Happiness is a Warm Squirming Toddler Kicking You in the Kidneys
One T-Junction Short of a Track

Chuck Effing Cheese

Guess what! We went to Chuck E. Cheese yesterday.


It went super well.

Oh fine, Noah actually did have fun -- his own Noah-ish kind of fun; the kind that involves just sort of wandering around aimlessly and suspiciously, perhaps occasionally deigning to go down a slide....


Pausing, of course, to read the Toddler Zone Safety Guidelines on the wall first.

Or to play with the boring toys that other kids ignore in favor of the ones with GIANT SMASHING HAMMER THINGS...


Seek the tomb of a knight a pope interred? WTF?

Or to watch the giant singing rat from a respectful distance...


Hey now! You're an all-star! Get your game on! For $20 in tokens, go play!

Or to just be the all-around most serious child ever to set foot in the place...


Did everybody here get their Kid Check hand stamp? Yes? Good.

He liked sitting in some of the rides, but freaked out if I put a token in and made it move or light up or do absolutely anything at all. It was kind of sweet, though, the way he would frantically sign ALL DONE ALL DONE and then run off in search of more stationary fun, like a row of HIGH CHAIRS WHEE AWESOME!

So I took our tokens and played some skeeball. Maybe a lot of skeeball.


I got pretty good.

Total winnings: 615 tickets, including a few ill-gotten ones since we got there right after they opened, and apparently the games all shoot out a strip of tickets when they get turned on (dirty!), so we casually wandered around and collected all the extra tickets. We scored about 85 tickets this way, which is enough for a very small harmonica or four Tootsie Rolls.

My 615 tickets got me some kind of rubbery choking hazard that sort of resembles a lion, a Spider Man coin purse because Noah clearly needs something to keep all his dollah bills and bizness cards in, and a hard pointy plastic dinosaur that is now his most cherished possession ever and the reason for the photo at the top of this post. He kept dropping the dinosaur behind the TV cabinet and then weeping over the loss, then I would retrieve the stupid thing only to have him intentionally drop it again. And then he would cry. Because. He dropped the toy he wanted. On purpose. Over and over. Again.

(What was I saying about two? What?)

Chuck E. Cheese. Guaranteed to moderately amuse your child, bring out the compulsive gambler/skeeball hustler in yourself, and leave both of you cranky and overstimulated for the next two days straight. Oh, and the pizza might give you the bends. Maybe. So I've heard.



Hey kids! It's Camel Toe Dance Party USA!



Am I first?! Too funny!


Ah...nothing like a day at the Chuckters....kinda of miss it, since my babies (14 & 10) are not so into it anymore. And for the record....their pizza although yummy DOES give me the "bends". You're welcome...


We haven't braved Chuckie Cheese yet. It really scares me.


Oh my God, the germs. THE GERMS.

Amy H

What writers block? You can take something completely ordinary and turn it into brilliance.

I have been to CEC tons of times with my neices (not with Avery yet) and I can tell you that I would have never composed such a funny post about it. :-)

hello insomnia

We tried CEC and my son *hated* it.


Skee ball is my favorite- is it wrong that I am the one playing - you know just to "help" my son (3 yrs old) learn how to play?

We found that tokens are not even needed there. He just runs from game to game- it does not matter if it is not on. Good tip about tickets when they open. We usually meet friends there after work.

That looks like the one on Randolph road. If you are near there you must take him to the train in White Flint or the Wheaton regional park train.


This sounds so much like my little guy when he was two. I try to remember this when he's screaming at me because he can't do exactly what he wants exactly when he wants. Six is the new two.


Ah the perils of overstimulation. At least he had SOME fun, right?

ps - that rat is sca-ry.


Chuck E. Friggin' Cheese. We love to let Shark Boy go there and have a ball. With the nanny. Seriously. We make her take him.


As the mother of 2 teens - it is with great pride that I wear the badges of accomplishment known as "Never Took My Kid To Chuck E F'in Cheeze"

Other people did - but I did not. Couldn't stand it as a kid - couldn't imagine liking it as an adult. Besides, they have skiball at the bowling alley!


Hahaha! "Camel Toe Dance Party USA" Hahahaha...Can't. Stop. Laughing!!!
That's brilliant.


