Thursday, August 25, 2011

The PNE: Definitely Not The Best Part of Summer

I want to preface this entry by saying that I hope I don't offend anyone's traditions or livelihood in this somewhat brutal review of my experience at the PNE.  I realize that lots of people have always gone and have lovely memories with their families at the PNE, and that's totally understandable. That being said, this was my experience and my perspective on the corporate and commercial nature of the PNE.

I've been to the PNE once in my adult life, and I don't remember the experience at all.  Every year the PNE opens and there is a big fuss over it, and every year I don't even bother with it for whatever reason.  This year I felt a strange sense of urgency to take Aias.  After all, the PNE is without a doubt an incredibly popular attraction, so there must be something fantastic about it, right? Back to my strange sense of urgency to take Aias to this yearly event, for some reason I convinced myself that going to the PNE each year is a valuable part of being a Vancouverite and something that Aias will want to know he had been apart of each year as a child.  Clearly as his parent it was my job to ensure this happens, right?  That being said, I didn't want to spend $20 to get in, primarily because I'm cheap. On Monday August 20th, there was free admission to the PNE from 9am to noon.  I can't turn down free, so despite the fact that it was pouring rain, I decided to check it out.  We have every piece of rain gear Mountain Equipment Co-Op has to offer for adults and toddlers alike, so we put them to good use and headed to the PNE by transit in the pouring rain to experience what they describe as "The Best Part of Summer."

Before I get into my experience of actually being at the PNE, let me describe our experience of getting there.  We decided we would take the bus because our car is currently on the fritz and there is hardly ever a decent place to park at the PNE anyhow.  If you do find a spot, you are going to pay $15-$20 for it.  We hopped on the number 9 bus and traveled up Broadway and  got off at the Renfrew Skytrain Station.  We were to take the number 16 bus directly to the PNE. Or so we thought. Number 16 busses as well as special PNE Express busses were flying by, all marked "Full."  12 busses went by.  I had asked someone how long it would take to walk to the PNE from that skytrain station and they said it would take an hour.  Around 11am I decided I was just going to walk. It turns out it only takes 20 minutes to walk there, so that's what I get for asking someone who doesn't appear to be a power walker. By the time we got there Aias was furious for having been in the stroller that long, and while he was dry as a bone in his little newt suit, my jean capri's hands, stroller, were all drenched.  Not cool, but whatever.  It's just water, right?  I was pretty furious with Translink for not providing more transportation to this event when there obviously was a need for it, but more furious with myself for not walking sooner or for at least having gone to 29th Station and getting on the PNE Express there.

So here's your first tip: If you are taking the bus to the PNE, take the Skytrain and get off at 29th Ave Station.  Take the PNE Express from there. Don't try to take it from Renfrew, it will be full, and it only comes every 15 minutes.

It was easy to get into the PNE once we arrived because they weren't exchanging any money.  I felt victorious for having successfully arrived before noon and to have saved $20.  I guess I thought once we walked through the gate there would be happy people, flowers, balloons, and cheery goodness, but instead there was a marketplace entrance to our left, and this:

What is it? Row after row after row of cars and advertising for Jim Pattison.  Not very festive, right? Well, I'm sure the amount of money exchanged to make sure that the first thing people see when they enter the PNE are lines of cars was probably worth it to the PNE, so whatever.  Surely the whole thing couldn't be this corporate... right? If only I had known.

Moving forward, we made it past the long line of Jim Pattison cars and entered what finally started looking like a fair. There were booths of delicious fair food, some community tents, and some media tents.  I hadn't planned on doing all that walking so I was incredibly thirsty and decided to buy some water.  I wandered up to the first tent I saw that had water listed for sale, and I saw this:

If you click on the picture and look at the right, you'll see that this place is selling 500mL bottles of water for the reasonable price of... $4.75. NO REALLY.  I wasn't that thirsty after all.  Luckily the first booth I saw after the long line of cars had free cups of water.  The tent was for the Vancouver Gospel Tent.  The people were incredibly nice to say the least, and goodness knows I enjoyed the free water.  In fact, I enjoyed the free water 3x throughout the day.  They chatted me up a bit each time, gave me some religious materials, and on my first visit proceeded to direct me to a giant replica of Noah's Ark and explained to me through the use of rubber animals how Noah's Ark was totally real and they had proof. I kept drinking my water and nodding.  They were nice enough, I wasn't going to be a jerk to anyone based on having a different belief system than them.  I wasn't around to know whether or not Noah built a giant ark and floated animals on it, so I just kept smiling. It was when I was shown the image below that I knew it was time to leave.

