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we went camping about a month ago. marty suspected that one of our twin blow-up mattresses had a leak in it. when we returned home she and boys brought it up to the living room, blew it up and tried to find the leak. marty, the former biology teacher, ran the kids through all the various way in which they could test the mattress and locate the leak. the boys sat on it and marty looked. marty sat on it and the boys looked. they all sat on it and listened quietly. after several configurations they could not discover a breach. the one thing they did notice is that during their test the mattress didn't seem to lose a bit of air. marty surmised she may have not completely closed the valve. or that it was a small, slow, quiet leak so she said the boys could play on it to see if it lost air over time.

that was a month ago and that mattress, to this day, is still in our living room. i can't even tell you the number of games that have been divined by my children and the neighbor kids with that simple rubber rectangle of air but a few of them include:
  • simple bounce trampoline
  • slide.
  • vault trampoline (launching you over the backside of the couch)
  • climbing wall (stood up at an angle against the couch run up and over before sliding down)
  • i have hidden under the mattress during after-work games of ogre and the kids all end up jumping on me, leaping from the ground as well as every piece of furniture in the living room.
  • super wall to a fort
  • one side will be balanced on the backside of the couch. a child will hold the other side, making a bridge of sorts. the player has to start on the couch and see how far they can run across the levitating bridge before it totally collapses.

well, while lots of fun has been had on that air bed there have also been a few bruises. we've learned that smaller children should probably not be the support during the bridge run. we've learned that bella is two pounds away from cracking my rib if she jumps into the air off the back of the couch and lands square on my chest while i'm hiding beneath the mattress. we've learned that there are probably height limitations when jumping off things and onto the mattress. we've learned that if you hit the mattress just right it can bounce you into nearby pieces of furniture.

anthony learned that it was possible to shave off a bit of his nose when he missed jumping on the bed altogether and careened into the back of the wooden futon. even two days later, he still looked pretty gnarly. but the first time he looked at his nose in a mirror, he didn't recoil or wince at the vision. instead he leaned in close to study the aberration in detail before quietly saying to himself 'coool' which came out sounding more like keeewwwlllll.

on the good side, the mattress appears to be leak free.




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