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Posts Tagged ‘I feed my children junk food’

To be quite honest with you, there have been times where if someone came up to me at the local McDonalds and asked if I’d rather eat my own hand than sit there another five minutes while my children went up and down the McSlide, I’d be slathering my hand in whipped butter and McSyrup in readiness. And yes, I really do believe there are people who wander the globe presenting unsuspecting others with this particular proposition all the time, actually. 

The other day, however, I had the pleasure of KT’s company as we oversaw the playground antics of the six children that happened to be in our care that happy happy day. And so involved were they in those antics, KT and I actually had an opportunity to have a Real Conversation, perhaps even talk about “thrush”, “penis size” and “grey areas in the definition in Tier-1 capital ratios in Australia’s banking system” like men think we do when they’re not around. Except we went and threw it all away on a vent about McDonald’s Happy Meal toys. 

In truth, there’s not much that’s happy about a Happy Meal. Just ask the woman sitting behind us who exclaimed loudly “Aw, the stupid bitch didn’t give us any fries with the fucking happy meal.” Not happy, people. NOT. HAPPY.

But at least the kids are happy, I always say. Happy at least until the over-processed sugar, fat and salt content kicks in and they turn completely utterly McFeral. Which is why there legally has to be an enclosed playground on site to let them sweat it out of their system. Consider it a kind of kiddy rehab. 

Even as I write this thing, I can hear the loud tutting of certain readers above my keyboard strokes. “We’re so disappointed in you, NDM! We thought you were a better parent than that. Fancy feeding your children junk food.”

But listen up, people: this blog post isn’t about my failings as a parent (for once). It’s about the failings of the Happy Meal Toy. So stop your tutting and let me get on with my rabid-monkey rant.  

I mean, there in front of KT and I was an Ice Age 3 toy with components that were so ill-fitting that even I, with my Advanced Diploma at Toy Assemblage, was struggling to see how it was supposed to click together without requiring round-the-clock parental assistance to hold it in place. 

“Look at this!” I said, angrily. “This is stupid. It’s almost as bad as the Monsters vs. Aliens toy which had three separate bits which, as you tried to click them into place, would send the other bits  flying like a ballistic missile across the restaurant into somebody’s Cadbury Dairy Milk Deluxe McFlurry.”

And we began to list other Happy Meal toys that have ruined our lives:

Like the ones that don’t have an ON-OFF button and mysteriously go off all poltergeist-like in the night.

And the ones that do have an ON-OFF button but one that’s designed to be operated by someone with Barbie-sized fingers and not an NDM having a Godzilla-sized temper tantrum.  

And the ones that say stuff that you can’t even understand. There was an A Night At The Museum toy that appeared to say “You give me cum, cum. You will run, run!” and actually caused me to lose sleep.

And the ones that actually don’t do ANYTHING, but are just Stupid Stuffed Toys. As if we don’t have enough of those already, mister. 

And the worst thing about all: they all come as part of a set along with the invitation to “Collect them all!” which the kids seem to regard as a Direct Order from Ronald McDonald Himself.

Ah, Happy Meal Toys. Yes, they initially buy me fifteen minutes happiness, but after that…

One thing is for certain: if you were to place every single McDonalds’ Happy Meal Toy one on top of another, you’d have a ready-made pathway to another planet not already being ruined by such a frivolous use of non-recyclable plastics.

And the charity shops would have no toys to sell.

And my house would be remarkably clutter-free.

And I’d have to go back to bitching about Thomas toys.

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Two bloggers. Two different hemispheres. One vision (largely impaired by too much clutter, dirt and booze). Exposed for all the world to see as Housekeepers Of Ill-Repute, Proprietresses of Dubious Maternal Instinct and Woefully Neglectful Wives.

Here they are, flashing their dirty bits yet again in the second of three simultaneous postings. Click here to read the sister post.

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I recently came home from doing an emergency dash to the supermarket with the three children in tow when I suddenly stopped and took stock of how they had dressed themselves for our little excursion.

Something's not quite right or left here

Something's not quite right (or left) here

knickerbockers

What's that poking out the top of those natty knickerbockers, Mr J?

