We are now either the coolest house in the neighbourhood or the bane of every parent’s existence. Potentially both.

For the little man’s third birthday, Mr. Awesome’s brother (Uncle Awesome) bought him his very own bouncy castle. Let’s just say it’s not small.

It is too big to fit in the backyard and should also really be set up on a lawn, so the front yard it is. Our front yard is pretty exposed, and as I said, this thing ain’t tiny.

I have to say, it’s pretty damn cool. It has two slides and an enclosed bouncy area. It inflates in under a minute, deflates in about three, and it packs up into a fairly compact storage bag. We’ve had it set up twice so far and the ecstasy on the little man’s face is indescribable. The peals of laughter and squeals of delight are awesome.

We should have known what would happen. Uncle Awesome has essentially given us a high-powered kid magnet. Kids from every corner of the globe seem to be able to sense its presence and are somehow drawn to our curb. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. A little. Kids walking by slow down to a snail’s pace. Kids riding by on a connecting street change direction to ride by our house. The other day a pair of teens walking by just kept repeating “Oh. My. God.”

Some neighbour kids arrived home and were desperately eyeing the air-filled behemoth. Mr. Awesome felt terrible not inviting them over, but we really don’t know the family well enough to know if they’re the sueing type. We joke with our friends about having them sign a waiver before their kids climb on, but we’re only half-joking. What if someone did get hurt? I’d like to think reasonable parents would accept that kids are kids and they do get bumps and bruises, but is it worth risking our house? Have I just watched too much TV, or am I paranoid because our neighbour across the street is a very successful litigator? Is this the future of neighbourhood play?

So, we may be the coolest house on the block for a while, until word spreads that the Awesomes don’t share. At least not without a signed, legally binding release form signed in triplicate by a parent or guardian and witnessed by two unrelated parties. Too much? Nah.