Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Meal-Happy Kids. Bad Mom.

Okay I am not above taking my boys out for a little Micky D's. I know, I know evil fast food. High calorie, high sodium, high sugar, low nutrients and cheapo toys. Easy, fast, happy kids. I don't do it often. In fact it is so infrequent that my boys truly get excited about it.

I went tonight. The husband is out of town on business travel (staying at the W Hotel in NYC, oh poor baby). I was exhausted, this literal pain in my neck that two deep tissue massages and about a million Tylenol tablets have not cured, has left me drained. Sure I could have popped in a frozen pizza, that would have been easy enough, but then it would have left me with all kinds of time to entertain my energizer bunnies, and I had an errand to run at Walgreen's anyway, which just happens to be two blocks from the Golden Arches. As soon as the word McDonald's was out of my mouth I had two little boys who acted like they had just won the lottery. "Can I have chocolate milk Mommy?" "Do we get a prize?" Yes, Yes, put on your shoes and let's hit it.

So off we went. I ordered two happy meals and one Southwest Chicken Salad with grilled chicken and ranch dressing. We sat down and the boys immediately searched their meals for the "prize". The much anticipated goody was a cheap plastic Ronald McDonald cell phone that perhaps a 13 month old who is too young for french fries would have enjoyed. The boys didn't seem to notice. I went to dig into my salad, and noticed that it was served with "crispy" chicken instead of grilled, I am guessing they don't receive too many requests for the healthy variety. The boys ate their burgers and fries and chattered away with a six year old kid in the booth next to him. This child was clearly a regular. In fact he had his books and toys spread out in front of him like he was settling in for the long haul. Mom and dad had two Big Mac's and a large order of fries each and the figure to match it. I know I sound judgemental, but it made me a little sad. The fast food culture in full color. That boy doesn't stand a chance.

After we finished, Zachary looked at me and said in a most sincere voice "That was so much fun mommy! Thank you for taking us to McDonald's! It's my favorite restaurant!" But did I get a thank you last night when I served up homemade spaghetti and meatballs? Heck no. I got two untouched plates of food. Maybe I should start serving dinner with a crappy plastic toy and a fountain drink. I think I'm on to something....


  1. You are so funny! That last paragraph made me laugh! I make healthy things as much as I can, but there is always that occasional stop at a fine establishment like McDonalds. I get the healthy chicken wrap! :) I hope you are well!

    Mama Hen

  2. McDonald's around here is indeed a rare treat, just like in your life. It's expensive (a happy meal runs about $8.50) but once in a while, we go to the mall to play in the gymboree and head to McDonald's for dinner. Since Ben eats 3 bites of ANY meal and begins to throw it on the floor, my kids share the meal and the toy. They get so damn excited about McDonalds it's nuts - I guess that's what happens when it's a twice yearly king of a thing!?

  3. I love it. Serve our healthy home cooked food with a crappy new toy each night. How funny!

  4. Your favorite restaurant was Burger King and they didn't even give away prizes. I also took you to Mickey D's after preschool some days. Am I a bad mother? You can package the food at home in take-out containers and go to the dollar store and get a bunch of junk and there you have it!

  5. Yep, the healthy stuff goes down when a treat or prize is involved. When I was a kid, Mc Donald's was a treat for us. Now it's a staple... that's when it crossed over to being bad. Or maybe it was bad all along. Either way, I loved going with my family on "treat night" That's what I do for my little guy... he knows all about the Happy Meal prize! Love the post :-)

  6. I wish we could eat out many times a week. I LOVE having someone else make my food and not have to think about it.

    Husband takes the kids to McDonalds once in a while.

    The only thing that annoys the crap out of me is that Husband is vegetarian almost everywhere else, but he eats MCDONALDS HAMBURGERS.


    p.s. I had a neck spasm due to extreme stress once--and it SUCKED. Hope you feel better quick. Ice instead of hot as I recall.

  7. You know, this whole debate about passing laws to ban toys from Happy Meals cracks me up, for exactly the story that you told! Once in a while? The kids think you ROCK for taking them there for dinner. It's a treat, the toy is a bonus, and then you go back to spaghetti and meatballs. But the kid who eats there constantly, as well as seeing mom and dad eat all that? That's where the problems lie.

  8. We had done our best to never take them to McDonalds. That doesn't mean we had a ban on all fast food - In & Out is our weakness, so that is where we go. Still, it got really hard when one was built on the corner we pass every day on the ONLY way out of the development. And of course it was one with a playground. Still we persevered. Then yesterday, after picking up the twins from their after school program, one of them mentioned getting ice cream. "Oh, where did you get that?" I asked innocently. Yep, you guessed it! Since it was pouring rain here all day on Monday, they took all the morning kindergarteners there after school. So now they know what they are missing.....sigh.