Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chucky Cheese: Where a Kid Can Be a Kid With Hoof and Mouth Disease

I took Andrew and Will to Chucky Cheese this afternoon for an early dinner and, apparently, the most fun Andrew has ever had indoors in his life.

From the moment we walked through the door, it was as if he were both struck deaf and injected with speed. He really remind me of one of those contestants on a game show where the object is to pile as much stuff in the shopping cart within 90 seconds. He would just run frantically from one arcade to another, maximizing, I suppose, his exposure to germs in the most time-effective way. It was obvious that he needed to use the bathroom, but he literally would not even hear out my suggestion. Every time I began, "Andrew--" he cut me off with a staccato "nonononono!" I practically had to put him under arrest to haul him off to the bathroom before he made those filthy rides even grosser (maybe the uric acid would have had a sanitizing effect, on second though). It would not have been as gross, at least, as the vomit on the Bob the Builder digger in the toddler section.

We only ended up spending about 5 or 6 tokens. Andrew was perfectly happy to just sit in the rides and spin the wheels of unengaged arcade cars. He tried one arcade NASCAR (I selected Jimmy Johnson for him; he's the best looking) but quickly became terrified of it. I think it was too real for him. I am fairly certain that he feared actual bodily injury. The steering wheel shook and was hard to turn and I think the firey crashes he constantly engaged in (plus the firey collisions with the wall) got him a bit spooked. "NONONONONONONO!" and then "get me out of here!" I admit that I really didn't perform much better when I took over the wheel, but I hope that it was because I was holding Will.

At the end of the evening, I lost track of him. He turned up inside one of the basektball games. He was alight with pure joy. "Mommy! I climbed through a tunnel!" Tunnel = very tiny opening at the toe-end of a boot-shaped hoop game. I couldn't believe that he could fit, really. He just stood inside there and joyfully slam dunked the ball (the hoop was face-level from his position). Fortunately, after a while the ball somehow bounced out of the hoop and would smack him in the face. I say fortunately bc it meant that I had some hope of removing him. Also because he threw a really funny tantrum, so long as seeing a kid slap himself while dancing and screaming, "It hit my own face!" (referring to the ball, as opposed to his hand, which had also hit his own face).

But it did bring back memories of my own childhood, back when I thought Chucky Cheese was a classy and wonderful place. (As an adult I admit I feel a little bit disappointed that I live in a town so convenient to a C.C.) The last time I had darkened the door of a Chucky Cheese was back in the mid 80s. My parents relented and took me and my sisters there for my 8th birthday. We were all so thrilled, especially Dad. (Ok, my sisters and I were thrilled; my parents were probably present in body only). Chucky Cheese used to do it a bit differently back then. First, I think that it was geared towards birthdays (or maybe this says a lot about Child Me). Second, much more was made of Chucky's rock n' roll status. They had a stage where enormous rocker mice machines would perform, and eventually a live enormous Chucky would emerge and entertain the crowd. The highlight was when they would invite up the Birthday Kid(s) for some special attention.

On the occassion of my family birthday dinner, Chucky came out on the stage for some songs and some birthday celebration. He called up the birthday kid. I was so excited and ran up on the stage. Another little girl did the same, but I didn't mind sharing the spotlight. I do remember that Chucky seemed a bit dismissive of me, but nothing to get too sensitive about. Strangely, they only presented the other girl with a party-bag, cake and balloons, but I was perfectly happy to forgo those (I went to Catholic school, after all, and was very pious). I stood and smiled while the band sang Happy Birthday to the two of us, naming only the other girl (a minor oversight). I think it was not until years later that I realized that my parents had made no formal notification to the establishment that I was a birthday kid, too, and the whole Mouse Parade must have been thrown for a loop by this happy clueless kid that showed up on that stage. I wonder if my parents noticed how funny the situation was. Probably not. Its the Smith way.

We picked Brig up from the metro on our way home and then I promptly abandoned him with the boys while I went to a Church activity. I returned home early to discover that neither child had been bathed. After all that. And I had even given Will a lollipop for the ride home. I bathed Will quickly, but it was too late for Andrew, already in bed. Hopefully none of the bacteria will take hold during the night. Too bad C.C. hasn't created a sanitizing mist at the entrance and exit. The only thing that could possibly make that heavenly place even better.


Ashley said...

This was hilarious. LOVE the idea of the sanitizing mist. I totally remember when the big freaky mice would rock out. I love that you "darkened the door" of C.C.

Carolina said...

It's funny how C.C. can be such a magical place. My brother-in-law had a birthday the other day, but his wife (my sister) was out of town and couldn't celebrate with him. His 3-year-old-son (my nephew) consoled his father: "But daddy, we can celebrate your birthday. We can go to Chucky Cheese and have so much fun."

They went and had "so much fun." In my nephew's mind, that was the best birthday his dad ever had.

Paul and Sarah said...

I have similar memories of C.C. We only went there for birthdays, but I'm pretty sure we never got the royal treatment either. I was also completely oblivious to the fact.

So, I heard about the awful move while we were in Utah. I didn't realize HOW bad it was! I hope you guys are getting settled in there...and that you won't have to move again for a while!

Tara, Doug, and Isaac said...

Good ol' Chucky Cheese. So I have to admit that one of my adolescent memories is of kissing Chucky Cheese on the lips. You're really something special if Cucky Cheese wants to kiss you.

Lauren said...

I too have great memories of 'CC' when I was little but I find the place unmanagable with kids now - there is one in NYC in Queens that is especailly filthy.

I love the description of the bob the builder with vomit on it! My friend just took here kids there and they were up the whole night throwing up.

Glad you made it without any problems!!


The Hammonds said...

The Chucky Cheese of my youth had walls lined with fake swiss cheese creating tunnels (the holes) to crawl through. I remember the holes smelled yucky-urine, vomit, who knows what. After a evening spelunking through the swiss cheese, I, too, vomited. At least they don't have that anymore.

Michelle said...

hey girl...you crack me up.

E&A said...

You feel the same way about C.C. as another Alison. You two will get along great when it comes to germs. You're narrative is laugh-out-loud entertaining. Thanks for allowing me to stalk you from now on.

familia Bybaran said...


I guess I will come out that I check your blog all the time too. You are incredibly witty and funny. I wish we knew each other better in person. One day... Your story was hilarious.


lynne said...

man, my kids love CC. we broke down and did it for Ethan's 5th. And, CC himself did rock out on the stage for us - California is SO cool that he does the stage thing here, who cares if we don't have real seasons! - and i just felt so humiliated for the kid under the suit.

i hope nobody gets too ill. :)

Ashlee said...

Oh, my. Thanks for bringing back my CC memories. This reminds me of an Office episode (doesn't everything?)
Dwight: Where are we going?
Jim: Chuck E. Cheese.
Michael: Chuck E. Cheese? Oh, I'm so sick of Chuck E. Cheese.
Jim: We're going to the hospital, Michael.
Michael: I know, I'm just saying.

Tat said...

I went to Chuck E. Cheese's a few years ago for a young relative's birthday party and I remember my nostalgia actually deflating. It was disappointing.

Anyway, sorry I haven't commented on your blog lately. I'm just catching up - I'm pregnant and really ill... ugh.