Whoops! They're not knickerbockers for a six year old but rather trousers for a one year old...

Whoops! Turns out they're five sizes too small for you and not knickerbockers at all AND they're made in China...

Yet another memorable trip to local shopping centre “Party Central” to add to our growing collection, including: me with my trousers inside out, me still wearing an apron tied around my neck like a cape from a previous game of Super Heroes, and The Pixie with her skirt tucked very determinedly into her underpants. And then there are those many times we’ve gone there ostensibly to buy milk but have ended up putting on one hell of a show for all the other patrons, featuring songs from the Choir of the Primal Scream and some good old-fashioned Rock’n’Wrestling moves by the $2 rides.

However, one shopping trip stands out above all others. A few years ago, I was in Coles with a barely-born McGee wailing inconsolably in his pram when Mr Justice and The Pixie got a bad case of the Gumps and started running, running, running up and down the aisles, leaving me screaming after them like I was having some kind of Scream-Off with my infant son. By the time I had herded everyone to the checkout, I was feeling distinctly frazzled (to put it mildly) and an old lady who I was *sure* was about to tut disapprovingly instead smiled kindly at me and said “It’s hard work, isn’t it.” All I could do was nod and try to hold back the tears. 

I think mothering has always been hard. But I quite frankly don’t care to count the number of times I’ve heard the older generation make remarks about how lucky we have it these days because of this, that or the other. Regardless of what we have or don’t have now, the truth is that it still feels damn hard. Is it because so many of us have lived Other Lives before we chose (or fell into) this one and we’re so acutely aware of what we’ve given up? Or is it because in this Age of Information™, we are bombarded with so much conflicting advice that whatever you end up doing, you can find at least seven university studies that prove  you’ve done Totally the Wrong Thing?

And let’s face it: us womenfolk don’t exactly make it easy for each other. I once sheepishly admitted to a group of women that I had become so angry with a two-year-old Mr Justice’s balloon antics with his newborn sister that I had confiscated it from him and popped it with the nearest sharp implement I could find – which happened to be a knife. A very sharp and very big knife. Mr Justice had cried and cried and I had felt desperately sorry for what I had done as well as deeply ashamed that I had lost my temper so completely over a mere balloon. One of the women who I was telling this chose to comment on how it was unlikely Mr Justice would ever forget such a violent image – in fact, she really could not stress this enough to me. She might have said something more constructive like “Whenever I get that angry, I remove myself from the room and remember to breath and count to 10 very slowly until I’m no longer seeing the world through a thick red mist” rather than just get the boot in. No wonder everyone feels like we have to pretend our children sit around playing quietly with wooden toys, snacking on macrobiotic treats (the use of the word “treat” with word “macrobiotic” seems strangely disingenuous) while we smile benignly at them from our gleaming white kitchens, ready to leap into action at the very second they require our help, love or attention. Needless to say, there haven’t been any further knife attacks on balloons in this household since that awful day, but even if there had been, do you think I would tell anyone about it? 

You see, that’s where we’re all wrong not to be honest with each other. Isn’t it better to admit these things, these small failings as mothers, discuss them, learn from them, and never repeat them? If we just bottle it all up inside and maintain our Stepford facades, we run the risk of exploding – like one of Tiddles mid-gastro nappies. In two words: Not. Good. Not good for us and not good for our children. 

So for the record: Yes, I sometimes shout at my children. Yes, I have been known to let them eat junk food. Yes, I have on occasion slapped them on the leg. No, I don’t always brush my children’s teeth in the morning. No, I very rarely introduce reunite my daughter’s hair with the hairbrush. And no, I don’t often – if ever! – manage to stick to the prescribed two hours of screen time per day. 

So sue me. Judge me. Call me names. Alert Social Services. Avoid me on the street. Stop reading my blog. But truly, no-one can accuse me of not loving my kids more than anything else on this planet and not always trying my absolute utmost to be the Bestest Mummy Ever. And if sometimes I fail, it’s because I’m only human. And oh so very human at that.

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