What a brave, brave woman you are sacrificing your bowels like that all in the name of Motherhood. I went once and only once in my heady Kid Free Days with my sister and nephews. My goal is to never darken their doors again until my kid can request it via a handwritten note. In cursive.


when noah cries, he looks just like jason. when he smiles, he looks just like you.

but he's adorable either way.


UGH. We took our kids there once. ONCE. Because, the only Chuck E. Cheese within a thirty mile radius happens to be in the GHETTO. Seriously, the pizza there is probably 42% more likely to give you the bends, and the toddlers are 87% more likely to carry pocket knives. NEVER AGAIN.


No, wait! He didn't have the entire Upchuckie Cheese experience if he didn't get run out of the tunnels by scary 14-year-olds! Or have his tickets stolen by said 14-year-olds.

AND you didn't win a Whoopie Cushion.

You need to give it one more try.


I completely agree with *emily*. I hate Chuck E. Cheese. (I always wondered what the 'E' stood for, thank you for clarifying that for me, Amalah!) The last time I went, was for my oldest son's 4th birthday. He was FOUR for cryin' out loud and there were kids there who had to be at least 12 pushing him out of the way to play Whack-a-Mole. I have never seen so many rude, disrespectful, arrogant kids in one place in my entire life.

Maxine Dangerous

"This [the CEC toddler/parent hand stamp] program is not a substitute for adult supervision."

Well screw that! I'm definitely not having kids NOW. ;)

Poor kiddo. I'm with everyone on the over-stimulation thing. I went to a *mumblemumble*-year high school reunion two years ago at a CEC-type place (allegedly) for adults and I'm still emotionally scarred.

Kisses for the blond babelah! :)


Oh. My. Gawd. Their pizza is the worst. The WORST I tell you.

I love that you take a photo of him when he cries like that.

I thought 85 tickets would get you a Super Ball. Or those weird sticky things that you throw at the wall. And then they are supposed to "crawl" down or something.

Katie Kat

Okay, the crying face? And the brown cordouroy overalls ON the weeping toddler? TOOOOO CUTE FOR WORDZ OKTHXBAI.

I love how serious he is, like he runs the place. "Hey, you kids stop your running around all willy nilly! I will not stand for willy nilly-ness!" It's actually sweet how he likes to do the things that others overlook. He really loves detail and intricacies. He's gonna be... an arteeeeest!

And now, I must go pick up B from the daycare because they just called and said she threw up. Sigh. Guess my weekend's all SHOT TO HELL? ("Waiter? Bring me a glass, nay BOTTLE of wine... chop chop!!!")


Who's got the camel toe.


Those pictures just settled what I am eating for lunch...Noah, because he is delicious.

Chuck E Cheese is the root cause of all evil.


thora - check out Chuck's weird-hanging hiked-in-the-front shorts.


(Oh and for the record, usually I would NEVER mock my poor preshus child's pain...but I'd tried hugs and kisses and milks and I retrieved the plastic dinosaur four times and then after I realized he was INTENTIONALLY throwing the toy where he couldn't get it and THEN WAILING ABOUT IT, I decided there was nothing else to but snap a picture of the very dramatic proceedings.


That place scares me....and now that I know the pizza has a questionable aftermath forget it.


Dude! When did you come pick up my kid and take him to CEC? Because you just had the EXACT SAME experience as me and my 2 yo when we went.

No wonder my Riley was grumpy last night... he was feeling the residual effects. Why do we do this to our kids (no, ourselves! wait... no- our kids) anyways?


First picture: priceless.

I worked at Chuck E. Cheese in high school. FOR EIGHT MONTHS. I used to drop the birthday cakes on the floor (while still in the box!) because we couldn't serve them all smashy (no!) but we could certainly eat them. And if a kiddo even began to get weepy on me for wanting a toy out of his ticket range, I'd just give it to him/her. Oh, I'm going to be a splendid mom, am I not?

Also, I got food poisioning from the sausage pizza. But I'm sure it was a fluke. Probably also a fluke that the location shut down a year or so after I quit.

Marmite Breath (Nat)

You don't normally mock your kid's pain?

You need to work on that, then. It's one of the best parts of parenting a school-ager.

Or maybe I'm just a Queen Beeyatch.


Not only does the mouse have weird hanging shorts, but check out his foot. It REALLY IS camel-toe. heh

Also, not to be a dick, but 'the bends' is decompression sickness. How deep IS the ball pit at Chuck E Cheese???


