Chuck E. Cheese Lessons

Chuck E. Cheese has a lot to offer. I didn’t always feel that way. Before I was a parent, I was an uncle. I went to the occasional Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. Kids running around, elevated noise level, and large rodent wandering the premises: no thanks.

Well, things change. My children love Chuck E. Cheese! Reasonably priced, seating and Wifi – Daddy doesn’t mind it either. So, off to Chucky we went to kill a couple of hours (it is an in between week you know – http://memyselfandkids.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/in-between-week/). I don’t like saying that. I believe that time is limited and should be savored. Anyway, I gained much more from the trip to Chucky Cheese than simply a pleasant diversion.

Prior to leaving BR, my 8 year-old, was scouring his closet. He was certain he had tokens and ticket vouchers from previous visits.

“Daddy, I found tokens, but I think I have more. Can you please help me look?”

“Okay.” I begin looking in the top shelf of his closet but do not see anything. “Nothing there.”

“Move the bear and the piggy bank.”

“Wait, here’s something,” I hand it to him.

“Daddy, it’s a token. Look, it’s a Chuck E. Cheese token.”

“I see that,” I grin slightly, trying to share in his enthusiasm.

He runs over to the plastic bag with other tokens. “I’ve got 19 tokens. Look, the coupon is for 83 tickets!”

When we get to Chuck E. Cheese, I purchase $10 worth of tokens and give BR some (the remainder go to SY – more on him later). He immediately runs off, cup of tokens in hand. Side note – one more thing I like about Chuck E. Cheese is that they stamp your hand as you walk in as a form of security to ensure groups exit together. So, the kids might get away, but they are not getting out.

BR returns to me later proud of his haul of newly won tickets. When I ask him how he got so many tickets, he tells me his M.O. He found the games that give the most tickets and plays them exclusively. He asks me to hold his tickets and stalks out more ticket-producing entertainment. When the tokens run out, he pleads for more, ready to forego ice cream (our usual method of persuading the boys to leave C.E.C.). I oblige.

Ultimately, BR ends up with over 300 tickets. He looks over his options for overpriced prizes (kind of like they used to do on Wheel of Fortune. I’ll have a deck of cards for $50, a one-year subscription to the fruit of the month club for $499…). He ultimately decides to retain his vouchers, determining that the available prizes are not worth his stash. I buy him ice cream anyway.

Back to SY. Ignoring his brother’s advice to check his closet for tokens and vouchers, SY runs out to the car and buckled himself in. When we arrived at Chuck E. Cheese, SY asks me to hold his tokens – not realizing that BR had more – and wanders off to the climbing area. He climbs up and down the structure a few times – looking out occasionally to ensure I was in the neighborhood. We exchange smiles, and he continues. From there, he makes his way to a game he has enjoyed in the past. It’s a simulated roller coaster that gives no tickets. We ride it together four times. After his usual stab at a driving game that he can’t control and provides no tickets, we find a few other games he likes. He plays and moves on. When BR comes by looking for a token, he gives him one (he has already given me two – I like the sports games).

SY cashes out his tickets, proud that his voucher reads 21. We go over to the prize area and SY picks out stickers. He instructs me to hold them and promptly forgets all about them. He enjoys his favorite ice cream – ices actually. By the time we are home he must go directly to the bathtub as he as worn as much as he has eaten.

With our visit over, Chuck E. Cheese has served it’s purpose. We have enjoyed a couple of hours. And I have learned more about my children.

BR – goal oriented, delays gratification, takes readily.

SY – fun oriented, easily gratified, shares readily.

Thanks, Chuck.

34 thoughts on “Chuck E. Cheese Lessons

  1. While I love your story and take on the place, I once went to ChuckECheese when my boy was young, and as we were eating pizza at the table, I noticed the lady at the table next to us was… Plucking her chin hairs… With a mirror and tweezers… At the table. We played the games and had a blast, but it kind of scarred my husband and I (because of course I couldn’t let him miss out on seeing what I was seeing…) and we haven’t been back since.

  2. Hi,
    Great for BR! I like that kid! It was hard for me to learn delayed gratification, but I did. And delayed grantification is best learned in your childhood. Right now for example, I want a MacAir. I could get one on credit, all the people I know are doing it, but I want to pay cash for mine. So, I will do without until I have my hard earned cash. I love your blog and your descriptions of your family. It reminds me so much of myself and my own family. We didn’t have the world, but we had each other.
    Nice article.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

  3. It is so fun to watch your kids reactions to the world around them. When we took our boys to the children’s museum it highlighted how different they are, oldest dashed from one activity to another, busily taking in all the options before he settled on hanging out longer at a few. Youngest stopped immediately at the beginning and wanted to play in the first exhibit the entire time. I had to convince him that there was more to do after about 30 minutes. Luckily, both my husband and I went so we could divide and conquer and allow them to explore at their own pace.

  4. You almost lost me at the title. I stopped breathing a bit when I read, Chuck E. Cheese. I have not been there in years and hope I never will again, but alas I have a five year old starting school. Wonderful how a fun outing makes you aware of the boy’s differences. I am a fourth child. SY’s personality is mine. Fun is always on my adgenda.

  5. Sounds like your boys have it all together and know who they are deep down. Funny how little kids can boil down all the issues into a few sentences. Looks like you and the Mrs. are doing a super job with the children. Do you see yourself in either one of the boys? I think it is fun to see the characteristics of my children in my grandchildren.

    I’ve never been to a Chuckie Cheese place. When our Crystal was small enough to enjoy something like that, we were living abroad. She was learning to love fish and chips in London, stir fry noodles in Hong Kong, and Kumara potatoes in New Zealand. Not to mention the food from every place we traveled while abroad. (She still won’t eat peanut butter or mac and cheese, she thinks it is disgusting.)

      • Peanut butter is disgusting and putting it on bread with jelly is even more gross to her. However, she loves eating Congi (rice porridge) with either savory or sweet in it. Go figure. And she likes to eat those hot Chinese snacks too. Blech! She loves pasta, but will not touch mac and cheese! However, give her macaroni with a bit of olive oil, garlic, and basil on it, and she will scarf it up. I guess it all depends on what they liked as a child.

  6. My own children love Chuck E Cheese, but this is not my favorite place. I think that if 1) I was deaf or 2) they would turn down the blasted music it might be more pleasant.
    But I’ll try to look for something positive the next time we’re there, thanks to you. 🙂

  7. I like Chuck E. Cheese for my kids too. Especially the security part where they can’t leave without me. It’s neat that you got some insight into your sons’ personalities from a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Did you know that they are replacing the giant rodent with a new mascot? Can’t remember what though.

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