By: Jessica Azar
As a child, I loved balloons… It was exciting to be given one at a store or a birthday party… You could swat them around like a volleyball.. Run around with one tied to your arm… Even make them squeak when you dragged your fingers down the side.. Rub them on your head and make your hair stand up. To my kids, it’s the grocery store equivalent of a free bank sucker. Now that I’m an adult and the mother of four small kids, my opinion on Balloons has drastically changed. Drastically. Did you hear me? DRASTICALLY. There seems to be an endless amount of opportunities for balloons to enter my life these days… And just as soon as I finally get rid of one that has been making my life hell for the past couple of days, somehow another one (or four) make their way into my home. They’re like the annoying guest that won’t leave, and when they finally do, they send their friends to visit. And not leave. Here are some of the reasons why parents despise these helium-filled balls of terror…
1) It’s My Balloon and I’ll Cry if I Want To…
Balloons are a Melt-Down Waiting to Happen… A meltdown triggered by several things that would never have been an issue if the stupid ball of latex had never entered the picture. It’s going to either get popped or fly away… Which will release the most ear-splitting shriek/howl/roar known to man, and probably demand/beg to get a new balloon. If you cave and find another balloon to end the tantrum, you’ve effectively restarted the countdown to another balloon loss experience AND created the future expectation of balloon replacement. If you don’t replace the balloon, the tantrum continues. I’ve gone with both options neither end well. This is why I have started just refusing balloons outright from the beginning… Even though the person trying to give them a balloon looks at me like I’m a heartless joy-thief and my kids look like a bunch of tearful Precious Moments dolls, I’ll take that over the hell of a balloon melt-down any day. Noise = BAD
2) Driving Miss Helium
If the balloon survives long enough, you as the parent will then have to deal with it being in your car while you drive. The constant bopping and it blocking your vision is annoying and kind of dangerous… When I asked on Facebook about why parents hate balloons, my friend Kristen Davis said this: “My kids believe that the cops will pull you over if you have a balloon in your car without a permit….yeah, I’m THAT mom……we release our balloons before getting in the car! (when they were younger, they would send them up to Jesus!” And Kristen, being THAT mom is a badge of honor. I never take mine off! Love that solution…. It’s so something I would do…. I will recount the legend of “The Fly Swatter Man of Chappy’s” another day.
3) Let’s Do the Math…Balloons X Number of Kids = Hell to the Fourth Power
If one kid has a balloon, all of the kids want a balloon… So in the spirit of “fairness” you’re guilted into letting ALL of your kids get a balloon.. Which multiplies the above two reasons by the number of kids you have or have with you (hey, the neighborhood kid that tagged along just has to have one, too!) So in my case, without any extra kids, that would be four balloons’ untimely demises I’m trying to prevent and four balloons to deal with while I’m driving. They’re floating around in my car, being fought over, being used as weapons… It’s loud and smells like rubber and horrible. And makes me want to drink before 5 in the evening… If for some reason you can’t get a balloon for all of your kids, you better make that other balloon disappear like Jimmy Hoffa.
4) They Make Bad Roommates
Balloons are some of the worst things that I can think of to have hanging out in your home.
A) If they a short kid/toddler lets go of the string, it will float up to the ceiling and they will whine/gesture/cry/grunt until you retrieve it for them…. Repeatedly. My friend Taylor said this about the float-away retrieval cycle “… my main aggravation is making sure that no matter what the room’s ceiling height is, you have to be sure the string is long enough for your two year old to retrieve it. Then, said string is a hell of a thing to unwind from the ceiling fan.” I couldn’t agree more. At one point, I had the bright idea of tying it to the toddler’s wrist… This helped until the other kids learned to shut the door on the balloon’s string after the toddler walked out of a room. Their brilliance effectively trapped the kid and lead to hysterical crying. Screaming = Noise = BAD
B) If the balloon instead hits the fan (pun intended) it will pop, which scares the bejesus out of you AND also leads to The Meltdown. Some fan-meets-balloon incidents are more traumatic than others… My friend Laramie shared this story “After (my daughter’s) 2nd birthday party one of those “walker balloons” — elmo to be exact –floated through the house, lost enough helium that it dropped low enough to get underneath the doorway into our room and then proceeded to get stuck between our ceiling fan (which was running on mach 3) and the ceiling at around 2 am. (Husband) and I thought we were under attack. 2 yrs later I still suffer from anxiety and think things are after me in the middle of the night at least three times a week. No joke. Damn balloons.” Again… Noise= BAD
C) Older kids learn that balloons are not only fun, but also that they can be used as weapons of torture against their parents. Amber said, “… the sound of a balloon popping scares the shit out of me and that’s something no child should see in their parent. Ask my 8 year old who I begged for mercy when he was going to sit on one last year. Like a hostage negotiation. “(Son)….let the balloon go. Let’s not do something we are going to regret….”. We have to keep them from seeing these flashes of vulnerability… Because, like terrorists, they will use it to its maximum benefit. If they know that noise can bring us to our knees, we’re screwed.
Basically, my conclusion is that parents hate balloons all goes back to parents hate noise. As Bill Cosby famously said, “Parents are not interested in justice… They want peace and quiet!” and truer words have never been said. I didn’t know exaSo if you’re thinking of giving a balloon to a child… Think of the parents… And DON’T. And parents, think of Nancy Reagan and JUST SAY NO. You’re sanity and ears will thank you.