Thankfully, the closet one is 3 hours from us. Thus we have only gone once. My kids still as to go when they see a commercial, though. (Also, when they were much younger, they used to call it Chuck E. Jesus. I still call it that.)


(not closet, but closest)


i got felt up for the first time in a booth at CEC...and no he was not wearing the costume. damn..that could be hot...


When I was in college I worked for a summer camp and after school program for elementary kids. We'd frequently take Chuck E Cheese field trips. I am having vivid flashbacks of a giant rat in sequins and kids crying because they ran out of tokens. Some of the kids would also walk around panhandling for more tokens.

That first pic of him crying.....is it wrong that it made me chuckle?


My friends and I thought it would be fun to go to Chuck E. Cheese while we were in college. Lord, what the hell were we drinking?
The pizza was good in a cardboardy sort of way though :)

Kelly J

I may or may not have audibly snorted multiple times while reading this...


We went to one birthday party there and I vowed never to return.
I felt like I needed a shot of penicillin when I left.


Camel Toe Dance Party? HAHA WTF! When we took the kids there they had a blast but we were too cheap to spend much on tokens since we bought all the pizza and drinks for everyone that went. It wasn't for a party or anything, just for something for the kids to do...It was nice but it was also EXPENSIVE! Next time, just us! Glad Noah had fun though! YAY!


I love in the 4th pic how he's watching the mouse with his hands behind his back - so introspective.


"Camel Toe Dance Party!" OMG, peed my pants! You were looking tooooo closely at that mouse/rat thing.

Fraulein N

Does Chuck E. Cheese still have ... that smell? (Also, will my mother ever stop referring to it as CHUNKY Cheese?)

I had to laugh at Noah's mild-mannered fun, because that was totally me as a little kid. No ... I'll just be over here in the corner ... no, I'm fine, really. Yes, alone. No, I don't want to go on any loud rides, thank you.


Wait till the next time you go. Just like the second chance he had with the blinky lights and the belly dancer. He'll get his groove on.

I love Chuck E. Cheese pizza. I'm always having "just one more slice" five slices later. They put something addictive in it, just like The Colonel.


Do you know if you hit the skeeball machine just the RIGHT way you can break your wrist too? Skip that fun part of Chuck E Cheese -- yeah it is one to miss!

I am still addicted to it though. It is BAAAAD.


next playdate, chuck e. cheese! Although mine doesn't have liquor.


Treat yourself to this book.

"We're Just Like You, Only Prettier"

Celia Rivenbark.

Then read this chapter first.

"Chuck E. Cheese's: Where a Kid Can Be A Kid While Mommie Gets Hammered on Watered Down Bud Light"

It is a freaking SCREAM.


Now that is funny! I almost peed in my pants at the "Camel Toe Dance Party" comment.


Dude, and I thought I was the only one that Chuck E. F-ing Cheese made cry.

Noah. I feel you. Just make sure you don't look the rat in the eyes and you'll make it out just fine. Trust me.


Is he.. Is he clutching his hands behind his back? That's too cute by far.


And here I was thinking Chuck E. Cheese was a burger place with really cheesy burgers.


"apparently the games all shoot out a strip of tickets when they get turned on (dirty!)"

That one came really close to making me laugh so hard coffee came out my nose.

Antique Mommy

Sean was exactly like that when he was two - totally freaked out by all the stuff the other kids thought was fun. He's almost four and still won't go into the McDonald play tubes. We took him to Sea World and he mostly enjoyed the parking stumps.


That place always made me squirm. I hope you brought along plenty of HAND SANITIZER.

Lisa M

I have, thus far, never stepped foot in a CEC. Luck? Fate? Good Planning on my part? Well....

Scattered Mom

I rarely give unsolicited advice, but consider this a warning from a mom of a kid with sensory difficulities:

If he hated Chuck E Cheese that much, don't even CONSIDER Disneyland. (at least not until he's older) :P

Just...don't. LOLOLOL!


If you had to guess at how many pictures of noah you have, what would you venutre?

Lyssa Ireland Thomas

I've said it before and I'll say it again... somebody's gotta open a Valium Store next to Chuck E. Cheese's!


I am so dreading the first trip (and every subsequent trip) to Chuck E. Cheese. I think we have a few months before an opportunity even arises, but oh my. Unless they get a liquor license, it's going to be painful!

What food establishment chooses a rat as it's mascot?? Seriously.

Lyssa Ireland Thomas

I've said it before and I'll say it again... somebody's gotta open a Valium Store next to Chuck E. Cheese's!


