Bounce Your Cares Away

We bought a trampoline for the express purpose of saving money. Yes, a $300 play thing for the yard was an investment because it’s my sincere hope that our youngest child will get some of her energy out by bouncing up and down on the second most dangerous childhood toy after lawn jarts. If this works the way I plan, we can stop spending $800 a year on generic Ritalin from a Canadian online pharmacy.

But since we’ve always known she’s autistic and not stupid, the trampoline hasn’t worked out exactly as I planned. She’s learned that she can just lie down on the trampoline and coerce other people into bouncing on it for it. She gets launched in the air by their efforts and doesn’t have to do a lick of work.

My husband is her typical victim. He walks in the door after a long day at work, loosens his tie, and is pounced upon. She smiles sweetly, bats her eyelashes, and says, “Daddy, would you come outside and be my friend?” He falls for it every single time because he’s a good man.

Here’s the problem: Our back yard faces a rather busy highway and we have a wooden privacy fence around the property, so all the people traveling that highway are treated to a daily carnival side show act of a 250-pound middle-aged man going to town on a trampoline. He’s putting so much effort into propelling our daughter in weightless oblivion, but he ends up looking like the saddest recruit ever to audition for Cirque du Soleil. The motorists can’t see the little kid sprawled on the trampoline, they just see my husband. Enjoying his toy.

Enjoy the show as much as I do.