Thursday, February 20, 2014

At the party place

Biscuit has been invited to several birthday parties for his friends at day care - boys and girls. But until this past weekend, he hasn't wanted to go to any.

And of course, he had to pick the one party at Chuck E. Cheese's.

For the lucky souls who haven't been exposed to this place, it's like a wild west town for the 4- to 10-year-old lot. There are video games, animatronic animal musicians, flashing lights, loud music, cardboard pizza, soft drinks and plenty of room for the kids to run amok.

When we arrived, we went to the table to shed coats, claim a spot and grab a cup of game tokens for Biscuit. And in talking with the others, we realized that Biscuit was the only one who hadn't visited this place before.

I wish I could've videotaped Biscuit's face the whole time. He didn't talk a lot. And he had this look of concentration, like he was just taking it all in.

We walked over to the game area just as one of Biscuit's day care friends was coming in with his mom. She was as white as a sheet and said she had been sick all morning. So she asked if we could keep an eye on her son while she went to her car and took a nap.

The little boy and Biscuit have known each other since Biscuit's previous day care. And although they have completely different personalities, they seem to get along well.

They both enjoyed these simulator rides where you sit in a chair and watch a video screen, and the chair moves in reaction to whatever is on the screen. One of the programs was a runaway mine car, and when it turn hard to the right, the chair leaned. And when the mine car ran over a bumpy spot, the chair shook. Both boys loved it.

We also found a game where each boy could hold a fire hose and try to douse the fire on the game's screen. It looked like the boys were firefighters walking through a mansion that was on fire. They had to put out the flames in the entry way, then the living room, the the dining room.

Biscuit's friend said, "I never liked firefighters before, but this is really cool!"

He might be converted to a new career aspiration.

For the party part, the kids sit at long tables for pizza and soft drinks. Biscuit doesn't like soft drinks, so when I saw one of the cups with water in it, I swapped out his cup for that one. 

But I was wrong. Biscuit took a big sip, made the worst face, and said, "Mom, that is NOT water!"

It was Sprite. And now I know that Biscuit doesn't like Sprite, either! Jeff got him some tea, and everything was fine after that.

A guy in a big mouse costume came out to sing and dance with the birthday kids. And it was plural. There were four other parties going on at the same time as they one we were attending.

Biscuit was still just staring, soaking it all in.

I walked over to him and said, "Are you having a good time?"

"Yes ma'am," Biscuit said.

"You know you can smile if you're having fun, right?" I teased him.

He gave me a half-smile and said, "Mom, there is a lot going on in here. It's REALLY loud."

"If you want to go home, just let me know," I said. But apparently, it wasn't THAT loud!

Jeff said, "You know he's going to talk about this for three days, don't you?"

But surprisingly, he hasn't said a single word about it. I'm not sure if the whole experience was just too overwhelming or if the just the opposite and the whole experience was underwhelming.

I'd be fine never having to return to Chuck E. Cheese's, but it'll be interesting to see if Biscuit mentions it again.

One thing that was funny ... as I looked around at the other parents, I realized that Jeff and I are old. The parents of Biscuit's buddies are all at least 10 years younger than us.

"We better get used to it," Jeff said.

Here are some pictures:

On the simulator ride, the chair moves to make you
feel like you're doing whatever is on the screen.

If we stood behind the chair, we could look at the
TV screen on top and see their facial expressions.

Look at my monkey up in the cage.

This boy was born to be a firefighter!

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