We have some elements in our neighborhood which are not wholly desirable. There is a strong component of unsupervised adolescents, mostly boys, which play on our cul-de-sac quite often. Over the past year the decision to allow less time out in front has meant more frustration with what to do in the back. And since it has been God's pleasure to see to it that I am sufficiently housebound from 12-4 for naps every afternoon, it limits the extra curricular participation for my older children substantially.
TrAmPoLiNe to the rescue! Yet another childhood dream lived out through our poor unsuspecting children. My aunt had a trampoline for years, and I can not even count how many hours I jumped on that thing. Christopher is a born jumper as well, using the excuse that it is a great work-out for his upcoming Whitney hike to explain his daily treks onto the mat. But I digress... back to the story.
We knew we needed something more substantial in the backyard, and a trampoline seemed the perfect fit, err choice. So I began looking into them one day, assuming it would take an hour or so to make a final decision. I even had thoughts of grandeur that I could find one for a deal, run and get it while Christopher was out of town on business, and surprise him with it in the backyard upon his return. Ever heard of Fat Chance? It appears that trampolines are second only to swimming pools in the amount of advice for which brands to buy, which to avoid, which have safety features that work, which are cheap copies of the real deal, which are shipped for reasonable fees, which hold more than a 30lbs child, blah, blah, blah. And the real crusher was the cost - rather more than I had bargained for if you were interested in one that gave more than a weekend's worth of good bounce.
But I was determined. And for any of you who know me personally, once I become convinced about something I am on a mission. So it was with the trampoline.
Safety was obviously a huge concern (more for my hubby... I rather held the idea that if they fell they would learn. After all, I didn't have a safety net on the trampoline I grew up using. I am reformed in my thinking however, and after seeing all of my children going hog wild on the thing I praise God for safety nets.) Almost all trampoline brands sell safety enclosures, but when you start to read the fine print they are not suitable for more than one, maybe two, high impact rescues before the frame begins to give way, or the netting fails. Hmmm, and why am I purchasing this piece of equipment if not to handle the random crisis of a high impact jump gone wrong? I also learned that the mat itself can be a cause for concern (Cliff Claven moment - Almost 50% of trampoline injuries are not from falling off, but from landing on the mat during a jump). Sheesh! I am quite the expert now on how different mats, along with their spring configuration, can help or hinder better jumping with softer landings, and less stress to the back and legs.
After safety came performance - for obvious reasons I think. Here again the glut of information on competing designs was practically overwhelming. Do you get bungee cords, steel springs, how many springs per foot of mat, how tightly coiled, how are they attached to the mat, does the mat use grommets, v-rings, blah, blah, blah.
Now let me just stop here and say something. I am not overly ridiculous in all my buying decision. But after making some rather hefty mistakes from lack of research (read Pontiac TranSport), and seeing the value of investing in quality for durability (read Wal-Mart v. Hannah Andersson), I am a believer in taking some time before jumping into the most convenient option available. Service announcement over, you may now continue with your regularly scheduled blog.
Well, I knew I wanted something that would last, and give a great bounce for both my small children, and the larger children (read King and Queen). And I didn't want to get myself into something that would require significant amounts of upkeep in order to keep it bouncing. The last decision was size, and since the original rumor was flatly denied by many because of the impossibility of our kingdom supporting such a contraption, we will confirm for you now that we own the 12ft diameter mat. In Christopher's words, "it takes up the whole backyard." But I still see grass. I picked a brand called JumpSport - and if you are looking for a trampoline/safety enclosure I would highly recommend the company. We didn't tell the children, and somehow inbetween camping, 4th of July, and VBS managed to get the thing put together and working (rather easily actually).
So what can I say now that we are a jumping family?
IT IS GREAT!
We are having a blast as a family. All the kids, Mary included, love to get on and jump. I think it is one of the best investments for our kids we have made in a long time. Come on over and check it out yourself...
Friday, July 20, 2007
TrAmPoLiNe (fact or fiction)
There is a rumor going around that Odd acquired a trampoline. Small children have been severely tortured for spreading this malignant piece of gossip. After all, how on earth could the backyard of such a small kingdom fit a trampoline?
I am here to set the record straight.