Nothing throws a wrench in your day like being told you will end up in the Lake of Fire if you don't give your soul to Jesus.  Their timeline of history and how evolution and dinosaurs were friends with Adam and Eve impress my inner scientist very much either, but I digress, this is about the PNE.

But first, tip number 2: The Vancouver Gospel tent has free water if you don't want to spend several dollars on it. Better yet, bring your own water from home.

Upon successfully re-hydrating myself and my child with the free water, we decided to carry on. We walked past booth after booth of food, nothing that looked like I couldn't get it on Main Street, and almost all of it looking like a sure path to heart disease.  I know, I know, it's once a year, it's ok to have "Those Little Donuts" (they are called that!) or a Whale Tale or a stick of french fries.  And of course, they have a captive audience so they charge as much as they can, which is plenty.  Aias saw a slushy machine like the ones they have in 7-11 (remember he's an addict?) but I wasn't paying $4 for a small Slurpee. Cheap mom is cheap. 

I started to notice booth after booth selling lottery tickets to win a PNE Prize Home, and I wondered what that was about, so I asked.  Turns out you can buy tickets to win a beautiful house in Kelowna.  I asked where the money goes, and the person seemed confused. "Does it go to the hospital or something? You know, like a fundraiser?" and they were just very, very confused by my question.  I take this to believe that the money just goes to the PNE? Correct me if I'm wrong. 

These people are standing in a line to walk through the Prize Home. It was a LONG line:

Speaking of lines, just past this winding line to get into the Prize Home there was a huge tent for Global and they also had a line.  I asked the people what they were lining up for, and if wasn't until I asked a 7th person that someone had any idea.  Most of them just happily said "I don't know!"  When I finally got an answer, the answer was that they were in line to spin a wheel so they could win a Coca Cola Frisbee? Really? Sounds pretty impressive to me: have people stand in a line so they can get useless swag from you that bears your logo so you can advertise to everyone who sees them holding it.

Jesus wept.

Oh by the way, you can also win a car at the PNE:

Tip number 3: you are probably NOT going to win a car or house. Take your $25 or $50 and put it in a trust fund for your kid instead. 

I was starting to get seriously annoyed, seeing as nothing we had encountered thus far came even close to being "The Best Part of Summer" for me (unless you are a stakeholder in a major corporation, that is).  My annoyance was interrupted by delightful music, and upon hearing it, Aias ran toward it.  It turned out to be a lovely band playing older music that had snazzy beats appealing very much to Aias.  He danced around for probably 25 minutes before he tired of it.  Of course, here's a picture of the stage:

Notice the WestJet advertising? Subtle, no?  I was getting tired of standing at this point and I saw some bleachers, but as we neared them I noticed they were considered "VIP seating" which you, of course, had to pay for.  I was only surprised that I wasn't surprised.

Tip number 4: if you want to sit, bring a small lawn chair.

I thought about leaving at this point but then I remembered there was supposed to be a 4-H exhibit. We located it immediately, and my icy heart began to melt a bit.  A little known fact: I used to be in the 4-H Club myself.  Not an agricultural contingent, more of a sewing and volunteering one, but still.  Aias immediately fell in love with baby ducks and baby chicks. Who wouldn't? Here are some pictures.

This almost made up for the corporate sins the PNE had in store for us earlier in the day, but let's not forget the name of the farm portion of the PNE: Safeway Farm Country.  You'd think it would be 4-H Farm Country, but I guess they can't afford that sort of thing.

I'm going to hold back from too much discussion on how surprised I was that they were allowing huge groups of people to gather around all these animals that had no way of hiding or making themselves feel less vulnerable, because that's a whole other entry all together.  Trust me, it's hard for me to hold back on this, but I'll just stop myself now.

The part of Safeway Farm Country that was the most fun was the Kidz Discovery Farm.  Basically you line up and you get a bucket and a cute little apron and you walk through different small exhibits learning about planting seeds, harvesting, milk, meat, wool, salmon farming, etc. At each station you get a tiny replica of each item and you put it in your bucket. At the end, you ride around on a tiny tractor, turn your items in, return your bucket and apron, get some farm cash, and trade it in for a pack of Craisins.  Aias liked this process very much, and I thought it was adorable.  At the same time, I was basically aghast that they were partnered with the Salmon Farmer's Association of BC, given that farming salmon is incredibly controversial and an environmental faux pas.   If Aias had been older I would have used this as an opportunity to explain that to him.  Right now he's too young to care, all he wanted to do was play with the giant fishing net, so whatever.

