The Ball Pit

Who in the world ever came up with the ball pit? Hundreds of hollow plastic, multi-colored balls that fill a plastic lined “pool”. Remember the ball pits at Chuck E Cheese? With food and God only knows what else in them. Yick. I think they are still a major attraction at IKEA where you let your kids get lost in the ballroom while you get lost in the store. People even have videos on You Tube of their children working their way through a ball pit. A little known statistic is that 4 out of 5 basements in the greater Cleveland area have their own ball pits (inflatable kiddie pool with balls).

I don’t get it one bit. I detest these things- specifically the public ones. I never understood as a kid why on earth you wanted to go get stuck like a pig in mud in the ball pit. Or worse, go horizontal in the ball pit and get buried alive, like quicksand. It is a weird weird way of entertaining kids and there is not enough Purell or Lysol in the world to convince me that they are good clean fun. But man, let me tell you – as much as I dread a ball pit the little people LOVE it. I mean MORE THAN ELMO kind of love it.

Today I took my 2 year old to a “play center” for his weekly playgroup. (translation: mom’s weekly social outing with other moms who really had lives before this whole kid thing) On the way there, I thought “Please don’t let this place have a gross ball pit” I grabbed an extra packet of hand sanitizer wipes, said one last Hail Mary and in we went. Before I even signed the waiver (which legally clears them of any and every possible thing the ball pit is responsible for) I could hear it. I didn’t even turn around and knew exactly where the damn thing was – the south east corner. Ball pit Feng Shui probably says to place the pit there to bring more happy children through the doors of one’s overpriced play world. So as I walked in I thought, “Let’s head for the farthest corner away from the pit . I am not even looking over there. Maybe he won’t see it, or will get distracted by the insanely well equipped children’s kitchen.” Ha. My offspring bee-lined for the ball pit. Couldn’t get all 35 inches of himself into that thing fast enough. Laughed. Giggled. He honestly wouldn’t have been happier in a vat of Chocolate Milk.

All I could do was smile back and offer up a little prayer that he didn’t contract MRSA or lose a sock. He had a great time and a 45 minute bath this evening.

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