We took the girls to a new bouncy house play place on Thursday, and it was great! There were probably 10 or 12 inflatables, spread out nicely with plenty of room to run.
The girls’ eyes just lit up when we walked in, and frankly, so did mine. I love to jump and bounce, and there was a two-story slide that looked like all kinds of fun. One of the first questions I asked was if parents were allowed to play.
I let the girls explore most everything on their own while I snapped some pictures. After a few minutes, I sent Daddy to the car to put away the camera, and I got in on the action.
We had such a fantastic time together! I chased them through the inflatable obstacle course. I held them up so they could shoot basketball goals. I raced them up the ladders and down the slides. And…probably their favorite…I had them sit in the middle of the bouncy while I jumped around, playing popcorn.
There weren’t many people there when we arrived, but over the course of the next hour, it really began to fill up.
And I began to notice I was the only parent playing with her children. Actually, most of the moms didn’t even seem to be paying attention to their children playing. Most of the parents were sitting at tables in the middle of the big room, some chatting, others playing on their phones.
Did I have to run and jump and play with the girls?
No, not for the most part.
The only activity I wouldn’t let them do alone was scale the two-story slide. (It involved a steep [albeit inflatable] ladder, and it was very easy for them to slip down.)
And, once things got a little more crowded, I felt much better being close by when there were older children playing. There were several boys, in particular, who were rough-housing (whose mamas I can assume weren’t paying attention?), and it would have been easy for the girls to get knocked down or stepped on.
Looking back, I’d say that the girls played by themselves (with Daddy and me watching closely) about 25% of the time. So about 75% of the time, I was squealing right along with them.
I know the girls had a fantastic time. At 3 ½-years old, I feel like I augmented their play, not hindered it. And when they needed me – on the big slide or to guard against some rough-housing – I was there to allow them to still have fun.
But…given that I was the only parent of the twenty or so there who had her shoes off…I had to wonder…was I hovering???