Why would any self-respecting sane adult take their kid to Chuck E. Cheese “just because”? I must be insane. Either that, or feeling guilty about going to Boston this weekend for the Working Moms Gone Wild weekend.
When I picked Monkey Man up at school today, I had already decided that I was going to drag him to Stein Mart to look for some tops for work, and perhaps some sandals. He adores shoe shopping, if for no other reason to pull the boxes off the shelves and announce, “No, I don’t think these look good on you” without even opening up the boxes to see what is inside. He loves that.
So after we were done, we were walking through the store and he spied a Baby Einstein board book in the children’s department. MM used to be a Baby Einstein addict of the worst kind, to the point where I called the Betty Ford Clinic to ask if they had a treatment program. Eventually he grew out of it, but for some odd reason tonight he had a total (and uncharacteristic) fit over getting this stupid board book. He pouted through the whole store and out into the parking lot, and as I buckled him into the car, it hit me like a revelation from above:
Take him to Chuck E. Cheese. He will be eternally grateful and love you forever. He will tell all of his friends that you are the bestest mommy in the whole wide world. And most of all, you won’t have to buy the stupid Baby Einstein book.
He did have a great time – and it actually wasn’t too crowded, the kids were all being well-behaved (well, except for one little monster, but it wouldn’t be a trip to CEC without at least one little hellion), and the pizza was actually….edible. Not great, but edible and with no lasting gastrointestinal effects. Oh, and did I mention that they were out of BEER? It was like being dipped into the fires of hell, I tell you.
When we cashed out all of the tickets, he had 88 points and the little Prize Dude actually let Monkey Man pick out a 100-point toy and didn’t make me pay extra. Prize Dude, you rock! So what did Monkey Man pick out but this horrid little plastic Chuck E. Cheese with a Koosh-type ball thing in the middle. It’s an abomination and he is truly smitten.
On our way out the door, Meltdown #2 ensued when I told him we couldn’t buy an ice cream out of the machine. He has a peanut allergy, and if I can’t read the ingredients and know for sure if there are nuts in it or not, I refuse to buy something. So I promised him we’d stop for ice cream and we ended up at Friendly’s having ice cream too. Okay, I didn’t mind that part so much, at least it made up for the lack of beer.
Then he got a bubble bath when he got home, a long story, and a late bedtime. As I tucked him into bed tonight and kissed him on the cheek, I asked him what his favorite thing was that he did today, expecting him to rhapsodize over his visit to The Holy Grail of All Children, and he whispered….
“Playing tinkertoys after my afternoon snack.”
Shit. So much for that $27 bucks on crappy pizza and tokens just to get a malformed plastic rodent. At least I got a hot fudge sundae and a fun night with my favorite fella Chuck. Or as I like to call him after a few beers, Charles E. Cheese.