Since turning thirty I have continued on my reckless path of doing questionable to stupid things. Like this evening, when I sucked up all the helium.
Perhaps you remember the birthday balloon and it’s five dollars worth of helium. The one I was so excited to receive as a token, as a gesture—the balloon itself was a free for all for little kid squabbles. I have spent the past three weeks untangling the balloon string from around hands, necks, and toes. It has given Thing One and Thing Two a new found passion for “teasing” (that would be Thing One having it, and Thing Two wanting it). Too many times I have hidden that balloon in my closet only to find it floating along in the kitchen ten minutes later, all happy smiles and birthday tinsel.
You may wonder, why doesn’t she just deflate the balloon? Yes, I asked myself that question many times. Five dollars worth of helium is like a giant three foot sphere. This is the kind of helium balloon that, given a giant bouquet of these balloons, could float a person away. It was impressive and I sort of didn’t want to spoil the awesome largeness, no matter how annoying it was. Then this evening it occurred to me that I had the perfect opportunity to show my daughter the “trick.” You must know what I am talking about. That thing your older brother showed you how to do when you were 4 years old, stealing your prized possession and sucking the helium out, only to make you laugh hysterically at his Chipmunk rendition of “Grandma Got Runover By a Reindeer” or something else equally absurd and age inappropriate. Everyone has their own version of this story, I am sure of it.
Tonight I took the enormous, shiny, floating orb that was blocking out the ceiling lights in my living room and asked Thing One if she wanted to see something cool. She had to take a break from her inventory of Princess lip glosses, but she was game. I punched a little hole in the bottom and took a nice deep breath, and suddenly I was possessed by an elf. Thing One wasn’t too impressed yet. I had to try again so she could really get it. More sucking in the air, and then, a song: Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Still, the kid was not totally impressed, although she was laughing. So, a little more helium (and I must tell you, there was still a lot left) and I whipped out the Chipmunk ABC song, and then she finally thought it was funny. I know this because she said, “My mom is so funny!”
But then I had to stop. I started to feel, uh, a little weird. I’m pretty sure the helium quantity of the balloons we pillaged as kids was slightly lower. There was never a point in time that one person sucked in that much helium for the sake of entertainment. Let’s just say, it’s been about an hour and I’m still flying kites over here in my living room.
If someone would have told me an hour ago that helium would make my brain float for a while, I wouldn’t have listened to them, but I am telling you now, it’s not worth it. Kids, don’t try this at home.