Every Thursday, my daughter and her friend take swimming lesson at the local community center. The boy takes a gym class there while they are at swim. My friend brings the girls to the swim lessons and after the boy’s class, I get them and take them back to my house so my friend can get her son to basketball. Before we head back to our house, I swing through McDonald’s to pick up dinner for the kids. Easy peasy, mac and cheesy.
I’ve got this Thursday thing running like clockwork. Load the kids in the van, swing through McDonald’s, order 3 happy meals, head on home. Oh, and don’t forget the meltdown. That happens every thursday like clockwork too.
I have to hand it to McDonald’s – they are masters at marketing. Put some processed food in a cute box complete with a toy from a major motion picture or popular TV show and what kid could resist? The kids could care less what food is in the box. You could put a pile of dog crap in there and they would still want it. All because of that stupid little plastic toy. And that little plastic piece of sh@$#t is the reason for the meltdowns every Thursday.
It usually starts in the drive thru line – the anticipation of the toy. Which one will it be? Have we gotten that one already? Once the toy is revealed, someone is always crushed. “I already have this one!”; C’mon! I’ve gotten this like 3 times already! I wanted a boy toy, not a girl toy! Why did he get the little hamster and I got a stupid penguin? Mine doesn’t have a toy! OH MY GOSH! Who gives a sh@$t? Really. You are going to play with it for like two days then forget about it until I step on it one night in the dark and throw the f@$%#ker away so just take the damn thing and zip it!
I know, harsh, right? Believe me, I wasn’t always like that. In the beginning of our weekly trips, I would commiserate with the kids. Already had that one? Let’s go see if I can change it. No toy? I’ll just park and run right in to fix that. Yeah, I know, I’m a moron. Then I started throwing things around like “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” which led to “I don’t want to hear any complaining about the toy this week. You’ll just have to deal” to finally “if someone complains about the toy, we will never come to McDonald’s again”. Pretty scary stuff.
Last Thursday, we pulled into the drive thru and it started….
The friend: I hope I get either the Bunny or the Sandman and NOT Jack Frost again!
The Daughter: I want the elf or the tooth fairy.
Me: (whipping around in my seat) That’s enough! I don’t want to hear one more word about the toy. You are going to get the toy and you are going to be happy with whatever you get. No one complains. No one cries. Not one more word about the toy. Got it?
I drive up and get the meals. You can feel the tension in the air. They all want to know what’s in that box, but no one wants to be the first to ask. I hand everyone their happy meal and they rip into it.
The daughter: Look! It’s the elf! Awesome!
The friend: Alright!
The Boy: Wooo hoo!
Me: Thank God!
As we head home, all smiles and love, I sigh in relief that for once, we actually got a “happy” meal. And then my daughter speaks…..
The daughter: Guess what? I have the Sandman at home so we can play with him too.
The friend: Aww man! I want that one!
Lord, help me!