The Balls

Kat Spitzer The Happy Hypochondriac

This past weekend we had some friends visit from out of town. In an effort to occupy all the kids between the two families and keep our home from turning into a nuclear fall out zone, we headed to a nice children's museum. I watched with equal parts delight and horror as my small kids traversed a gigantic, four-story ropes course, complete with rock wall, zip line and really high rope bridges. It was bad enough when I saw my 5-year-old son race around in there, but then I watched as my 2-year-old daughter followed suit; huge grin spread across her excited face. Sometimes I wonder if I'm cut out for this whole motherhood thing. I mean, what if they want to sky dive someday? Am I supposed to sit back and feel comfortable? I know, I know. I shouldn't wish for nervous, unadventurous kids. I think mostly I just don't want them to give me a heart attack. Is that too much to ask?

After a couple hours of that, we manage to coerce them out of the nets with the promise of ice cream, if only they would explore the rest of the museum. So where do they end up? THE BALL PIT. I immediately wished that I'd left them in the treacherous nets. As I watched a toddler drool all over the balls, then my kids leap in, I thought, well, I better stock up on tissues. I can expect our summer cold in the next week or so. Every kid in that room had a runny nose. Recently I have been hearing about kids and pinworms (worms that infect the anal region, and appear at night and cause extreme discomfort). It's common. I just KNOW they and/or their eggs thrive in ball pits. I thought of this, then watched my friend's child lick one of the balls. Moments later, the sweet little girl kissed her mother on the mouth. Mother said, "Great. I essentially just kissed one of those balls." I decided the next stop needed to be a hand sanitizer station.

There really was no getting around the infestation at the museum. In the cool water room, we watched our kids sneak and drink water directly from the water guns that you were supposed to use to shoot at instruments and make water music. Awesome. They put on Crocs, there for everybody's use (eww!), to play at the water stations. Hello foot fungus. They put on the dress up clothes and I prayed no kids had come through with lice. But we all had a good time. Sometimes the grossness is just a necessary evil to achieve the fun.

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