The other day I had a craving.  I crave things often.  It’s basically how I meal plan:

I have to have steak tonight.  I need chocolate…NOW.  I am craving scallops SO BAD. I’m jonesing for a salad.  Just a giant, crunchy salad, you know? (I almost never say that  one, actually.)  My body wants bacon.  Pull over; let’s buy some bacon.

My poor family is just along for a food coma-inducing ride.  Until they figure out their way around I guess they are at my mercy though.

In any event, this wasn’t even a food craving.  I just get easily distracted by words like ‘crave’ that I associate with food.  Sorry.

No, I was craving nature.  The good old outdoors.  Some trees.  Air that you want to breath deeply into your lungs.   An animal or two that isn’t carrying some type of nasty Mc’Nastiness Disease Of Filth.

We have done lots of farm visits and excursions before and I had the urge to go back to one we had already visited, called Stone Barns.  I tried to get the boys pumped about this plan, but they weren’t in the mood.

Plus, it was dark and gloomy outside.  Okay, maybe they’re right – we should save it for a sunny day.  While I researched other excursion options that had indoor activities, I kept having to swat away this annoying little buzzing in my ear.  It went something like this:


Ugh. Carlitos, how do you even know what Chuck E Cheese’s is?

My friend, Alex, he went there and he played games and he got MONSTER TEETH.

I looked on Yelp to make sure there hadn’t been any recent brawls or killings at our nearest Chuck E Cheese.  Nope.  Just weird adults leaving real reviews with big words and loads of pretentiousness about the cardboard quality of their pizza.

Seriously?  You live in NYC and likely even in Brooklyn.  Don’t ever, ever, ever go to Chuck E Cheese’s for pizza.  Especially if you don’t have kids in tow.  That just makes you dumb and creepy.

Anyway, once I finished double checking that we probably wouldn’t die there, I told the boys that we could go.  They crapped their pants and died.

The irony.

They died of excitement, guys, excitement.  Dunwurryahboudit.

No, I have no idea why this post is going so hard core Brooklyn.  It just feels right. Go with it.

So we went to Chuck E Cheese and guess what?  It was un-friggin-believable. Fuggetaboutit. Unreals.

Seriously, it was really fun.  But of course, there were moments.  You know, like when we first arrived and Carlitos and I immediately had to pee so I asked Xavi to hold the tokens WITH BOTH HANDS SO THEY DON’T DROP, OKAY XAVI? TWO HANDS. HOLD ON TIGHT.  BATHROOMS ARE DIRTY, XAVI.  CHUCK E CHEESE BATHROOMS ARE SOMETHING EVEN WORSE THAN DIRTY. DO NOT DROP THEM!

What? You mean, like, don’t do this, Mommy?  Is this what I shouldn’t do?  You sure? I’m just going to let go anyway and see what happens, okay?  You don’t mind picking up 50 tokens from the floor behind a toilet in Chuck E Cheese, right?  I mean you do love us, don’t you?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Things obviously got better from there.  I mean, how could they get worse? I guess Carlitos could have gone up to the giant, dancing rat and licked him or something, but that was unlikely.  It took us four years to convince him it is okay to play in mud and use finger paint.

That Yelp review was totally right – the pizza does taste like cardboard.  And even watered down, the fruit punch had an effect on the boys similar to crack, it was that sweet, but honestly?  Isn’t that the point?  To be clear: If you take a girl on a date to Chuck E Cheese in an earnest, rather than playful way, your calendar will be wide open afterward, leaving you time to write verbose and obnoxious reviews on Yelp.  There won’t be a second date.

While Carlitos wanted to do all three ‘motion rides,’ Xavi pretty much just ‘tolerated’ rather than ‘enjoyed’ any game that didn’t involve balls.

This was more Xavi’s speed. Although that poor dog would starve to death if it was up to 2-year-olds to ‘feed’ him.  That is one lonely ball in his hungry mouth.

My personal favorite part?  The row of miniature toilets.  I’m sorry, but they are the cutest thing ever.  Not that I would let me child sit on one without seven layers of toilet paper, but still, super cute.  Good one, Chuck.

You thinking what I’m thinking?  Yup, here is your Christmas card 2012 preview.

After playing 50 tokens and even getting a 150 ticket strand from an employee because one game stole our tokens, we still only had 186 tickets. Which earns you…a tattoo. Like, the kind you can buy for 25 cents in the little machine at your local pizza parlor.  Actually, we did have enough for two pairs of ‘monster teeth’ which are actually glow in the dark vampire teeth.  And have been used exactly, ohhhh…NONE times since that day.

Fortunately, they did make for some fantastic photo ops.

Awesome.  If there is anything I want more than my 2-year-old putting plastic, glow in the dark, Made in China objects in his mouth, it’s having him chew on them.  It clearly made him smarter already – upside down AND inside out! Impressive, Xavi!

Is it just me or does it seem like these magical chompers made Carlitos smarter, too?

Okay, honestly, he clearly has his YA fiction series confused.  These are vampire teeth, Carlitos not zombie teeth.  Silly.

