The Parents Who Left Their Kids Behind at Chuck E. Cheese

Well, as long as parents like these exist, I don't need to worry about getting the World's Worst Parenting Award.  WTF, people?  Seriously?  Two kids in one week left at Chuck E. Cheese?!


I can almost get how this could happen.  Chuck E. Cheese is mind-numbing and being trapped there for several hours could have the same effect on you as waterboarding or other various forms of torture.  You come out of your stupor and find yourself curled in the fetal position in a booth behind the Whack-a-Mole.  You glance at your watch and realize the joint is closing in 10 minutes and there's no way in hell you're going to spend the night!  You grab your kid and stumble out.  It isn't until hours later that your ears stop ringing and you gain some clarity and realize, Oh shit!  I took 2 kids to Chuck E. Cheese's and only came home with one!!


Only it didn't happen this way.  Instead, one family took their 5 year old to CEC to celebrate her birthday and forgot her.  The family has 10 kids and so the birthday girl wasn't missed until the next morning when it was time for school.

Where do I begin with this?  It was her birthday and nobody missed her until the next day?  Nobody thought, I want give Little Birthday Girl one more kiss and wish her one more Happy Birthday before I tuck her into bed??  I can't tell you how sad this makes me.

I am not the perfect mom by any stretch of the imagination, but if I'm home I tuck my kids into bed.  If I'm at work when they go to bed, I kiss them after I get home and they're asleep.  Does no one tuck Little Birthday Girl into bed??  For some reason this upsets me more than the fact they left her behind.  I can understand that in the hubbub of getting everyone out the door you think Auntie or Grandma has Little Birthday Girl in her car and you accidentally forget her.  But you forget her until morning???  Poor Little Birthday Girl.

I get that they have a big family and it can be easy to lose someone, but don't big families use the buddy system or something?  Don't big families learn from the Waltons to always do a roll call at the end of each night?  Good night, Mary Ellen.  Good night, Elizabeth.  Good night, Jim Bob.  Good night, John Boy.  Good night, Little Birthday Girl.  Little Birthday Girl?  Has anyone seen Little Birthday Girl?  OH MY GOD!  We left her at Chuck E. Cheese!!!


The second family that left their child at Chuck E. Cheese this week didn't realize she was missing until they watched the nightly news and saw her face on television.  This one amazes me more than the big family one.  I imagine the big family parents are busy, busy, busy with all their kids and their night time routines and everyone looks the same and they're moving so fast no one can really get an accurate count of how many are there.  I imagine it wasn't like that at the second girl's home.  I imagine this girl's family sitting on the couch, relaxing with a cold drink and seeing her picture on the news.  I imagine her mother spitting her cold drink all over the TV when her daughter's picture comes up.

The parents of this little girl share custody of her and they were both at the party, but they assumed she went home with a relative.  Ummm....wouldn't you double check that?  (I'm guessing they will next time.)

I have a large extended family and my kids love to ride in grandma's car or their aunt's car.  The difference is, my family comes to me and says, "Gomer wants to go with me.  You OK with that?"  They would never just take my kids without telling me and I would never assume they had my kids when I got home and I didn't.

It's ironic, because I hate to go to CEC and one of the reasons (besides the obvious exposure to Black Plague) is that I'm always worried my kids will get snatched by some creepy pedophile.  I worry, because it's literally impossible to keep my eye on both of my kids in that place since they run off in different directions.  I worry that they'll think I've left them there and so they'll leave the building to see if my car is still in the parking lot and they get run over.  (Yes, it's difficult for me to sleep at night with all this insane worrying.  These are just my CEC worries - now you see why I'm not crazy about the beach!)  However, these two stories showed me that CEC might be one of the safest places for my kids.  These little girls were left on their own and no one barely noticed them, let alone tried to snatch them.  Maybe I've been too hard on CEC.  Maybe I could use CEC like a cheap drop in babysitting place.  I could give my kids a roll of tokens and tell them I'll see them in 3 hours?


Don't miss my newest blog post over at Babble.com - Am I a Bully?

101 comments:

Karla said...

Wow is all I have to say!!

Jeannie said...

Don't be surprised now if some idiot drops their kids off at CEC and says they got the idea from you!! You never know with people, considering the two families you just spoke of! Haha :)

Furtheron said...

You simply can't make the shit up can you?

ajg said...

I feel for the kids :( They must be so scared and confused. And I understand that 1 child is with Protective Services, how scared she must be thinking her family doesnt want her. Didnt any of the siblings notice she was gone? And yes, wasnt she supposed to get a special hug and kiss before she slept?

From now on, I am going to put a card with my name and number inside my kids' pockets. Though I cant ever imagine forgetting any of my kids somewhere and realizing it only hours after the fact. This is disturbing.

megan said...

