Since I spent the first eight years of motherhood in a really unique situation, there are many standard parenting experiences that I am now getting to try for the first time. One of those happened this week. Our first trip to Chuck E. Cheese.

I would like to go on record here as stating that this is the biggest racket I have ever seen in my life!! Where else can you take your family for a meal and pay $33 for a pizza that tastes more like the boxes that the frozen variety come in at the grocery store, and desperately collect tickets in order to get "prizes" even more cheap and flimsy than those toys that come out of the machines in the front of stores for a quarter!! When my husband came back from the counter and told me that in order to add some semblance of nutrition to our dinner by ordering salads, this childhood-mob-controlled "fun" place wanted $4.99 EACH for a salad bar that consisited of bagged salad mix, some of those processed 'baco' bits, and three (I am not kidding) choices of salad dressing!

When my nephew was little, I was horrified to discover that my brother and sister-in-law had actually told their kids that Chuck E. Cheese had burned down, and they could no longer go. I thought that was the worst parenting technique I had ever heard of. Well, I owe them an apology, because now my eyes have been opened, and I can begin to understand why they would be driven to such a deception.

I fervently hope that Carissa promptly forgot that place as soon as we walked out of there. Otherwise we may have to call her Uncle Rick and have him tell her his Chuck E. Cheese story!



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