I can admit that all three of us had so much fun.  And we didn’t even get Coxsackie or pink eye or anything else body-ravaging and completely disgusting!

However, I still totally made the boys then go shopping with me in the mall attached to Chuck E Cheese’s, while looking at their plastic teeth, raising my eyebrows and saying, “Didn’t mommy take you to Chuck E Cheese’s today?” any time there were complaints.  By the end of the day Carlitos was saying he never wanted to go to Checker Cheeziz every again if it meant shopping afterward.  Unintentional score by mommy! Oh yeah!

Seriously, on the car ride home he grumpily said that it had been “the smallest day ever.”  I then listed everything we had done that day: played games at Chuck E Cheese’s, ate pizza, won prizes, bought him a moon sand construction set (don’t EVER do this if you value clean floors, by the way), and bought him new sneakers he wanted.

His response? You bought me sneakers first and then the moon sand.  You have it in the wrong order, mommy.


Actually, I’m never speechless.  What I really did was remind him that his days usually just consist of the playground and some Diego.  Games, prizes, pizza, a dancing rat, new sneakers and a toy?  What could be better?  Plus, mommy is in a good mood from buying shoes which happens exactly twice a year.  And mommy in a good mood is always in your best interest, kiddo.

Frankly, I would say this was the winningest day ever.  Perhaps I’ll be the one screaming for CHECKER CHEEZIZ the next time we have a free rainy day.  If we can get enough tickets to win two more ‘monster teeth’ for my husband and I we may truly have this year’s Christmas card done way ahead of time.  Super win.

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11 Responses to Winning

  1. Zoë says:

    The pizza really isn’t that bad, honestly. I had some at a birthday party last summer. It’s edible. It’s not gourmet, obviously, and was frozen probably until 10 min before it is served, but whatevs if the kids eat it.

    I do wonder when kids realize that bathroom floors are pretty gross. Rafa (in a fit of fury) busted open his raisin container in the bathroom at the Y and was beside himself as I tossed the raisins in the garbage. At least he loves to wash his hands.

    The part of your story that I find shocking is that you were able to buy a pair of shoes while with your two kids. HOW? Was X straight-jacketed in a stroller? C holding his hands in his pockets? Both my kids are way to grabby for that kind of excursion.

  2. Julie says:

    This made me laugh so hard I almost wet my pants.
    Best Mother’s Day Blog ever written.

  3. Zoë – I agree the pizza was edible…in fact we ate the whole thing! It was better than actual cardboard; I will give it that.

    Expert parenting tip: If you lay a blanket over your child in the stroller nobody can even tell you’ve got him in a pint-sized straight jacket. No need to worry about anyone calling CPS!

    Seriously, xavi passed out by store number two and I had him in the stroller. Carlitos held it together, using every fiber of his being, because he was getting a moons and construction set if he was good the whole time. (on clearance at Daffy’s for $7.99! Totally worth it to be able to buy clothing that isn’t circa 2003.).

    You guys should join us next time!!

  4. Julie – what a compliment! There are a ton of Mother’s Day blog posts, that’s for sure.

    I hope you didn’t end up peeing your pants. That’s the worst. I may know from experience…

  5. Nina says:

    hilarious. i love reading your blog at work…with the door open. everyone thinks i am nuts for laughing out loud (and they’re right!). there is a c.e.c. by the mall and each time we venture to the mall, brooklynn reminds me… at least you took them there first! our mall outings don’t always end in c.e.c fun (or start there, for that matter). you are a great mom (not joking) and i hope you had a wonderful mother’s day!!

  6. Nina – First of all, thank you. You are an excellent mom, too and I hope your mother’s day was everything you wanted! You need to bring that little doll to her namesake borough more often so she can hang out with the boys!

    I am so happy that you read it at all! Let alone at work! Let alone with the door open so everyone can ask you what you are doing and why you sound crazy and then you can pass along my URL and then I can be fammmmmoooouuuuusssss. Seriously, so happy about that. 🙂 Thank you.

    ps. CEC needs to be doled out very, very carefully and with much caution. It MUST remain a Special Treat. I mean, we are taking a chance on getting some sort of ‘fecal matter to face’ illness each time and our luck can only hold out for so long….

  7. Monica says:

    That Christmas card picture is klassic!

  8. Monica – Your use of the letter K is KLASSIC! 😉

    And be ready for your Christmas 2012 card! I expect it to be displayed prominently!

  9. Denise Grassart says:

    Ah, the pictures. Oh, the text. Your kids have a future in the theater, and you have a future in the press. This piece cries out for a “made for Mommies” column or book.

  10. Denise – I like the rhythm of your comment, too! 🙂 Thanks so much for the compliments and support. Perhaps I will just have to write my own book at some point…

  11. […] my life.  Yes, keep in mind that I said ‘affected my life.’ Here’s the thing, I tend to eat based on cravings (even when not pregnant) and I was craving a burger.  It was a Sunday so we looked up places in […]

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