I refuse to go to Chuck E. Cheese. If there is a kid's b-day party there, I give my kids some reason why we can't go like we're going to the beach that day and then I hope they forget about it later. So far, I'm good. I will never get people that take their kids there when there is no birthday party. Like just recreationally?? I would never do that. I would, however, send my husband there as some sort of clouded punishment. Forgot to take the trash out and now you have to take the kids to CEC?? Hasn't this happened three times this month.... Guess it's not a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

I try to avoid Chuck E Cheese at all costs, but my husband thinks that if we don't ever go we are abusing our kids or something...so he guilts me into it sometimes. We have six kids. It's always a mad house. But I could never forget one of them. I think we do a head count like every 10 minutes every time we go.

Orangies Attic said...

OMG... I have tears rolling down my face over the Waltons bit. But really and truly, I wish stupid people would just do everyone a favor and STOP PROCREATING. Those poor babies had no say in who their parents are, and they obviously are more than a few bulbs short of a full chandelier.

Cyndi said...

Holy moly. I still get in the car with both kids, and half way to school freak out and think I have left one at home because they are too quiet, and have to turn around and check that they are both in their carseats!

Wodzisz Family said...

Surely if you have 10 kids, you have to have a head count when you go and another when you leave. Didn't anyone notice that she wasn't in the car on the way home? I have thought of using CEC as a babysitter for a few hours, but the pedophiles (or thoughts that one might be there...what a perfect place for them) keep me from CEC babysitting services.

I do feel bad for these kids...they had to be scared and hurt that they were forgotten.

sheshe said...

We take our son to the CEC where the second little girl was left behind. We have taken him for a birthday party and just recreationally for something to do. It is sickening how many parents sit at the little tables drooling into their smartphones while their spawn are wreaking havoc all over the restaurant. I have literally had to drag a kid out of a game because he tried to shove my 2 year old out and it was his token. What happened to parents walking around and watching their kids? I don't blam CEC for these happenings. I blame bad parents. It is still not a bad place to kill some time on a weekend.

Anonymous said...

I have to say as the oldest of 7 kids, I totally cut the first set of parents some slack. With just 7 of is it was always absolute chaos, yes even on our birthdays. I still remember the looks of complete exhaustion on my mom and dad's faces after any outing with us. They generally sent us to bed as soon as we got home just so they could go to bed, so from my own life experience I can see how they missed the girl until morning.

My parents used to drop some of us off for open swim or open gym at the YMCA and then be 3 hours late picking us up. Generally because something came up or someone got in trouble or whatever. We were fine. We knew what the rules were and we just figured out something else to do until they got there. This was all in the 80s before cell phones and before crazy over protective parents stopped letting their kids do anything on their own.

Finally..the reality it is rare for kids to just be taken by strangers in public places...most kids are take or abused by people they know...the media has just made everyone into extremely overprotective crazies when it comes to kids...as both of these kids show they did just fine. kids are resilient and both of these kids will turn out just fine.

Just my 2 cents :)

Unknown said...

I just heard about that today over lunch. I cannot believe someone would leave their child behind!!

Unknown said...

At our local CEC, it would be hard for a kid to get snatched. They man that door and make sure you have the matching hand stamps before you leave. I've been to more bday parties there than I would like to admit, but I've never seen that exit unmanned.

I don't know how you could forget a kid, although I will say one of my reasons for stopping at two is that my brain is so overloaded with keeping track of them and their activities - that I am honestly afraid I would be that person that leaves the baby in his car seat on the high chair at the restaurant. So we're sticking with two.

One time while pregnant, I did forget that we had tickets to Monster Jam. I realized it at 9:15 pm - too late to make the show. I felt horrible! That's about the worst thing I've ever forgotten (and we drove to MN a few weekends later to make it up to our then 4 yr old). I can't imagine forgetting a kid, with all the guilt I felt for forgetting the show.

Zebsmom said...

We were just saying that yesterday, we can understand maybe not knowing you have left a child behind, but sure should at bed time. Who takes care of this child? No one makes sure she is in bed and comfy?

They say gay's shouldn't raise children, well at least gay's would love the responsibility. Some people just should not breed!!

Currywag said...

I have 3 and am always doing a head count. Hello! Did nobody watch Jon & Kate plus 8? ;) They were constantly counting-now granted 6 were the same age but still you'd think they would be paired up to keep track of everyone. Thank God there aren't any CEC's close to us. The nearest one is 1 1/2 hrs away.

RachRiot said...

