This weekend, as I watched my children playing in the giant petrie dish known as the McDonald’s playplace, I wondered if we would go home with the swine flu or chicken pox or legionnaire’s disease or some other equally disturbing and far-fetched illness. Turns out, we chose the day there were a gazillion and one birthday parties all taking place at the same time in the same crowded little playplace. I knew it was bad when Marissa came out of the tunnel after escorting Jadon through the labyrinth of tubes and said, “I have never seen it that crowded. Ever.” She had a look on her face that said, ‘please don’t make me go in there again,’ but being the paragons of parental expertise that we are, we of course sent her again with her brothers.
It took them literally 20 minutes to make it through the twisting tunnels to the slide, and by that time, we had decided that a McDonald’s playplace would be a lovely addition to our home. If it bought us uninterrupted moments of adult conversation time, hey, what the heck!
In the meantime, the Happy Meals had arrived, and poor Jordan, being child number 5, was allowed to pick up his dropped French fries from the floor and pile them back at his spot at the table. Now, you may be saying, “Lord, what kind of mother is that?” And I can tell you right now, that I didn’t necessarily think it was a great idea to eat the fries off the floor, but I have also learned to pick my battles. I knew there would be a meltdown of 2-year-old proportions if I interfered with the fry recon, so I did what any sensible person would do—I pretended not to see what he was doing. I knew full-well he was collecting food from the floor, but I chose not to shatter the playplace with the shrill screams of a toddler who has had his fries taken away.
I have also learned by child number 5 that eating fries off the floor will not kill you…won’t even hurt you. Kind of gross, yes, but very survivable.