Usually I buy books as presents. I love books – especially new ones. (Reading “Dump Trucks and Diggers” one more time will definitely test the limits of my sanity). However, this Valentine’s day, I bought bubble guns instead.
The inspiration came from a recent Superbowl party, where the kids had the best time with the family’s bubble gun. I shopped our local Target and couldn’t believe what I found – an entire aisle devoted to bubbles, bubble blowers, bubble guns, and bubble machines.
I took a stab at comparing styles and prices, but Kiki kept spilling her popcorn on the floor (on purpose) and Bunder kept screaming, “MOMMY! Kiki spilt her popcorn! LOOK, MOMMY! Kiki made a mess!”
Of course, this made Kiki laugh and repeat the procedure, which in turn made Bunder yell louder and with more intensity.
I grabbed the $4 guns, thinking, “Can the $8 guns really be that much better?” All the packages read something similar – spill proof, drip proof, extreme bubble fun, etc.
The night of February 13th, I laid out what was left of the kids Valentine’s gifts: bubble guns and miniature tin hearts. (Kiki found the big stuffed dogs in the back of our walk-in closet a week ago). I double-checked the seal on the tin hearts to make certain the dog couldn’t open them and eat the chocolates like she did the chocolate bunnies out of the Easter baskets.
At 5:30 the next morning, the kids squealed with delight at the sight of the new presents on the living room floor. The squeals turned to screams when they couldn’t open the packages. I tried to tear open the bubble guns, but had to race into the kitchen for scissors. Back in the living room, I opened the packages causing two AA batteries to fall out – choking hazards for Kiki. Quickly, I whisked the bubble guns and batteries back to the kitchen with two whining toddlers following me. I searched the cabinet for the miniature screwdriver I use to install batteries but couldn’t find it. Luckily, I found it in the second place I checked, Mister’s desk drawer. Carefully, so as not to lose the tiny screws, I unscrewed the back of the bubble guns and fitted the batteries. I waited to attach the bottles of bubbles.
Bunder seemed content to blow things with the bubble gun as it produced a soft fanning of air. Kiki couldn’t care less about the bubble gun; she wanted chocolate. I promised as soon as the sun came up, we’d test out their bubble guns in the backyard with the bubbles. Oh joy!
An hour later, I began changing the kids into warmer clothes (it was barely 40 degrees out). I found their coats, hats, mittens, socks, and shoes and attempted to dress them. Kiki cried and tried to escape. Bunder threw fits not wanting to wear his coat, hat, or gloves. “It’s not cold out, Mommy! It’s hot out!” He yelled.
Finally with much sweat and tears, we made it outside. Kiki wandered off to play in the sandbox. Bunder and I attempted to use the bubble guns. “Attempted” is the key word.
I don’t know what kind of crack head created the descriptions on the package, but my idea of “extreme bubble fun” is not waving around the bubble toy, shaking it, rinsing it under water, blowing on it, and feeling cold bubble fluid drip down my arm and pool near my elbow.
Drawn by the outrageous Mommy dances and the wild screams of Bunder, Kiki ran over to whimper at my feet and watch the action. I felt crazy inside – how could a sweet Valentine’s present turn into such a nightmare? I imagined smashing the bubble guns on the concrete patio, stomping on them, breaking the cheap, stupid plastic toys into a billion bits, all while shrieking like a banshee and waving my arms like a monkey. I wonder where Bunder gets his temper?
After much trial and error, I was able to get one bubble gun to blow a few intermittent bubbles out by pulsing the trigger and holding it at a distinct 45-degree angle to the ground. Much to Bunder’s dismay, he couldn’t repeat the process exactly, so he never did get to blow bubbles with his gun.
Next year, I’m buying books.