Ryan Trares: Boys night out

The boys were on their own and on the town.

Last Friday, my wife had planned a night out with a few friends, staying overnight and coming back home the next morning. Living in a house full of boys — me, Anthony, even our cat and our turtle — she deserved some time with the girls.

So that meant Anthony and I had a whole night to do whatever silly things we wanted to. And we took full advantage. As soon as I picked him up from the babysitter, we were off.

Leading up to it, we had talked about what we wanted to do. At the top of Anthony’s list was one place — Pinheads, a video game arcade and bowling alley that is as close to paradise as he has found. The place is filled with buzzing, blinking, flashing games, so hyperactive that it is overwhelming at first.

We ran from place to place, playing claw machine games, skeeball, Mario Kart and everything in between. Part of the reason why Anthony loves the arcade so much is the potential to earn tickets, and redeem those for trinkety prizes afterward. Normally, we try to steer him clear of those, as the prizes inevitably build up into piles of junk I’ll end up throwing away.

But on this special night, I let him try his best. We accumulated tickets, and I let him run wild in the arcade store afterward. Loaded up with candy and cheap prizes, it was time for dinner.

Pizza was next on our agenda. We had originally planned to eat out at a local pizza place, but it being Friday night, the wait was long and Anthony was hungry. So we agreed to simply order delivery at home, so we could watch movies while we pigged out.

Filled up with pizza, breadsticks and pop, we plopped down on the couch to watch one of our favorites — “The Bob’s Burgers Movie.” Much to my wife’s chagrin, my love of silly, irreverent cartoons has passed down to Anthony. Ever since we went to the theater to see “Bob’s Burgers” play out on the big screen, and it subsequently came out on streaming services, the adventures of the Belcher family have played on a loop in our house.

We cracked up at the dumb jokes, sang the goofy songs, and recited our favorite memorized lines. We went to sleep still giggling.

Anthony is a mommy’s boy, and always will be. He and my wife have a special connection that only mothers can have with their kids. They have a shared love of getting cozy on the couch, digging into snacks and enjoying a few hours of Disney movies, things that are not my cup of tea.

But I like to think that Anthony and I have our own unique bond, as well.

Before we went to bed, he curled up next to me and said, “Thank you for a fun night, Daddy.”

Little did he know that I was the one thankful for such a great Friday night.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].