These are horrible stories BUT since I am having my child's B'day party at Chuck E. Cheese, Uugh!(believe me-I did NOT want to, but she has asked several times and the hubs guilted me into it.) I'm hoping these stories scare the parents into staying and helping. I was really worried about the possibility of parents dumping all 15 kids off for me and my husband to deal with. I was already freaking out.

Unknown said...

jen, thanks for the link to your babble page. loved that column too!

Whoa! Susannah (Formerly Write, Rinse, Repeat) said...

This makes me sick. Forget the punch. Slit these in the throat. Morons.

Anonymous said...

I see a pattern of blaming CEC for this tragedy (yes, to me leaving a kid behind is a tragedy), but it could have happened anywhere else!!

Anonymous said...

Thank god my kids had no desire to ever go to CEC, from what I'm hearing. We did leave the middle child at the baseball fields at the end of the day, thought each other had taken him in our own car. Nope! Ran back to the field and found him on the swings, playing by himself. We were very lucky. Learned our lesson.

Abby Normal said...

Hey, don't hate on CEC. I love that place. My grandma would take me and my brother a few times a year when we were little. However my parents would never let me have a party there, no matter how much I asked.

Then one year, when I was far too old to get one, my brother had a CEC party. (He's 7 years younger. I think he was 7 and I was 14.)

So for my 21st birthday, my friends and I went to CEC. It was awesome.

I can't wait to have kids to take to CEC.

Also, no one can kidnap your kids from CEC. You and your kids get a matching number stamped on your hands that is only visible under the UV lamp at the exit. They won't let any kids out without the adult's matching stamp.

Karen said...

Gee, I thought I was an awful mother because of forgetting one time that my daughter had a half-day of school. The teaching assistant called me to come get her, and I felt like the biggest rube.

Anonymous said...

CRAZY! But don't blame CEC for these people being idiots! We go there just for fun on occasion and just like anywhere else I have eyes on all three of my kids at least every 5-10 minutes.

Where DID the birthday girl spend the night? So sad!

Anonymous said...

Just an idea for all of the parents who don't like CEC. Don't let your kids know it exist. That's right, my 2 yr old has no idea CEC is around! The same thing goes for books and tv, if I can't stand it, she's never seen it.

Once my mom and my aunt had the 4 cousins at the mall and we left my sister in the Disney store. They realized less then 5 minutes after leaving when they did a head count in the elevator. She still bring it up when she feels like she's left out of some family thing...

I only have 2 kids (one's 2.5 the other is 3 months). Going up and down the stairs and in and out of the car I do them individually. I usually do the 2 yr old first b/c she's squirmy... If I don't actively tell her on now I'm going to go get brother and bring him downstairs/ upstairs/ in the car/ in the house, she gets anxious and says "don't forget brother!" I always reassure her I'm not forgetting him.

With both the families I feel like none of the other kids didn't miss their sister? Specially the larger family. That's 9 siblings and 2 parents who didn't notice she wasn't around. And wasn't at least one of the siblings like "hey I want to play with her new birthday toy, I should ask her, where is she..." Did you say the 2nd family is divorced? I can see that happening more then the family that should have head counts every 10 minutes... and with all kids if you don't see them or hear them doesn't it usual mean they are up to something and you should go find them and figure out what is going on??? So how did they not do that at least...

Anonymous said...

Each of us three kids had a story about "the time they left us behind". We were all "left" for a max of 15 minutes. (My parents left me at the playground after big bro's Little League game. They made it to the car before realizing I wasn't there.). I can't imagine being forgotten overnight. And on her birthday. How awful.

imbogus1 said...

I would want a picture of their face when they saw it on TV also. Had to be classic.

ajg said...

why dont you like books?

Marian said...

We need to stop blaming CEC and blame the stupid parents. It seems to me CEC was an inexpensive, entertaining, innocent bystander in all of this insanity.
I don't understand how the family with 10 kids missed her for an entire night. Happy Birthday little girl. For a special present you get to spend time with CPS! You can thank us later in therapy.
Although also bad I can understand thinking someone else has your kid. And at least that girl was claimed that night by her parents and not banished to government services indefinitely. Sad yes, but maybe her therapy won't be quite as extensive.

Anonymous said...

Amen!

Nicole said...

Don't be crazy, a roll of quarters would last a half hour max!

Anonymous said...

Are you going to home school? It is easy to keep your kids unaware of those type of things when they are at home, but once they get into school, the other kids will be telling all about their cool visits to places like CEC.

Sarah Takens said...

Maybe its just our area's CECs, but you cannot possibly leave without your child here. They have a black light number system. No kid or parent can come in or leave without the numbers being matched up. They go far with this that my husband had to come back to the table and get me to show that there was still a parent inside CEC while he went out to smoke. I seriously don't understand how these parents were able to leave without the children. Even if they were going with another relative, the person who brought them would have to go under the light to leave with the child, or they wouldn't be able to go! So sad!

