There are places that all of our kids totally love going to, and even the most laid-back and fun-loving parent amongst us can find one of these that makes you cringe. But it’s either a birthday treat, or you are on vacation, or you happen to make the mistake of going to the Bed, Bath and Beyond at the wrong shopping center location, and before you know it, you have entered the ninth circle of parenting hell. Here they are; the worst places to go with kids:
1. Chuck E. Cheese. “Where a kid can be a kid” and a parent can easily blow fifty bucks on game tokens so their kid can win a plastic whistle. Sometimes you’ll luck out and go to a location that actually serves adult beverages, in the form of bottom shelf wine and 3.2 beer, but then again, you may also end up in a twenty person brawl when a kid takes too long redeeming their tickets. Plus, I am pretty sure their pizza contains a f*ck-ton of sugar, so expect your little darlings to be super keyed up when it’s time to go home.
2. Build-A-Bear Workshop. Taking your kid to “Build A Bear” is one thing. You pick your 20-40 dollar bear. You stuff it. You get the adoption certificate. And then you get to go home, right? WRONG. Then you add four to six dollars for a sound, you know, if you want your bear to Meow or Quack or play the Star Wars theme. Or have a heartbeat. Or say “I love you.” Then you pick an outfit, and shoes, and accessories because your bear NEEDS a wig for seven dollars and a four-pack of hair extensions to add to the wig plus a SCENT. And the scents cost 3.50 each but your bear that meows and wears a wig and also plays the Star Wars theme needs to smell like a damn cupcake. Get me the hell out of here.
3. Any Indoor Hotel/Waterpark. You’re at the hotel, you’re at the waterpark, you’re at the combination hotel and indoor waterpark. Because nothing says fun-filled family vacation that staying in a hotel room with a small area with bunkbeds that costs 350 a night and eating heat lamp warmed pizza under a sneeze guard at the themed buffet and drinking a watered down slushy “margarita” while you relax in a warm pool of someone else’s kid’s urine.
4. Any Fast Food Play Place. This seems like a fun idea right? You can relax and eat some delicious, delicious fast food french fries while your kid gets their ya-yas out but it’s a bad idea, because these places are filthy. I know a kid found a used condom in one and I think someone else found a severed foot in a ballpit, but I may just be making that part up. Plus, it’s where the sad divorced dads go. At any given day you will see some sad looking dad trying to force his screaming kid to put his shoes back on so he can drop the kid off with his ex-wife and her new husband Mark, who is a pediatric surgeon and worked as a male model doing underwear modeling for the JC Penny catalogue in college. It’s a very depressing scene.
5. Ikea – On A Saturday. You are going to IKEA on a Saturday morning because they have cute and reasonable and pretty sturdy kid’s furniture. It’s a Saturday so you decide to bring your kid with you, because IKEA has that play area you can leave them in for like 30 minutes. Do not do this. Do not go to IKEA on a Saturday. For the love of everything that is holy, and because this is my best piece of parenting advice ever: never, ever go to IKEA on a Saturday. With a child. You have been warned.
6. To A Petting ‘Zoo’ With A Bin Of Bargain Bunnies. Or a cardboard box of kittens. Go back to the car. Do you want a bunny? Do you really want a bunny? You know bunnies shit on the floor and your kid is too young to clean a bunny cage and do you really want a bunny? Stop it is not too late turn around and go back to the car. GO.
7. Toy-R-Us To Pick Up A Gift For A Different Kid With Your Kid Between The Ages Of 14 months And Three Years. Imagine if someone brought you to some magical store that had floor to ceiling Hermés Birkin bags. Or kegs of your favorite beer. Or piles of puppies. Or whatever your jam is and for some reason you didn’t understand the concepts of patience and giving to others. And money. And the person you were with picked out something amazing. NOT FOR YOU. And because you don’t understand the concepts of giving and money the asshole you are with doesn’t buy you anything and expects you to leave empty handed – this is why we have onlinekid will eventually understand they can’t get everything they want. Rushing to get a gift for a birthday party is not that time.
8. The Sick Child Section Of Your Pediatrician’s Office. I’m not talking about kids who have serious illnesses or medical problems, or a terrifying trip to the ER, I’m talking about when you suspect your kid has an ear infection or a sore throat and you have to haul them to your pediatrician’s office with no appointment. You can usually expect to wait for at least an hour, trying to amuse your fussy kid with a sad looking fish tank and some dog eared copies of Hi-Lights magazines from 1997. Unless you luck out and your kid starts vomiting everywhere, and then they will usually squeeze you in. But with no appointment? Eat before you go and charge your cell phone, you’ll need it.
9. The American Girl Doll Store. I really hope you have been saving money since your ultrasound told you that you were expecting a girl. A girl who you really wanted to love American Girl Dolls.
10. The Family Portrait Studio. I don’t care how well-napped and calm your kids are, put them in matching outfits and take them to have their photo taken and as soon as an underpaid photographer attempts to amuse them with a squeaky toy, the tears will fall. Plus, as a parent you get to sit there while your photographer tries to sell you some two hundred dollar package that includes a CD-ROM of your photos plus refrigerator magnets to send to the grandparents. Before you had kids you never went to a place to get a photo taken where you had to choose between “enchanted rose garden yellow” and “down at the farm” backdrops.
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This piece first appeared on Mommyish.