Best Mom Tip #165: Trade in the kid’s meal toy

I feed my kids fast food.  Not all the time, but often enough that they ask for it by name.  Their favorite, by a long shot, is Chick-fil-A.  Since we live in Atlanta, the home of the chicken sandwich, there is a Chick-fil-A every 4 1/2 feet.  They rival Starbucks for strip-mall corner dominance.  Which is my kids’ second favorite place to go for nourishment.

They also like Schlotzsky’s although they pronounce it “Sloch-key” and it seems to be tied to the cookie that comes with a kid’s meal.  On a random note, there is a Schlotzsky’s in what used to the Death Zone on the East Berlin side of the Berlin Wall.  Jay and I ate there once and I thought that seemed like one of the funniest screw-yous to communism that I’d ever seen.  There is an American fast food deli where once there were only guard towers and creepy Czech-made cars.  There is also a Starbucks.

My kids don’t know any of that, however, because we do not take them to Europe because that would be miserable.  But if we did, they would ask to eat at one of the places whose logo they recognize from 500 yards.

To my credit, they don’t really know what McDonald’s is.  Someone referenced Mickey-D’s the other day and Griffin asked, “What’s McDonald’s?”  Charlotte answered, “it’s that place with the big yellow M and the scary clown.”  I almost thought about contacting the McDonald’s marketing department to tell them that they have failed.

My journeys to various fast food establishments have allowed me to discover one parent-pleasing tip:  You can trade in that stupid toy that comes with the kid’s meal for something better.  At Chick-fil-A, for instance, you can get a kid’s ice dream instead of the toy/book/whatever.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I want to pump my kids full of sugar, but if one of them gets the book and one of them gets an ice cream that they can share, I don’t have to give away 45 plastic-wrapped books every few months.  I also can be the nicest Mommy ever because I let them eat fast food AND there was ice cream.

Anyway, it’s worth asking.  Sometimes I just eat the ice cream as my own reward for having taken that many kids to eat somewhere by myself.  Mmmmmm…..ice cream.

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