Trying Things Tuesday: The Rodent’s Den of Iniquity

It started with a text. An innocent text from CDubs’s grandmother, “Can I see him Sunday night for dinner to celebrate his birthday?”

Of course! I mean look at how much my boy loves his Mimi:

Since it’s dinner and we live 2hrs 30min away from one another, a halfway meeting place would be the place to meet. So I start looking, he likes Chick-fil-A, he like McDonalds, he would eat at any restaurant that allows you to liberally coat the menu items in ketchup… so to him anywhere is acceptable… and then I get the text.

Oh dear Lord. I imagined the few times I went to Chuck E. Cheese’s as a child. I remember bad pizza, and there was not enough of it. We would eat a slice, maybe there was enough to have two and have to fill up on soda. We would wander around with 8 or so tokens to pick the games we were to enjoy for the next two hours as my mother sat at a booth and read, and forgot about our existence.

We would have a good time with what we had, sometimes pooling our tokens to try to win big and turn in our tickets for prizes that just weren’t enough to go around.

Then there were the bullies. These were kids that weren’t really kids who gamed and stayed at choice machines in order to win big at the prizes. They were your gambling addicts in your preteen to late teen years, not quite old enough to gamble but obviously ready to. They would let you wait around forever then go to the bathroom, and come back and shove you off their machine no matter if you were done with your turn or not. There were other older kids just being general jerks trying to steal tokens or money, but they left us alone.

So you see, Chuck E Cheese was not a gleaming triumphant memory of glorious winnings that exemplified the rodent’s good name. It was not an arcade of wonders or a great place to meet other kids. This was a grubby back alley where we could wander until our feet hurt and we got stomachaches from too much caffeine.

(That’s pretty much how I remember it)

Present day, I’m imagining this early to mid 90’s Chuck E Cheese Hell and I’m trying to imagine CDubs playing PackMan or that hard rubber ball bowling game (the one with the rings). I’m failing.

I’m remembering finger puppets and pencils and winning 4 tickets and sticky unattended children and I’m like, what fresh hell will this be? How can I save this? A grandmother’s love can only fix so much, I don’t know if I can bring a 4 year old back from the edge of severe disappointment.

But my mother in law is such a nice lady. She will do anything for anybody. She literally saves people’s lives everyday (in the ER).

She sounds so happy about this choice and is all keyed up and I’m like… okay. It’s been like 20 years. Surely something’s changed. So I google the establishment….

Okay, it’s a mixed bag. It will be fine.It will.Yes.There shouldn’t be thatmany kids on a Sunday.He’ll get to play… it will be fun!Yes.So we tell him about it and I go on YouTube and find a Chuck E Cheese video and play it for him. Of course, in the 3rd frame there is a huge monster truck ride and now he is just stoked.Crap, I know not every establishment is the same, there probably isn’t going to be a monster truck… but now he’s ready. He wants to ride that truck. And I set him up with unrealistic expectations. Thanks YouTube. Thanks. Great job mom.

Look how excited he is!

But it’s too late. It’s time to go and we’re in the car and he’s talking nonstop about rides and trucks and how he’s going to play and ….I’m already envisioning the worst, how can I make up for the worst case scenario here?

We pull up and we get out and I see the building and we hold hands across the parking lot and get inside. We get stamped on the hands like we are in some kiddie night club with black light stamps and nothing to legally enhance our experience and we order pizza….

And the pizza was actually really good. I mean really.

My son ate two and a half slices. We had three slices left over. They gave my kid 90 tokens. 90! I could have been the queen of the back alley with that many tokens. I admit, I had an extra 20 bucks on me just to buy more tokens cause surely… but 90!?

And Mimi brought cute little cupcakes and Chuck E Cheese was still an apathetic teenager in a mouse suit, bless them, but CDubs got a high five!

He had such a good time playing all the games. He wanted those tickets:

And he got enough tickets to get himself a ‘Mingo kooshball thing and a Reptar key chain and he was good. He was happy. So was Mimi*:

And Mommy got the freak over her aversion to Chuck E. Cheese.

It’s not such a bad place after all.

*You know I joke but I really admire Ry’s mom. She has worked so hard her entire life. Family means everything to her. I’ve had such a sketchy childhood that I often do stupid stuff or say the wrong things around her not because I’m trying to be disrespectful but because my family was so dysfunctional. I don’t know any better until it leaves my mouth or I analyze a look or comment later. Luckily she gets why I am an awkward giraffe. She’s a wonderful woman. She’s good to me, she’s good to her family. While I have my own issues with mothers, I love the woman and I want CDubs and her to have the closest and happiest of relationships.
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33 Comments

  1. hotmessmemoir

    I hate Chuckie Cheese so much. As a child I couldn’t wait to go. I haven’t been in a few years as my sons prefer even more obnoxious establishments. I remember 2 things causing complete dread inside: the ball pit (germs on every ball) and the area around the soda fountains were always sticky to the point your shoes would noticebly stick to the ground. Ugh! I can’t take a hot enough shower to rid the filfth from my body after attending.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. afternoonofsundries

