I just took Rachel to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese today. I asked her afterward what her favorite part of the party was, and she said, "The part where we were eating cake." (I have to agree -- that was better than the part where we were eating pizza.)
This was, I believe, the first time Rachel has ever been invited to a birthday party anywhere. We arrived just before the birthday boy himself arrived, and for the entire time until it was time to eat, they were inseparable. They ran around the place like a couple of maniacs, and spent most of their time in the skytubes, that oversize Habitrail for children. After pizza and cake, the kids were a little more separable, and Rachel spent most of her time on the rides, including five or six trips on the car where you get your picture taken with Chuck E. Cheese.
I barely knew any of the adults, especially since only three other preschoolers came, and consequently was bored out of my mind most of the party. Mostly I went around with Rachel, giving her tokens to put into the rides and watching her enjoy herself. I did chat with one of the mothers who was there, and she told me how great it was that I was so loving and affectionate with my children, and that she wishes more fathers were like that.
We finally left about two-and-a-half hours after we arrived, went to Target and tried unsuccessfully to exchange one of the two copies of The Simpsons season six that we received for Christmas, and then went home.
And here I am now.