Banishment from the Ball Pit

Ball Pit

We arrived at our destination and immediately realized that the “Economy” rental car selection was not actually a feasible option. So one upgrade later, and after schlepping tiny people and all accompanying suitcases, seats and miscellaneous stuff out to our new Subaru DadMobile, it became apparent our Dollar had not stretched far enough – the keys and the car did not match.

So we kicked off our vacation with a stunning tour of the PDX short-term parking garage, as part of a life-size matching game. (Age-appropriate development games for the muppets every step of the way.)

Several hours later we were checked in to our hotel ready for adventure. We were in for a treat: an evening at Papas Pizza Parlor. A name destination because it had a ball pit.

A ball pit.

A cesspool of cooties.

Oh god the germs. THE GERMS! I wailed. What pestilence of plague would befall us in an enclosed netted area encompassing unsanitized primary-colored plastic spheres slimy with sweat, snot and spittle.

There was not enough hand sanitizer in the world to get me through this.

For those of you who are mirthfully smirking at my poetically licensed embellishments – know that the boys were about to frolic in the allergy-soaked interiors of the Grass Seed Capital of the World. (It says so on the I-5 sign.)

I was already popping Claritin and Benadryl like all-you-can-eat appetizers, so I can only imagine the effect on parts of the population who’d been exposed to the poisonous pollen for far more than four hours.

But, as is wont to be with the preschool set, Search and Destroy paid no heed to the dangers lurking in a play structure that had never felt the warmth of a Clorox disinfectant wipe and dove right in – bouncing and bonking with the entire set up to themselves.

Caden Ball Pit

Logan Ball Pit

Suddenly a 7-year-oldish blond-haired, blue-eyed, child of the corn appeared out of nowhere. He darted up to the bored high school kid guarding the play area.

“Those babies are in the big boy ball pit. They are NOT as tall as the white line over there. So they cannot be in that ball pit. They’re not tall enough. They have to get out.”

The kiddie-area employee sheepishly looked at me. “Those your kids? They can’t be in there. They’ll have to get out.”

Disclaimer: No, Search and Destroy were not tall enough for the “advanced” ball pit. But seriously – where did this little snitch come from?

I roused the muppets, cajoled them out of the “big boy ball pit” with promises of even more excitement on the opposite end of the room. I envisioned Chuck E Cheese’s like full body encompassing balls of my youth (or at least what was shown on TV in my youth).

Reality check was a 4-foot by 4-foot white plastic base surrounded by 3.5 sides of netting. Red, yellow, blue and green balls were still part of the package, but there weren’t even enough to make a single layer across the entire floor.

A slippery step/hop into the enclosure solidified my suspicion that this was actually the more dangerous of the two ball pits.

Precipitously the tattling towhead thumped into the “baby ball pit.” And he was DEFINITLEY taller than the white demarcation line on the wall.

What I really wanted to do was pick the punk up and throw him into the big boy pit. YOU wanted them out of it for yourself, YOU’RE going to play in it. But I thought it might be slightly more fortuitous (or vindictive, one of those) to encourage my son to explain to the overgrown attendee in the ball pit that he was too big, just like the muppets were too small for the other one.

Instead I discovered Destroy had pooped his pants in one of the ball pits. (The timeline isn’t entirely clear.) So I think our point was clearly made.

First rule of ball pit club: You poop in the pit, it’s time to go.



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