"Whoopee!", he cries, leaping into the pit like a starfish, limbs stretching out in all directions. I smile as he throws a few foam cubes aside and calls once again for me to join them. All three are now working their way around to the side again, grinning and laughing. I notice the other mums and dads, all sitting sipping on coffee and watching from a safe distance. I wonder how it can be that no other parent seems interested in this opportunity to have some serious kid fun.
"Come on Mum! Where's your sense of adventure?"
That's a throw down line for me, the one I can't walk away from. I've grown up hearing it from my own mother (who is certainly not lacking in a sense of adventure), and echoed to my own children countless times. Look at those adventure-less parents, I think to myself, kicking off my shoes and lining up at the edge of the pit. I curl my socked toes over the edge, thrust my arms skyward and leap superman style into orbit. My height is good, form fine, my landing voted a 9.5 by the grinning judges who are my children. I'm laughing, dodging a cube that's on target for my head, when I realise my mistake.
Have you ever tried to climb through one of those foam pits? My arms are pushing cubes away, but I'm not making any progress at all. In fact, by the smell of the foam now at nose level around me, I realise I'm actually sinking! There are a couple of kids waiting for me to clear the jump zone, not able to launch themselves until I'm out. The teenage attendant calls for them to wait once more, glancing in my direction. Was he smiling as he turned away? I realise I need to change my strategy, do something to make some headway here or I just might go under. How do these kids make it look so easy? Pushing down on the foam around me, I get a little momentum going and finally make it to the edge, puffing and panting, missing one sock, hoping my pants have stayed in place. "Well, that's not as easy as it looks!", I blurt to the disinterested teenager as he allows the now long line to move.
Adjusting my clothes and walking somewhat red-faced back to our gear, I see the faces on the parents nearby. There are the looks of solidarity from those that have been before me, and not quite hidden smugness from those who took the road of less adventure. The smart ones. I order a cappuccino and slide into a somewhat uncomfortable seat alongside them.