Today was almost the end.
Death by Bounce House - what a way to go.
No seriously, I took Holden to "Bouncin' off the Walls." We are in a play group, that we never really go to; but Hot Courtney was in charge this month and I adore her; and I think socialization opportunities are good for Little Bits because play-dates are much different than Story time / music time / yoga time. I mean, I don't want to over schedule him...but...but, I'm getting away from the point.
So Hot Courtney is in charge of the neighborhood play group calendar for February. She plans the play-date for Bouncin' Off the Walls... a place with bounce houses and blow-up slides GALORE; and on Wednesdays it's just five-bones for kids up to 5 yrs old....and ONLY kids up to five from 10am-1pm.
BRILLIANT! I think. Holden loves jumping, and there won't be big kids to kill him. THis sounds PERFECT (and parents play for FREE!)
So we trek out to Sandy; use the Garmin (of course) because 90th and 94oo south are soooo confusing once you're west of the Freeway...and we proceed to get our bounce on.
Of course he wants the slide... and not the small one: the 25 foot, two-and-a-half story slide that requires oxygen and a sherpa to get to the top. But we make it.
It's awkward; and I suddenly think that I probably didn't need to do any cardio this morning because my legs were tired just from hauling my darling 30-pounder to the top.
We slide some more.
At one point, a mommy (we'll call her *Mommy A) from the group points to her little 2 1/2 year old daughter making her way to the top to slide by herself (it's her first time without mom.) We can't believe her BRAVERY!
Holden and I make our way back up to the top where another Mom (Mommy B) from playgroup is with her darling 20 month old daughter waiting for their turn.
At this point, I should mention that in our past slides I made the following observations:
A) First off, it seemed so odd to me that there was no one there to 'ref' the flow of people on the slide. No management telling people when to go or not go... just a free for all of bodies, moms/dads, toddlers and preschoolers sliding to their hearts content.
B) The slide did not seem to have the same structural integrity of the some of the other pieces. It seemed like it needed a little more air -- if you know what I mean. I even noticed a giant hole at the bottom with air seeping out of it; that made me think what a waste of energy...
But both of these were fleeting points in the back of my mind... much like when I notice someone chose an odd outfit to wear. I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on it; it's just there and it passes...
But I digress.
So Mommy B and I are at the top of the ginormous slide and the entrance seems bottlenecked. Some of the kids have decided they don't want to go down just yet -- which is fine, but as they are waiting, more kids are piling up behind us; and Mommy B can't get to the other side of the 'start line' to get her daughter situated to go down the slide.
So we are stuck too.
And as we're waiting for the other kids to go, more children are piling up behind us in line and start climbing over one another to get their turn... since 5-and-unders aren't really known for the their patience (or regard for queue etiquette.)
So with all the kids piling up, the launch zone for the slide begins to tip, so no one can get to the point to go down. The kids in the front now have no chance to go down because they're suddenly bunched in the corner by the side...all the while, each new child that bottlenecks on the steps or crawls over another to get his/her 'turn' means more people cramped into the corner and the 'platform/launch/starting point' is now at a 45-degree angle and no one can move.
I'm holding Holden in my arms because it's chaos... and at about the precise moment I think "this thing is going to tip over... no that's not possible"...
The corner falls over and two adults and some 10 -15 kids plummet two-and-a half stories to the ground.
SCREAMS - YELLS ... and an erie free-fall follow.
I have Holden in my arms and turn in my shoulder to brace him from the impact. Fortunately, it's absorbed in my shoulder and what air is left in the blow-up death slide.
Moms are screaming and yelling:
"GET THE KIDS OUT! GET THE KIDS OUT!"
I am trying to get my bearings and parents are trying to yank kids out from under the blown-up-yet deflated mess. Holden is in my arms and Mommy A yells that her daughter is underneath someone.
Some how I hand Holden to an adult (at which point I think he starts crying because everyone is screaming; and I have just passed him off to hysterical strangers)... but I'm trapped underneath toddlers and preschoolers, so I can't really move and I look down and there's a little pink mess at my feet. I grab the girl and hand her off. And hand off some other kids. And Mommy B is handing me kids as fast as I am handing them to the parents standing outside of the slide.
"GET OUT! GET OUT! WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THERE'S NO KIDS UNDERNEATH!"
We hand off the last child. Mommy B and I are trying to get out of the blow-up mess (Mommy B still has her little one); and we climb out as fast as we can.
"Holden!" I yell. (Thankfully, no one was underneath.)
He is crying and obviously distraught.
He points to the slide.
Oh my gosh, I think. THIS TOTALLY TRAUMATIZED HIM!
He keeps pointing to the slide.
"I know," I say. "That was so scary.
He points to the slide again.
I keep trying to calm him.
And then it occurs to me; my child is not traumatized at all from the fall. He's heartbroken he waited his turn and never got to actually slide.
Fortunately for us; management opened up another room... with a more structurally sound ginormous slide... and they even got smart and metered participation.
Holden slid down that one about five more times before I called it quits for lunch and a little R&R (read:naps). I figured a near-death experience warranted some mid-day down time.
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent and because I don't know if the mommy's in play group would be weirded out I'm talking about their children to the blogosphere. Except for Hot Courtney - why would we change her name? Who wouldn't want to be called Hot Courtney? I would want to be called Hot Courtney and my name isn't even Courtney, it's Sabrena.... I'm just sayin'.