Melissa B. said...

CEC is gross, no doubt about it. It stinks and it's full of weirdo adults playing games as if they're 5 as well as weirdo kids who spaz out because it's the only place they ever go. However, not CEC's fault. These parents suck ass, that's all there is to it. You simply do NOT just forget a child. This isn't f*cking "Home Alone". The parents should be found neglegent. I can't even begin to imagine not putting my child to bed. OK, you have 10, YOUR choice BTW, but does that mean you give them less love? If that's the case, then people need to be fixed after 1 or 2. Ridic.

Anonymous said...

I told my kids when they were younger that CEC is a private club that we don't belong to. Never asked to go again.

Melissa B. said...

Wait...books? You can't stand books? Hmmm....I'm puzzled. Not completely understanding of the TV thing either. While I can definitely see limiting TV time and choosing appropriate programming, pretending it doesn't exist seems a bit much but like the above said, unless you're home schooling, it won't last long.

Ruby said...

WOW and WOW. But as sad as these stories make me, your post absolutely delighted me. Because of all your worrying. You see, I thought I was a freak. A paranoid, paralyzed-by-fear worrying mess of a mom. And maybe I still am, but at least I'm not alone! I mean seriously, the beach - why would anyone take their kids there? Sharks in the water, hypodermics in the sand, and the ubiquitous pedos in their banana hammocks lurking behind sandcastles. Not to mention beach-strolling ceviche-sellers peddling their food poisoning in a bucket. Oh wait, that's just in Mexico. Yeah, no way in hell my kids are going there either.

The Bridwells said...

Wow. I'm just glad I'm not last in the running anymore for Parent of the Year as well! LOL!!! I have never left any of my children anywhere, and always ask 14 times if *insert name of relative here* has them when they don't ride with me. As for CEC, we thankfully don't have one here locally so I've never had to deal with that. My daughter takes her 3 year old only occasionally and goes during the "off" times when it isn't crowded. One of us walked around and played the dumb games with her to supervise. Bad parenting is bad parenting - in any restaurant/store/playground. No excuses. And if you have so many kids you're exhausted and can't count them, here's a thought: STOP HAVING KIDS! USE YOUR BRAIN!

Jes said...

I think she's saying that if she doesn't like a TV show or a specific book she doesn't let her kids know about it.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, these weren't the first and won't be the last. Parents have been dropping their kids off at CEC for years and then leaving. A friend who used to work at one told me that parents had to get matching bands with the kids and no kids could leave without the matching adult, but it never stopped the parents from leaving.

And how does my 3 year old, who's never even been to CEC know about it? It's like crack, along with DisneyWorld and McDonalds.

Anonymous said...

First, Jen, you hit every concern I had with these two situations. It was like reading my own post. lol
Second, if my kids ask to go to CEC, I just tell them it's closed. For one, you have to pay a small fortune just to go there. You can pay about a quarter of that going to your local bowling alley, ordering a pizza, playing a couple of arcade games, and having a family bowling night and still have an awesome night. Not too mention, you're less likely to catch the Black Plague. Also, playgrounds are free. Fix a picnic and take them to the playground. Kids love picnics and they love playgrounds.
I have five young kids (including twins) and we have a Buddy System. The oldest two, age 14 and 13, when visiting (stepsons) take one each of the 5-year-old twins, and my husband or I take the 3-year-old. When the stepsons aren't here, and it's just me, the twins hold each other's hands and I take the 3-year-old. The twins walk in front of me where I have eyes on them. Just sayin'... Not that hard. Even with just three of them at home, I'm always doing a headcount.

~Renee

Anonymous said...

^^^ person who does not have children.

Split3ways said...

Shamefully, I admit that I almost left my son (8 at the time) at a restaurant. I had met my parents for dinner and he had asked to ride back to their house with them. I told him sure and he went to the bathroom and I to my car. I circled the building as they were driving off and noticed he wasn't with them. I went back and he was tearing up on the other side of the lot. I do see how it could happen but DO NOT see how it could go unnoticed!

Anonymous said...

Here in GA,there was an incident where a parent dropped her child off at CEC and left for several hours. CEC called her and she sent her oldest daughter to pick the child up but they wouldn't let the child go with her so the mother had to come back to CEC and pick him up. She was arrested on the spot. So some people have already thought of your idea of cheap childcare. LOL!!!

Virginia Mom of Three said...

I have done this on more than one occasion and the fear and gut-wrenching panic of thinking I left one of them is sobering.

Rosie said...

I have no idea what or who Chuck E Cheese is, (I am imagining boiling vats of melted cheese with kids swimming in them) but it sounds terrifying.

