Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Confession, and A Birthday to Remember

The last month has been a blur, as the holiday season always is for mothers, and especially when you are a mother to a child with a December birthday.  For the first couple of weeks of December, I was very much still in recovery mode from my horrible skin affliction, and in my weakened state, I did something that I am very much ashamed of.


I celebrated Alex's 6th birthday at Chuck E Cheese, in all its middle America, plastic, and Made in China glory.   


I fully support your decision to unfollow me, delete me, unfriend me, or use any other tool of social media to denounce me as a result of this embarrassing deed.  Of course, all the kids loved every minute of it, from the electronic games, the winning tickets, and the redeeming tickets for...put simply, a bunch of crap.

One of the highlights of being a birthday kid was participating in the 'Ticket Blaster' experience, where you get one minute inside a special wind-tunnel booth to grab as many tickets as you can as they blow around you.  Some of them are mega-tickets, worth 50, 100, or 500 tickets.  Alex, being the wily kid he is, craftily bent down and shoveled a hearty handful of the mega tickets that were still on the ground as the measly single tickets floated around him.  He amassed well over 1000 tickets this way and was able to redeem them for the veritable Holy Grail of Chuck E Cheese prizes--a gumball machine (made of plastic, of course).

Aside from my snobbish aversion to the Chuck E Cheese experience, it just really isn't a good place for a birthday party.  The individual nature of the games means that the kids are all milling about and playing, but not really interacting with each other at all.  The formulaic method the Chuck E Cheese strategists have set up to get the most bang for their party buck is to line up eight or so long tables and hold multiple parties simultaneously (even down to all singing Happy Birthday to multiple birthday kids at the same time) makes for a very impersonal experience.  Again, all of this was lost on Alex, who seemed to have a ball wearing his inflatable crown decorated with tokens.  I know, I know--the point of a birthday party is for the kid to have a good time, so mission accomplished.  But mark my words, there will not be another Tunheim child celebrating his birthday party at Chuck E Cheese.  I can already foresee the time spent on a therapist's couch as a result, but that's just the way it's going to be.

taken from the wall at his school--he could be
Sam in this picture; I love it.  And I love him.

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