I don't know what happened but it happened very early in my daughter's life. She was barely speaking when we drove by a McDonald's and she uttered the words French fries. Though I know she may have had a happy meal or two, I wasn't sure why she was so familiar with the golden arches. Essentially, McDonald's foods taste very good. This doesn't mean that I want her to eat there all the time though. I had to find out why she was so familiar with that particular restaurant.
As it turned out, many people in my family were feeding her a happy meal every chance they got. She had grandparents who would take her overnight, and also a family friend who would baby sit on occasion. Because of the unique situation of our family, many people took it upon themselves to do exactly what they wanted. They never once asked me if it was okay for her to have a happy meal so often, and it was not something I thought I had to say.
I know a happy meal can be fun for a child, but that doesn't mean it is good for them. When she recognized McDonald's from the shape of the arches, I became very worried. Being overweight is something that runs in my family, and I hope to spare her from that if I can. I want her to know that a happy meal, on occasion, is not a big deal. However, I don't want her to have one once or twice a week.
My daughter is now five years old, and I am still battling the effects of the happy meal. When we are at home, she often asks for an apple or a banana if she is hungry, but that is different when we are away from home. When we say we need to stop somewhere for dinner, she instantly asks for a happy meal. Though she often loves to go to Subway, and gets excited when we visit a sit down restaurant, the happy meal is still her first c
hoice. I don't want to make it too big of a deal, or she may eat them like crazy once she is able to buy her own meals. They may seem like fun, but in the end, I am afraid they can lead to a lifetime of bad habits. I guess I cannot control what she eats a she is away from home, but I can make sure that she eats well while she's with me.