Salmon Farming for kids

Ambivalent to his experience on a small tractor

At this point we were pretty hungry, and I dreaded having to make a choice as to which delicious artery clogging fair food we should eat, but we got lucky. We happened to come across a little eatery inside the Safeway Farm Country building.  I was able to get a chicken sandwich, a large salad, and some fries for $8.50 inclusive of taxes.  It wasn't free range to my knowledge and at this point I figured it was better I just not ask. 

Not bad for $8.50 at the PNE. But beware the chicken is breaded.

Tip number 5: look at the baby chicks AFTER you've eaten lunch, because nothing ruins the taste of a chicken sandwich like the fresh image in your mind of what your food looked like as a baby.

Tip number 6: The food place inside the Safeway Farm Country building has relatively inexpensive food.

After eating we went to the Marketplace which was the biggest waste of time ever.  We walked and looked at every booth and it was basically just table after table of "Only On TV" type products that looked like they had just come off a ship in a crate from China.  Now not only Jesus was weeping, but so was the environment.  The only two booths that I could respect even remotely were the Usborne Books table in the back, and the Fresh Is Best booth, both of which stood out like a sore thumb.  The Marketplace just represented everything that's wrong with North American culture and Capitalism to me.  I feel dirty even thinking about it. 

The last place we went was the Home Depot Home Improvement Showcase Exhibit. This was actually a mistake, we had wandered into it thinking it was something else, but it ended up being the best part of the day. Home Depot was doing DIY workshops with kids each hour, and they have 10 openings per session. We happened to be there at 2:23pm, and the next one started at 3pm.  I had to sign Aias up (and here's the kicker) and then stand in the line until it started at 3.  At first I thought this would end horribly because Aias would NOT stand in a line and cooperate for over 30 minutes, but it turned out he thought the little girl in front of us in the line was the greatest thing ever, so he happily played with her the whole time.  The DIY project was "make your own toolbox" and you got to keep your hard hat and your apron.  I ended up doing it mostly myself because it required the use of a hammer and nails, but he loved putting the pieces together and watching me attach them.  He also loved the outfit. Check it out:

 Tip number 7: Sign your kid up for this DIY Home Depot session because it's super fun and worth standing in line for.

After building the awesome toolbox, we decided to head toward the Playland area to see if we were missing out on anything.  It turns out we were missing out on something pretty great: a parents' room (sponsored by London Drugs, of course).  I was beyond happy to stumble upon this because the other bathrooms in the PNE had nowhere to change a diaper, and the handicapped bathrooms all had multiples signs on them saying they were ONLY for people with disabilities which I imagine was a way of deterring people with strollers.  The PNE Parents’ Room is located beside the Kiwanis food kiosk (across from Celebration Plaza). For your convenience, the Parents’ Room offers the following services: 

  • Space to change your child's diaper 
  • Complimentary diapers, wipes and baby powder 
  • A separate and discreet room for nursing mothers
  • A single washroom for those families utilizing our parents’ room services
The nursing area was comfortable and I was able to chat it up with other nursing mothers.

Tip number 8: Use the London Drugs Parents Room, it's awesome.

After this we decided to take one more trip to the Safeway Farm Country Building so Aias could say goodbye to the chicks and ducks, and it was here that he fell in love with the bunnies.

I enjoyed the farm portion a lot, of course, especially because "city kids" don't get to see a lot of livestock.  Of course, on this second trip back we did overhear a mom asking her 4 year old where animals come from, and they said they live at the Fair. Oops.  I can see how he got that answer, however. It only occurred to me at that time that this was exactly the lesson I was now teaching Aias. 

