We didn’t frighten Annie enough last weekend with the Easter Bunny or the vicious swimming gopher, so we decided to really give her a tiny toddler heart attack by taking her to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Well, it’s not like we came up with the idea spontaneously or anything – we went for a birthday party. And I knew she wouldn’t dig the main mouse himself, but I figured she’d like the rest of the place. What’s not to love? Games, rides, things to climb and injure yourself on – it’s a children’s wonderland.

the mouse himself

Of course, Annie hated it.

We walked in, and she was overwhelmed. That’s to be expected, there’s a lot going on in there. We got our tokens and started trying to interest her in the games. I went for the gold right away – skeeball. I figured it was the perfect game for her. She could push the balls up the ramp, we’d cheer, it would be awesome. Well, first she tried to throw the balls overhand, which is totally cheating and also dangerous. Then she couldn’t push the balls far enough up the ramp. It wasn’t fun for her. On to the next thing.

We went over to the section with rides, thinking she’d SURELY want to ride on something. Nope. Didn’t want to get on the carousel, or climb the jungle gym, or ride in a car. She only wanted to be held.

And she hadn’t even seen Chuck E. Cheese yet.

At first I was bummed for her. I wanted her to have fun and not be scared. But then I realized I had a cup full of tokens, and it would be a shame if they went to waste. Annie watched us play skeeball, football toss, baseball toss, and water-gun races. We kept trying to get her to join in, but she was uninterested. More tokens for me!

Pizza time came and she warmed up considerably. She still wanted to sit with us, but she didn’t need to be held anymore. Things were going great…and then Chuck showed up.

coming around to give high fives
So smug

We tried to shield the mouse from Annie’s view, but it was like she could sense his presence, and immediately curled into a tiny ball.


We tried to distract her with pizza, with moderate success.

he's behind me, isn't he.
He’s behind me, isn’t he.

Mike had more success distracting himself with baseball.

watching the game at Chuck E. Cheese

Luckily, cupcakes came out not long after, and Chuck E. Cheese himself could have delivered it to Annie, that’s how much homegirl loves cake. After the cupcake, she seemed to finally get an infusion of courage, and started walking around with the other kids. You know…right at the end of the party.

I’m looking at this as a good thing – she’s not going to beg me to go back there any time soon. On the other hand, I had a blast. If Chuck E. Cheese’s sold beer, I would totally throw my 33rd birthday party there. Every game is only one token! That’s pretty sweet.