By Sophie Norris
A mum-of-two was left red-faced when her toddler unwittingly revealed her morning visits to McDonald’s by regurgitating the drive thru sales patter while playing with his toy kitchen.
Nicky Ward was filming her son Jack amuse himself with the Little Tikes Gourmet Kitchen play set but it turned out the two-year-old wasn’t in the mood for cooking that night.
The 30-year-old was left feeling ‘guilty’ when she caught the moment Jack popped his head through the kitchen window in the style of a McDonald’s drive thru and asked: “Welcome to McDonald’s, how can I help you?”
While the tot only ever eats at the fast food outlet ‘as a treat’, Nicky claims he learnt the phrase after her morning coffee runs.
Nicky, from Cumbernauld, Scotland, said: “Jack loves pretend play so we decided to get him this for Christmas.
“He was playing with the kitchen and then he stuck his head out from behind it as if in a drive-thru window.
“I couldn’t believe that he’d learnt what the McDonald’s drive-thru staff said each time.
“We rarely eat there and it’s a big treat if we do, but about three mornings a week, if we’re going somewhere outdoors for the day, I’ll generally stop by and get a coffee. That’s obviously where he’s picked it up from.
“When Jack pretended he worked at McDonald’s, at first I thought ‘oh gosh, people might think we go there all the time’, but the truth is, fast-food restaurants have a massive impact on kids.
“For us as parents, we approach it with the attitude that he gets everything in moderation and we teach him to enjoy it in proportion.
“It’s easy to feel like you’re a bad parent for introducing them to it in the first place, but when he gets to four or five, there are going to be parties there and he’ll know he doesn’t have to stuff his face with it because he’ll get it again.
“And cooking isn’t always practical for busy mums. There’s a big pressure for mums to have produced food they have sat up until midnight cooking.
“It’s not practical sometimes in the mornings to make a drink when you’re trying to get the children ready – that’s why I go to McDonald’s because I can stay in the car with them.
“I think I could feel guilty that he’d picked up the vocabulary they use, but mum’s have too much pressure on them already and we should just laugh it off.
“Kids will always be kids – that’s never changed. It’s the way we parent that has changed.”
Jack was filmed pretending to serve his mum as if she was a customer waiting to order.
The toddler can be seen playing behind the plastic set before sticking his head out from behind it, as if it was a drive thru serving window at the McDonald’s restaurant.
Nicky, a NHS worker, said: “Jack calls it ‘Old McDonald’s’ because of the nursery rhyme which he sings at playgroup.
“It seems like all the boys and girls there love playing with the kitchen set. I never stop him playing with toys that some might think are just for girls.
“He’ll play with dolls too and push them around in prams.
“I think society seems to put children in boxes about what they should and shouldn’t be doing.
“Jack likes the kitchen set, and he likes Thomas The Tank Engine and cars too.
“Jack’s a cheeky monkey – he’s a mummy’s boy and extremely friendly but also stubborn and very fiery.
“He has a brother, Daniel, who is 15 weeks old and they’ve started to really get along now.
“At first, Jack would say ‘no, send him back’ and he throw a toy at him, but now he’s started to pat him and comfort him when he cries.”