Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bubble, bubble toil and trouble

I am afraid of balloons.

There I’ve said it.

And they’re everywhere: in pharmacy windows, mobile phone retailers, electrical stores, you name it.  What is wrong with today’s store merchandisers that balloons have become the décor du jour? There are other ways to dress up a retail display, people.

My little girl had a helium balloon obsession, now it’s an every balloon obsession – including those in books and on TV.  They excite her, she wants them, she sleeps with them and they are her friends.

I live in mortal fear of stopping at traffic lights where there's a car dealership. I know that within 10 seconds, Lucie will be in floods of tears, arms waving, fingers pointing, screaming from the back seat "I want bubbles! mummy get bubbles!"

Just try explaining to a two-year-old with limited language and no emotional control, that it’s pretty bloody impossible in any traffic, let alone peak hour, to forgive one driver exiting their vehicle to dash into Toyota to rip a balloon of the windshield wiper of the nearest Prado.

Everywhere I take her now, I try hard to avoid them but it’s inevitable, There’s at least one performance of the tribal dance –the flailing arms, wiggling pointing fingers, the tear stained face and the forlorn wailing: “baaaaaaaaaaaabbooooool.” 

Sometimes this bubble obsession includes balls, tennis balls, beach balls, rubber balls, round ball-like buttons, and those are the days I’m in deep doo-doo – tap-dancing on a minefield. She had one truly spectacular meltdown over a pop-up greeting card in the post office, festooned with pop-up cardboard balloons and my God, was that the longest queue I’ve ever been stuck in.

Our first nap-with-balloon was a balloon-on-a-stick. Lucie looked unbelievably cute sleeping on her tummy with this big orange Pumpkin Patch bubble resting on the back of her head, hair all static and sticky-uppy, and the stick still firmly clasped in her right hand.

I’ve since found that its much easier when she sleeps with the helium ones, at least they float over the cot, rather than in it, and the string's are easer to slip out of her fingers, if she doesn’t just let go during REM sleep. hmmm

She takes her balloons in the car, where the helium ones are actually more problematic as they tend to drift towards the windscreen. This can be a bit more than a bummer in the kamikaze traffic that is the school run.

On our last holiday she conned a local jeweller into dispensing a balloon from one of their window displays.  I’m thinking now that sitting in a retailer’s doorway howling might also be effective in procuring discounts?  So anyway this ‘bubble’ went everywhere that day including a trip to the beach. I have heard that to some people the beach is place of relaxation…

Needless to say the balloon buggered off, while she was busy crushing one of daddy’s sand castles.   To everyone’s relief and amazement, she seemed actually more fascinated than upset as when watched it float towards the sun.  But that didn’t negate the hour and a half of total nail biting angst both parents and friends of parents had to suffer prior to the evacuation.  

I usually manage to draw the line at Balloons in the dog-park (usually), but she occasionally persuades me (read: earth shattering tantrums) to let her hold one (or two) while she’s riding her trike. 

So if you’ve noticed a crazy tired looking woman occasionally struggling along busy Military Road, pushing a toddler on a trike, also clutching at a dogs leash (with said dog randomly jumping around as his paws get run over) with a balloon on a long string bouncing off her face, well that would be me.

That reminds me I have to go now and remove the balloons (today there are two) from her bed.

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