What’s it like taking four kids to McDonalds by yourself, you ask? Buckle up and I’ll tell you.
First of all I turn into a girl racer when I get in the door. I know the best table to get (round one in the corner) and I start waving my arms like a windmill and yelling at the oldest two to “jump in there quick before someone else sees it,” as I skin the other customers’ ankles with the buggy, trying to get there myself.
On securing the seats, conversation goes something like this: “Sit there, no, sit down, and don’t move till I get your food. What? You can do your wee’s in a minute. Please, stay put.”
Then it’s time to get the food. My order is punctuated with several head turns to see if there are still four of them sitting/standing on/or near the table.
One of them usually goes missing at this juncture. To get balloons. Hate balloons!
Happy Meals take up a lot of room on one tray so I start waving again. Trying to catch Oldest Boys attention to come and take them down to the table. It’s at times like this a mobile phone for a seven and a half year old seems like a good idea.
I end up grabbing the boxes and taking them down myself.
On getting there, conversation goes something like this: “Where’s your brother? He’s gone to the bathroom? I thought I told him to…..Never mind. Lookit, you stay put. Don’t open those drinks till I get back. Don’t open those drinks.”
Back up to the counter to collect the rest of the order, casting anxious looks towards the bathroom doors. Hate bathrooms in fast food restaurants!
No sign of the escapee and as I am heading down to the table with the tray of food, I spy Smallest Boy helping himself to several handfuls of straws and napkins. Another boy runs past me and towards the bathroom door.
I grab Smallest Boy and his collection of straws, prop him onto my hip, and proceed into the bathroom area to locate the missing bit of my quartet.
Conversation outside the men’s door goes something like this: “Are you in there? Are you done? I can’t go in there. You’ll have to wipe your own bum. Come one, you’re grand. Let’s go!”
Finally, all present and correct, I settle seating arrangement arguments at the table – they all want to sit beside or on me – and they begin to eat.
As they chow down, conversation Bottle Watch goes something like this: “Move your juice over, you’ll spill it.” “Put the lid on your juice, it’ll get knocked over.” “Take the juice from Brendan. He’ll spill it.” “Use your straw. You’ll spill it all over yourself.” “That’s your juice and this is my water. Please don’t spill it.”
Then there is a row over the Happy Meal toy. Two Minions and one Smurfette.
“I want a Smurf.”
“How come he has a Smurf?”
“I have this Minion already.”
I grab the Minions and hunt down a member of staff.
“Are they killing each other?” A kindred spirit in McDonalds. “We ran out of Smurfs yesterday. But we’ll have more in tomorrow.”
I explained about it being a back to school treat and we wouldn’t be back.
“Let me have a look in the bottom of the box.”
I returned to the table with the Minions and peeled Smallest Boy away from my lunch, handed him his piece of burger bun and helped the others with the lids on their drinks.
The Lovely Lady returned with two Smurfettes in plastic bags. And neglected to retrieve the Minions as well.
After that the little niggly rows begin over the Smurfettes and the Minions. Which are, in case you don’t know, identical bits of plastic.
“He has my one.”
“No! That’s my Minion.”
“Where’s my smurf’s banana?”
McDonalds? With four kids at rush hour by myself? Not lovin’ it!