Some ancient history: When Hannah was a baby, I was still a pretty devoted vegetarian and all-around health nazi. I scoffed at my friends who fed their kids McNuggets and fries. Hannah was nearly three before she had soda, fries, and all the other heinous foods that McDonald’s peddles.
As my family has evolved (or devolved, one could argue), my resolved has weakened. I could blame a partner who was literally raised on Big Macs for my ultimate failure to raise a bunch of organic vegetarian anti-consumers, but I’ll take at least half, if not more, of the responsibility. I remember vividly the day my conviction crumbled completely. It involved a nearly-innocent, biennial visit to the golden arches, wherein my toddler discovered the ball pit.
I sat in a booth with food in front of me, was able to EAT said meal with virtually NO interruption, have a quiet discussion with my husband, all-the-while SIMULTANEOUSLY watching my daughter entertain herself for over an hour.
She left us alone. SHE LEFT US ALONE. She was safe. She was happy. She wasn’t throwing a fit because we weren’t paying her attention. It was a heady discovery for me–that I could have a moment or two of near-relaxation.
Since then, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with good old Ronald. I’ve read _Fast Food Nation_, after which I made my entire family boycott all paper-wrapped heart-attacks for about 6 months. Just recently, we checked out _Super Size Me_ from the local library. Spurlock’s rather heavy-handed bias was apparent to me—but I could see through his incendiary rhetoric (and rather unscientific methodology) to understand the finer grain of his argument (probably because I’d read _FFN_ and had also seen _The Corporation_), and for the most part I agreed that Ronald wasn’t too good for us.
But here I am, sitting in the playplace, as I will every Monday night for this entire school year. H has two dance classes this evening, and it just seems like there is NO other place for the boys and me to go. We could go to the library, but I would have to be chasing the boys around, shushing them and keeping J-baby from emptying all the shelves. To go home while she dances is out of the question; we live 15 miles out of the city. Here we get some food, I sit and read, grade, write, whatever, and the boys can be rowdy.
Of course, since that fateful day they’ve removed all the ball pits from playplaces. The gross stories about people finding hypodermic needles and dirty diapers and all manner of disgusting items in the ball pits probably precipitated their removal. They’ve been replaced by video games and air hockey tables. The boys mostly run the hamster tubes, though, and they leave sweaty and tired.
So the monday night mcdonald’s bloggin (mnmb) begins.