My 2 year old son has many obsessions, ranging from watching “Big Block Singsong” to pushing every button imaginable to checking if the light outside our house is on each night. The biggest obsession he has going, though, is balloons, which he inexplicably still calls “booms.”
(Full disclosure, obsessions are in Munch’s DNA: I will listen to one song seven times straight. Hubs will play a video game level 2 million times until he beats it. Munch, I fear, is doomed in this regard.)
I believe my husband and I instilled the boom obsession because when he was born, we got a Mylar “It’s a Boy!” balloon and tied it to the rocking chair where I often nursed him. Tiny infant Munch would watch that balloon sway back and forth, back and forth. This balloon lasted for months, it was the best balloon I’ve ever seen.
When he got old enough to realize that he could hold and interact with balloons, a little after his first birthday, he flipped out when he had one. I mean crazy screaming, mostly because he couldn’t reach the string when it went to the ceiling or because he wanted to clutch it to his chest and it would float off, as booms will. So, from about the time he was 12 to 18 months old, balloons were banned from our household. Balloons seen in public caused tears and screams and rants and raves and swift changes of route. Avoidance at all costs.
The things we love most are indeed the things that drive us the most crazy, eh?
When Munch turned 2, he sort of had outgrown his complete psycho problem with balloons. We realized it after he threw up on the car on the way to Wegman’s and we continued with our shopping, believing it to be car sickness (it was the flu, turns out), and he got a green balloon and a yellow balloon and was the most joyful boy in the world. At home, he let the balloons hang out on the ceiling and he played with them, but didn’t meltdown when it was time to say “Night-night, booms.”
Just as he outgrew his stroller obsession, it seemed Munch was “over” his balloon obsession. Now, balloons were just beloved. He can see them, notice them, and let them be. Yes, in the checkout lines at grocery stores, he cries. (I’d like to pop every single one of the dozens of balloons we have to pass on our exodus.) But, he mostly forgets them as soon as we’re out the door.
We’ve even started buying him a balloon every other week to have at home, and he’s been oh so happy about it. I thought all was well.
And then, daycare got the brilliant idea to attach shiny gold star balloons to its signs, apparently in an attempt to attract new patrons.
For some reason, Munch fixated on these balloons. He asked for the “yellow booms” every day. Once, as soon as his eyes popped open at 7am, he looked at me and said, “Yellow booms” and when I said, “They’re at school,” he immediately burst into tears.
On walks, he would direct our steps past school, just so he could look at and subsequently cry about the yellow booms. He would say, “I touch it. It’s my boom.”
This went on for weeks, WEEKS, as school added more and more booms to their signs. To add insult to injury, they were STARS, Munch’s favorite shape. As each day brought more boom-induced meltdowns, I started to believe school hung the balloons JUST to spite us, JUST to torture us, JUST for fun at our expense. 2-year-old tantrums will do that to a person.
Admittedly, Hubs and I considered popping the balloons under cover of darkness.
But, I wouldn’t have wanted school to believe they were vandalized, so they stayed.
And, one day, as balloons are wont to do, they deflated and then were gone. And Munch pointed out where they were and said, “Yellow booms?” And accepted my answer, “Balloons are bye-bye.”
I pray they don’t get replaced.
This post is written in response to Mama Kat’s writing prompt, #3: Write a post that incorporates the word: balloon.