Virginia Mom of Three said...

Exactly!!! There may be a person at the door checking stamps, but that only prevents an adult from leaving with a kid whom isn't their own...It does not prevent an adult from leaving alone nor check that they came back.

Shannon said...

You need a license to drive a car...now tell me WHY IN THE WORLD DO YOU NOT NEED A LICENSE TO HAVE A FREAKIN CHILD??? These people are PERFECT examples of the reason why you should have to pass a test to have children..

Virginia Mom of Three said...

I feel you with regard to the fear that your child may go out to the parking lot looking for the car thinking you had left. My daughter did this in a grocery store when she was about three. My younger son was in the cart so she had to walk. We got separated and when I realized it, I completely freaked out, looking up and down all the isles and then it hit me. Someone could've taken her so I ran to the front desk to ask it they'd seen her only to see a woman in tears, walking her in from the parking lot. My daughter had done just was you're afraid of, walked out to the parking lot to see if I'd left and almost got hit by a car, thus the woman's tears. Needless to say, that NEVER happened again and I am a freak now because of it.

Leslie Todd said...

We never took our son to CEC because the noise level was insane! I'm sure the employees have hearing damage. But we did take him to a similar place that wasn't as loud. One of us followed him around all the time. Of course, hard to do if you have a bunch. But we were paranoid.

Anonymous said...

You forgot about the Mother in FL who bought her kid a happy meal, sent him into the play area and then went to her car and got high on Oxycontin. Thank God someone found her slumped over the wheel and called the police before she was able to drive off with her child. You have to have a city license to own a dog, but anyone can have a child.

Anonymous said...

Actually wrong, I do. And really what would it matter. Someone that doesn't have kids can't possibly care about the welfare of children and mental state of busy parents?

daye1967 said...

My constant refrain is, "Just because you are capable of reproduction doesn't mean you should reproduce." I feel so sorry for these forgotten children. (Good night, Orangies Attic! VBG!)

Ali said...

The Chuck E Cheese by me has the hand stamp thing too. We had my daughter's bday party there this year and I went out to my car to get something for the party and on the way out, the guy stopped me and asked if I was leaving. I said, no just getting something from my car. He said that they've had it happen there that people have just dropped their kids and gone. I couldn't imagine. The closest I ever came to "losing" my daughter was checking the mail. We live in an apt building, and the mailboxes are in the front of the building, our door is in the back. Everyday when we get home, we check the mail. One day, she must not have heard me say, lets check the mail and she waited by the back door for me to get there. I started walking around the building and i thought she was right behind me. i turned around when i got to the front, and she wasn't behind me. i RAN (i'm fat, i DON'T run) back to the back and she was just rounding the corner to the side of the building, crying because she turned around and i wasn't there. we both cried for a sec, and i thought it was a good parenting moment to discuss the importance of hand holding. she hated holding my hand before that, now she never argues with me when i tell her to hold my hand.

Anonymous said...

Pretty scary that you feel this way....along with "overprotective crazy parents" came a generation much more aware of how much abduction, child sexual abuse by people both inside and outside of the home, neglect and abandonment, and bullying children face---and now people are trying to do something about it. Not always perfectly, but at least they are trying. Your nostalgia for the "good old days" of the oblivious 80's is scary, as is your lack of compassion for these left-behind kids.

Unknown said...

Hearing these stories just makes me so sad. I can maybe understand leaving someone behind on accident (there are many factors that can contribute to one's mind completely shutting off at the wrong time), but to go so long without noticing?! There is something absolutely wrong with that.

My parents were always super vigilant with us--vigilant to the point of obsession. There was only ever one time they forgot one of us, and it happened during a long road trip.

We had just eaten at a McDonald's in another state, and my sister ran to use the bathroom as we were walking out the door. We are a family of 8, so we were traveling in two different cars, and each car thought the other one had her riding in it. It wasn't until about 15 minutes down the road, when my dad--driving the second car--noticed that one head was missing from the back seat of the other car in front. This was before cell phones, so we couldn't call ahead, and my sister was in hysterics when we finally made it back. Luckily, she had told the employees she had been left behind, and was smart enough to give them my grandparent's number (who we were on our way to visit) just in case.

Anyway, I only have one child, but the thought of ever leaving him behind somewhere constantly plagues my mind. This gets even worse when I take my son, niece, and nephews somewhere. I am absolutely terrified of losing or forgetting one of them!

K said...

CEC is hell on earth and my 2 RugRats only went once. Never again.

amy said...

Maybe if her parents had given her an elaborate (cough Marie Antoinette cough)themed bday party they would have realized she was missing...maybe... ;)

pam said...

