On Sunday Heather threw a ladies-only baby shower for Tia Leah at our house, so James and I were under orders to make ourselves scarce. My original plan was to take James over to Bampa’s house, but then I thought it would be nice to have a father/son outing, which is something the two of us haven’t gotten a chance to do very often. I knew just the place to go — Chuck E. Cheese’s.

I know, I know. Taking a two year old to Chuck E. Cheese’s by yourself isn’t generally recommended for, well, anyone, but there’s a reason I wanted to do it. For a while James has loved to watch KidzBop videos on YouTube Kids, but lately his new favorite things to watch are videos of kids at Chuck E. Cheese’s. I have no idea how he found these videos (or how he knows how to keep navigating back to them), but he is absolutely enraptured by them.

As I drove there I wasn’t sure if James would know the place we were going was the same as the place in the videos he likes to watch, but the second I pulled into the parking lot he hollered, “Chuck E. Cheese!” So clearly he did. (I think, like a lot of kids his age, he knows a lot more about things than we realize.)

James was excited when we got to the entrance…

But his excitement (and pure joy) were off the charts once we got inside:


I loved watching him run around doing all of the things he’d seen kids do in the videos, and he had clearly been taking some serious notes:

Skeeball? No problem.


And this shovel game? James was way too good at it.


I mean, really good:


After running around for half an hour or so we sat down to eat some pizza…


And at one point my little buddy slipped his hand under my arm and held it like this:


I was a little worried the trip might end up being a tantrum-filled mistake, but we had an absolute blast together. I loved being able to give James my undivided attention, and he really seemed to enjoy having dad all to himself. Family outings are amazing, too, of course, but there’s just a different dynamic when it’s one-on-one time. I’ve got a daddy/daughter date planned for Annie in a month or so, and James and I will hit up the rat again soon — hopefully next time he’ll share some of his winning tickets with me!