One of the problems with having children spread so far apart in age is that I can sometimes forget the lessons I've taught myself over time.
Through a mixture of pseudo-science, fear, and fair dose of all-out lies, I had convinced three of my four children that Chuck E. Cheese was the source of pink-eye. Those three had experienced the eye-prying torture of burning drops after a days of gunk-induced blindness, so it wasn't all that difficult to dissuade them from ever entering that den of disease again.
But just like a child who has never been exposed to chicken pox, Jessie had no immunity whatsoever and had begged for months to go. I had run out of excuses, and pink-eye just sounded like coloring her face with a marker which she does every day anyway.
So we went.
Luckily, there weren't many people there. Just a few bamboozled grandparents who looked as though a trip to the liquor store for cheap vodka was imminent-- to either drink or to disinfect with--who am I to judge? So Jessie and I spent two hours and ten bucks playing games, riding rides, collecting tickets and eating frozen chicken nuggets over the soundtrack of clicking fur-covered robots, video game trailers and children's screams.
And you know what? It was pretty fun.
While I still think its health department score hovers around the temperature of Nome in January, Jessie was thrilled the entire time. She laughed, she played, we did everything she wanted to at least twice, and there was no having to share her tokens--or her time-- with anyone. Everything was exactly how she'd imagined it and there was not a hint of disappointment. And when all was over, she took her tickets and bought prizes for every one of her siblings with no prodding from me.
So I still stand by my original assertion that this place does and will cause pink-eye, but perhaps I'll amend the lesson to inlcude an occasional misty-eye phenomenon as well.