I felt like an evil hag recently when I took six weeks to set up a playdate with another mother who had left me several notes and messages. I felt guilty because six weeks seems unreasonable. I felt guilty because she was trying so hard to be nice and I was just lazy and forgetful.
When we finally got on the phone to schedule the playdate, she picked the new Harry Potter book opening weekend. My guilt made me agree. That and my inability to admit to another grown woman that I wanted to stay home and read a children's book instead. My selfless generosity was rewarded by the universe because she ended up having to reschedule. Except what the universe giveth, the universe taketh away. Because the next weekend she wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese with the kids. My lingering guilt made me feel obligated to agree to that too.
My husband immediately assumed she'd never been there before. He figures every other parent must hate Chuck E. Cheese as much as we do. The noise. The children running around unattended. The overpriced games that last roughly fifteen seconds per token. It's not that we're just total joy killers. We do plenty of other fun things with our kids. Like playgrounds and zoos and swimming. We even let them run amok in the Wal-Mart toy aisle.
But we're not into Chuck E. Cheese. Seriously. Have you been there on Saturday? There are like 97 birthday parties going on at any one time. It's wall to wall people. I asked some wench if we could borrow one of the chairs from her kid's party table and she acted reluctant to part with it. I guess she thought that chair was singlehandedly holding up the huge pile of presents in front of it. Or maybe she thought all the kids at her party were going to simultaneously clone themselves three times and she'd suddenly be out of chairs. I took her chair despite the potentially dire consequences.
My husband exhibited world class patience entertaining our 18 month old at the table while I followed two three year olds from game to game handing out tokens. My daughter's favorite part was the slide. Nevermind the fact that they have that at the playground for free. Nevermind that McDonald's has it too and they even air condition the place and sell soft serve ice cream cones for $1. But whatever. We came. We saw. We hope to never have to go again. I'm sure that means we'll be back next week.
The other mother seems to love Chuck E. Cheese. She's really sweet and followed her kid around the entire time. She even walked over and stood immediately in front of the slide while my husband and I opted to watch from a distance. We may or may not have used the word "hover" to describe that choice but she's still super, super nice. And the kids had a great time. And at least the bathrooms were clean.