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How Old is Too Old for the Fast Food Playland?

Tonight was Chick-Fil-A night for Gomer’s school, and like a good little robot he came home and announced that if we didn’t go he’d the be the “only” kid in his class who didn’t support his school.  I don’t know how the school brainwashes them like that, but I’d wish they’d teach me!

The Hubs had a meeting so I decided it would be a win-win for me.  I wouldn’t have to cook or clean up alone — so off we went to Chick-Fil-A.

We arrived to find the place pretty empty.  Gomer was crushed that none of his friends were there, but he decided french fries would dull the pain.

As we finished our dinner people started trickling in.  None of the kids were Gomer’s age though.  Everyone was quite a bit older.  Closer to 10 or 11.  By now Gomer and Adolpha were finished eating and begged for some time in the petri dish that is the playland.  I really wanted to say “No,” but I’m not that horrible, so I looked at my watch and decided they had 10 minutes to play.

After about 2 minutes Gomer came back out and said it was getting “too wild” in there.  Chick-Fil-A doesn’t really have any place for adults to sit inside their playland.  The kids are behind glass and I could look in there and see what was going on.  Gomer was right.  There were 5 or 6 or 30 (it was impossible to tell, because they were moving so fast they were blurs of color) older boys whooping and hollering and running at top speed through the tiny playscape.  One boy was sitting on top of the tube slide and dangling his bare feet down so kids had to push through his feet to get out (I don’t know why, but bare feet always seem dirtier to me than sock covered feet).  Another boy was literally climbing the outside of the structure and swinging from a sign that specifically said: DO NOT CLIMB.  And don’t forget the boy who I watched jump over a toddler.  Yeah, he jumped over her!  She thought it was funny, but her dad didn’t.  He grabbed her and her squeaker shoes and they were gone in a flash.

I looked around to see if I could tell who the wilding boys belonged to, but it was impossible to tell since no one seemed to be taking any interest in the kids in playroom except the family next to us whose son is a friend of Gomer’s (one had finally shown up).

I was torn.  On one hand, Gomer is my softer kid and he really needs to learn to stand up for himself.  However, these boys were several years older than him and would probably laugh in his face if he stood up to them.

“Where’s Adolpha?” I asked.  She’s my tougher kid and she usually can tell off kids who are bothering her brother.

“I’ll get her,” Gomer replied.  He returned a few minutes later with Adolpha.

“I hear it’s wild in there,” I said to her.

“Yup,” she said.

“Those big boys are causing a lot of trouble, huh?”

“Yup.”

“Hmm….what should we do?” I asked.

“Easy-peasy.  Tell them to get out.  They’re too big, mom.  They can’t even fit in the car up there!” She pointed to the taxi cab thing jutting off the structure where a boy had folded himself like a pretzel to get into.  I was a little happy to see he was stuck and starting to panic.

Adolpha was right.  These boys were way too big to be in there.  Then I got to thinking.  Is Gomer too big?  Should Gomer not be allowed to play in these things anymore either?  At what age is too big?

Is it an age thing or is it a behavior thing?  Gomer is an average sized 7 year old, but he’s fairly slow moving and he doesn’t have the agility or the guts to jump over a toddler.  I don’t even think at 10 he would be able to do that.

At what age do you tell your kids they are too old to play in the playland at Chick Fil A, McDonald’s, etc.?

Be sure to read my daily rants at People I Want to Punch in the Throat where you’re sure to laugh and/or might be offended (it’s where you can find my R-rated rants).

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