All in all, I wouldn't say it was a failed day.  In fact, it really opened my eyes.  This whole time I had thought that going to the PNE was going to be this essential aspect of Aias's Vancouver childhood experience, but as it turns out, it probably won't be.  Like I said at the beginning of this entry, I recognize that lots of people consider the PNE an important tradition for their families because of the time they spent with loved ones there, and I respect that.  At the same time, I think Aias deserves as commercial free a childhood as I can provide to him, and I don't think the PNE really factors into that.  I'll probably not go again until Aias specifically asks to, or if friends or family members invite us along and want us to be apart of the experience with them.  I just can't see any sense in shelling out $20 per person so that we can be blatantly and aggressively advertised to, robbed of our money on $4.75 waters, and coveting greasy overpriced food.  If I want to teach Aias about farms and farm animals, I'll take him to a farm. If I want to teach him about music, I'll take him to a music festival or concert. 

If you feel like the PNE truly is "The Best Part of Summer," the bad news is I'm sorry to say that you may be doing it wrong.  The good news is, if this is your standard of awesome, there are other events in this city that will blow your mind and most of them don't even cost any money. 

Check out the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Zombie Toddler Walks the Streets of Vancouver

On Saturday Aias and I took part in the 2011 Vancouver Zombie Walk.  I have never participated before because quite frankly, walking around surrounded by tons of people dressed like zombies sort of terrifies me.  My irrational fears aside, every year I miss the advertising or talk of the event anyhow, and I only notice it has happened because I see zombified people walking around all over town.  Of course, at that point it was always too late to participate. This year I got lucky and found out about it about 36 hours before, so I was able to throw together some inexpensive DIY style zombie costumes for Aias and myself. 

I had asked on Facebook to gauge people's opinions on how appropriate they thought it would be for me to not only take my 21 month old child to the zombie walk, but to dress him up like a zombie.  I was pretty surprised that within an hour or so dozens of people had told me it would not only be ok to do, but it would be totally awesome. So it was game on; 21 months of him making a zombie out of me and it was finally my turn to do the same to him!

I went to Michael's and shelled out $10 for some iron on fuzzy black letters, white cream face paint, and fake blood.  Upon returning home, I unearthed a horribly stained and almost outgrown long-sleeve turtleneck onesie of Aias's, hacked off the neck and the arms, and ironed the words "EXCLUSIVELY BRAIN FED" onto it.  I figured that if I was going to have fake blood on my child, it better be campy and blatantly obvious that he wasn't actually abused/injured.  The idea of putting the face paint full of Made In China ingredients on his face horrifies me almost as much as the walking dead, so I used copious amounts of Badger Sunscreen on him instead.  A little non-toxic dark mineral eyeshadow under his eyes was also a nice touch.  I bought about a pound of dark delicious cherries, hoping he would viciously go after them and get filthy like he was covered in blood, but my picky eater decided that he didn't want cherries that day, so I bit the bullet and poured the fake blood on him anyway. 

The result?

I have to admit, it was a little disturbing for me to see my child with dark marks under his eyes and covered in fake blood. You definitely never want to have to see anyone you love covered in blood, but there's something about a bloodied toddler that is especially hard to take.  It was particularly disturbing when he was whining or unhappy. 

For the most part, the whole "zombaby" thing was very well received.  We live in Mount Pleasant and on our way there we got a few confused looks and a gasp or two, but the closer we got to downtown Vancouver the more positive feedback we got. When we got to the Art Gallery, we were swarmed by media, zombies, and onlookers that all wanted a picture of the baby zombie.  For fun I was making a mental note to count the photos that were taken of him, but I stopped about 10 minutes into the walk when I lost track at 300. 

Poor Aias may have had his 15 minutes of fame long before he could even remember it. Sorry, kid!

Here are some pictures that we took or pictures that were taken by onlookers. If you see any other ones posted online, please link me.  I imagine there are going to be several kicking around.

Pre-fake blood, angry that I was attempting to feed him cherries instead of real brains

I'm sure this is hands down the most terrifying, creepy, and disturbing breasfeeding picture I've ever seen. Zombie breastfeeding, FTW! The phrase on the shirt, "Exclusively Brain Fed" is actually a play on the words "Exclusively Breast Fed."  I only sort of expected Internet moms to know that, heh. EBF!

On our way...
This is my favorite, it's a photo taken by Flickr user Veresk and can be found here:

This one got messaged to me, if you know who took it please comment below and I'll ensure you get credit. 

