So, we ate at McDonalds, because sometimes I can’t be bothered with vegetables and healthy choices. When the meal was over, we made our way to the play area, which as you know, is a conglomerate of giant hamster-cage-like maze-y tunnels overhead with the benefit of slides that serve as escape chutes. There are also other nooks and crannies with other puzzle-ish things to do, which, honestly, are pretty cool. So, yay, McDonalds for providing a fun, physically active place for kids to jump around with each other, scream and sweat, right? Old school.
But this time? We crossed the threshold into the play area, and my eyes were drawn to a glow. Since our last visit, a video game station has been added to the play area. So, where children were once running and jumping, they are now standing in line. And so are we. Awesome. It’s finally Anna’s turn (my five-year-old), she takes the joystick in hand, and starts pressing buttons. Nothing happens. She looks up at me with that Mommy-will-know-how-to do-it look—and that’s my cue. I bow up and step in all cool, like I’ve played video games, I totally got this.
Here’s the thing: it’s not Galaga, or Ms. PacMan, or any other game from the 80s, and I quickly realize I don’t got this. But, in that it’s the play area at McDonalds, and they are expecting a competency level that encompasses children from two to eleven years old, surely the games are fairly intuitive.
I start fooling around with the joystick and pressing buttons. I get it to start, I choose a level, I can see that it has now begun, I’m feeling encouraged (okay, arrogant), but the object of the game eludes me completely. There’s a tree in the middle of the screen and creatures. I’m grateful there’s no boobs, blood, or sex, but what IS this? Unrelenting, I continue to hammer away at the buttons and rattle the joystick hoping that something will start to make sense. Nothing. As a back-up plan, I frantically look for instructions, which surely should be printed somewhere on the console, if not for the children, at least for the parents who find themselves in the predicament that I’m currently in. Nuh. Thing.
Defeated, I look back at the game and then at Anna. Just as I’m about to crumble into some lame honey-Mommy-doesn’t-know-how-to-play-the-game-and-there-are-no-instructions-but-I’ll-go-ask-the-manager speech, she gives me an expressionless glance, and without a word, swishes away in her velvet dress.
I knew this day would come. The day when every girl decides her mother is a complete idiot. Here’s the rub, that’s not supposed to happen until they’re like, twelve, or something. But thanks to good ole Mickey Ds, I came tumbling off the my-mommy-knows-everything pedestal eight years early. In spite of feeling like a complete moron for the first time since, okay, truthfully, this morning—but that’s another story. I was just happy that she was heading back over in the “real” play area, to run and jump around, and get some exercise (things I understand). But a mother fallen is a mother fallen—without missing a beat and in an instinctively desperate attempt to regain my maternal presence as all-omniscient-one, I heard myself shout after her, “Be careful up there, and remember to leave your socks on!”
Thanks, Ronald. I’m so not lovin’ it.