If you are a mother, chances are you have visited Chuck E. Cheese play palace. Perhaps you even had your child’s birthday party there. I have visited the giant play plaza too many times to count in the past few months, enough times to know that Chuck E. as cute as he is and as much as my children love him is no friend to me.
The majority of my visits to Chuck E. Cheese have been to celebrate a birthday. I am very familiar with the long tables filled of children and the two booths behind them that are meant to accommodate ten or more adults, which as you can guess is absolutely impossible.
More often than not I have found myself standing at the head of the children’s table hoping that I look like I belong there. As luck always has it, my children are on the opposite end of the table screaming for me. Off I go, weaving my way between a sea of parents, attempting to reach my child only to be told never mind the second I do.
Despite the fact my teeth are clenched I force a smile and make my way back to the spot I gave up and quickly notice another parent standing there. Inching back toward the adults my body becomes wedged between a side booth and a chair. A train of people standing behind the giant Chuck E. rush toward me encouraging me to hop on the human train. By some luck I manage to break away and find myself standing way too close to a parent I don’t know but can tell by the look in their eyes that they are just as uncomfortable with the sudden closeness.
The cake part of the day ends and the real fun begins. There is nothing like chasing after your child through an arcade, especially if you have more than one child and they are racing in opposite directions. My favorite part is watching helplessly as my three-year old screams for me to come rescue her out of a jungle-gym much too small and intricate for my shape. I do like the picture booth where for a token you can get a sketch of you and your child, but unfortunately when I sat down to take ours I was greeted with an Out of Paper notice.
Chuck E.’s best gift is received a few days after you get home. Long after the tokens have been spent, the cake eaten and the candles blown out something arrives in an unsightly package that you can share with others… the flu.

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