I posted this on my wall a day or so ago.One thing about the birthday girl... she is 5 years old, and the party was over at !0:00 on a school night!! Who is having a party that late for a five year old?

I agree that obvs. the mom doesn't get her kids ready for bed, or she would have noticed that she wasn't there.Also, I'm assuming that with 10 kids, they share rooms. Didn't a sibling notice she wasn't there?

Where did the child spend the night if the mother didn't notice she was gone? Why didn't CEC call the parents (hopefully the child knew her mom's cell phone or home phone #)?

Too many questions...

MSK said...

I agree with Anonymous 2. Its staggering to hear how many adults were abused, neglected or molested as children. Often by people they knew, but they kept the abuse to themselves for YEARS. It wasn't the good old days we try to blissfully remember. We are more aware now and trying to do things better...even if it means the pendulum effect of being over protective!

Dvora Koelling said...

The only excuse I can come up with is that the parents probably got totally wasted in preparation for their visits to chuck e. cheese, and were a mere eighteen sheets to the wind by the time they left the place. OR they like to dress their children up like oversized pizza-loving mice, and simply couldn't FIND their kids because they blended in so well with the surroundings?
Oy vey.

said...

I agree these parents make me look like Mom of the Year! But it makes me wonder about CEC. At our CEC (Frederick, MD) they stamp our hands - the whole family - with an 'invisible' stamp. And when we leave we have to show our stamps under the black light to confirm we are all the same family (this prevents the kid leaving with someone else). It's the only reason I will even go to that place. So I wonder if either of those CEC have that safety precaution or as you stated the parents are just - well, it's beyond words!

Unknown said...

My husband and I ditched my oldest at her 5th birthday. We didn't load presents and I don't think I hugged her good bye we just left. I didn't check to see if she was going to go with her aunt or with my mom. We Left

But that was cause we went to the hospital to have child #3 about 30 min later. I think I get a pass.

Anonymous said...

They stamp the kids' hands so they can't leave without a parent. I guess they'll need to start taking a count to make sure the parent doesn't leave without all their kids!

Anonymous said...

Actually I'm realistic. If you look at department of justice stats you will see that ALL crime has gone down every year since the 70s. So now is MUCH safer than when we were kids in the 70's and 80's. The only difference is now we have all kinds of media 24-7 that sells via scare tactics. Example: Can you house be killing your children, find out tonight at 11...then it turns out to be something every idiot knows is dangerous and doesn't do.

I'm not saying bad things can't happen, they can. But you also can't live in a fear bubble and be so over protective that your kids can't function without you. Kids need to be raised to know how to handle themselves. If I was 5 years old and left at CEC, you can bet your butt I would have found an employee and said I can't find my family. I would have also known my phone number....unless I still had tokens then I probably would have kept playing :)

Melda said...

First of all - I have to admit that hubby and I have left a child behind - sadly, more than once.
But - not overnight of course.
We often take two cars to sporting events and such.
Hubby meets us from work and the kids often tag with riding home with dad or mom or whatever....they usually change their minds 4 times before they get in car.
We are foster parents - so our # of kids change.
We have 3 of "our" children and sometimes 4 or 5 or 6 total.
(6 is the max - 10 is TOO many)
Once we went out to eat after an event -
Hubby said, "where's Z?"
I replied, "very funny"
cause he is always trying to make think that we left someone.
Then I immediately knew by the look on his face that he wasn't joking....I can't believe I didn't get a speeding ticket going back to point "A" where Z was.

Second time I took lunch to hubby after a swim meet - there was confusion and to make a long story short - hubby left same child - thinking that after lunch - he went back with me.
That time - a friend called me before hubby got home and said, "uh....Z is still here at ______ and I think your husband left him here"

Having outed myself - I agree with you 100%
It shouldn't have taken until MORNING to realize that a child was missing and certainly not the birthday girl!

Lastly, at CEC - I only give my kids 3 tokens at a time so they have to come to the table / check in / and get more tokens.

Melda said...

PS....for the record - the child left behind was NOT a foster child! YIKES!

Unknown said...

Where to begin my first of all? Is it what about the person standing at the door? Don't you have to leave with the same number of kids you brought? Who leaves CEC at 10pm on a school night? With a supposed 5 year old? Umm, my kids have an 8:00 bedtime. I dont mind stretching but leave at 10? Wow! I feel like mom of the year now!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Jess - I think she's referring to specific books. Trust me, there's quite a bit of TV and reading material that aren't in our house (and we have *loads* of reading material).

Anonymous said...

If they ever have friends or go to school, they will find out. I did the same thing for mine with that evil purple dino from hell... he found out in Pre-K.

Deanna said...

