This post originally appeared on my previous blog in August, 2014

I’ve entered a new stage in parenting.

Last week, while my lovely red-headed wife was out of town, I took my girls to McDonalds for lunch. Personally, I didn’t plan on eating there again in this lifetime, but I recognized this as as a significant childhood event.

The Happy Meal toy that day was My Little Pony, but the thrill quickly wore off when Snowflake #1 didn’t receive her pony of choice. Unfortunately, Rainbow Dash was nowhere to be had. (I can understand this since I can recall many of my own birthday gifts as “Batman gifts,” and “poor substitutes for Batman gifts.”)

Later last week, we even returned to McDonalds (in the grand scheme of things, we’re hardly overdoing it… Snowflake #1 has been there a total of four times in her life, and Snowflake #2 twice), but still no Rainbow Dash. We’d grown to love both Pinky Pie (trip #1) and Princess Twilight Sparkle (trip #2), but clearly there was a void that only Rainbow Dash would be able to fill, and she quickly became a frequent topic of conversation. A fascinating concept of need was explained to me. She would be mentioned both at bedtimes (“Will we find Rainbow Dash tomorrow?”) and while we were getting ready for preschool (“Will we find Rainbow Dash today?”).

I suppose the irony in all of this is that Snowflake #1 really has zero interest in the food beyond the french fries (understandable) and the apples (hooray!). As a parent, I often find mealtimes filled with negotiations (“If you’ll eat your McNuggets…”) and pleading (“Eat your McNuggets [please]—!”), but if my eldest daughter won’t eat that stuff, shouldn’t I just be happy? Hey… maybe she’ll turn her little sister off the stuff too.

Anyway, this afternoon while running an errand, I ducked into McDonalds. The pony selection was limited to the already received Pinky Pie and the as-of-yet-unacquired white one (name unknown, but if I had to guess, I’d try Sparkly Must Have or Princess Nicotine). With nothing to lose, I asked the manager if just maybe they had the blue one with wings and rainbow hair tucked away somewhere. I explained it would make two* little girls very happy.

(*I don’t even consider this a lie of omission. Either Snowflake #2 will want it later, or she’ll be happy to have exactly what her sister has.)

I should mention that I’m one of the last people to think my child should have everything she wants, and I definitely understand the difference between “want” and “need.” This said, there are so few times in life you get to make the most important people in your life truly happy… anyway… given this, I don’t think a conversation with the manager was unwarranted.

ANYWAY, he stepped into the back room, and returned with two Rainbow Dashes. I’d done it!! Now the only issue was how to present Rainbow Dash in a way that was worthy of the achievement.

(For the record, my daughter was barely inside the door from camp, and she asked if Rainbow Dash was there. That was pretty much that.)

I started this rant talking about my new phase of parenting… it’s not that I experienced/survived my first gotta-have quest, but rather, before dinner, I asked my eldest daughter… my pride and joy… how Rainbow Dash, Pinky Pie, and Princess Twilight Sparkle were doing.

…and I rattled off those names like they were nothing.