Clearly I'm maturing, evolving.
My previously proclaimed affections for McDonald's are being overtaken by my affections for Ikea.
And before you ask, no, Ikea have not installed an all-you-can-drink shot bar next to the soft drink dispenser.
I've been an Ikea foodhall fan for many years. I do love me some cheap, moist meatballs and gravy.
The only problem is the epic and completely confusing pathway to get you from entrance to foodhall to exit. The one that winds through the entire showroom, with helpful staff in yellow shirts ready to step in if you dare stray from the designated path in the interests of a shortcut / finding the light of day to get your bearings.
New love blossoms
Last week, I donned my survival gear, downloaded a GPS App on my mobile phone and headed to Ikea for the first time in ages.
The Twin Tornado were giving me the shits, and so I figured I should really share the ranty whininess with all the other like-minded, worn down mothers who frequent the kiddy snack area of the foodhall.
But I didn't get that far.
I pulled up short in front of Smaland, AKA a fully supervised and completely free play centre come daycare.
WTF HAVE I BEEN DOING FOR THE PREVIOUS 7 YEARS OF PARENTING?!
Why have I never considered this option before?
The Twin Tornado were skeptical, and I had to bribe them with false promises of ponies and ice cream before they'd go in.
So long suckers....
I hot footed it up to the foodhall, catalogue in hand, and set about making the all-you-can-drink espresso machine my $1.95 bitch for the morning.
I even had a view of the Smaland play area from my balcony (with a view) seat.
If you look closely, you can just see the edge of one of the Twin Tornado's feet.
Ikea are so kind to include a 'viewing cube' in their play area. Bless.
If I were at Macca's, by the time I sat down with my flat white and turned around, the Twin Tornado would be chewing madly on chips.
Chips I did not buy.
And the whole unsupervised thing with Macca's is kind of getting on my nerves. It makes it really difficult to tune out via free Wifi when you have to constantly check to see if the whining child is/was caused by one of your own.
Ikea handles the supervision for you.
And probably teaches them a bit of Swedish at the same time.
Tack, for that Ikea.
I zoned out for at least an hour, flicking through the glossy catalogue and daydreaming of the house made from Ikea. White Ikea everything. Clearly I'd slipped into child-free mode, to be considering white anything.
After 2 or 7 coffees I felt I had sufficiently hyped myself into a frenzy that would see me find my way through the rabbit warren of showrooms and back down to the kiddy area.
I swanned, I strolled, I paused from time to time.
Especially to watch parents lurching along, dragging and pulling toddlers who wanted to touch all of the things.
Finally, I found my way back to Smaland and collected the Twin Tornado.
Then went back upstairs to the Foodhall for lunch.
Because it's sacrilege to do Ikea and not have the meatballs, right?
The break up
So, I'm saying it Macca's - It's not me, it's you.
I've been wooed by Ikea's moist balls and mad child-minding skillz.
If you want any chance of reconciliation, you will have to do better.
You'll have to listen to my previous helpful suggestions for how you could improve yourself.
I mean really consider my requests for Irish coffee, Vodka slushies, and some more padding around the play equipment so that I don't have to actively watch and pay attention.