        Oh noooo nooo. I get this for a place called Discovery place. It’s filled with kids but it’s science oriented. CDubs asks to go allllll the time. It can be unfortunate when they do, someone gets disappointed when you say no or yes…. it’s easy to be burnt out of these places, I agree!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. hotmessmemoir

        We have COSI, Central Ohio Science Industry. They have this large room with nothing but water. F****** water everywhere for toddlers and school age children. On the rare times I’m not splashed, my hair resembles a 70’s fro b/c of the humidity. Yes, it’s like you need to sit in a dark room and debrief.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. afternoonofsundries

        Lol! There is a small water room at our discovery center but yours sounds much more harrowing! They do love this stuff though. I keep telling myself he will grow up to be well rounded… and I will be preparing myself for grandchildren ? Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      4. hotmessmemoir

        Yeah….till he becomes a hipster, moves in with his girlfriend, declares no marraige or children and their 2 dogs are their fur babies. Sorry….that was my bitterness coming out from a particular close family member that did this. I’m totally kidding. It will make him so well-rounded. And he will have wonderful memories of you taking him there.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. afternoonofsundries

        Oh no! I’m sorry! I know people are allowed to make life choices that they want but you’re allowed to have your own feeling about those life choices. Personally allowing myself to feel disappointment, sadness, or bitterness over these situations allows me to eventually run through those feelings into begrudging acceptance. So please, don’t feel you have to hide or rein back feelings on my account! I think it’s healthy.

        I think what I care about is the good memories. I don’t have a lot of my parents. I make sure to tell my son I love him, I give him hugs, and I try to do things with him even if it’s reading books or feeding birds and not going out to the zoo necessarily. I used to think the flash and expense mattered but it really doesn’t. My parent made it seem like spending time together had to be expensive.

        Anyway, I appreciate the perspective! I’m awaiting my family members to reproduce… no such luck yet!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. afternoonofsundries

        Wow, this was caught in my spam! I have a good time giggling and clicking through the comments discovering how my penis (?) could be enlarged or how I can get Oakley’s for cheap. So that is why I never responded!

        Anyway, lol, as to you comment, I hope that if you cannot have a niece or nephew by blood that you can have one through dear friends 🙂 I am also hoping for a nice or nephew via my dear friends M and D, but considering they are both male, there will be a little more to the conception/adoption of said niece or nephew. As for my blood relatives… I don’t see my brother or sister going forth and reproducing anytime soon either. It is what it is…. as you’ve mentioned.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. afternoonofsundries

      I would have made a cake of myself to make him smile. It doesn’t matter if I don’t particularly enjoy something, if he does I’m going to figure out how we can go and do it, in spite of myself. Thanks for the high five, we don’t get those enough as parents!

      Like

  2. Losing the Plot

    It’s so hard getting over an aversion based on your own real life experience, well done going with it. I’m glad that it ended up being a successful trip, it would have been a long trip for a bad meal otherwise!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. angelanoelauthor

    When I began reading I was like, ‘Yes. Yes. Chuck E Cheese is the worst.” A place I would go only if forced. Not because I had bad memories of my youth, it just doesn’t make it into my top ten. But, Mimi’s excitement would have won me over too.
    We did my son’s fourth birthday party there and it was fine. I didn’t have the delightful experience you were able to have, but it was a good solid B-. The kids had fun, but I do struggle with the sticky!! Everything. SO SO sticky. But, hey, that’s why we wash, right? Building immunity to germs and all that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. afternoonofsundries

      Yes! I understand that my husband had amazing experiences there as a kid. He just didn’t get why I didn’t enjoy it. However, just as you said Mimi and CDubs were so keyed up…. it’s hard to battle that infectious excitement!

      I’m glad the party went well, and hopefully wasn’t too sticky? As a child who didn’t have many parties in my life, I am pretty sure you will be appreciated for your efforts years down the road. It really is the thought and effort that counts!

      CDubs hasn’t mentioned Chuck E Cheese since, so maybe he had solid C fun? Lol who knows!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. afternoonofsundries

        Indeed! See sleepovers freak me out a little. I guess you really get to know the parents first. Thankfully I’m not there yet with CDubs. We will just have to see! It is good to stretch ones limits and see, I hope that means it will help with personal growth? Maybe?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Unbound Roots

    I have the exact same memories of CC as you did. This is why my kids have not stepped foot in the establishment yet. But, maybe, just maybe, I need to reconsider – for their sake. 😉 Thanks for writing an entertaining and informative post on good ‘ol CC.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. afternoonofsundries

      Thank your for reading and the feedback. If my husband and MIL hadn’t mentioned it, he probably would have never gone. It’s amazing what other people can inspire you to do, or perhaps convince? I hope if you dare decide to go it is a a good experience!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. afternoonofsundries

      It’s okay! I’m not sure if Chuck E Cheese was an east coast thing, or a medium sized town thing… but it can be very fun! It seems that the bullies stayed in the 90’s at this particular establishment, which I am grateful! No one wants to see a thirty something woman fuss out a teen, lol!

      Liked by 1 person

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