I was back at Chuck E. Cheese’s again this past weekend. I guess I can not get enough of that place. (See recent story: Chuck E. Cheeses: Table For One) However, this time I was not alone. I was with my son, the paparazzi, and a famous family.
We were invited to a birthday party for one of my son’s friends. I had never been to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s before (even as a child). And since my son and I don’t eat there we were really there for the fun and games. So, while everyone was eating pizza and cake (at the party we were invited to and the five other parties happening simultaneiously), my son and I hit the games. Before I could cash in another $5 worth of tokens, my son would run off and spend it.
Just as we were running out of tokens and cash, I noticed a series of flashes going off everywhere. The birthday partying was overwhelming. Why were people running every which way with cameras? Wasn’t the place busy enough with the kids running around? Did we need the overzealous parents and grandparents adding to the chaos? As it turns out, I was wrong. Although the parents were indeed the ones taking the pictures, it was not of there kids, but a famous family, apparently. My son and I were too involved in Dance Dance Revolution to notice at the time.
Then just as my son inserted his umpteenth token into the next game - a flying popcorn adventure of sorts, another kid jumped in front of him and grabbed the controller out of his hands. Where was his mother? My son kindly (well, almost) grabbed the controller back and said to the boy, who appeared to be the same age. “I was here first, so you can play when I am done.” The boy was unhappy, but waited. Again, the mother was nowhere in sight. The boys began playing together instead of taking turns, and on our token nonetheless. The boy was clad in skinny rocker jeans, a mohawk and bright blue nail polish. “I like your nail polish,” my son commented, “my mommy doesn’t let me wear nailpolish.” (Although I was not opposed to blue nailpolish, as I had been wearing it myself, or guyliner for that matter. I just thought at four years old, it may not be a good idea. But that was just my opinion.) The boys played nicely together. They looked like they could form a mini rock band together. He, with a mohawk and skinny jeans. My son, with long (as my hubby and I call it - “Rob Thomas Hair”), a white tee, jeans and skateboarding shoes.
Finally the mom approached. We smiled at each other and said our hellos. Of course it took a moment for my brain to register who she actually was. (This always happens to me. For some reason I have a delayed response to knowing just who someone is right in front of me. I guess you could say I am kind of slow with these things.) But after my brain caught up, I realized that, in fact, it was not a Gwen Stefani look alike, but Gwen herself, duh! Of course now I did not know exactly what to say, but kept my cool somehow. She was pretty, nice and extremely down to earth. What do you say to someone who just makes moms everywhere look so cool? I wanted to say, “I have all of your CDs at home and kicked myself when my friend had an extra ticket to your Harajuku Lovers Tour in 2005, that I wasn’t able to attend.” There would have been uncomfortable silence, had it been silent at Chuck E’s. “Whatcha waiting for?”, I thought. And then it just came out, “I love your work.” I love your work? That was all I had? She smiled. We stood alongside our boys and chatted as they played. We commented on how nicely they were playing together and chatted a bit before my son was off to another game. The boys said goodbye to each other. They truly had a good time. As did I.
As we were leaving, I spotted Gwen again, (apparently her husband, Gavin Rossdale, younger son Zuma and nanny were there as well) Do I give her my number for a future play date at Chuck E.‘s? Before I could wrap my brain around it all or even hear myself think through all the noise. They were gone, dodging the real paparazzi outside. I felt bad for them since dodging the children indoors was chaotic enough.
Chuck E. Cheese’s now seemed just a bit better than the ho-hum generic brithday party factory that it actually was. Cool moms do go to Chuck E. Cheese’s. That just made me feel a little bit cooler.