It was 12:30 p.m. If I pressed on and did that last errand without feeding my toddlers, I was just asking for trouble. But I really needed to get it done and didn't have a lot of time. The kids' naptime is around 1:30. Whatever decision I made, it had to be quick.
Desperate, I went for the drive-thru.
It's one of those things that when I was pregnant and naive, I swore I'd never do, like when my husband Scott and I vowed we'd only feed the kids healthy food, no hot dogs, chicken nuggets, cookies, or candy. We had decided that we wouldn't go to the golden arches—at least until the kids were older—and that we'd make sure their meals were always well rounded. We weren't going to be slaves to fast food.
Then I broke the vow. I ordered them each a chicken nugget Happy Meal that they happily gorged on while still sitting in their car seats. (Another plus of drive-thrus: You don't have to go through the hassle of getting the kids out of their seats, dragging them into the restaurant, having them stand there and whine while waiting for the food and then fighting to try to get them to sit in their seats while eating.) It was quick. They were happy. And I got all my errands done.
Later that day, I carefully inspected their seats to make sure no stray fries were lying around. I even opened the windows to air the car out so the incriminating food odors wouldn't linger. I smiled, thinking myself so clever, that I'd gotten away with it, until a few days later. All four of us got up early to drive to my parents' house for the day. On the way, we stopped at a doughnut shop drive-thru for coffee. As we neared the pick-up window, my son Jonah shouted, "Hey, chicken nuggets! I want my chicken nuggets." The jig was up.
I frequently shatter agreements Scott and I made. It's one thing to sit around a kitchen table and talk in platitudes about the best way to raise kids, the best things to have them eat, how we'll spend X amount of time reading to them, this amount of time coloring, and virtually no time in front of the TV. Then there's reality. Then there's the morning when you realize that you haven't showered in three days and deodorant will no longer camouflage the smell any more. You decide that you will go mad if you don't plop kids in front of the tube while you finally shower. If you don't put them in front of the TV, you rationalize, they'll wreck the house and hurt themselves. And if you don't shower, you fear you will soon turn into a shrieking, smelly barnyard animal.