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Deja Jupiter Jump

I think whatever air is pumped into those god-forsaken Jupiter Jumps is laced with some drug causing hyperactivity, profuse sweating, and manic-depressive disorder. I took the kids to yet another hot, crowded event this morning (this time for a fundraiser) and wouldn't you know, the minute we got there, the most prominent item in the vicinity was another one of those death traps that I hate, and that my kids love, and that I usually end up forced to galump through in all my oversized adult-ness because they, in giddy rebellion, REFUSE. TO. COME. OUT. What made today's Jupiter Jump extravaganza even more appealing to the kids was that it wasn't just any old big square-based air-filled box with a few nets thrown around the side. Oh, no, boy. It was a replica of a NASA space shuttle, complete with the following:
  • "windows" for parents to watch through which started about an inch above my spinning, frantic head
  • a tiny crawl space big enough for one child at a time, or four suffocating children all pushing with their last breath to be the first one through to the
  • double slide on the exit of the space shuttle jumping area, which was blocked from view by said slide

All of these "fun" attributes of the Greatest Jupiter Jump Ever Made resulted in my realization that if my kids were ever kidnapped, all they would have to do is find the nearest Jupiter Jump and convince their captor to let them jump for five minutes. Within no time at all, said captor would flee the site and pull his/her hair out of his/her head in clumps, and when asked where his/her children were, he/she would scream, "WHAT KIDS? That big air machine swallowed them whole" and Bryce and Quinn would be free to run home to me. At which point I would say, "You're alive! But, how did you ever escape from that Jupiter Jump?"

In any case, once my kids squeezed their way through the tiny entrance and bounced in and out of my view as I craned my neck and also jumped in my sad, pathetic, uncoordinated way, they both separately disappeared, so I ran around to the "exit slides" side of the monstrosity and waited for their heads to appear at the summit of the slides. I waited. And waited. I walked back around to the too-tall windows to crane my neck some more. Hmm, no sight of them. I walked back around to the exit slides. This went on and on. Finally I noticed Bryce standing on the opposite side of the structure, on his way back in to jump. I panicked: had Quinn, Distracto Boy, gotten past me without me seeing him, too? How far had he run? Which furry animal character was he chasing around the event without my knowledge? Who WERE those furry animal characters, anyway?

Right as I was accepting the fact that once again, I was going to have to humiliate myself and ruin the other kids' fun by squeezing through that child entrance flap and slashing the Jupiter Jump to pieces until Quinn's lumpy, giggling self emerged ("What? You were looking for me?"), he managed to find his way through the apparently maze-like interior connection between the jump area and the exit slides. He was beaming, I'm guessing with pride, but also with that flushed, dehydrated look he gets after 10 minutes in the heat. "Let's head home, guys." I said, like the stupid idiot I am. Note to stupid, stupid self: Do not attempt to make your sons do something you know they will refuse while they are still inside such a structure. They will disappear into the darkness of the maze still accessible to them, yet unaccessible to you, with a triumphant, "NO!" Self, how many times do you have to go through this before you will learn? Come on, self.

Luckily, Quinn is still kind of into food and drink as he has not yet perfected the art of living without it the way Bryce has, so all I had to do was wait out his stomach and promise Bryce a new balloon. Yeah...no kidnapper could ever solve that conundrum.