Monday, March 12, 2007

Down with Chuck E. Cheese!

Who doesn't love birthday parties? The singing, the cake, the fun; it's all wonderful. What isn't wonderful is having to spend such time in a place as awful as Chuck E. Cheese. I've always made sure to keep a safe distance from the place in the past, but having family means that someone at some point somewhere will think that going to Chuck E. Cheese is a good idea. Now, I can legitimately hate the place as an educated consumer.

At this point, you're probably thinking, "Oh, what a snob! He just thinks the place is beneath him and his family!". Not so, and there's no need to get personal here. I wouldn't begrudge anyone's desire to have a party in a place they deem appropriate for their children. Chuck E. Cheese is made for kids and there's no denying that they love the place. Of course, it's been proven over and over that kids have no idea what's good for them.

The occasion of our visit was my 3-y.o. great nephew's b'day. Yes, "great nephew"; more on that some other time. He's a great kid and we love and admire his parents. They're not the problem. The problem is that Chuck E. Cheese (CEC) is waaaayyyy too over-stimulating. There's the animatronic band playing along to videos playing on wall-mounted monitors. There's the light and sound of the video games, the noise of the kids running in and out of the play areas, the incessant messages from the overhead system (louder than anything else happening in the place) re-calling everyone back to their seats for a live show with Mr. CEC himself, for the cake-cutting, for the pizza. Of course, there really isn't any sort of order to the chaos. Imagine kids running to climb and slide, then running back to their tables for pizza, then running again to climb and slide. It's too much. Our lovely 2-y.o. did all these things happily until it was time to go home. She put up a bit of a fuss about going home, but that's not extraordinary. We thought all was well while we were driving home and she fell asleep. Suddenly, she awoke whining and holding her stomach. Exactly 8 seconds later, she vomited electric blue all over herself and her car seat! It made for an aromatic ride home.

She's fine now, but her dress was ruined, my back seat, and her car seat required serious attention. I had to completely disassemble the car seat, run the cover through the washer and clean the base. I'm not looking forward to finding out whether leaving the car windows down overnight did the trick. I may be scrubbing the back seat of the GTI for many days to come.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Everyone's a critic

I was listening to my iPod the other day when my 2 y.o. comes over and wants to listen in. I put one of the ear buds in her tiny ear and let her listen. As we were listening, she made comments about which songs/groups she liked or disliked. Here are the results:

She Liked
Gerry Mulligan
Lady Sovereign
Bettie Serveert

She Disliked
The Beastie Boys
Bob Dylan

I'll let you draw your own conclusions about her choices.