Being that my childhood was eons ago, I often find myself mystified and also slightly jealous that something as simple as a little round object could be so fascinating to a child as to keep them occupied for an entire day… while at the same time can cause some of the biggest fights, tantrums, and meltdowns known to man. How can something so seemingly insignificant cause two polarizing reactions?
Like most children (and not just boys, because this is definitely going to come out wrong), my two are obsessed with balls. Doesn’t matter what kind or what size, they LOVE them. It is borderline obsession.
Bubbles for one. If the kids are acting like complete hellions, all I have to do is pull out a container of bubbles and they are completely mesmerized for as long as my lungs will blow them. Squealing, laughing, jumping in the air, chasing them around. If I didn’t know better, I could swear that bubbles emit crack, they are just that intoxicating.
Of course, the bubble celebration usually ends in fighting over who gets the next turn at popping one, and it is always an ugly fight. As many times as I have tried to teach Holden to blow his own, he just can’t figure out how to purse his lips well enough to do anything but blow spit all over the place, and Parker? He spills entire containers on the couch… which I guess may not be such a bad thing, seeing as how bubbles are nothing but soap, so in reality he might be doing the “pissy couch” a favor.
Inflatable balls. They bounce, they roll, and you can throw them at TVs! Oh wait… that’s not a good thing. I can’t count the number of ways the boys have fun with this one soccer sized green ball we bought when Holden was a baby (just to keep him quiet in a store and he refused to put it back. Sometimes you have to choose your battles). The problem with the green ball is that there is only one, and two little boys who always want to play with it, and always at the same exact time.
With the lack of coordination that comes with being a toddler, this little green ball has also caused many blooper-reel esque moments as one of them has it in their hands in front of them and goes running straight into a wall, only to bounce off and fly a foot backward.
Needless to say, the green ball has been hidden in an unknown corner of the garage, never to be allowed in the house again.
Balloons. Perhaps not a perfect spherical shape, but close enough. This one makes me scratch my head the most. How exactly do you PLAY with a balloon? Sure, it floats, and that’s pretty awesome- especially to a miniature human who doesn’t understand the concept of helium and gravity- but what exactly can you do with it other than yanking it around by its string?
Get a balloon, and it’s the happiest two hours a child could have… until it either pops or flies away. You’d think a child would be scarred for life as they scream watching their precious balloon float into the sky.
Even when they don’t float anymore, my kids still find a way to play with them. Putting mouths on them, throwing them and watch them basically go nowhere, chasing each other around… until one inevitably falls and gets hurt.
We went out to lunch today with some friends to a restaurant that gives balloons out to every child who steps in the door. Trying to get Holden to eat when he has a magical balloon tied to his hand is next to impossible. He acts like the hand can no longer be used for anything but holding it out for the balloon to float in front of him.
Parker acted like he wanted nothing to do with his until he saw how much fun Holden was having, and then it’s ALL he could think about. “BOON! BOON! BOON!” was all I heard for an entire hour, and just to make sure he didn’t lose it once we left, I had to hold onto it as we made the trek through the parking lot… all the while, the balloon smacking me in the face. Fun for them, notsomuch for me.
When we got home, those balloons kept them occupied for the rest of the night until dinner… which was all well and good until Holden decided he absolutely had to have BOTH balloons and that no way in hell Parker could play too, which ended in Parker accidentally being shoved into the coffee table, and Holden being sent to time out (screaming and foaming at the mouth the whole time).
The balloons are now above the fridge… I plan on making them disappear before morning.
My personal jury on when things of spherical shape are those sent from the Gods to elate children and give Mommy a much-needed little mental break… or a twisted trick from the nethers to make life hell via tantrum.
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