Unhappy Meals

November 23, 2008 at 8:27 am (Housewife Life)

Lately I have decided that Kids’ Meals are tools of the Devil. Sure, Kids’ Meals are convenient when you’re driving between one kid’s soccer practice and the other kid’s scout meeting, can’t stop in between and won’t get back until 9:00. Yeah, it’s something I can use on those occasions when I prefer bribery to threatening a trip to a Nebraska hospital. But the toys…the kids are supposed to play with the toys, and instead, the toys are playing with my mind.

Regardless of their ages, these kids all seem to know which movie goes with which restaurant’s Kids’ Meal toys, and they bug you accordingly.  Loud groaning ensues from the backseat as you pull into Taco Bell, because apparently, the Indiana Jones toys are at Burger King. Never mind that these toys all have that toxic plastic smell and are usually useless and stupid. Kids play with them for all of 15 minutes before they become beagle treats, toybox underbrush, or shit that trips you on the way down the steps in the morning on your way to the john.

Restaurants probably did this to seem more family-friendly, and to make mealtime more fun for kids. I’d rather they quit with the environmentally-unfriendly toys and made their meals healthier, but that’s just me, worried about my kids’ 50% genetic likelihood to get large during middle age. My kids don’t need to be rewarded for eating their meal. That whole food/reward lesson is what made their mother look like Violet Beauregard after dessert and I am unwilling to repeat that particular parental mistake.

I will admit to having gone to McDonald’s about a dozen times the year they had the Pirates of the Caribbean stuff, because I wanted all 8 toys. My plastic Captain Jack Sparrow rides everywhere I go, in my purse, because I’m mental that way. You could argue that I’m a hypocrite but the fact is, my kids don’t play with their leftover meal toys, but I play with my Jack Sparrow all the time. 

Anyway…these stupid toys end up EVERYWHERE, and it seems they’re multiplying, like tribbles. Try  throwing one away, and you’d think this little plastic panda that does nothing but yell “Skidoosh!” was the very last toy on Earth for the amount of protest it causes. The challenge is bagging these suckers up and sneaking them out to the recyclable garbage without 1) the 4-year-old catching me and throwing a truly heartbreaking fit or 2) one of the older 2 thinking I threw them away by mistake and bringing them back in. Which makes the things smell just SO much better.

My experiment in December will be to see what I can do about asking for “no toy with the kids’ meal,” loud enough for the person in the speaker to hear me but not loud enough for a mutiny to ensue in the back seat. I’m kind of worried about the mutiny, now that we are keeping an ice scraper in the car. Seriously, that could draw blood. I’ll let everyone know how the experiment went…I’m aiming for no maiming (ooh, that rhymed!) and less plastic miniatures underfoot.

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