Let’s make a meal—and, yes, you can have a toy

The other day I had promised the boys that we would eat lunch out. They were excited because they hoped that meant fast food in a box that comes with a toy.

I had a different idea.
I thought we would pick a lunch with at least a vague semblance of nutrition—and which they might actually eat. Our boys are normally fantastic eaters, but they don’t do much with fast food except play with the toy. I don’t mind that they don’t eat the food. What I mind is that I pay money for a toy we don’t need and food they don’t eat.
I could have just said, “We’re going to eat where I want to eat because I am the mother and that’s that.”
But it was our day out, and I had promised it would be fun. And I was taking them to two open houses.
So I suggested a compromise: Mama gets to pick the food and each boy gets to choose a toy from the dollar store.
They loved the idea.
Disney World itself couldn’t be more exciting than having a whole dollar to spend in the dollar store. After lengthy deliberation, Leo picked some plastic ninja figures. Daniel selected a fishing rod that came with three toy fish.
Then we went to a deli and ordered chicken noodle soup.

The boys ate so enthusiastically they attracted the attention of the family next to us.
“They’ll actually eat soup for lunch?” the mother asked.
Oh, yes. And for breakfast, dinner, morning snack, after-nap snack, or anytime in between. And they’ll eat it on the hottest day of July.
Was it the happiest meal ever? You’d have to ask my sons. But after paying a mere $15 for well-fed boys, ice cream, and two toys that don’t shoot anything, I was one happy Mama.
Have you celebrated a small (or large) parenting victory lately? I’d love to hear about it!

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.