Yo Grabba Grabba

Last night I took the kids to the super expensive but totally worth it Yo Gabba Gabba! Live show at Radio City. Brobee! Foofa! Drea de Matteo! Wine for the adults! Really, what’s not to love?
Until the balloons came down.

The balloons that my girls had stared at through the entire first act once they noticed the giant nets tethered to the ceiling, just hoping that one might come their way.

“They won’t make it to us,” my dad said, calculating the trajectory from the center of the ceiling to the far reaches of the left aisle where we were seated.

“Depends which way the fans are blowing,” I mumbled, trying to scrape up some optimism.

While the balloons cascaded down, I did the math – there were plenty balloons for all the kids in the orchestra seats. Until I realized that parents were grabbing AS MANY BALLOONS AS THEY CAN! GRAB THEM! GRAB THEM ALL! TACKLE THE CHILDREN! THROW AN ELBOW! ARGHHHHHHH!

You would have thought they were hiding cash money in those balloons with the way parents were racing for them. Like, dammit, we paid a lot for these tickets. We are going to get our money’s worth. IN BALLOONS. 

I saw infants sharing lap space with two or three dubiously procured balloons. I saw parents waving a half dozen in their hands, jumping up and down as if they had won the lottery.

As I turned fro the total balloon mayhem back towards my girls,  I watched Thalia’s face devolve from pure joy to utter despair. There were no more balloons in the nets. All the balloons were taken.

The sobbing started (oh no! Not the sobbing!) and I tried every terrible parenting trick in my book.

Don’t cry Thalia, sometimes we don’t get balloons. Life isn’t always fair.

Thalia, really, we don’t cry over balloons. Look how much fun we’re having! Remember the part when Toodee was hiding?

Don’t cry Thalia, maybe they will give them out after the show! We’ll look after the show, okay?

Want another sip of my Coke, Thalia? Sugar!

Oh Thalia, please don’t cry — if we don’t get one here, we’ll get one tomorrow. A big one. A pink one – you like pink right? They don’t even have pink here!

And then I gave up. Because as much as I want my kids to learn that life isn’t always fair, this wasn’t the time.

I took my crying five year-old in my arms, raced down the aisle and grabbed the first mom I saw holding more balloons than children. As nicely as I could, I pleaded, “Crying child here. Any chance you have a balloon to spare?”

And wouldn’t you know it, she did. Bless her forever.

We took good care of that hard-won balloon. I hid it under a jacket the entire second act (the kids behind us were eyeing it greedily). I raced after it twice when it escaped into the aisle. I juggled it–and Sage, and the popcorn, and the jackets–three blocks back to the subway then straight to Brooklyn.


It lasted about 45 minutes. But no one cried.

I suppose it is better to have loved and lost a balloon than to never have loved one at all.


24 thoughts on “Yo Grabba Grabba”

  1. I had two big problems with balloons and therefore avoided them whenever possible.

    A) My boys would fight over them.
    B) Whenever my older child got one, he would deliberately let it go between the car and the house when we got home. What a waste!

  2. You said it so well. We were at the 2oclock show and unfortunately, no one shared with us.
    I think they need to rethink the balloon idea.

  3. Do these people have no shame? Hoarding balloons and keeping them away from toddlers? They should announce something like “one balloon per child so that everyone gets one”. I'm sure they thought they wouldn't need to SAY something so obvious…People never cease to amaze & disappoint me.

  4. Kids learn by example. If their parents are acting this way, is it any surprise that the kids do the same unacceptable behavior in school/playgrounds. And then , you'll see these same moms saying, “Now Jon, it's important to share…” Yeah right!

    As for the show, when ever I see it on TV, I really don't get it. But clearly kids seem to love it.

  5. I can't believe parents were doing that! I can see trying to get one for your child as part of the excitement but hoarding them?

    Ha – all the (so-called) bad parental tactics to stop the tears! We've all done it and I don't think they're really all that bad…

  6. Does not surprise me…I went to a company party, where kids were not actually invited (although a few came) and the grabbing of giant balloons and all the toys on the table 10 minutes into the event was shameless. Lesson learned, no toys at subsequent affairs (or we're just cheap now 🙂

    And I 8th the sentiment, balloons for the 5 and under crowd seem to always result in some sort of crying, I still love 'em though.

