I’ve been waiting for the right moment to take Charlie to Chuck E Cheese. The place is a bit much for my sensory threshold, so I was concerned that it would be sensory overload for Charlie. On the other hand, I knew she would love the singing mouse, the pizza, and play. I decided to take Charlie while everyone else was watching the Super Bowl.
Despite the nearly empty restaurant, Charlie was a bit overwhelmed when we first arrived. She clung to me, munched on pizza, and watched the few other kids that were there. As she picked apart her second piece, the mechanical mouse started to sing. She was mesmerized. After he stopped moving and singing, Charlie meowed at him.
After the show ended, she was feeling brave enough to play a few games (with my help) and try a few rides. The motor cycle that rocked and vibrated was too much for her. She wanted to get off of it immediately. The seat on the merry go round was her favorite.
We were almost out of tokens when a staff member and someone in costume called for the kids to follow. Charlie gestured and made that weird glottal sound she makes when she wants something. I carried her and we followed the string of kids.
The parade of kids came to a stop in front of the mechanical mouse. The kids formed a semi circle and prepared to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. I knelt behind Charlie and supported her at the hips as she stood.
Charlie can take a few steps at a time but she falls A LOT. She is unsteadier than usual because she is in between AFOs.
The kids started to sing and gesture while I steadied Charlie. Charlie “sang” her own version of the song complete with her own gestures. She wore a huge smile and kept turning around to look at me as if to say “Look! I’m doing it!” It was one of those moments that I had to fight back tears. Charlie finished the song with an enthusiastic “Yay!” I lost the fight and a couple tears trickled down my face but were hidden by the dark.
We finished the evening with sensory play involving cotton candy. Charlie refused to touch the cotton candy and did not want it near her mouth. The evening was far from perfect but I don’t think I could have had a better time. I hope Charlie feels the same.