Another one of my favorites, because he looks particularly hungry for brains in this one!  This one was taken by Obi-Wan Baggins and can be found here:
Slurpees give you brain freeze which is pretty much the same as eating brains, right?  These two were taken by Noel Abrahams.
Confident in his zombie ways. This one was taken by Kerry Coulter Crooks.
Dead tired undead. This one was taken by She's Louise.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

You Literally Should Never Feel Guilty: Here's How and Here's Why

Guilt: it's a nasty thing and a nasty feeling. Of course, all people feel guilty about one thing or another at some point in their lives, some more often than others.  Some societies or cultures even thrive and depend on the guilty feelings of the people living within them.  Whether you live in a society or culture or practice a religion that tends to perpetuate feelings of guilt, at some point in your life, you'll likely feel guilty about something.  As a parent, I see other parents feeling guilty about things all the time, for example:

- Not being able to or not wanting to breast feed
- Letting their kids watch tv or do some other thing that is frowned upon by other parents
- Letting their kids have sugar or certain foods
- Giving in to their children's tantrums

Etc, etc. You get the idea. I, too, have had moments where I've felt guilty about choices I've made as a parent.  For example, I was out shopping a few weeks ago and Aias wasn't having a great time.  In fact, he was moments away from exploding.  He didn't want to be in a shop, he wanted to be at the park or at home playing with his toys.  About halfway through the shopping trip, Aias saw a rack full of Lay's potato chips so he started chanting "chippa! chippa! chippa pleaseeeee!"  What did I do? I gave the kid the chippas!  I mean, I wanted him to be quiet and a few chips can't kill him, right?  Of course, I felt slightly sheepish about giving him chips, even about other parents or people in the store seeing him eat them.  After finishing our errands we went to the park where we saw a few other kids and their parents.  One of the kids asked for one of Aias's chips and his mom said "oh we don't give him things like chips because of all the salt..."  All of a sudden I felt even more guilty than I had before, but why? Was it because I was giving Aias chips or was it because this other woman was suggesting that it was a bad idea to give a toddler chips?

The fact is, if I really thought the chips would hurt or deeply damage my kid, I would absolutely not have given them to him.  If he had been asking for a bottle of paint thinner or a bag of rusted nails, I would obviously have told him no way and I wouldn't have felt the slightest bit wrong about it.  Chips on the other hand, I was obviously comfortable with, at some level or another.  Of course, the judgment of other people was something I feared for whatever reason, and that small seed of guilt only grew upon hearing what I perceived to be a person judging my parenting choice. 

I thought a lot about this experience on my walk home.  The first thing I realized was that this woman wasn't actually necessarily judging my parenting choice at all; what she was actually doing was telling me how she does it differently and my own internal existing guilt about giving Aias chips was agitated by this.  Because of my existing self doubt about the choice to give him chips, I felt annoyed with the woman and felt like she was judging me, when in fact she wasn't necessarily judging me at all.  In fact, she was absolutely right that the chips have lots of salt in them and that someone Aias's age should probably not be having so much salt.  Why would it annoy me that she mentioned it? Well, because she was right and it made me feel like less of a parent for choosing to do what was arguably not the best thing for my kid at that moment in time.  The second thing I realized was that I'd probably be happy to give Aias chips again, just probably not in front of this woman.  How guilty could I possibly have felt if I was perfectly happy to do the same thing again?  Not very, I suppose.

Further thinking brought me to this conclusion: people should literally never have to feel guilty.  Not ever.  Maybe this is oversimplifying it, but there are two types of things a person will or can feel guilty about:

1. Things they cannot change
2. Things they can change.

There's no use in feeling guilty about something you can't change, after all, you can't change it so feeling guilty about it makes no sense.  You shouldn't assume guilt for something that is beyond your control in the first place.  That being said, if there is something you can change, and you feel guilty about it, CHANGE IT!  If it's too late to change it, then it's out of your control, so you shouldn't feel guilty about it in the first place (see above) and the best thing to do the next time you are staring down a similar decision, is just do it differently.  If you choose (again) to make the choice you were feeling guilty about in the first place, you probably don't really feel that guilty about it after all. 

OK, I know.  If only it were really this easy, right?  All I know is, I'm going to try and implement this sort of mentality to my daily life and see where it gets me.