OHMYGOD, does your CEC not have the entire band anymore? With the terrifying gorilla that only plays the piano half the time, and the other half stares with empty eyes through your soul?

Visit YouTube and search Chuck E Cheese. People are buying up the bands and reprogramming them in their garages to sing stuff like Vanilla Ice. It's totally worth ten minutes.


It's tripping me out that Chuck E Cheese is now semi-officially abbreviated as CEC. I must be the last to know.

And the picture of Camel Toe Dance Party USA is a winner. What is going on with those shorts that kind of look like a dress? Awesome!


I would call this a score. For lots of us, Suck E Cheese is something they continually beg and pine for. Give him time though, at 2 my kids would have freaked too. They still hid from the mouse at birthday parties at 5.

Sarah sensiblysassy.blogspot.com

ahhh good ole Charles E Queso. Always starts out with fun and good intentions but always ends in tears-always


You are hilarious.

I have been there and done that. We spent 36 dollars and got two slinkys. ;)



I'm with Noah, Chuck E Cheese is purgatory. He's a wise one at the wipe old age of two.


This is perhaps WAY off topic, but I find it interesting that the mouse is wearing what looks like a Chicago Bears jersey. We used to go to Showbiz Pizza (in Chicago) in lieu of CEC when I was a kid. Soooo long ago. :)


Ah, Chucky Cheese, the land of sugar addictions, pepperoni and pedophiles. Has a nice ring, eh?
The singing rat always scared me.


First- I am so glad I'm not the only one to take pictures of my crying children. I resort to picture-taking when really, there isn't anything else to do. People usually think I'm mean...those are the same people who think I'm mean for laughing at my child who trips over nothing and does a spread-eagle ker-SPLAT onto the soft grass. Weird people.

Second- Noah is SO FREAKING CUTE. I love how serious he is...probably because my little 2-year-old is a serious one, too. There's just something about serious 2-year-olds that tug at the heartstrings.

Third (and final, I swear): Two is cute, I swear. Even with the dropping on purpose and crying and OMG I WANT IT BAAAAACK (so I can throw it again and see mommy do tricks! Whee!) Three? SUCKS. But four gets better.


that place totally turns me into a skeeball FREAK. it's sad, really...


too cute! well, the deliberate toy tossing not so cute, but kind of funny. :)
Gavin used to freak out about rides at the mall or Toys R Us, so we just save our change and he'd sit on them all happy. We haven't tried again since he's been three...maybe it's just a "2" thing.
Either way, your boy is awful cute with his serious attention to those toys! ;)


OMG leandra! I remember showbiz pizza! I can even sing the jingle if you asked...it was a great place until that effing rat ran Billy Bob out'a there.


I get the bends just thinking about CEC. ;-)


Best. Post. Ever. All of the pictures are so cute--I especially love the one of Noah watching from a safe distance. :)


Skeeball is the best game ever. Even though I suck hairy balls at it.


Just wanted to thank you for the photos, since my 4 year old caught a glimpse of the animatronic Chuck E. Cheese and ran off babbling and hysterical. It appears we are now reliving the "Great Animatronic Puppet Terror of Aught Seven."


My friend took my son to Chuck E. Cheese. Because I. won't. go. period. I've never been and plan on keeping it that way. He had a great time (I think he was 7 at the time). He probably would have hated it at 2. Too much going on. Too loud.


Wow! All those prizes for a mere two-hundred dollars?


There is NO SHAME in bogarting your kids' tokens and racking up tickets with them by playing skeeball. Especially as we're better than they are! I'm currently mentoring my six-year-old in the awesome craft of skeeball mastery.


durr, i guess i should feel bad now that you guys didn't make it to M's Chuck E. Cheese extravaganza? but no. i won't. i refuse to live a life filled with bitterness and resentment. (okay, a life filled with resentment -- i'm definitely filled with a baseline of bitterness anyway.)


don't cha just love that little germ pit with the smiling rat??!! i took my son a couple weeks ago and we scored a whopping 15 tickets!! just enough for a tootsie roll. he's 2. half a tootsie roll (well, i couldn't give him the whole thing!!) = a day of satisfaction for him.


This post makes me happy in that now I don't feel like my kid is the only one that freaks out if the rides are not stationary. I bet Aiden and Noah would have a grand time playing together since you described our adventures to Ratland to a T.

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