Le Chuck de La Cheese

Yesterday I did another one of those "things I said I'd never do." I took the kid to Chuck E. Cheese. A's daycare closed early yesterday so I took a 1/2 day off. First we hit the food court at the mall for lunch. She made me sit at one of those miniature tables meant for kids (because, well, she is one). She sat in one chair, Teddy Bear sat in another chair, and I was instructed to sit in the remaining chair. We had a nice little lunch. I had it in the back of my head that I would take her to Chuck E. Cheese if she exhibited good behavior, but decided not to tell her about it until I had witnessed a sufficient amount of said behavior.

Near the food court some kids from a local school were collecting for the Salvation Army. The school specializes in educating kids who have developmental disabilities (I apologize if that is not the correct terminology). I gave A a couple dollars to give them and one of the girls gave her a sucker and wished her a Merry Christmas. You know what I think is so cool about little kids? They don't yet notice that other people are different. I don't know when that sort of thing expires, but it definitely does. I wish it didn't.

We then stopped at Gymboree and picked up a Christmas dress off the clearance rack (she already has a Christmas dress at home, but then I realized that she has more holiday events coming up than one dress can possibly accommodate). Finally we made a quick stop at Yankee Candle, where the flamboyant male manager praised me on my choice of the "red apple wreath" scent and then tried to sell me everything from a car freshener to kindling. The thing is, if I wanted any of those things, I would have brought them to the counter. That's kinda how it works.

When we got to the car, I asked the kid, "Guess where we're going?" She said, "The store." So I said, "No . . . CHUCK E. CHEESE!" Well, she screamed as joyfully as if I'd just said we were boarding a flight to Disney World right that second.

As it turns out, 2:00 p.m. on a weekday is probably the best time to hit the joint. There was no one there. In fact, when we got there the manager was playing a game and it took several minutes to get his attention (we couldn't just wander in - we had to get our hands stamped in case someone would try to abduct me and separate me from my daughter while we were there).

So, $10.00 and 127 hard-earned tickets later I had a happy kid who in turn had: a sugar buzz, a monstrous pink plastic ring, four Tootsie Rolls, and a "fun dip" candy.

All in all, it was a good afternoon. Our "mother-daughter-togetherness" glow started to dissipate shortly after our return home, however. Her refusal to take a nap + too many sweets + too much stimulation = complete and utter breakdown. I told her I needed to change her diaper, so she ran from me and fell, slamming her head into the metal aquarium stand. The rest of the evening proceeded in the same vein, until she demanded her 457th viewing of Shrek 2. I would rather gnaw off my own arm than watch Shrek 2 again, what are you gonna do?

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