Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy Meals don't Come with Toys

In every relationship, there are spenders and savers.  One person wants to spend the money, and the other wants to spend it. In our relationship I am the spender, and Tammi is the Saver.  She likes to refer to herself as CFO.  Your kid’s dietary habits bring out the same polar opposites.  Laissez faire parents run up against strict, militaristic dieticians.  In my family, I lock up the M&M’s. I stockpile vegetables like an Armageddon-focused zealot. Or so his grandparents would have you believe. I’ve had to have this conversation.
“Can the boys have a cookie?”
 “At 9 a.m.  Grandma? Please don’t ever ask me that again… Yes, I understand it is December, and that they just ate breakfast.”
 In fact, I think we can just make a standing rule that the boys don’t get any sort of candy until I can have a beer.  That means noon when I’m on vacation and 5 p.m.  any other time.  Yes, that’s official now…beer time is cookie time.
It’s not just food where people act as if I am a bulkhead of unwavering determination to zap sugar and smiles from the planet. Apparently, I kill fun. Kill it dead-dead, not just television cliff-hanger dead. Let your kids have fun.  If my kids want to have fun, then they should just use there F-ing imaginations.  You want a toy? Here, I just emptied this box…errr race car.
I believe all vices should be put off as long as possible.  The boys didn’t want cookies until they tasted that first sweet chocolate-chip crumble.  Caffeine, toys, money, sex, drugs, and chocolate – these are all things they will indulge in at some point, probably to the point of a hangover if their Irish heritage has anything to say about it.  By delaying such dionysusian discoveries (that would be the Greek Goddess of wine and debauchery), I’m giving them time to gain an emotionally maturity that lets them know diving head first into almost anything often ends in a very sore head. 
Last year, Glenn and I visited McDonalds.  Let me be clear. I want Glenn to put off vices. For me, it’s too late. He can enjoy the apples and milk. As I was deciding what I wanted, he pointed out the display of toys available.  I let him know that those toys weren’t any good. 
“They break so easily.”
“That is easy, McDonalds doesn’t spend enough money on them.”
“Glenn, McDonalds doesn’t like children, and they want you all to be unhappy and fat….Yes, I’ll take a #3.”
The look on the manager’s face was priceless.  I get the same look when I tell them to take the toy out of a happy meal.  Or that going to the bank is not such a special event that it deserves a sucker.  Their faces all say the same thing…but if you don’t give him this sucker how will he ever be happy?  What a poor boy. 
Eventually, the kids are all getting smarter.  Whenever we walk passed Kroger’s pastry section, I tell them the chefs are terrible.  I let Glenn know the cookies are bad.  So, this week, he asked if we could get bad cookies. 
Then there is Tammi…Who has known what a vegetable is (Well we’ve been married for four years, so..) for about four years.  Who thinks I am being mean, when I point out that her family didn’t serve a vegetable at Thanksgiving.  That thinks not having chocolate in the house is a disaster on par with the great flood, and being out of bacon. Glenn calls chocolate, mommies’ chocolate.   At least she is the saver in our relationship.  We all have roles, and I have always been the Surgeon General.   

***Write’s note:  A big thank you to my sister for editing my blog, and ensuring that I don’t look like a 5th grade English student.  I wanted to call this post, The Food Nazi.  She correctly pointed out that not giving your children sugar was nowhere near the same as killing millions of people, and trying to take over the world.  Thanks again. 


  1. Thanks Craig. I'm enjoying the posts.

    But I should have edited your note. Newsom does not include an "E." hee

  2. Hilarious buddy. Couple things I would like to point:
    1.Are you really that shocked a Sconnie diet includes cookies at 9:00 am? Don't be that naive.
    2.Additional edit Craigers/Elena, it is THEIR F-ing imaginations, not "there F-ing imaginations".
    3.Isn't childhood diabetes a small price to pay to see your child's face filled w/ joy as they enjoy that snickerdoodle?