  7. the only two times I remember really losing it as a kid both involved balloons. Once was when I was six or so and had been promised a balloon at an event, but it turned out there were no balloons. I cried in the car for no fewer than four hours. Then a few months later I finally got the much-awaited balloon, and it popped. I cried so hard and for so long, my mom considered taking me to see a counselor. Balloons hold some kind of mystical power over children. I'm really glad that mom gave you one, but I would have been disgusted by the balloon-hoarding!

  8. Am I allowed to say that I hate balloons? All exciting to get, but then what? They sit around the house, gradually losing air and getting wrinkly, but no one wants to throw them away. I've started killing them overnight after the first day of fun.

    Don't come after me to tell me how horrible I am. My kids already have.

  9. Such a good post. You know, for those of us who also have a 5 yo, a 3 yo, and an unhealthy obsession with Yo Gabba Gabba and balloons. I relate very much.

    Good for you for asking the other mom to give it up. You have finally compensated for that missed pediatrician appointment. Ha!

  10. The scene at the Radio City Christmas show when the mylar streamers fell from the sky was much the same. Luckily we were sitting in the streamer zone, so the kids had lots to stuff in their pockets, but the adults? Wow, that kind of thing brings out the worst in people.

  11. The scene at the Radio City Christmas show when the mylar streamers fell from the sky was much the same. Luckily we were sitting in the streamer zone, so the kids had lots to stuff in their pockets, but the adults? Wow, that kind of thing brings out the worst in people.

  12. Ahh! So funny. It happened at the 2pm show too. I couldn't believe the balloon hoarders! One kid and they had six tied to a stick like a prize won at the carnival. And did you see those parents trampling KIDS to get one? Ya – they need to rethink that one for sure.

    Also – the rushing the stage for Biz Markie? Did you see that?

  13. Oh, I feel for you, Liz! At a recent birthday party, my 3 year old lost her balloon as we were leaving. My heart broke for her and we had to make a pit stop at a grocery store to get another one. Yes, sometimes life has lessons, other times, I make the executive decision to delay that Lesson for another day.

    Also? This story reminds me of Easter egg hunts.

  14. I went to this same show in Boston, and a few moms hoarded balloons, then walked over to the sections where balloons hadn't fallen and handed them out. My kids got two that way.

    I have to admit – my faith in mankind was restored a bit by those actions.

    Sorry to hear that didn't happen in all shows.

  15. Right back at you, My Kids' Mom. I also despise balloons and kill them while my children sleep. Also, I think they smell sort of bad.

    That being said, methinks some parents need to pay more attention when the yo gabba gabba crew sing songs about sharing…

  16. I love the title of this post. 🙂

    Balloons are my nemesis. But we STILL had some for the baby girl's b-day party over the weekend. And you'll never guess that there was crying… ugh.

  17. This goes in the category of things that annoy me during the early parenting years.

    Also, when people have cupcakes with two different kinds of frosting at parties.

    Or different flavors of juice boxes.

    Guaranteed drama.

    Trick: UNIFORMITY people. It worked for me when I was teaching…

    I even went so far to order the same colored scissors for all 30 of my students because I didn't want to hear a seven year old melt down because I gave him blue instead of red.

    Apparently, our friends at Nick Jr., thought more about the sizzle than the steak.


  18. Cute story. I can totally relate.

    Our family often goes to see professional hockey games. Generally, at some point in the game, a motorized blimp with the logo of a local frozen pizza manufacturer flies out and drops little slips of paper from the sky.

    People go freaking nuts for these sllips of paper. Diving. Grabbing. Throwing elbows. Knocking over kids. You name it.

    And my kids cried when it came around the first time and we didn't get one.

    On the second pass, as luck would have it, one of the treasured slips dropped into my daughter's hands.

    It was a cruddy coupon for 15 cents off the purchase of 5 pizzas or more.

  19. The EXACT same thing happened to us at YGG in Philly. Mad balloon grabbing of the adult variety, and plenty of sobbing toddlers missing out. a.) I hate nasty idiot balloon grabbing parents b.) YGG really needs to rethink the whole balloon thing and c.) I hate people. The end.

  20. We went to the show at Bethel Woods and the balloons all blew across the pavilion and outside! (outside and windy). The volunteer ushers were all super nice though, they rounded them up and gave them to the kids.
    Stuff like balloon hoarding is part of the reason we drove all the way to Bethel Woods for the show, the other part was that we couldn't wait until October!

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