He's being seduced to be "Lovin' it!"

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Most parents I know would try to delay the junk food culture for as long as is humanly possible, and we all know that the prospect of denying the kids junk food (read: McDonald's) is as exciting as watching nail polish dry. Especially if they are already at an age where they are aware and are attracted by happy vibes, bright places, continuous images of ice-cream swirls, salty fries and that Happy Meal toy.

BabyMoo had his first taste of semi-solids at 4 months, upon the advise on his PD. He started off with pureed apples, pears, bananas and pumpkin... and graduated to rice porridge at 5 months. When we first introduced food to him, the PD clinic gave us some Nestle rice cereals to try out, but BabyMoo loathed those. He will sputter, spit and basically regurgitate the cereal - whichever flavour was given to him. For the first time, I was worried for him, for he has always loved his milk and has never been known to reject feeds. In fact, he has such a voracious appetite that milk feeds were an absolute breeze. At 3 months, he was drinking 150ml every 4 hours, and finishes the bottle in about 5 minutes or less (I kid you not!). I timed him because it was the only time when he would allow me to be seated while carrying him - and I was chagrined because the time when I could sit down and 'relax' my arms and back felt so short! He weighed in at 7.5kg at 4 months, hated to be put down and was curious about everything around him - so my poor sore arms needed all the rest it could get!

DaddyMoo told me that it could just be that he didn't like the taste and texture of cereals (both of us don't like it, either) so upon my MIL's advice, we tried him out on double boiled porridge, mixed with pureed pumpkin. I remember vividly the first time I put the spoonful of porridge in his mouth. He was almost ready to spit it out (perhaps anticipating cereal) and just as we saw his little tongue dart out (with the porridge bit at the tip), it went back in as fast as lightning! Mummy was rewarded with a huge grin, and periodic yells when I didn't feed him fast enough.

From then on - there was no turning back. The world of different tastes and textures proved to be a happy one for BabyMoo... and my little baby ate everything as long as it's accompanied by porridge. Even now, although he wants everything that's on our plates, thankfully, he will still eat his home-made porridge as a staple.

As I've mentioned previously, we usually allow BabyMoo to eat practically everything that we do, within reason, and as long as we think it's suitable for a toddler with 6 teeth. There are some items which he tasted and didn't like, and never asked for it again. We draw the line on caffeine and alcohol laced products, Coke and fruits or vegetables that have sap or are overly acidic - choosing to not consume these in front of him rather than disallowing him a taste before he can fully understand explanations.

A week ago, I decided that we will introduce him to McDonald's. DaddyMoo and I agreed that we will not outright ban the consumption of so-called junk food for the boy, because we wouldn't want him to be overly curious about this culture, due to the the 'forbidden fruit' nature that has been imposed. Instead, we will attempt to give these foods in moderation, for living in an age where undoubtedly, he will be exposed to the fast food culture more often than we prefer, it is important that he is supervised on the consumption, rather than develop a yearning for foods that perhaps his future schoolmates have free reign to.

We went to the outlet at Clementi Mall for breakfast. Actually it was more of a split second decision as we were too late for the 11.00am mass at  Holy Cross, and therefore decided to attend the 12.30pm one at St Teresa's. While DaddyMoo was in the queue, BabyMoo and I waited at one of the tables - and was duly approached by a kindly middle-aged lady wearing a supervisor's uniform. She offered to get a high chair for us, and although I informed her that the hubs will do so once he's done ordering, she waved us off with a broad smile, and told us that she will gladly get one for us.

BabyMoo was in his carrier, strapped to me, and although I am perfectly able to release him on my own, she helped me undo the clasp and held on whilst I took Baby out. She asked if I minded her helping to seat him down, and faced with such graciousness, I was more than happy  for her to render help. BabyMoo was grinning and enjoying the extra person fussing over him (that's my little attention seeker for you!) and was more than happy to be helped to his high chair. She proceeded to entertain him, talking to him and playing peek-a-boo with him.

I asked her if she is the supervisor, and she mentioned that she's a 'goodwill ambassador', whose job is mainly to ensure that parents are helped with their children, the handicapped are given assistance, and generally to oversee that all her 'guests' are well cared for. I then saw her proceed to help a mother with two toddlers, as well as help place her food order at the counter.

She then came back to our table, and asked BabyMoo if he would like a balloon. BabyMoo flashed her his megawatt smile, and was rewarded by a blue and yellow balloon for him to choose. By this time, DaddyMoo was already back with our orders, and I was cutting up pancakes and scrambled eggs for the boy. Annie (that's her name) entertained BabyMoo throughout, and kept him giggly and occupied whilst we had our breakfast with minimal interruptions from the boy.

I gave him pancakes (which he ate but he didn't really take to) and scrambled eggs (which he absolutely loved!). He finished his meal in no time, thanks to his hungry stomach and Auntie Annie.

When we left, BabyMoo waved to her, and gave her flying kisses - holding on tightly to his blue balloon. We thanked Annie for her excellent service, with a promise to be back.

Happy boy at McDonald's!

Woo them from young - and you have a customer for life. BabyMoo's first experience at McDonald's, judging from his expression and the way he hummed to himself all the way to the carpark - was a very happy one. I suppose he will, from now on - associate it with a happy place, where salt is abundant and welcoming him round the clock in its comforting embrace. Every time we pass by that particular McD's (which is visible from the main road) - BabyMoo will excitedly point, and look for his blue balloon which is still next to his car seat.

Clever, clever marketing strategy, you people of the golden arches fame.
Very impressive.

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