Balloons Are Hell

September 23rd, 2019

Balloons and kids. What could be cuter, right? So wholesome. So picturesque. So the epitome of fun-loving, free-spirited childhood. 

Except if you have twins who are four.

Then, balloons are a symbol of the raw, brutal truth of humanity: nothing lasts forever, life is unfair, and suffering is all there is. It’s like the raw underbelly of Buddhism.

At a free kid’s fair over the weekend we waited in line to have a clown with rainbow hair (auspicious to my rainbow-obsessed kids) make long, cylindrical flower-shaped balloons for us. Just between you and me, the flesh-colored ones did not look like flowers, buuuuuuut anyway. Phoebe’s popped almost immediately, but luckily, the clown acquiesced to making a replacement right away.

We also got two lovely, plain helium balloons — one purple, one yellow, natch.

This is how it began. It seemed so fine.

A half-hour later, as we were leaving the fair, the “petals” on Eliza’s “flower” started to spontaneously pop. The sobbing started. Now, Phoebe had an intact flower, and Eliza’s was compromised. Not good. I talked her down off this ledge and we continued to try to carry the balloon menagerie eight zillion blocks back to our car in heavy traffic. 

About halfway, the rest of Eliza’s petals popped. Now, she had simply a blue dong balloon (sorry not sorry) and her yellow helium balloon. I had to pick her up and soothe her as I ad-libbed a philosophical rant about the transitory nature of life. We did make it back to the car, finally. There was a lot of wailing and sniffling during the long journey home.

Once home, I told both girls they had to stay in the house with the balloons. I had already given Phoebe three warnings about going outside without telling me when I heard a devastating scream from the yard. Her purple helium balloon, which had been tied in a square knot around her wrist, was gone.

Her face was a picture of raw agony. I took her in my arms and explained to her that when you let go of a helium balloon outside, it goes to live on the moon. She had a lot of scientific questions about this I could not answer. 

Now down to just one quickly deflating yellow balloon and one boring blue dong balloon no one wanted to play with, we had an obvious problem. I spent the rest of the weekend solving sharing problems and fielding questions about why balloons can’t go in the bath. Meanwhile, I was periodically implored to blow the popped balloon shards back up. As if that’s a thing.

Balloons are hell.

What I’m reading:

The historical novel Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick, about what misguided assholes my Puritan ancestors were — although jesus, were they made of tough stuff.


What I’m listening to:

Cello. Jon and I have miraculously managed two dates in the last two weeks. The first, to a local cello performance at the Guilford Meeting House. The second, to see one of my favorite musical artists, Andrew Bird, at Freshgrass!

What I’m eating:

Not sugar! With the local ice cream parlor officially closed for the season, I needed a brief break from my biggest weakness. Sugar detox is a real thing, you guys. Almost too shaky to type.

What I’m working on:

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4 Responses to “Balloons Are Hell”

  1. Laurie says:

    I’m sure the stress caused by the balloon situation was unfunny at the time, but OMG,

  2. aaryn says:

    did you know… helium is a non-renewable resource that is going away? we have a bonafide helium shortage which is likely to not rectify itself. those helium filled balloons will soon be a thing of the past :)

  3. Thomas Mason says:

    Thanks for literally making LOL come true just now.

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