Tell me if this is stupid. I was at IKEA the other day waiting for my partner in crime to get out of the bathroom. I spent some time peering into their little kiddy exile room because one day, I might choose to banish #1 and #2 so that I can spend quality time considering the pros and cons of the Expedit bookcase.
A couple of tidbits you should know. Kids have to be 37″ tall and fully potty-trained. On busy days, you can leave them there for 30 minutes. If a child is unruly, you will be called via the loudspeaker to claim your spawn. Then I noticed something that horrified me.
There’s a ball pit.
Forget about the questionable hygiene of ball pits and how needles, poop, and old hookers have allegedly been found among the plastic balls. This is an IKEA ball pit and I’m going to pretend it’s as clean and lovely as every Swede I’ve ever met. What left me aghast was this: there’s a NO JUMPING policy.
I was stunned as I saw the IKEA juvenile detention center staff reprimanding some kids for jumping in the ball pit. And then reprimanding them again when they did what would seem natural to any normal, healthy kid. Meaner this time. I’m all for strangers correcting bad behavior but this was just stupid. Is this some kind of sick joke? Have a ball pit but a no jumping policy? It’s like that Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith where he could read all the books in the world but then broke his reading glasses.
What exactly are you supposed to do in a ball pit if you can’t jump in it? Are you supposed to swim through the balls? Are you supposed to stone each other with the balls? Someone please educate me — what am I missing here? I get that there might be some liability issues but then don’t put a stupid ball pit in there. Why this incensed me so much is because now I know, 100% without a doubt, that I can never leave my child there — because we have a makeshift ball pit at home and guess what he does. He jumps. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO IN A BALL PIT.