The hubs and I always get the 20-piece for 5 bucks and by the time we pass them to the backseat, we know to start pretending that we were ripped off by the McDonald’s people. Again.
“Mom,” my older son will whine, “they only put 8 in the box again!”
“WHAT?!” I will exclaim with indignation, praying that my very intuitive son will not hear how I’m talking around a mouthful of nugget or see my hands fly to my mouth, attempting to shove the McNugget crumbs that flew out in my fake fit of rage back in. “Again?”
My husband will shake his pretend-annoyed head and glance in the rearview mirror at my son while quickly swallowing back the 3 McNuggets he’s just stuffed into his own mouth. “I tell you what, son: Those damned McDonald’s managers need to start hiring some people who know how to count.”
He’s getting suspicious, my son. It’s only a matter of time before he realizes.
The problem is, my boys’ eyes are bigger than their stomachs. They always think that they are so hungry they can eat 20 nuggets, but when it comes down to it, they each eat about 3 or 4. My husband and I are more than happy to take care of the rest, but we have to be stealthy about it, as our boys get awfully proprietary over their nuggets.
This last time, though, my 6-year-old was too excited over the Monopoly game pieces to concern himself with the missing McNuggets.
I worry for my older child. He's a sucker for marketing. Don't even get me started on his love for As-Seen-on-TV products. That goddamned Gyrobowl is still in the cupboard and you know what? It does too spill.
It does spill, especially when your younger child tries to prove that it doesn’t spill by using his little bathroom stool to reach the sink and fill it up with water and then contort it this way and that, upside down all over the new laminate floors.
It spills then.
Admittedly, when it’s filled with goldfish, Chex Mix, or any non-liquids, it really doesn’t spill—as long as you’re holding onto its Saturn-like ring. And it actually is pretty fcking cool, especially when my husband’s trying to show off in front of a group of friends by flinging it around, yelling, “The amazing no-spill Gyrobowl!” and then drops it, causing a million Cheez-Its to go sliding across the floor toward the feet of about a dozen smirking adults.
Oh my gosh, you guys, it was hilarious. What made the whole situation even better was that this happened just after the hubs had made fun of me for buying it for my older son for Christmas—even though I heard my boy specifically ask for it as he sat on Santa’s lap that year.
Okay, so the Gyrobowl was totally worth it. And I’ll even go a step further and say that I’d have bought 10 more of them if I could've gotten a promise from God—some sort of Noah’s Ark rainbow signal or something—that I’d see the hubs embarrass himself with them 10 more times.
Anyway, I decided that to drive home the point about my son being a sucker for marketing and commercials, I’d snap a picture of our Gyrobowl to include in this post. When I opened my cupboard to do so, I shit you not, this is exactly what I saw:
You think I staged this picture, don’t you? Nope.
The Gyrobowl was resting contentedly next to our Slushy Magic, another As-Seen-on-TV purchase.
My son received his Slushy Magic for his 6th birthday from my older sister. When he opened it up and started screaming like a factory worker who’d just won the Powerball, my sister smiled at me.
“I knew he’d like it,” she said. “At our last family reunion, he wouldn’t stop talking about Slushy Magic. He walked up to me and said, ‘Aunt Cruella!* With the Slushy Magic, you simply have to add your favorite drink and shake, shake, shake. It instantly transforms any drink into a frosty cool slushy.’”
My older sister shook her head and wiped laughing tears from her eyes. “It instantly transforms any drink into a frosty cool slushy, he told me. Can you imagine?!”
Yes, I could imagine. I’d heard it all before. My kids don’t watch any more TV than other normal kids, but my older son has the memory of an elephant—especially when it comes to something he’s really interested in. (I heard somewhere that elephants have great memories, so I hope that’s the case or else that metaphor made no sense whatsoever—even, perhaps, making the complete opposite point of the one I was trying to make. Hm.)
What all of this means for my son is that he can—and does—repeat As-Seen-on-TV commercials verbatim for products that he loves.
My son happened to walk by at that precise moment in my and my sister’s conversation. He nodded his head very seriously as he held up his new Slushy Magic. “The secret’s in the Slushy Magic cubes and their snowflake science.”
A couple of years ago, when he was 4, we walked by our neighbors’ house. They were moving and had a lockbox hanging on their door for the realtor’s showings. My older son had gasped. “MOM. The Wilsons have lifelock to protect their identity!”
And then there was the time he was dazzled by the PillowPets commercial. “MOM,” he said, running into the kitchen, sliding around the corner on his socks. “Kids of ALL AGES love Pillow Pets. They’re perfect for those overnight trips to Grandma’s house!”
I remember I was stirring something on the stove and just murmured a non-committal “Oh, really, buddy? That’s neat.”
My son ran back into the living room, only to return a couple of seconds later. “MOM. Their heavy-duty stitching ensures years of enjoyment.”
I nodded my head as he whipped back into the living room, lest he miss one second of that Pillow Pets commercial. A beat later, I heard this: “MOM. Over a million kids already enjoy them!”
Well dammit, he did make a pretty good argument...
Then there was the Dream Lites era.
“MOM. From the people who brought you Pillow Pets…Dream Lites can be turned on for instant stars!”
“But you already have constellation decals on your ceiling. Mom’s one step ahead of you, buddy,” I answered, pleased with myself.
My son didn’t skip a beat, imploring me with big, sad brown eyes. “No parent wants his or her child to be afraid of the dark,” he said, mimicking another line straight from the commerical.
“I didn’t realize you had an issue with the dark,” I responded. “And besides, you have a night light.”
“Yeah, but Dream Lites can provide a restful night’s sleep. Can a night light do that?”
I finally had to lay down some ground rules for my son. “Listen,” I said to him one afternoon after his particularly convincing argument about how much stuff he could stuff in a Stuffie if only I would buy him one. “This has got to stop. From now on, unless one of your precious infomercials touts a French maid costume-wearing lady robot with painted fingernails and the ability to perform my ‘wifely duties’ for me, I don’t want to hear about it.”
“Huh?” he asked.
“Exactly,” I replied. “Now quit watching that garbage.”
I will concede two things: I can’t imagine a life without McDonald’s. And the Gyrobowl? Well, it kind of stole my heart the day it made an ass out of my husband. So those two get to stay.
What I might do, then, is test the Gyrobowl’s non-spillability with a 20-piece nugget box from McDonald’s.
See? Everybody wins.
*My older sister’s name is not actually Cruella, but one of the most fun parts of writing anonymously is making up names for all of the beloved assholes in my life. They change all the time on this blog simply because it’s so much fun coming up with new ones. Don’t feel sorry for them; they know I love them, and besides, their names for me would be much worse…if they knew how to write.