BIG MAC MEAL - with extra mac sauce, and sweet & sour sauce for the French fries. McDonalds is every child’s dream. Any time I ask my kids where they would like to go for lunch, the answer is ALWAYS McDonalds. I don’t even make it to the end of the question before they both start screaming while jumping up and down in excitement. And secretly, you’re offering to take them because it provides you with a legitimate excuse to go yourself. It’s not that I’m a super cool and fun stepmom who frequently takes the kids to McDonalds or Baskin & Robbins because they want it. I want it! And taking the kids with me completely relieves any guilt or shame. The truth is McDonalds isn’t just about the taste, which is awesome. There is no doubt about it. But McDonalds is also about childhood. You have built memories around it, and every time you go back, all that nostalgia of being a kid comes back to you. I think they call that ‘classical conditioning’. When I was a kid, my mother would often pick me up from school (elementary school at that time) to go to an orthodontist appointment. Doesn’t sounds great so far, does it? My teeth were a mess. I had one essentially pointing in every direction. And at some point I had a number of teeth pulled out at once; during which I was given laughing gas and called the orthodontist, a “%^* ing ^*&hole.” The man was jabbing me with needles and I was not happy. Fortunately, my mouth was pride wide open so I don’t think he quite understood what I said. But my mom did, and she felt bad that I was suffering in pain. So what did she do? She treated me to McDonalds afterwards (thus starting the pattern of suffering and eating). I’m kidding. Well maybe. I don’t blame her. All parents do it. We take our kids to the doctor, and when they are brave during a needles, we offer to get them a treat afterwards. But as an eight-year-old, I was all too happy to not only get to leave school, but go to McDonalds before returning. And I got to eat it in the car – a special treat. Of course the dental work was not fun, but I was more focused on my reward, my deliciously salty reward. So you see, McDonalds isn’t just about those Big Mac meals with fries. It’s about re-experiencing those same pleasurable feelings of skipping school and getting to eat McDonalds in the car with your favourite mommy.
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