Are you kidding me? Those morons should have stopped at 9 if they can't count to 10! This shit just infuriates me! Grrrrrr......there's no excuse for this...I don't care how busy you are...if you have to count to keep track of your own kids, you had too many...my opinion...

Deanna said...

The 3 token idea is really smart thinking...that's a really good plan...kudos to any foster parent!

Nus Nogard said...

About the handstamps, depending on the ink they use it could be pretty easy for the adult to copy the kid's handstamp. I learned about handstamp transfers from going to amusement parks a lot, so if it's anything like the ink they (used to) use, it's very easy. The new ink, the color changes if you try to transfer it, I believe.

zinny said...

Best comment EVER!

Jester Queen said...

Just remember to come BACK at the end of three hours and nobody will know you were gone. I think the worst part is that the restaurant only noticed, after a large amount of time had passed. SURELY these kids (especially little lost-news-girl) were LOOKING AROUND SAYING HELP. (In lost-news-girl's case, it was "I'm thirsty"; birthday girl was old enough to be asking for her mom, poor thing. SHE SPENT THE NIGHT WHERE???). Dear god that terrifies me.

Anonymous said...

I'm more in tune with the last comment. I'd sure love for any opportunity to feel superior and winning, bereft of any extra effort, just by judging this family. (And to make it a little harder to judge me, I have two small children myself.) But as much as I hate Chuck E. Cheese, and all the lazy assumptions one could make about people who take their kids there, I can't quite bring it off. The world is staggeringly safer than it was in the 70s and 80s. What we have more of is the media saturation chasing increasingly fewer stories. They compete against each other for making events the most gruesome-sounding. Listen to Canadian local news some day, and it's miles apart.

Onion headline: "Local News team may have some information that just might save your life".

Anonymous said...

Your kids must live isolated lives if they don't encounter other children whose lifestyles and families' choices are not identical to yours.

Anonymous said...

There are no passes. There is nothing to pass.

Anonymous said...

Hint from a mom of now 17 and 21 year olds from back when they were young: Only go to CEC on days your school district has a day off or 1/2 day...and go to one that is not in your same school district! (I'm not talking major holidays here, people...I'm talking school conferences or professional development days for teachers, etc.) That way, every one else's children are in school and your small group of moms and little ones has the run of the place :) Worked like a charm for us every time. We'd have a pizza lunch and let the "littles" run wild for an hour or two. Then, we'd be out and gone by the time the rest of the world was able to come to CEC. (Although, this only works if you live in area big enough to support one or more Chuck E Cheese's which are aren't within 10 miles of your house :)

Marian said...

Rotflmao

Alli said...

Ummm I'd have to disagree that you get a pass. You irresponsibly left one child (I assume from your post that you didn't make previous arrangements with people to make sure they took her if you went into unexpected labor) to go pop out another... huh.

Maybe you are quite as irresponsible as your post indicated, and you were just trying to be funny, but if that's the case, then it's a fail. Leave the funny up to Jen.

Anonymous said...

This is why there should be standardized testing to bring kids home from the hospital.

Anonymous said...

I take it as you knew she was leaving with a relative, and meeting you at the hospital. Wow people.

JennM said...

This has got to be one of my favorite posts. my husband and I are laughing so hard. I have tears .

TNMom said...

I worry like CRAZY also!! I always think I am weird and try to mask it. I call my brain "worst case scenerio brain"...if it's bad and it COULD happen, its probably going to happen to me/my kids. My hubs makes fun of me but has secretly admited that its not all bad - overly "aware" is better than unaware. :)

TNMom said...

So SO SO very sad....I discuss my kids day with them at bedtime, particularly special days such as...hmmmm, I don't know - their 5th birthday! This makes my heart hurt, not that she was left - I agree, that can happen, but that no one noticed.
My husbands parents left him sleeping in a church pugh when he was like 5. The church was locked up tight and they were home when they noticed. They had to call the pastor to come back to open the church to get him (can you imagine that white nuckle drive back to the church???), when they got back he was still asleep. :)

TNMom said...

Just realized this sounds so OAM....I discuss their day with them sometimes (a couple times a week), the other nights I am all like "...no, you cant have another drink, no you cant watch another show, yes you have school tomorrow, I dont know why that girl said that last week, no you cant brush your teeth again, I love you...."

Brett Minor said...

I know you have plenty of readers, but I just gave you an award. It's on my site if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

Phenominal.

Sandra said...

I went into labor at CEC. No kidding. Sitting (actually squeezed in) one of those booths. I can't even look at the logo without my uterus contracting....

Red said...

