I have a love/hate relationship with balloons. I love the way they look, floating and waving happily. I love the effect they have on children. They are festive, fun and relatively inexpensive. I’ve been to parties where the obscenely indulgent quantity of balloons created an other-worldly atmosphere of joy. Inevitably, a child will allow one to slip away and the torrent of tears always breaks my heart. Even worse, a balloon will pop and the tears of loss mix with wails of fright. The anticipation of the balloon tears looms like a toxic cloud around every balloon.