Long, long ago in a Foodland far, far away my Mother stood at the deli counter picking up lunch meat. I was a young lad, not yet possessing a discerning palate. I immediately saw something I deemed to be good and told my mom that, “I want it.” At such a young age; outside of pizza, ice cream and PB&J I had very little experience in the culinary specialties available to the general public. Still, I was convinced that what I wanted was going to be the most incredible, tastiest treat I’d ever had.
It was deviled crab. I hated it. It went into the freezer and died a slow death over the next few months.
From that experience, I realized that perhaps my parents possessed a worldly wisdom that trumped any genius from Harvard or MIT. When it came to knowing what I would and wouldn’t like, they were Einstein, Freud, and Watson (The Computer) all rolled into one.
As a parent, myself, I am constantly thrust into the middle of the battle of the, “I want” syndrome that all children experience. They see something, they want it, they don’t understand that we know they won’t like it and we ultimately give it to them to save our own sanity. Three minutes later, they want something else and whatever it was that you just gave them might as well be a big steaming pile of crap.
Case in point. Often, when I pick up my child from preschool, I reward good behavior with a small shake from McDonald’s. They last month or two, whenever we go, my daughter sees ads for the Mango Pineapple Smoothie and immediately wants them. I tell her no and she continually asks for that instead of a chocolate shake.
I know. I should be happy that she wants something that isn’t as bad for her but I know that she will not like Mango. She’s never tasted Mango. She doesn’t even like applesauce. So, why waste three dollars on something she will not like and then have to endure the deluge of the, “Can I have a shake, now, instead?” requests after she realizes what I already know?
McDonald’s made it easier, this week, by offering the smoothies for a quarter. Finally, I can prove my point to a four year old. Believe me, these arguments are epic in nature and usually persist into hour long sessions based around one word.
We rolled into the drive through and I bought two. I figured, “Why not? It’s only a quarter.” I pulled into a parking space and gave her the usual talk about holding it right and not making a mess. She started drinking it as I got my straw unwrapped.
“How is it?” I asked.
“Good.” She said.
“So, you like it?”
I took a sip of the smoothie and immediately winced. Under my breath I uttered, “Oh my God, that’s horrible.” I can see why it’s only a quarter. I tried not to say it too loud because my kid was still sipping away in the backseat.
By now, I knew she had to have been lying. When we got home she asked me to put it into the freezer. That’s how I knew. Still, I gave her credit because she realized I was right but wasn’t about to give me the satisfaction of knowing it.
Somewhere, a half eaten deviled crab is laughing.