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

Categories: Parenting
"What did you want, Daddy?" she asked with exasperated hands on her hips.

"I'm sorry, Heart?" I replied. "I didn't call you."

"Okay!" she said and raced back into the labyrinth. I thought it was weird.

I was just getting up to stretch a few minutes later when I heard the unmistakable sound of her sobbing. I looked over at the opening of the slide and she was sitting on the edge with big fat tears spilling down her face to wet her Spider-Girl costume she had insisted on wearing. I went over to her and gathered her up.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"My friends were so mean to me!" she cried from deep, deep down. I looked over at the girls gathered in one of the open areas watching her and making snotty faces. I carried her over to get her pink cowboy boots.

"What did they say, Heart?" I asked.

"They told me to go away. That I couldn't play with them because I was too little."

This was the first time I'd ever felt the Hulk-like rage that is supposed to fill daddies when their little girls are hurt. In general, I like to let her fight her own battles and learn from them. This time, though, something seemed like it required more.

With my daughter in my arms, I stood underneath the enclosed balcony where the older girls were still sitting.

"Excuse me," I said. "That was not cool."

"We didn't do anything," one replied.

"You didn't do a lot of things, maybe. You didn't consider the fact that hiding out in a tube maze designed for kids half your age would feature those exact same kids. You didn't show any kindness, restraint or politeness in dealing with one of those kids who just wanted to play with you, being the logical result of entering a play area. You didn't resist the urge to lie to her, telling her I was calling her, just to get her out of your hair.

"Most off all, you didn't act with any decency. I'm sure that whatever you're discussing up there, squirreled away from your parents, must seem frightfully important to you, but not being a complete jerkface to little kids is frightfully important to everyone. Now get out of there and go sit at a table like the adults you are pretending to be."

My daughter punctuated our exit with a short, loud raspberry while we moved to the opposite side of the restaurant and played a game where you shoot sharks with plastic balls. She stopped her game in the middle to hug a boy who was crying next to her, having temporarily lost his mother. Upon her finding him, the mother thanked my daughter.

"She's very sweet," the mother told me.

God, I hope she stays that way.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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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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