If I had kids, I might worry more about CEC than the beach. I work at the beach, and I can tell you for a fact that, at least in Delaware, if a "missing kid" alert goes out, everything comes to a stop until the kid is found. The lifeguards and park rangers are all on child-search duty. Anyone on break drops his sandwich and adds to the posse, and all the neighboring towns' police forces are alerted in case the kid just started to walk up the beach and went to far.

...just trying to alleviate your worry-load, if that's possible!

Anonymous said...

I actually forgot my daughter at home when she was a baby. She was napping and we got ready to go to my parent for dinner. Loaded up the diaper bag, put my older son in the car seat, put hubby in his seat belt then started off for grandma's. Got just out of our neighborhood when I went crap!!! forgot the baby!! (AT least I didn't set her car seat on top of the car and forget it was there like I do my drinks sometimes!!)

og said...

I also almost forgot one of our kids. My husband and I were going back and forth from our house to the car. I had one kid in the car and we were about to lock the door when we realized that the baby was strapped in his car seat on the floor near the door. I'm not saying the family shouldn't have noticed sooner but I can almost see how it can happen, esp. with large families.

Anonymous said...

I was forgotten at the daycare(they have an overnight shift), grandparents thought my parents had me and parents thought grandparents did. It was midnight by the time they realized. Goodness mistakes happen .

Blondie McBaffled said...

Maybe they were HOPING someone would take the child off their hands. You know...the child is impossible to potty train, diapers are expensive, kid's an excessive whiner, the list could go on and on. Hell, with 10 kids, just feeding them all would be crazy expensive. At least at CEC, there'd be plenty of food and entertainment for the abandoned child.

mary said...

I have a friend who is from a very large family, and years ago they went on a picnic, taking three cars. A great time was had by all, but once they got home they realized they'd forgotten their dog; Mom and Dad promptly drove back and sure enough, there was the dog....AND one of their sons! They'd realized they'd forgotten the dog, but not one of their kids. He was around 10, and let's just say he never let them forget about it. And after that they came up with a much better system to ensure everyone made it home, needless to say.

Anonymous said...

My kids love CEC so I take them there pretty often. I get to sit and relax with my phone (even though some judgemental folks would have an opinion about that) and the kids have a great time. I am not a germophobe and I sit far away from the guitar hero machine. After all, one can only listen to "Slow Ride" so many times.

My kids are 8 and almost 10. They are very well behaved and respectful. I only let them take 5 tokens at a time so they keep having to come back for more. When they were little I would follow them around. But I have never heard I any kid ever being abducted from a CEC.

As for the parents who left their kids behind, I have no words.

Writer, wedding officiant and life-cycle celebrant , and baby wrangler. said...

I was a child of the 70s and 80s, and as I recall it was the media coverage that was part of the trigger of parents keeping a closer watch. I remember exactly when that happened--Adam Walsh. I remember seeing it on the news and being terrified, which my mother didn't help by yelling at us if we didn't stay close--"All they found was his HEAD!"

Yeah--she was that mom. Not enough Xanax in the world, my friends.

We just took our 16 month olds to their first birthday party at a friend's house. They were essentially in one long room of their brownstone, and we still had man on man defense, for the babies' protection and everyone else's lol. We are not by any means helicopter parents, but I can't imagine not at least trying to keep a sight line, and barring that in the Clusterf*ck E. Cheese having some sort of system to track them. Besides, don't most of them have arm band systems now where you have to leave with the one who brung ya?

I don't judge that they accidentally left a kid there. That has happened to some of the best parents I know. But if you didn't have a moment with your kid on the eve of their BIRTHDAY to know that they weren't at your house? I judge you. I Judgy McJudgerson you. So suck it.

Writer, wedding officiant and life-cycle celebrant , and baby wrangler. said...

I have two toddlers, and we are holding onto the bubble as long as possible. They know Yo Gabba Gabba because we can stand to watch it, and whatever books we want them to read and the music of ours they like (so far Michael Jackson and Black Eyed Peas for my daughter and anything awesome for my son.) I'm sure once they go to school it will end, but how great to get through their first four years of life *crosses fingers* exposed to things that aren't prefabricated crapola? At least in our opinion. :)

Sandy P said...

Love ChuckECheese! I live (grandma) in a rural NE town and people are so protective of their kids it's hard to set up enough playdates. In winter cold it's sometimes hard for her to be in a place she can run around a litlle so off 2 ChuckECheese I go at least once a month. McDonalds play areas are good too.

perkiwindy said...

Just thinking the followers of the party lady's blog might be having too much of the special kool-aid and brownies... Just a little too much talk on "positive energy" and the like. No one is that far out into lala land without help...

Christi said...

That's how we are here too, right down to the husband guilt. We only have four kids, but I am constantly counting, one, two, three, four to make sure they are all okay.

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