There are no thumbs up for Chuck E. Cheese here.
When we were in Texas we decided a nice air conditioned activity would be to visit CEC. James had never been there and was MEGA WAY OVER THE TOP EXCITED when we told him we were going. Papa even decided to go with us. Yay! We thought we were all jumping in the minivan to provide James with a one of a kind special experience. The one of a kind special experience we had was probably the most traumatic thing that James has gone through since exiting the womb.
He was fine when we got our hands stamped and ordered pizza and got drinks. His beautiful long lashed eyes were all aglow as we walked through the maze of games and rides. And then it was all over. James spotted him. Yes, him. The 10 foot tall furry rodent staring at him dancing mechanically like the tin man on a stage. James stopped dead in his tracks and could not even say a word. We picked a table to sit at and we led James by the shoulders to sit down because he had his eyes focused on the mechanical monstrosity. He still hadn't said anything and his mouth had been hanging open so long that he had probably begun to drool.
All of a sudden he snapped into life and said repeatedly, "I don't want to see that. I don't want to see that. I don't want to see that." We turned his chair and we thought he was ok, but he continued with the whole slack jaw stare thing. Papa cut up pieces of pizza and put them in his mouth and he just sat there mechanically chewing. (I know it's sounds terrible but Ben and I thought this was all terribly entertaining, especially since James isn't even fond of pizza.)
We sat there and ate for a few minutes more and then I saw HIM coming. Yes, him. The man who comes out every hour dressed up like Chuck E Cheese. We had spent the last 20 minutes convincing James that CEC on the stage was a machine and would not come get him. And here comes trouble, BIG FURRY TROUBLE. Before I could jump up and warn him not to come near us he made his way over. I wish I could convey James' reaction. It wasn't a scream or a cry, but he looked up, saw CEC standing right next to him, and it was one of those moments that would have brought us $10,000 on America's Funniest Home Videos. He startled, just about fell out of his chair and started the whole "I don't want to see him!" thing again. I have to credit the man-CEC for his very rapid backward stepping tiptoe departure. I thought we were going to have to leave before spending any tokens.
However, James was wa-ay excited when Ben proposed that they go play games and ride the rides. He looked around continuously to make sure no CEC was near him and then went on with his business. We won lots of tickets and got him some fun little prizes. We thought all the trauma had been forgotten. How stupid are we.
For the next week. And I mean 7 days, people, James said the words Chuck E Cheese and Chuck E Cheese's approximately 30,000,000,000 times. It was like this:
"We went to see a mouse named Chuck E Cheese at a Place called Chuck E Cheese's. He lives there. It is a machine. Sometimes it is a man in a costume. He dances like this. [does demo of mechanical dance] I don't like Chuck E Cheese. Chuck E Cheese wears clothes that are purple and red. I don't like Chuck E Cheese. I only liked the games. I don't like Chuck E Cheese. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese." Etc. Granny was pretty sure we needed to get the kid in therapy.
Anyone who came by the house was subjected to his narrative about CEC. He'd tell people at the grocery store, church, on the sidewalk. Wherever. Then after about a week the story changed and he LOVED Chuck E Cheese. Was really excited about it, talked positively about the whole thing. Granny felt tons better and we regained our sanity about having to hear him repeat everything a million times a day. Things sounded so great that Granny and Papa decided to take him again before we returned home. Two days before our departure they told him, "Hey James, we're going to go to Chuck E Cheese today!"
Long story short, we didn't make it back to CEC. It was a major "NO I DON'T WANT TO GO!" I don't know why I'm bummed out that he doesn't want to go back to the land of gross expensive pizza and ridiculous games and cheap prizes, but I kinda am. C'est la vie, right? I don't see Disney anywhere in our near future, either ;)