Sunday, February 03, 2008

Puttin' on the Cheese

Have you been to Chuck E. Cheese?

No, you haven't. And for a variety of good reasons. Like, it's magnet for thwarted adolescents, suspicious childfree adults, and snotty children (as in actually full of snot, although there's quite a bit of haught dripping from their sweaty heads as well). And the cheese? Maybe a little too chucky.

And good for you. You keep on keepin' on. And don't you even pester your pretty head about the cheap treats and animitronics you might be missing. You just keep kindling the fond memories o That Other Goodtime Pizza Place of Your Long-gone Youth, of gentle camaraderie and competition for plastic toys that wouldn't even survive the car ride home, of childhood aggression wielded on a subversive mole, and don't even think for another second about reliving your past.

Trust me.

Last night, we and crew of Finn's closest visited The Cheese. It was a reward for meeting his responsibilities (re: child labor). It is not, and I repeat, not payment for said chores. We don't believe in paying for chores. They are part of the family fabric and you must woof and weave with the rest of us.

But we do believe in rewards. Which aren't the same as payments. (No. They are not. Stop it. Are not. Are not. Are not.) Rewards travel as movie nights, as special trips to the museum or zoo, as a Night of Endless Books, sometimes as a toy, and on this occasion, as a trip to The Cheese with some friends.

This was all done in good will for work well done. (And not for extrinsic motivation.) But when we arrived at the first Cheese at about 6 p.m., we quickly realized our mistake. There wasn't a game that wasn't overtaken, a child that wasn't running and screaming and snotting, and no chance in the land of double hockey sticks that a Brobdingnagian could squeeze through the dense forest of Lilliputians to track and trap their kid.

So after waiting in line for 40 minutes, we left. For another Cheese.

Yes, what were we thinking?

Mainly that we love our child so much that we are willing to endure any hell. And that night, hell was populated by a whiny rodent and an 80s pop queen. Pat Benatar's Hit Me with Your Best Shot was on heavy rotation at The Cheese (one of only four songs that The Cheese played over. And over. And over again. My Guitar Hero playlist will have to be amended).

Let me tell you, my people, after 2 hours of that, I was ready to take her up on her offer.