One last point: there's nothing noble about guilt.  If you make a parenting or life choice that doesn't follow the mainstream or that you find is being scrutinized by others, constantly expressing or even feeling guilt about it doesn't leave you any better or worse in the long run.  Stand proud and confident in the choices you make whether they are the same choices others would make or not, and if you don't feel like you can, then maybe you should think about making a different choice next time.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One point for Marketing, Zero points for Mom

I've always loved Slurpees from 7-Eleven despite the fact that they are probably one of the worst things you could possibly consume if you don't want to eat tons of sugar.  Exhibit A:

7-Eleven Slurpee, Fanta Cherry
 28 oz cup
 Sugars, total:  63g*
 Calories, total:  231 
 Calories from sugar: 231
*Indicates discrepancy in official nutrition information:
at 4 cal/g, calories for listed sugar content exceeds
total listed calories.
7-Eleven Slurpee, Coca-Cola
 40 oz cup
 Sugars, total:  90g*
 Calories, total:  325 
 Calories from sugar: 325
*Indicates discrepancy in official nutrition information:
at 4 cal/g, calories for listed sugar content exceeds
total listed calories.

So yes, delicious as they are, they are definitely a once or twice a summer treat for me, unless I want to go into a sugar coma.  As far as giving them to Aias, I think he's way too young to be consuming a treat like that on any sort of regular basis, if at all.

Of course, never say never.  As you may or may not know, on July 11th every year 7- Eleven gives away free Slurpees.  They aren't full sized Slurpees, just little mini Slurpees, but still... Free Slurpees!  Normally I can't be bothered to stand a line with a toddler for a freebie that only costs $1-$2 anyway, but this year we were walking down the street at about 3pm, we happened to notice it was the 11th of July, peered into the 7-Eleven and lo and behold there was no line.  I hadn't had a Slurpee in a long time and the idea of a free one on a hot day was too good to be true.  When we walked in the door they handed me two tiny Slurpee cups.  It hadn't even occurred to me to get one for Aias, but the cup was small so I figured what the heck.

Nom Nom Nom.  Baby's first Slurpee.
Obviously, he loved it. I mean, the kid barely gets sugar and this was delicious fruity slushie sugary piece of heaven.  It was love at first taste.  I let him drink half of it, then he started to lose interest (become comatose?) so I tossed the rest.

A few days later we were walking down the street and we walked by the 7-Eleven.  Let me point out that we literally walk by this 7-Eleven 4-5 times a week and he's never once taken interest in the building.  This time Aias put his hand out and started saying "Please please please please..." and I had no idea what he was talking about. I figured there was no way he was asking for a Slurpee, right? I mean, he was only 20 months old, he couldn't possibly have remembered the Slurpee experience and the 7-Eleven experience just from that one Slurpee day... right?

We kept walking.

A few days later, we walked by 7-Eleven again. This time Aias wasn't in the stroller, he was holding my hand.  Instead of saying "please please please" he simply walked to the 7- Eleven door, we opened it, and he walked through the store directly to the Slurpees, grabbed a cup and said "Please please please please..."

Huh.  Seriously.  We had probably been in 7-Eleven a total of three times since he was born including the time we got the free Slurpee, and yet somehow this kid is a 7-Eleven fan boy?

I told him no way, we were not getting a Slurpee.  He's 20 months old, he doesn't need 12 ounces of sugared ice.  He stomped and stomped, begged for the Slurpee, I wrestled him out, and off we went.

Now every single time we walk by this 7-Eleven he asks for a Slurpee with varying amounts of desperation; sometimes we just say no and he's cool with it, sometimes it's an all out tantrum to convince him that we don't need to go in and get a Slurpee.

Now here's the real shocker: you see, I figured that Aias only knew the location of this 7-Eleven based on the fact that we walk down that street literally every day.  Last week we were in a completely different neighborhood and there happened to be a 7-Eleven.  The building didn't look the same as the other 7-Eleven with the exception of the branding, but guess what Aias did when we walked by? Yep. He looked for the door, we walked in, he looked for the Slurpees, and then came the "please please please."

I'm pretty fascinated and surprised by this. I've seen studies say that kids as young as 6 months recognize branding such as the Walmart sign or the golden arches of McDonald's, but I wasn't entirely convinced.  After seeing the impact this free slurpee has had on Aias, I'm completely convinced. 7- Eleven, your free Slurpee marketing scheme has obviously succeeded in accomplishing exactly what you wanted; you've got a 20 month old hooked on Slurpees and I'm sure he will be a fan for life, whether we buy them for him or not. It's probably only a matter of time before we give in during a moment of weakness where we figure giving the kid a half filled cup of Slurpee would be a far better thing to do than listen to his screaming for one.

So much for the "just one Slurpee won't hurt" theory.

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