We've had four year-olds with pick-axes, a mine full of gems, a mine car cake and a full-scale food fight in the backyard. We've locked everyone's father in handcuffs in the backyard and made the kids hunt for keys in a haystack to rescue them. We've given mystery maps with nothing but coordinates to figure out where the four-day road trip is taking us.
Birthdays are a big deal.
Not that I'm over compensating for my lack of childhood or anything . . .
So when Yoda told me she didn't want a birthday party this year, I was a little crushed.
Maybe a lot.
Partly because I see the anxiety that eats this kid alive on a daily basis, and I didn't want her to miss out on life because of it, and partly because, now what I am supposed to do with the 14 hand whittled wands she was sure we'd need for her Harry Potter soiree when she started planning it in February.
After a few late night talks, she finally decided that yes, a birthday party would be ok. But no theme - just classic birthday. And could it please be at Chuck E. Cheese?
Against everything we believe in, against allllllllllllll of our better judgement, we said yes.
Which - next to salvaging that walker from my grandma - was the smartest move we'd made all year.
Allow me to tell you why.
After a 7 am trip to Mayo, (where we spend approximately six hours to find a sock.
A tie-dye sock that takes 2 weighlifters, a hydrolic lift and a Tibetan shamman to get onto Rico's leg - but a sock nonetheless), we made our way back home. We spend a few hours making cupcakes and cards for Yoda's party, getting dinner ready for Rico, and writing notes for rehearsal before we took off for the theater. After a four-hour practice, I bring the girls home and Yoda immediately notices it.
I watch her tiptoe over something in the kitchen, shouting "Scrappy barfed."
What's a little dog barf?
Especially in light of what we've been through lately.
But saying "Scrappy barfed" is like calling the Titanic a canoe.
"Barfed" just doesn't do it justice.
Imagine dinner plates full of chocolate pudding placed in various points around your home. Now imagine that the plates are paper. Now imagine that the pudding is made of freaking acid and has completely dissolved the damn plates, and there is just warm, regurgitated chocolate pudding all over the house. Four plates in the kitchen, one in the foyer, one on the couch, one on the beanbag, three in the living room, one in my bed room, and three all over the bed - where Rico continues to sleep like Goldilocks.
How does that even happen? Who sleeps so hard that an animal can be standing over you disemboweling itself right on the pillow next to you and you don't even flinch?
Needless to say we woke him up to ask, but the barffest just continued.
Yoda stood there with her little mouth squished up, petting him, asking, "Is he going to die?"
The better question would have been, "How is he still alive?" Because he'd certainly spewed out more than he could possibly hold. Rico, still snuggled under his partially puked on comforter called the vet.
An hour later, Kooka and I have driven 40 miles to the animal ER. (Yes, there is such a thing - no, I never thought I'd be there either). Turns out Scrappy had ingested copious amounts of chocolate. We know this because the vets kept smelling it and telling us how nice the aroma was. (Furthermore, they suspect it was intentional poisoning outside, because it was more than any normal person would keep in a house). After a very close call, and $500, we got to take him home at 3:00 am.
And THAT is why I don't hate Chuck E. Cheese.
Because no matter how terrifying those animatronics are, no matter how much Yoda hated having to don goggles in the ticket tornado - it was still better than 6 kids running around in our chocolate-scented-vomit infused home while our dog convulsed on the doorstep.
Which should probably be their next slogan.
(Just for your peace of mind - the dog is OK. And the cleaners are on their way)