You've heard of the so-called Twinkie defense, right? The one where you're so intoxicated with sugar and fat and artificial dyes/colors/preservatives that you cannot be held responsible for your actions? (Yeah, I know, it's not EXACTLY what Dan White's defense claimed, but that's what reporters called it and that's how the public remembers it, so I'm going with it.)
Personally, I've never used that one, and not just because Twinkies scare me. How can there be no actual cream in the cream center? But I HAVE used the Happy Meal Toy Defense Strategy with great success when I commit Crimes of Misplacement, loosely defined as "being so tired of junky, forgotten toys in my kids' playroom that I creep in, in the dead of night, and THROW THEM ALL AWAY. Then I adamantly and vehemently deny all knowledge when the alleged crime is discovered the next day by occupants of said playroom."
Works every time. Nearly ten years of this motherhood thing, and I've never even been accused, much less convicted.
Just to be clear, this strategy isn't limited to Happy Meal toys. It works on ALL of those annoyingly small, mismatched, easily misplaced choking hazards that clutter our playrooms. And yes, they are OUR playrooms, make no mistake. Do YOUR kids write the mortgage check?
The Happy Meal Toy Defense Strategy goes something like this: The kid can't find her McDonald's Beanie Baby emu that she got back in 2003 from a Happy Meal eaten with her beloved grandmother. Never mind that she hadn't touched it in approximately 924 days - not the point. Suddenly, it's the "must-have" toy of the moment, and she's searching high and low. Finally, in desperation, she turns to Mommy, the all-knowing keeper of everyone's everything (as in, "Honey, do you know where my belt is?" Seriously, your belt? Try the closet. Or maybe your pants. Or, "Mom? Where's my sneaker?" Um, didn't you JUST take it off, like, five minutes ago?) in an effort to locate the treasured toy.
And how, you ask, does Slacker Mom deflect all suspicion? By answering, "How would I know where it is? It's YOUR toy! Maybe if you'd put things away in the first place, you'd be able to find it now!"
Sometimes this is followed by a nice long lecture about how I'm not the maid around here, and I didn't play with it, so how would I possibly know where it is, and I'm tired of having everyone ask me about their stuff. After all, the best defense is a good offense.
Ah, the deception. Yep, I'm guilty -- of using their own stupidity against them. How have they NOT caught on? Do they really not get it? I mean, I still have a threadbare stuffed tiger that I got at the San Diego Zoo in 1975, but the plastic doll from last night's emergency "there's no time to cook" drive-through visit is already missing? For smart kids, they can sure be, well, clueless.
Slacker Mom Says... toss out the guilt along with the Happy Meal toys. Are any of our kids really lacking for toys? How many playthings do two kids need? The playroom is bursting with blocks, games, and dolls. And if they can't put away their own stuff, then they must not really value it.
Some will call me a liar; some will say I have no respect for the children's belongings. But when they haven't touched these toys since the day they opened them, and Christmas is less than two months away, it's time to get rid of something. So have at it. Call me what you will. I have a great defense strategy, and a jury of my peers -- all mothers! -- would never convict me.