I did something today I thought I’d have at least a few more years before I’d have to do: I bought my son a Happy Meal. Yes, I know, he’s only 14.5 months old. According to every book I’ve read and every personal belief I hold, that’s way too young to be pulling in the drive thru and asking for a bag packed with saturated fat, high cholesterol, and potential heart disease. Oh, and don’t forget that cheaply made Ronald McDonald in a pirate ship that was made in China and no doubt contains lead paint.
I had no plans to get him a Happy Meal, but I really had few options. He was screaming and nothing seemed to calm him down except the tiny pieces of rice cake I found stuck to his snack bowl. When I saw food would appease, I was relieved. He’s been sick since Friday and over the course of the weekend, we got a bowl of applesauce, 1/2 cup of yogurt and a few cups of milk down him. Since he threw up most of that, I figured his gnawing on those tiny scraps was a good sign his appetite was coming back.
Normally I’d stop at a grocery store and grab him some toddler crackers, which aren’t really that different from adult crackers, except they have lots of extra fiber and less salt and sugar. However, the route from the sitter’s to my house is fairly sparse and the closest grocery store I knew of was a good 20 minutes down the road. The volume level was rising and the vein on my temple was throbbing, so searching aimlessly for one was out. A gas station market might have been a better idea, but when I tried to put my son in his car seat at the sitter’s, he threw an absolute tantrum. He screamed. He arched his back. He made it virtually impossible to strap him in. At the sitter’s no one was there to witness his fit. There was no way I was going to attempt to put him back in that chair at a gas station. Someone would probably think I was kidnapping or abusing him. It was that kind of scream.
When I saw the Golden Arches, I knew I could fix the problem…at least temporarily.
Now, my son has never had anything fried, much less actual fries. He hasn’t even had juice. He’s strictly water, milk, veggies, fruits and my home cooking, which for him consists mostly of mac n’ cheese, grilled cheese, muffin pizzas, and lots of pasta. All made with whole wheat and lots of extra veggies snuck in for good measure. I was suprised to find that the Happy Meal of today is not quite the fat fest it was in my day. I was able to get him milk (granted, only 1% and he’s still on whole) and apple dippers. The apples were even already peeled, so I could just pass them back and let him munch. I got a cheeseburger, figuring I’d reheat it for my dinner. My husband plays cards on Wednesday nights, so it’s always just the baby and me.
As the first apple hit his mouth, he was quiet. Well, not quiet really, but happy. And giggling. And most importantly, calm.
Later that night when I went to feed him dinner, I was excited he might eat something substantial. I got out my little baby spaghettios and some yogurt. I microwaved the burger and figured we’d eat together. I tried to give him a spoonful of the o’s (a usual favorite of his) and he turned his nose up in disgust. He stuck his chubby little arm out and grabbed for the burger. I took a bite and tried a spoonful of yogurt instead. No dice. He looked at the burger, looked at me and then started to wail when I lifted it toward my mouth. The little booger wanted my cheeseburger. I gave him a tiny piece, sure the ketchup, mustard and onions would turn him off. No, not my kid. He proceeded to eat nearly the entire burger. I got three small bites, two of which I took before I realized he would eat nothing else.
I know I should be happy since for the last four days his diet has been mostly Pedialyte and thinned out oatmeal, but I really kind of wanted the cheeseburger. I’m not a huge McDonald’s fan, but once I got a small taste of it, I was actually looking forward to finishing it off. Even without the fries. Now though, the baby is in bed and my husband won’t be home until well after I’m in bed as well, so it looks like no cheeseburger for me. Why couldn’t he stay sick for one more day?
Oh well, at least I still have the caramel to dip my apple in tomorrow!