I find myself with another metal-and-plastic monstrosity in the living room (though it’s a different living room, as we’re still in our temporary house in Bath): the Fisher Price Roaring Rainforest Jumperoo*. A nightmarish jumble of primary colours, it’s the Frankenstein of baby gyms. Part-bouncer, part-activity centre, it has a wraparound table with shaking, spinning, dangling things – mission control for a lunatic with a jungle fixation.
But, my God, the Jumperoo is possibly the most useful piece of equipment you could ask for if you have a baby at the age when they will not sit still, want to stand up constantly but are too wobbly to support themselves, cry from boredom if they are left lying on their backs, even for thirty seconds, or roll halfway across the continent every time you take your attention away from them. It’s like a holding pen, but fun. It’s an extra pair of hands, but ones that offer up constant morsels of distraction and interest – a rattling elephant here, a crinkly butterfly there.
One reader named the Jumperoo the “circle of neglect” when I last mentioned it, which did make me laugh. I suspect the keyboard warriors will be out in full force about the dangers of using a bouncer, but I really only rely on it for a few minutes at a time, so I can’t see where the problem would lie. I suppose the temptation to leave them in there, chilling out, is pretty strong, especially when you’ve got a nice hot cup of tea to drink and Grand Designs is on the telly, but if you are strict with the timings then SURELY IT’S FINE.
(Please don’t shatter my one hope for getting things done/staying sane/being able to sit down for five minutes.)
Warning: the Jumperoo takes up quite a phenomenal amount of space. If you have a small living room then try to imagine what it would be like to put an extra armchair in it. Do you have the space for an extra armchair? No? Then you don’t have room for a Jumperoo. It’s gargantuan. You’d think it had been designed to bounce Hulk Hogan about, not a small baby.
Another warning: the music will drive you mad. Luckily it has a switch, and babies can’t get their little fingers around switches. Toddlers, however, can. I don’t know how many times a day I say to Angelica “please turn the Jumperoo off, PLEASE TURN THE MUSIC OFF!” but she seems to take a perverse pleasure in watching me slowly fall apart as B-I-N-G-O plays on a continuous loop. Sometimes she does one of her bizarre dance routines to the music, which admittedly is very funny, but still. I hear those tunes in my dreams. Nightmares. What short dreams and nightmares I actually have…
I bought my Jumperoo (again!) from Amazon here* – it was £70. I’m pretty sure the first one I bought was the same price, and really I should have kept it but I couldn’t be bothered to dismantle it and it was SO HUGE I JUST WANTED IT GONE and so I eBayed it and got £60. Not bad, eh? A tenner for about four months’ use! Best tenner ever spent, if you ask me…