A Pre-Covid Times True Story
…the exact amount of time it takes my son, Wyatt, to consume two chicken nuggets.
“How does that happen?” one might ask.
We arrive at the McDonald’s in question. Wyatt needs to go “pee pee”. We walk to the restroom at Wyatt-pace. This usually involves only stepping on tiles of a certain color and definitely not stepping on any cracks or you’ll break your mama’s back. Once inside the restroom, it’s “pee pee” time. This part is done quickly, not even taking the time to lift the seat. But wait, the gods have smiled down upon him, for he finds treasure in the unlikeliest of places. A single penny shines from the bathroom floor. He quickly lunges and displays his germ-ridden prize so that I might applaud him.
“Ew. Wyatt. No.” is all I can say as he hides his new pet penny is his 4T khakis. Next, the hand washing. Oh, the hand washing. Four squirts of foaming hand soap. Minimal scrubbing. Rinsing until his sleeves are thoroughly soaked. The search for the paper towel dispenser begins. But lo, there is none. He looks at the loud hand dryer with fear and dismay. Then shifts his gaze upon me with one eyebrow raised. Without speaking he’s asking “Can I wipe my hands on your jeans instead of facing the air breathing dragon?” “Yeah. Okay” I say, with the distinct awareness that parenthood has destroyed me.
We find a table and my husband, Erik, begins to serve us drinks, ketchup and napkins while I stare into the nothingness of my mind. The kids begin to slide the bathroom penny back and forth across the table. I explain that they are now eating off of the bathroom floor. The slowest fast food in the land can be found in Red Bluff, California. An eternity later they call our number. 178.
I feel like we’ve won the lottery… until… Wyatt embarks upon the first leg of his culinary journey, the opening of the ketchup packets. He successfully opens and empties the first one directly onto his nugget tray. He impresses me into a false sense of security. The second packet squirts directly onto the white table. This is fine… except… he attempts to clean it up. He attempts to clean it up by pulling out the napkins from underneath his fries and Nuggs.
1 floor nugget.
3 lap nuggets.
2 parents on the brink.
I calmly replace all of the items, clean the ketchup, replace his floor Nugg with one of mine as my eyes grow wider and I slowly become more enraged. He has still not eaten one bite of food.
The second packet of ketchup remains in his hand as he cannot decide where to set it down. Like Jackson Pollock, he haphazardly places it in three different spots leaving red abstractions all over the table before he finds the perfect resting place for his packet. He notices the toy from his happy meal.
I. Am. Fuming.
I muster a “Hey Wyatt, let’s focus on eating.” Two nuggets later, he is full.
As we drive across the border into Oregon an hour later, Wyatt complains about being hungry.