Great Scott, Elijah turned six yesterday. The day started at 5am when he informed us that he would not, in fact, be able to sleep with all those presents downstairs.
Within minutes, our living room was covered in wrapping paper and plastic shrapnel. He informed Luca that today, since it was his birthday, he would have to be selfish and not let Luca play with any of his new stuff, but tomorrow he’d share. We put a stop to that little logic right then and there.
A few hours later, we arrived at Chuck E Cheese, late. Elijah’s little pals were already there, waiting patiently for their tokens. Now, I agree with you. Whatever evil thoughts, whatever germ jokes or white trash jokes or germy white trash jokes you’ve got, I agree.
But here’s the thing. The only thing we had to do is hand them a huge wad of money and they did the rest. The cake. The pizza. The games. The little tube you stand in and blows prize tickets. They handled it. This is by no means an endorsement of Chuck E Cheese. It’s just the worst. This is an endorsement of parental laziness.
Diana handed me her super expensive camera on loan from The Wine Goddess, at 702 Main Street, Evanston (I get a free bottle every time I do that). I immediately took on the persona of war journalist. I crouched behind ski ball machines and capture the horror or ski ball. I shot the Chuck E Cheese band members like war criminals. I was especially proud of my expose on cheese toppings.
The look on that kid’s face. It was pure joy. Pure, lovely joy. If only he could stay that happy for the rest of his life. They’d probably lock him up.
But my favorite part of the day? Not the Legos or the cake or the mind numbing Chuck E-ness.
While Luca and Diana napped, I took Elijah to Dominick’s to buy spaghetti and meatball stuff for birthday dinner. We spent a half hour, just the two of us, running up and down the aisles. He chased me. I chased him. We both irritated the heck out of the stock boys. It was an unplanned bit of silliness I’m afraid will become less and less frequent as he gets to be seven, eight or twenty.
Man, I love that kid.
p.s. I don’t have a photo from the day, because all 3420 shots are on Diana’s camera. So enjoy this penguin from Eli’s “Sea Animal Night” at school.