I hate waste. I cringe when I have to toss brown bananas. I get irate when my roast beef goes bad. I’ll eat freezer-burn ice cream before I buy a new gallon. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll toss moldy bread or soft fruit. I may hate waste, but I’m not about to sacrifice my stomach for a few cents.
Yet when you hang out with 2-year-olds, you’re bound to change your perspective on waste. Some waste is inevitable—acceptable, even: Crusts get cut off, leftover cereal milk goes down the drain, and re-heated eggs are as well, absolutely awful as they sound.
Other forms of waste are only impossible to avoid if you can control kids like Supernanny. Kids eyes are always bigger than their stomach. And it’s extremely difficult for them to realize that.
For example, today I took Harry to the Science Center of Iowa. After a day full of fun exhibits, pulleys and pseudo supermarket shopping, we ate some lunch. He wanted an individual pan pizza and huge Strawberry milk for himself (yes, I recommended sharing. He was adamantly opposed, though he said so extremely politely). After seeing him eat a quarter of a PB&J last week, I knew there was no way he’d become a member of the clean plate club. I was right: He drank exactly one sip of strawberry milk and ate one-quarter of his pizza.
The more I babysit, the more I realize the ingenious mind of McDonalds. Happy Meals deserve all their hype: They have a fun toy to play with and have a perfectly portioned meal to complement it. Without Happy Meals, I’m certain that there would be countless toddler requests for Big Macs and Supersize Fries. And many more either A.)Nearly full sandwiches in the trash or B.)A parental obesity epidemic, simply because of their hatred for waste.