Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Up-side of Fast Food

I took our youngest son to his first McDonald's play area last week, to crawl in the tunnels. It was a small play area, shrimpy compared to some, but a new paradise to him, who we have shielded from such areas since the day he was conceived.

Our goal was to keep him healthier than his siblings had been as youngsters, hoping that avoiding things like indoor playgrounds, fast food play tunnels and large gatherings of snotty children would help keep him away from at least some of the colds, flus and viral infections going around, so that we wouldn't have triple the amount of cold germs coming our way on a daily basis as the older two continued to bring home fresh bacteria from school.

Didn't quite work out that way. What did happen is that we missed out on some good opportunities to let him play with other small snotty children in a socially fun environment, and meet other similarly desperate parents trying to entertain their preschool and toddler aged children. I'd forgotten how light hearted and silly it was for a two or three year old to slide through yellow plastic tunnels, crawl up tubes and dash rapidly back around to do it again. All while I can sit on my middle aged butt, drink Diet Coke, and smile and wave.

When our older two were small, we used to go to a Burger King play area where parents had to pay an entry fee of $1 for two hours of fun. The amazing thing is that two hours could fly by. My wife and I would catch up on work issues, family of origin news, wrestle through marital conflict and parenting concerns. So it wasn't drinking cocktails in the lounge, but we could connect. And the kids got good and worn out.

Our daughter actually took her first steps in a McDonald's play area, while waiting for my spouse to return from a work trip.

Not that I would advocate eating the food, it is thoroughly junk, except maybe the fries, but oh, the inexpensive fun. I forgot that there was an upside to fast food.

On the laptop: How to survive a sleepover
On the easel: umm, actually starting to work on a mural now
On the art desk: gesso and acrylic medium for the mural
On the nighstand: Curtain, by Agatha Christie
On the headphones: The Alienist, by Caleb Carr
On my mind: the upcoming publication of my book, the failing health of our older guinea pig, middle-aged acne, 24 Hour Fitness versus the YMCA, and procrastinating.

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