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Today, the four of us went to a birthday party for one of Bug's best friends.  All in a backyard with an inflatable kiddie pool, burgers, hot dogs, chips, drinks and an enormous Bouncy .

It was wonderful. 

Soon enough Squish wanted to climb in, and who am I to deny a toddler his time in a Bouncy?

I went in with him thinking my presence would create a protective aura - preventing any young pirates from tumbling into or over the little squish in what felt like a bouncy field.

I was right.  The "big" kids did a great job.  And, eventually, Squish got very comfortable and wandered around the Bouncy - bouncing, falling, rolling, and getting up again.

Soon it was time to open presents.  All of the "big" kids were being called out of the Bouncy so that they could watch Bug's little buddy open his presents.

I felt it was my duty to model the behavior we were asking from the three-, four-, and near-five-year-olds, and so I tried to get myself and Squish out of the Bouncy.

Squish had wandered out of the open bounce space, through some kind of oversized, bouncy gate, and toward the bouncy hill that leads to the top of the bouncy slide.

I made it through the bouncy gate, which is no small task.  The bouncy gate is comprised of three prongs - the bottom prong coming from the left, the middle from the right, and the top from the left.  And the bouncy gate is almost as tall as I am.  So, pushing through it was a little like being accosted by a stack of juiced up marshmallows.  Yet I conquered them.

Only to find three bouncy posts, each about a foot in diameter and as high as my chin.  I bounced off of the first bouncy post and realized the trick was to get low - like a toddler.  Just like a toddler named Squish.

[This was the moment I found my Squish.]

Squish had made it through these obstacles in a tenth of the time it took me, and he was heading up the bouncy incline to the top of the bouncy slide.

I got a hold of him and thought we could return past the bouncy posts, through the bouncy gate, over the bouncy field, and out the mesh door, all to model to the three-, four-, and five-year-olds that it was now time to watch Bug's little buddy open presents.

Trying to wrangle a toddler past the bouncy posts and through a bouncy gate turned out to be a fool's errand.  Squish and I were quickly on the bouncy floor surrounded by bouncy posts as the last "big" kid was being haled out of the Bouncy.

Squish was struggling.  He wanted to climb the bouncy hill to get to the top of the bouncy slide.

I decided the only way out of this Bouncy was to turn around and climb the bouncy hill with Squish.

The "nice" thing about the bouncy hill is that it has small, non-bouncy ledges every twelve inches up to the top of the bouncy slide - like a ladder.

For those of you who have ever tried to help a toddler climb a bouncy ladder up a bouncy hill when it is 88 degrees and you feel the pressure of trying to model some sort of behavior to make it to The Present Circle, you will understand exactly how difficult my task was.

For the rest of you, it was like taking a hot yoga class, with a toddler, a dose of anxiety, and a dash of how-the-eff-is-this going to work, on a bouncy ladder.

Nevertheless, Squish and I made it to the top of the bouncy slide.

Fifteen seconds later, we were at the bottom of the bouncy slide.  Squish was crying.  And, honestly, I am not sure if it was the blur of contortions that got the two of us down the bouncy incline, or if it was the inevitable disappointment that we all feel when our ride down a slide has ended.  A disappointment that I assume toddlers feel acutely (as they feel everything).

Squish and I got some water, calmed ourselves down, and joined The Present Circle, where my husband and Bug were enjoying the festivities.

At the end of the party, when my husband and I were waiting for Bug to come out of the Bouncy for the last time so that we could say our thank yous and goodbyes, I told my husband the tale of the bouncy slide with Squish.

He said, "How did I miss that?!?"

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