Go ahead, call me the Grinch who stole summer. I’m yelling it loud and proud: I HATE BUBBLES!!* I see your side-eye. I get it, bubbles are a staple of hot weather, a symbol of childhood. And kids freaking love them. I just don’t understand it. That and fireworks. And sandboxes. And pet hamsters. Ew.
I remember the first time I ever had the idea to do bubbles with my girl. I was wheeling her around CVS sometime in the spring, waiting for probably her 12th pink eye prescription of the year. We came to the
booby trap evil trick outdoor toy section and happened upon a display of bubbles. Stars appeared in my eyes, and I pictured my baby with a huge grin on her face, frolicking after bubbles in our yard, her hair bouncing and shining in the sun. Like a typical first-time mom, I practically bought them out; we arrived home with a big bottle and a box of six small bottles of bubbles.
You know how Dr. Phil talks about Ten Defining Moments in life? Clearly I’m exaggerating for dramatic effect, but – man. If only we had never discovered bubbles.
These are what I consider to be the seven stages of bubble play:
Stage 1 – Child
whines incessantly for requests bubbles. My kid sure is gifted – she’s got bubble eagle eye. She can spot them from a mile away, like on top of our highest cabinet. A bottle even fell off our deck and behind a plant (that was definitely NOT my foot’s fault). But she found it and shouted, “BUBBLES!!” and I had to retrieve it. One peripheral glance at a bottle of bubbles and she turns into a little bubble fire alarm.
Stage 2 – It becomes apparent that child cannot blow bubbles on her own. My child is really good at sucking – like on a straw or a binkie or a visibly dirty toy – and she’s really good at making a sound that resembles, “Ffffffft.” But she cannot actually blow, and somehow we seem to discover this for the first time each and every time she plays with bubbles.
Stage 3 – Mom reluctantly takes over bubble blowing. This is when I roll my eyes, put away my smart phone, abandon my string cheese, and tell myself, “Don’t be that mom who won’t blow bubbles – this is your JOB now.”
Stage 3.5 – Child is briefly delighted in bubbles (considered only half a stage because it lasts for seconds or, rarely, moments). She grins/frolicks/bounces just long enough for me to snap one photo and give myself one pat on the back for being the best mom ever.
Stage 4 – Bubble solution covers hands, mouths, clothing, and snacks. Aaaand suddenly I realize my hands are wet, my skirt is all splashed, and my string cheese has a weird sheen. And baby girl is popping her fingers in and out of her mouth like she’s trying some delightful new delicacy. Surely this is neither safe nor sanitary.
Stage 5 – Child ignores bubbles. Boy, is that dirt patch/passing car/bird poop stain fascinating. I blow several rounds of bubbles that go completely unnoticed by her. I’m all, “HELLO, I’m blowing bubbles over here!” but she’s too invested in the sound of a faraway lawnmower to notice.
Stage 6 – Bubble solution gets dumped out on the ground. She’s usually wrestling the bubble wand away from me or flailing her arms around like a 1.5-year-old or trying to get at my snack when the damn bottle topples right over. I try to use my best diplomatic mom voice and be like, “Oh DARN, no more bubbles,” when secretly I’m like, “YESSS WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT EARLIER.” But then…
Stage 7 – A bubble-induced tantrum ensues. This is really at the heart of what I hate about bubbles. My daughter acts like they’re the best thing in the world, but they ALWAYS end in tears. And back-arching. And ground-flopping.
It just doesn’t seem fair. Life doesn’t have to be like that, kid. You deserve more. I deserve more. So let’s unite, daughter! Can we agree to no more bubbles? No? Can we agree that I’m going to distract you with a brownie bite while I pour all your bubbles down the sink?
Glad we’re on the same page.
*This does not apply to bath bubbles, as I credit them with being the only reason my daughter willingly bathes.