McDonald's, you are on my sh#! list.
My timing on tonight's dinner was approximately 1.5 hours off--but that's what happens when you fly by the seat of your pants to the zoo for the afternoon. You see, it's not just about the zoo, it's about the three hour time loss and meal rearrangement that happens as a result. Recovering from a schedule addiction has given me the shakes, which I suppose is better than a case of explosive diarrhea.
Around 6:30 p.m., McDonald's was decided upon--mostly because it was easy, even if it does cause cancer in lab rats. We ordered up our happy meals, and the cheap plastic toys on wheels that would spike my blood pressure when they ricocheted off the dirty, tile floor, every 22 seconds. It made me wish McDonald's was carpeted, but that's like one million times GROSSER than eating human eyeballs, even if they are covered in ketchup.
Upon opening said happy meals, it was discovered that the french fries have...shrunk. SHRUNK!!!!!!!!!!!!
Turns out, someone bullied McDonald's into skimping on the fries and adding apples. APPLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I blame Morgan Spurlock (the Super-Size Me guy) or Oprah, or the Kardashians, or Kim Jong Il. Because you know what happens when I buy FOUR happy meals? I can steal enough french fries to give myself a respectable serving of lard, that's what. Except that the new serving size can practically be swallowed whole by a BABY, and so essentially, I am now SCREWED.
If someone tells me that now I get BOTH fries and apples, so help me God, I will punch them in the face. I came here for MCDONALDS. If I want to gag over natural fruit, I'll juice some kale and watermelon in the privacy of my own home, thankyouverymuch. I feed my kids whole wheat bread, and give them servings of milk; I force them to try new vegetables (Squash-gate 2012), I serve them fruit at every meal--unless I haven't been to the grocery store, and my only option is moldy lemons, because I have learned that many of you would call this child abuse. I own (and use) a juicer, daily. We don't really snack much, we don't have cavities, we are low on the weight charts, and we are current on our vaccinations.
So put the f-ing french fries in the basket.
Because here's how I see it--they are french fries and they taste good. And we like them. And we used to have a choice, before the health Nazi's stripped our basic human rights. My kids are HEALTHY, and a side of french fries every other week isn't going to kill them. It's really just a casual meal choice, and not a political statement on obesity, or heart disease, or food regulation, or whatever. I see this path we're walking down, that begins with breast vs. bottle feeding, and becomes about sleep schedules and sign language and mixed-age classrooms and braces--this tendency to make everything a matter of life and death and intelligence. It is a freaking impossible standard, and one that will have my kids sleeping in a lint-free bubble and speaking Portugese by the time they are parents, because someone will come up with some study that suggests speaking a European language will lower cholesterol by 84%.
And that will happen over my McDonald's-loving, dead body. It's a freaking trap, kids.
If I could impart a few pieces of advice to new parents, it would be:
Stick your baby in front of the television AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Give them a bottle within their first week of life, because with all the "Breast-is-Best" insanity, you'll want to chop your boobs right off when your baby is eight months old and STILL refuses to eat anything not attached to your nipples. Be a rebel and feed your kid fruit from a jar before vegetables (and screw that business of making it yourself). Let them have a pacifier if they want it. Toddler shoes from Target are just as good as the ones from Stride Right. No child has died from these things, but PLENTY of parents have lost-their-damn-minds trying to keep up with the latest trend in super parenting.
None of these are absolutes, mind you. Just exercises in fighting the mentality that you are doing EVERYTHING wrong, and that you will ruin your child.
I say this, because parenting has become a constant string of very serious and political decisions, when sometimes it's just DINNER AT FREAKING MCDONALDS. It's not the moral high ground, people--at least it isn't for me. I have no problem with parents who want their apples, but give me my french fries (and then feel free to just talk about me behind my back). I could give two craps if every meal they eat in their entire lives is healthy and organic; at this point in the game, I am trying to raise kids who will be responsible, but not suffer with guilt when they take it easy sometimes. I want them to be able to enjoy life, and know their limits, and not have to over think a side dish in a happy meal. I want to raise them to make these kinds of choices for themselves--but mostly, to know that choosing FRIES over APPLES every once in a while isn't going to kill them. But following the kind of rules for doing it perfectly, and taking all the human error out of life, will surely squash all the fun out of living it.
I want my kids to challenge themselves in the way they see and treat others, in how they handle injustice, in being humble, in their work ethic. I want them to be gracious, and strong and confident and quick to forgive. I DO NOT want them to spend their lives fixating on the injustice of the happy meal. Good golly.
Next time, I'm just going to order the 20-piece McNugget meal, and call it a day.