Dealing With the Mean, Older Girls at Chuck E. Cheese

Categories: Parenting

Lynda Rouner
The Wife With One F just started her last semester of nursing school, and this generally entails me taking my four-year-old daughter out somewhere in order to keep her occupied while my wife pursues the fine art of keeping people alive. Despite the nice weather, I decided to fuel our recent addiction to Chuck E. Cheese.

I never went to a Chuck E. Cheese when I was a kid, though I seem to have a vague memory of ShowBiz Pizza and the brilliance of the Rock-afire Explosion. Side note, the history and eventual dismantling of the animatronic band is actually really fascinating and deserves a VH1 Behind the Music. Yes I'm serious. My original point, though, is that these past few trips have been my first real experience in the realm of giant-rat-hosted pizza and gaming establishments.

Frankly, I think Chuck E. Cheese is awesome. Thirty dollars will net you 150 tokens, which can keep you busy all day long or can be taken home for another trip the following weekend. All the attractions use just one token to play, and if the gouging you take at the ticket redemption booth isn't any better than a roadside carnival, it's at least no worse. The food is meh, but I eat turkey bacon in hot dog buns and drink vodka mixed with Kroger-brand Coke Zero, so what the hell do I know about food?

There are even free attractions like a fairly large tube maze and slide. The one near my house actually has its own air-conditioning system just for the tubes. I'm more impressed by that than almost any other advancement in the world of childhood whimsy. It was this structure my daughter darted to first, and I contented myself checking Facebook and keeping an eye on her through various portholes in the tube maze.

Usually it's pretty deserted because the same attraction that is housed outside a McDonald's looks pretty pedestrian next to Skee ball and air hockey. Plus, children can always sense when they're not costing you money, and it itches at the very depth of their souls.

Not this time, though. This time the tube maze was housing a group of girls frankly too big to be in something designed for kids seven and under. They looked somewhere between nine and 11, and had their own smart phones. Being that I use my own kid as an excuse to enter every ball pit and bouncy castle I can, I didn't think much of it. Besides that, The Kid With One F is an extreme extrovert who never leaves a gathering without a new best friend.

The older girls were doing what older kids do: finding a spot away from parental supervision and presuming to act whatever they considered to be extremely mature for their age. I would see my daughter's little blond head go bouncing after them whenever they would move to a new spot, and waved when she pointed me out to her new friends. Everyone seemed to be getting along perfectly for the 20 minutes that she was up there.

Then, I was sitting with my back against a support near the slide -- which was the only exit -- when she came barreling out of the plastic tube.

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Erin Lucas
Erin Lucas

That's when you avoid this place like the plague on the weekends and only go during the weekday before 4 to avoid all the trashy crowds. This place should hand out Xanax to the parents at the door. The WSJ said you are more likely to get into a fight here than at a biker biker as momma and poppa bear instincts run high.


Kids that act like little shits grow up to be anonymous Internet commenters. Hey there, dicks.


There is actually a documentary about the rise and eventual dismantling of the Rockafire Explosion band in Showbiz Pizza, AND it was made by two Houston filmmakers. I was actually involved in the production of the film (my ex was one of the filmmakers), and it's a great story!


So your daughter learned that everyone has to be friends with her or Daddy will yell at them? That she has a right to other people's attention?

Your righteous indignation over these other little girls being where *you* decided they shouldn't be rings a little hollow in light of the fact that you weren't where *you* should've been - interacting with your kid and supervising her play with older kids more closely.

JefWithOneF topcommenter

@Dancerkd99 First of all, it's an enclosed tube maze. Unless I'm following her like a gerbil through it I was watching as closely as I could possibly have done so.

Second of all, it's an attraction designed for little kids to run around in. Not big kids to set up shop and rule over. Now, what do we call it when those who are bigger, older, and stronger assume imminent domain over others?

johnnybench topcommenter

@Dancerkd99 Kids, like everyone else, should be polite to each other when interacting in public.  It's a simple notion that lies at the foundation of society.  


@JefWithOneF@Dancerkd99  I have no idea, since "imminent domain" isn't anything I've ever heard of. If, however, you meant "eminent domain", it's a poor comparison considering it refers to government entities and private property.

Those girls weren't "ruling over" anything,going by your description, and if you felt their presence was so inappropriate, why not alert the Chuck E. Cheese staff? Why not remove your daughter to a different attraction? Why believe that children five to six years older want to play with a four-year-old they don't know?

That's right - then you couldn't tell us of your triumph over a bunch of what you assume were nine-to-eleven year old children.


I agree with DancerKd99. You just told your daughter that it as not ok for her to be rejected. You expect a 9 years old to act like and adult, yet you acted like a kid letting your rage get the best of you and insulting the kids. And yes, whether you think you did right or not is not the question, you did insulted those kids. Bottom line, you did not acted any better than those kids. Your daughter also have to learn that not everybody has to like her or want to play with you. Instead of teaching her a lesson you actually applaud that she did a raspberry.

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