From Sweet Little Crosspatch (version #1, posted 5.29.2011)
Right now, I'm watching my daughter nap on the couch. Though there are two loads of laundry in process and our dishwasher is working, the house is a mess: clearly, the Toys R Us fairy has been by and vomited, everywhere. Again.
Her back is to me as she sleeps, and I'm most fascinated by her feet. These seem so humongous for a 2 1/2 year old's small body. But then I look at the rest of her and realize, no. It's just that SHE has grown so humongous over the last 2 1/2 years.
Two years ago today, she just learned to crawl. We dropped her dad off at the airport for his annual up-North fishing trip just as we do every year around this time, and that night she decided: Guess now is a good night to start crawling. And she did, right across a room, which made me say out loud, to no one in particular, "Holy crap. Did that baby just crawl across this whole room? I think that baby just crawled right across this whole dang room!" (Time to get out the baby gates, for REALS.)
Then, last year, she was much bigger than the Summer of Crawling. Last summer was Summer of Full-time Toddler World. Full-time toddlers walk, talk, and touch (touching and touching and touching and, oh my god, touching) every. thing. But still, she was so, so small compared to who and what she is now. This summer will be Summer of the Diva. Next summer may be Summer of the Hellcat-Diva, but I can tell. This summer will be so very diva-licious at our house. (I submit the photo at right as evidence.)
(back story: we were headed to the grocery store, and I needed to text her dad some financial info and also a "hey, we really miss you already!" note, and I asked Miss M if she'd like to say cheese and send a happy picture to her daddy. Clearly, we can see what mood she was in yesterday afternoon) (I like to send a picture of Melissa with these texts...just so's he knows what he's missing.)
Then, last night we went to McDonald's for dinner. I had a terrific headache and was in no mood for cooking, and they have those Playlands, those both wonderful and hideous Playlands (those self-contained, air-conditioned, even-if-they-are-rife-with-god-only-knows-what-types-of-antibiotic-resistant-baceteria Playlands).
Yet I hate McDonald's. Let me reiterate this again: I. Hate. McDonald's.
Every time I visit, all I can think about is the mass production of food this company has helped to scourge upon our society (which has its own issues with food in and of itself, with its demands for massive amounts of food and instantaneous gratifications). And then my dilemma when going to this scourge-upon-Earth place for dinner: do I feed Melissa their chicken nuggets (chemically processed, full of nitrates and everything but chicken which I think is actually the 99th ingredient they casually list at the end in a kind of "oh yeah...and we guess there's some "chicken" in this too" way)...or a hamburger (which has been killed under horror-movie-like circumstances at a factory slaughterhouse that employs desperate people willing to work for slave labor wages that is then chopped up and processed/cleaned with ammonia...ammonia, people).
Really, I know she's just there for the fries anyway (more chemically processed, genetically modified food) and the ice cream (most likely produced by dairy farm factory cows under the most dire of living circumstances). And how do I reconcile a dinner of chemically processed junk? This is how: I mean, if I'm going to feed her GMO fried "foods" and foods derived from factory-abused animals, why not just go out and get it all: ammonia hamburger, GMO fries, and hormone-produced ice cream. With a sugar-laden soda or box of juice or hormone-filled junk milk on the side.
I draw the line at their Happy Meals though. She can have a junk cheeseburger and small fries minus the junk toy. She already has plenty of toys. Plus, I think it just encourages Ronald & Co.
I hate this company. And yet I give them my time, my energy, and my money. Why? Because of their frickin' indoor Playlands. They run a racket, and I'm their helpless stooge. But she's so happy to watch at these things, running around on all the bacteria-laden indoor playground equipment. There's 80% less diva behavior. She's screaming in other kids' faces and they're screaming in hers, and everyone's running and jumping, and she's so...so...BIG compared to last year. I can feel time slipping away from me. I can feel how it will feel in ten more years: even these McDonald's dinner dates, the ones in which I sit stewing about the vast corporate evilness of the takeover of our food and our food systems and angry at myself for giving in to them simply for the ease of it all...and to see the joy that even evil can sometimes bring a kid. Even these moments will be hazy, sweet memories of a tempermental, diva-like little girl in ten more years.
I really think it's what summertime is all about.