When in Doubt: Chuck E. Cheese
My daughter was on fall break this week. I picked her up from pre-school last week and the teacher says to her, “I won’t see you for a whole week.” Immediately, the alarm bells went off in my head. Ok, I’m sure the dates for fall break were on her very festive October calendar, which is hanging on the wall in my office; I, however, hang it on the wall and walk away. I’m the mom who wakes up in a panic on my daughter’s snack day because I have no snack worthy of ten little toddlers. I’m not sure Ms. Heidi is going to appreciate if I walk in the classroom with a bag full of coffee beans, a tub of hummus, and a bottle of wine. I could probably offer up spinach and chia seed smoothies, but even though my kid considers them a culinary delicacy, I’m not convinced her classmates will agree.
I was a little bit alarmed by fall break for a couple of reasons– anyone who knows what happens when you mess with a toddler’s routine knows you’re going to need either a few extra shots of espresso, a few extra shots of Bailey’s, or a combination of both to get through said messed up day. Second– little miss has energy levels equivalent to the energizer bunny on speed. She keeps going and going and going…and then goes some more. There is no end beginning at 8am until 9pm. No nap. No quiet time. No mental shutdown. She’s an only child and thinks the world is her playmate. I work from home. I assume you see the potential fall break conflict now.
I did a little mathematical analysis. On a normal school week, I get up at 6am to have 2 hours of me/work time prior to package drop-off at school. Following drop-off, I get 3 hours to complete work assignments, make the dog feel like he’s still loved, and maybe scrub a toilet or some other annoying, domestic activity. So basically, I try to accomplish 8 hours of activities in about 5 hours before I retrieve the package and my real day begins. In order to be just as productive during fall break, I was going to need to crawl out of bed at 3am…and I promise you this, no amount of super charged coffee is going to force me out of bed at 3am.
So after wrestling with the idea that I was going to be a whole week behind on everything I obsessively obsess over, I did what every reasonable mom would do and I packed up my friend and her equally energetic 2-year old boy and made a pilgrimage to Chuck E. Cheese.
For some reasons, our husbands, who were spending the week being exemplary flight school students, thought we were off our rockers and seemed to expect us to come home, hair a mess, covered in tokens, pizza, and chocolate, swearing off any and every Chuck E. Cheese.
Instead, my friend and I may have had more fun than the toddlers I think. Fifteen dollars in tokens, embarrassingly low ticket counts, and a couple of hours later, we left feeling rather high on life, capes blowing in the wind all the way home.
Every now and then, we all need a fall break in our lives. Even while we are chasing a career, a dream, or a goal, the kid inside never really dies. We just have to look for the place where a kid can be a kid and do just that…be a kid!
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