If I never eat another McDonald’s french fry, It’ll be too soon.
During our summer of fun, most of our meals were consumed on-the-go. Yes, we did have some delicious lunches in the Keys, Coconut Grove and Ft. Lauderdale but for most of our lunches, we dined at McDonald’s.
Big Bear, the kid who spent the first half of summer only eating Kraft Mac and Cheese, switched to only eating McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets for the second half. For a three-year-old, McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets are heaven. You get real chicken with a side of apple slices. Don’t forget the Secret Life of Pet’s toys that are taking over the Bear house! Little Bear’s favorite food is french fries (he’s a carb kinda guy) so he spent the summer double fisting the largest fries in the bag. While the boys ate french fry after french fry and Chicken McNugget after Chicken McNuggets, their nanny and grandma would cringe over another day of fast food.
Why eat McDonald’s day after day, you might ask? Riddle me this: If you spent all morning taking two boys around the city and know that McDonald’s is followed by bath time and nap time and that your next chance at eating is at least two hours away, do you suck it up and eat McDonald’s or do you risk waiting hours to eat while being forced to sit in a car in Miami traffic with the aroma of McDonald’s in the air? You are going to choose fast food. You always choose fast food.
I might miss our summer of field trips, but I don’t miss the eating. I am structured and organized about what I put into my body. I plan my weekly meals almost a week in advance! I don’t do well with figuring out where we’ll eat once we’re hungry, that’s living on the edge for me.
I’ve always been a conscientious eater. It’s not for any political statement, I’m just a sensitive eater. Nitrates give me bad headaches, as do most meat products. But kids food just call to me. I come prepared every day with breakfast, lunch, tea for 3 pm tea-time and a snack for 4 pm snack time, but I lose all control when McDonald’s french fries enter the house.
Kids just eat the best foods, plain and simple. Chicken nuggets (yum!) Mac and Cheese (yes, please) animal crackers (I’d like a zebra, please). The list goes on and on. I may love the large salad with a hard-boiled egg and ginger dressing that I eat every day for lunch, but stick a french fry under my nose and I will eat one (or two).
Big Bear completed his first week of PreK, which means I haven’t been around for him to consume his daily Happy Meals. He leaves for school each day before I get to the house, but I’m told that he gets better at drop-off with each passing morning.
Now that BB doesn’t come home until almost the end of the day, Little Bear and I are getting back into our routines of Gymboree and library dates. Friday morning, after a quick 20-minute catnap which allowed me to load the dishwasher and fold half a load of laundry, we decided to walk the half mile to the library. Toddler story time had just let out so the children’s room was slightly more packed than normal. It’s natural for women with babies on their arms to gravitate to other women with babies on their arms. It’s like they are members of a secret society, a security society that involves growing and raising an alien, I mean a child.
It gets a little-complicated knowing when to tell someone that you’re just the nanny. If a mother says “cute kid” in passing, it comes off a little too intense to say, “I’m just the nanny!” But if a mother starts to ask questions about the boys, I say pretty quickly that “I’m just the nanny.”
At the library yesterday, a mother asked how old LB was. I said just shy of 13 months. She then asked if he was my only child. I then told her that I’m the nanny, but that he does have an older brother. The mother instantly said that she thought I was the mother. I just laughed and said that I get that a lot. She said she thought he was my child for the way I treated him, not because he looks like he could be my child. “I’m just not used to seeing nannies so attentive to the kid,” she said. “I usually see them on their phones.”
I see a lot of these nannies too, especially at the park. It’s hard not to be attached, for me, to the little Bears that I watch every day. It’s something else to hear LB say “hi” and “bye” for the first time, and to see him on the verge of walking. It makes me smile to have BB ask me what “seriously” and “unavailable” mean. Each day the Bears are learning something new. Everything in the world is new to them! If you pay close attention, you’ll be surprised at how much children pick up, even little one-year-olds like LB. Their wheels are always turning and their brains are always on, sometimes on overload. Playing with children all day has helped bring some creativity back into my world, something I think most of us adults are lacking. Something that most of us definitely need.