trying to merge onto a six-lane highway with the grill of a tractor trailer bearing down on you in your rear-view mirror. Once you regain control of the vehicle, and your heart rate, you will soothe your child as they hold the sad, shriveled latex that now represents everything that is wrong with your parenting skills and their world at large. The car ride will then deteriorate into a torturous, whiny affair; similar to most outings with your kids except today it is about the balloon.
3. If the balloon actually makes it home, it will then become the center of your child’s universe and the bane of your existence.
It will repeatedly rise to the ceiling out of your child’s reach at which time they will scream “Mom!” until you come and they pinky swear to hold onto it tight! But because a pinky swear with a toddler is really only valid until you leave the room, that same balloon will get stuck in a ceiling fan in the middle of the night. The entire house will wake up because it sounds like an AK-47 assault rifle is spraying bullets everywhere. After 30-minutes spent restoring order, you concede that the only way the balloon’s owner can be soothed back to sleep is to have said balloon in their bedroom with them. Other children without a balloon will writhe on the floor distraught because they do not have a balloon for their room. You will let balloon-less child/children sleep in your bed and get approximately one more hour of sleep.
4. The only thing worse than a balloon is a balloon animal.
The talented folks who provide these intricate designs are called Balloonatics. The literal interpretation of that title is: Lunatics With Balloons. After entertaining your child in line for an hour, you receive the requested balloon animal that, ultimately, does not look at all like they expected. After approximately 20 seconds of “fixing,” your child hands you all that remains of his efforts, which is an absurdly long, boring balloon. You twist it, turn it, and get one part to vaguely resemble a head which flattens back out again when you twist the other end. The Balloonatic line now snakes twice its previous distance. You vow that this new balloon animal will not be touched by your child — ever. You sigh, file in behind 100 other frazzled parents, and pass the 90-minute wait by allowing your child to rub the long, boring balloon on your head, creating static and making your hair stand on end.
5. Mylar balloons NEVER, EVER DEFLATE.
Make sure you pick one you really, really like and that possibly matches your home décor because that puppy is going to stick around for a while. Recently, while my neighbors were vacationing, a Mylar balloon completely took over their house. Like a bad houseguest, it just drifted from room to room, making itself at home and triggering motion detectors, alarms, and ultimately the police along the way. It bumped into all kinds of objects and never popped or lost air. Mylar is the devil’s handiwork. There are actual statistics stating that Mylar balloons can last for months. Months. They are like the lice of the kid’s amusement world.
So, the next time you consider offering a balloon to a child, think twice. Save a mom, save a child, save the world, and keep all that hot air to yourself.