We are in what I refer to as a rough patch with toddlerhood. My motto with parenting has always been “this too shall pass”. And, this has served me well. Just when I think I can’t take anymore of a certain stage or a behavior – it passes. Just when Jacob and I were ready to lose it because Beckett wouldn’t stop meowing and we had ignored the behavior for weeks – it stopped as abruptly as it started. And, just when I think she’ll never eat again and must be living off air alone, she starts eating the equivalent of a growing teenager. Well, I’m still waiting for this rough patch to pass.
We are living in a world of temper tantrums and an extremely headstrong toddler who insists on pushing every limit, every rule and every button. When she’s not starting a fresh patch of gray hairs on my head, she is absolutely magical. The joy she brings, the endless conversations, the enthusiastic embrace of life and the overflowing fountain of love are simply amazing.
So, the following experience took place on a day that started with a two-hour temper tantrum, a mental breakdown with overflowing tears from myself, a husband who left the house at dawn and didn’t get home until after dark and capped off a week of no naps for Beckett (and myself!). That’s the preface.
There is a McDonalds that we drive by each week when we are running errands. Beckett asks if she can play and slide every.single.time we drive by. I try to give honest answers and believe in giving an accurate description or using the correct term when it comes to her questions and inquiries. So, this is how the dialogue has always played out after she asks:
Me: “No, Beckett. We don’t eat at McDonald’s. And, the playground is only for people who are eating the food.”
Beckett: “Why don’t we eat at McDonald’s?”
Me: “Because their food isn’t healthy and it’s not good for you.”
Beckett: “Can we go one time, please?”
Me: “Maybe one time. But, only on a rainy day.”
And, that was our same old script each time. It explained the real reason we choose not to eat McDonald’s food, but left an opportunity to possibly, just maybe, go on a miserably rainy day. Well, the day in question that I am confessing to was just this day. There were clouds in the sky. And, it had been raining tears and tantrums in the Ferry household for days. So, I did it. I went somewhere I haven’t been in nine years. I had food I haven’t eaten in nine years. And, I regretted it the minute it settled in my stomach. But, Beckett thrived in the play area and worked out pent up energy, burned calories faster than she could consume them and I got a new, renewed sense of self.
Our food choices were as close to “healthy” as they could be given the menu options, but the real kicker was the conversation between Beckett and the “in training” worker who took our order. There’s truth to the adage of “Watch what you say – your kids will repeat it”. I ordered our food and as I was paying, Beckett told the teenage boy – “Oh, your food is unhealthy and we don’t eat it. We’re just here for the slide.” Bam!