One life lesson I am constantly relearning is that there are few relationships that quality time can't fix. Be it with a student, your spouse, your dog, or your child. So I looked up some fun places to go online and J chose Amazing Jake's, an indoor pizza buffet with rides and arcade games. We dropped M off with my friend Lindsey (thanks again!) and headed out for hours of toddler directed fun.
She opted for food first and ate her ice cream cones and cookies and pizza and red punch while watching a movie. Pretty much her ideal meal.
Then we rode the rides. I let her lead the way the whole time and off to the tea cups we went.
The girl was a natural. She hopped in, had her hands on the wheel, and was spinning that tea cup before my 6 foot frame could squish into it completely. My stomach started whirling just as fast so I let her be in charge of the spinning. Despite my best intentions of letting her do whatever she wanted, I had to cap the tea cups at 4 rides because I didn't want to embarrass myself by revealing my buffet conquests all over the floor.
And since a former student happened to be running the ride, it would have been double embarrassing.
Of course we had to ride the pink horse as well. And the train, but she wasn't interested in the go carts. Probably because she didn't see any pink or purple ones.
J also thoroughly enjoyed pressing all the buttons on the arcade games.
Friends, J lived my 8-year-old dream. My mother was never apt to spend money for games when Oriental Trader trinkets were peddled for $20 of tokens for $0.50 of late night foot piercing toys. While I completely understand that now, my 8-year-old self dreamed about finding a machine with an unattended credit that I could play. J found two. Whether it was from a day care group member who swiped his card and walked away or by activating the game fail safe with the appropriate sequence of button pressing, she managed to get a free racing game. She was bored after one minute of steering wheel spinning and moved one. Ten minutes later she was at the stool in front of Wheel of Fortune and demanding I replace her perch at Deal or No Deal. When I realized that Deal or No Deal was actually going for real and not sputtering noise and sounds as a lure, I started actually playing it.
And I sort of won the jackpot.
Seriously, it was spewing tickets like it had just finished a ride on the teacups. Then J started yanking on the tickets and jammed the machine. Being the stickler for fairness that I am, I contacted an attendant who gave us the remaining 60 tickets, plus the tickets that spewed out when the game reset.
And what did J choose with her bounty? A purple dumdum. A whopping 2 tickets out of our 200. She passed on the glitter bracelets, the sticky hands, and pretty much anything I steered her towards. She finally settled on a purple butterfly ring, then had a moment of buyers remorse when she saw the pink flip flop ring so we got them both and cashed out the rest in candy.
I consider the excursion a complete success because the next morning she asks, "Can M go to Lindsey's house?"