Ancient History

Follow Me?



We do our best to avoid Chuck E. Cheese and his Grade D pizza. The head-splitting atmosphere is jarring. The interior is like Vegas for those who can still wear Osh Kosh B’ Gosh overalls and get away with it. What happens at Chuck E. Cheese doesn’t stay at Chuck E. Cheese, however. We come home with headaches, extra tokens that are not legal tender, balloons, and viruses. I’ve heard people leave Vegas with some of those things too.

We dodged and weaved the Chuck E. possibility for nearly a year before a certain birthday girl announced she would like to go to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate. Sometimes parents need to make hard sacrifices for their children. We felt compelled to say yes on the condition the celebration include Sam, who is turning five tomorrow. Two back-to-back birthdays in the same large family is both nice and nightmarish. They are still young enough to not mind sharing celebrations, so it was agreed we would do it for our two birthday kids. We went this past Saturday.

We were joined at Las Cheeses by Nini, Mikey, and their two little ones. They told Aidan they would take her to Build-A-Bear for her birthday gift, which thrilled her of course. They gave computer games to Sam. After two hours of pizza, dozens of Coke refills, and 141 tickets won on games like Catch the Ping Pong Balls Painted Like Bumblebees In An Impossibly Small Basket As They Fly Around For Thirty Seconds, we headed to a nearby mall.

It took Aidan an hour and ten minutes to decide which animal, outfit, and name it should have. This left the ten of us who were not birthday girls to wander about aimlessly. I had plenty of time to contemplate the fact that Build-a-Bear animals have nicer underwear than me. Hubby used his time to make a bear for me. Ryley picked an outfit designed by Limited Too for my bear. I named it Ruby. This was done by the time Aidan tried the third outfit on her rabbit.

While we were waiting for Aidan to name her rabbit, Sam came up to me and said “I want to show you what I want for my birthday.”

He took my hand and led me to the bin that contained the hides of dozens of cute border collies. It looked like something Sam would admire. Then he said “…and I know what clothes I want to get for him.”

We went to the racks and he held up a t-shirt with an American flag motif heart and the words “Hug Freely” on the front. Then he showed me the jean shorts he wanted for his dog. Very nice, classic, Hilfigerian combo.

Out of curiousity, I asked “what are you going to name your dog?”


I knew Sam needed Poodle, the Border Collie, immediately.
a boy's dog

I approached hubby and told him of Sam’s birthday wish. Because his birthday was close enough, we told him he could get Poodle. He was thrilled beyond belief, deliriously hopping around and thanking everyone in sight.

Not only did Sam get Poodle and his laid-back-perfect-for-flea-marketing-or-scratching clothes, but he got the matching puppy with a magnetic bandana for hanging in Poodle’s magnetic mouth. Sam named the puppy “Sam Puppy Dude”, as his usual custom is to name all his stuffed animals after himself.

Poodle was stuffed, sewn, brushed, dressed, named, and in his cardboard box by the time Aidan decided to name her rabbit April.

Each night since, Poodle has slept in his cardboard box, in Sam’s bed. Devotion is being willing and able to sleep with your arms wrapped around a cardboard box. But that is Sam—devoted to his family, his ideas, and the things he loves.

14 comments to Poodle

  • Mom-of-mopsy

    An hour to kill in any store is dangerous with your 5 and 2 cousins!! I love Poodle and Sam Puppy Dude already and can’t wait to see April and your Ruby!

  • Russ Eldredge

    How cute about the stuffed animals! I strenuously avoid the place, however, because I would probably have to take out a second mortgage to cover the damage my wife and three girls could do in a place like that.

    Oh, and I can totally relate to the Chuck E. Cheese aversion. Luckily, the nearest one to our house is about 50 miles away, and the kids don’t even know what it is.

  • Tracy

    How funny! I love your bit about the bears having nicer underwear than you! Too funny! Sam sounds like such a darling!

  • Shayne (aka doodle)

    So cute! Sam has good fashion sense. Hope he has a happy birthday, too.

  • Thanks for taking the time to write down the adventure for all to read. The Chuck E./Vegas bit was too funny.

    The account of Sam & his puppy made me smile.

  • The other Gretchen

    I know just what you mean about the stuffed animals being named after their owners; I have a 5 yo with a stuffed puppy named Caleb Puppy. Can you guess what my 5 yo’s name is? LOL

  • amy

    we call chuck e. cheeses “yucky sneezes”. you’re a strong mommy to venture there.

  • Kelly

    Cute – just as Sam has an affection for derivitive of his name – looks like Aiden likes names that start with A (the unicorns and now the rabbit!). The Vegas part made me laugh!!!

  • hamster

    I need to get to know this Sam I am. Given that their birthdays are days apart, the divergence in Sam’s and Aidan’s approach to stuffed animal purchases (and life?) would be a blow to astrologers.

  • Ha! I remember well our one and only Chuck E. Cheese experience – I had told my oldest (who had just turned 3) that as soon as she mastered all aspects of potty training we would go there as the big treat. Well, it just happened that she finally did master it – the same week I had baby #3. With one set of grandparents in town, we headed off. On a Saturday night. What were we thinking? Every family in town went there that night and it was a nightmare.

    We haven’t been back…

  • rossmomma

    It took Kylie well over an hour to put the finishing touches on Waggles, the poodle skirt wearing, purse carrying dog she made after Christmas (fortunately her Daddy stood in the ridiculously long line and held her place while she checked out all the outfits and accessories). Phillip, on the other hand, completed Kitty, the baseball playing, sunglass wearing cat in record time. Welcome to Poodle, Sam Puppy Dude and April, they have found a great home in a great family!

  • mopsy

    I knew I wouldn’t be alone in my Chuck E. Cheese “aversion” as Russ put it.

    Maybe it’s a boy vs. girl thing at Build-A-Bear? It takes me an hour to go to the grocery store for a loaf of bread, but about 45 seconds for hubby.

  • Hmm, it’s been a while since I ventured into Chuck E.’s. Your description brought back painful memories.
    What was your trick to get the kiddos out of the germ, er… ball pit (without having to climb in after them)?

  • mopsy

    No more ball pit, Daph…the Chuck E. Cheese we took the kids to is one of the newer locations and they ditched the ball pit. I loathe ball pits. I have seen some nasty things in ball pits. Did I mention I loathe ball pits?

    And Daphodil, I would love to leave a comment on your blog, but your comments setting only allows those with blogger accounts to comment. Your post about the deodorant cracked me up!

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