Dear Addie,

A lot has been going on in our lives and it’d be amiss if I didn’t mention a new sensory friendly opportunity we took advantage of a few weeks ago.

Before I begin I should say I hear more times than I can count about how much patience I have, or that I have the patience of a saint! While I appreciate the compliment, and I guess maybe in certain situations I have acquired a knack for letting some things just “go with the flow,” the truth of the matter is that I’m not a patient superhuman. Sometime my patience is just dangling on by a thread. True story.

Now, having said that, we were off to our latest sensory friendly night at Defy Gravity indoor trampoline park.

These trampoline places are popping up everywhere and are all the rage these days! A seemingly endless amount of trampoline flooring, Tarzan style ropes, and platforms to jump off of and crashing into foam pits. This particular one even had American ninja warrior style course and a playground swing hovering above the foam pit! What’s not to like?! Right up your alley! Sounds perfect right?!?!

This is actually a dream for many sensory seeking kids, but on any “normal” given day, it would be full of kids bouncing and running in every direction and a lot of rules. Not exactly your forte in a place of potential overstimulating excitement. A sensory friendly night was a perfect opportunity to get a feel for how all this excitement was going to go down for future visits and learning those all to important rules.

Having not been here before, I think it’s safe to say I was naive to the whole process (shocker not all indoor trampoline places are the same.)

While we are insanely appreciative of businesses offering such a special time for families like ours, it started at 7 on a Thursday night - not the most convenient when your bedtime is in fact 7.

One of my biggest struggles as a parent (I’m sure many parents can relate) is finding something ALL of my kids enjoy doing together. I knew this was going to be fun for everyone, even if it meant being a little crabby the next day from lack of sleep, so even with that in mind we were all in.

Armed with with information of a location, date and time we had arrived. The sight of it all sent you happily stimming into a frenzy of excitement. You made it all of about a minute standing in line before you took off running for the fun. Luckily for me, nana and papa were visiting and were helping as Addie security bouncers as I stood waiting to check in.

Now we have been to similar establishments for birthday parties in the past, but I was unprepared for the hoops I had to jump through before you could even get started.

As team Menzo/Supernaw was holding you back from unlawfully entering the “jumpzone” it was finally my turn in line.

I fully expected to sign a few waivers for attendees jumping, grab some neon paper bracelet, pay and be on our way - ha! What was I thinking?!?!

The young man at the counter greeting us then asked if we already had waivers on file? My ”no, we’ve never been here before” reply resulted in him pointing to a row of touch screen computers across the room in the lobby to sign everyone in. Ok, waited in line to be redirected - check.

Got to the screens and began signing each of our jumpers in. Your name, birthdates, emergency contacts, consent. Done. Back in line to wait again. Round 2.

He looks everything up in his computer than asks if I had a waiver filled out? I initially thought perhaps he had mistaken me for a teenage babysitter that possessed enough energy at this time of night to bounce around, but then he asked how many bystanders we had with us? Ah yes, wishful thinking of my youthful looks and the utter confusion on my face resulted in him explaining my next hurdle - in addition to jumpers, all bystanders ALSO had to have waivers on file. Seriously?!?! What exactly goes on here?! Back to the touch screens for round 2 - check.

Meanwhile Daddy had just arrived from work so we had an extra security bouncer stopping you - it was now 5 on 1 and you were wearing us out!

I had now filled out electronically 7, yes 7 individual waivers. Even for the savviest of touch screen users could easily have taken 10 minutes - for me it was about 15-20 minutes of stress as I could see (and hear) you visibly upset waiting and I was now heading back in line for the 3rd time. Third times a charm tight?!

Ok, maybe now he’d just take my money and let us jump - please dear Lord!

Nope, next hurdle.

He asked, did we bring jumping socks? Wait what?! What are jumping socks? We had regular socks - I don't recall seeing them jump. I mean they surely don't jump into the hamper at home. Nope, no jumping socks here, luckily for us we could purchase them here. How convenient.

For. The. Love. Of...

Ok, surely now I could pay him...

He asks how many hours we’d like to jump? I'm sure this was a question that could be answered by most but having already been slightly over-annoyed at this process I'm pretty sure I replied something along the lines of ”did you want my blood type next?!”

It was 100% unfair to this poor young man, but nothing about this process was easy and the ad for this event maybe couldn't given more info like - sign waivers online before you come for you, your neighbors, and your grandma's fifth cousin (heavy does of sarcasm intended), bring jumping socks - only the ones that made it into the hamper the others are broken, but don't worry you can buy some!

My patience was hanging on by a thread.

He handed me all the paper bracelets and we were finally ready to jump!

With all the drama and my lack of patience, you all were in jumping heaven in no time flat - success! I was reminded why sensory friendly events are so special - even if there's a thousand hurdles.

The anxiety is gone. Your stimming, noises, being constantly coached on turn taking - it all seemed just normal here. Nobody stood just staring. The siblings all seemed to know the same delicate dance of flipping, jumping and running alongside their special needs siblings and others like it was just so natural and matter of fact.

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So Addie, I'm so happy you had fun here. I'm sorry if mommy may not have presented my best self on this day. I'm living proof that nobody's perfect and special needs parents don't always have patience.

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But I do have tons of love for you all.