Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Little Squeeze?

My kid is the Goddamned Ketchup Nazi. 

She insists on ketchup with every meal.  Eggs with Ketchup for breakfast. Grilled cheese with ketchup for lunch.  Pasta with ketchup for dinner.  And although I cringe to think about the sheer amount of high-fructose corn syrup she ingests every day, I am happy that there is something that makes her eat carrot sticks or non-nuggetized chicken.  Plus, I hear that in school cafetierias they actually consider ketchup a vegetable. 

But this new phase is really getting on my nerves.

Lila refuses to share her ketchup with the rest of the family.  We rarely eat foods at home that ACTUALLY require ketchup so in that way, I guess we're lucky. 

But we go out to eat a lot.  I realize I should be ashamed of how often we eat out but I just wrote a piece for Band Back Together about accepting that I am not perfect and not eating at home is one of those things that I just don't give a shit about, broke or not.  I WILL eat out twice a week.  It's my guilty pleasure. 

So as I have mentioned in a previous post (see here) we go to Friendly's a lot.  The last time we were there, I ordered a burger (which I never do because I am terrified of raw ground beef) but I was premenstrual and needed some iron so I ordered one.  When the server brought our meals, Lila snatched the ketchup and happily squeezed several small dots around her plate of Friendly Frank and mac and cheese.  I waited until she snapped the top back on and set it down so that I could ask her politely to "please pass the ketchup."

The look on her face was one of utter disgust, as if I had just asked her to pass the kitten entrails.  She just stared at me.

"Um...Lila...can I have the ketchup, please?  Now?"

She leaned forward as if she was considering my motives.  Did she think I was going to molest the ketchup or something?  Did she think I was going to use it for evil?  Then she slowly picked up the ketchup bottle and set it on the seat next to her.

This is what I saw in my head.

Of course, through all this, her father is just sitting there next to her blissfully (purposely) ignoring the ridiculous power struggle that was taking place right in front of him.  When Ben reached over and helped himself to the bottle of ketchup, completely oblivious to the fact that I was asking for it just seconds ago, Lila snatched it out of his hand and clutched it to her chest, having rescued her "Precious" from the grip of doom.

"Seriously, Lila?  Really?  You can't just share the ketchup?  That's fine.  The next time I am having something that I really like, I will refuse to share it too.  Hey, guess who isn't sharing my french fries?  Guess who isn't getting my Reese's Peanut Butter Cup off my sundae?  Guess who is never, ever, EVER getting a sip of my soda again?"

She just clung to her ketchup bottle.  Ben, in the meantime, had simply gotten up and gotten another bottle of ketchup from the next table.  He never gets the underlying POINT of making her do things she doesn't like to do.  He tends to believe that these stupid power struggles are best left unfought.  I (obviously) tend to get sucked right into them and turn into a kid myself saying stupid things that just make her think it's funny to upset me.

After we were all finished with dinner and had put in our order for ice cream (because it is seriously just MEAN to not allow a kid to have ice cream at Friendly's no matter how unable to behave they may be), Lila put the ketchup back on the table and said, "You can use it on your ice cream if you want.  Can I still have your candy?"

"Mother Fucker!" I thought.


  1. O. Man. She is a pistol! I love it. First of all, we don't have Friendly's where I live... can you believe it? It is just so WRONG. But I love how she put it on the seat next to her. And I love how you tell her exactly what she WON'T be getting as a result of not sharing "her" ketchup (you were PMS-y for sure! lol and sounding totally like me). And I LOVE the husband's approach... just like my husband. And the ending ... PRICELESS!

  2. Yup. Power struggles. Boils down to the worn out adage "pick your battles".

    Luckily, I'm a motherfuckin' warrior!

  3. "You can use it on your ice cream...". Classic.

  4. Our kids need to get married and have little baby terrors so they know the torture they put us through. Blake will scream his face off until he gets "dip", aka ketchup. He'll take it any way he can get it, but eating it by itself with a spoon is preferred.

  5. My Aunt was the same way with ketchup when she was a kid. My mom said she would have probably put it on ice cream if my Grandmother would have let her. BTW-you can get organic ketchup with NO high fructose corn syrup at the grocery store. Well, at least here in Burbank you can. Not sure about back east. I love your writing. Thanks for posting on my blog so I could find you! Also, I wanted to name Lana, Lila. I've always loved that name. My husband wouldn't let me because of Minka Kelly's character on Friday Night Lights. Her name was Lila and she was too hot for him to name one of his daughters that. He's so wierd sometimes.

  6. I'm sorry, but I laughed. Only because my kid hasn't gotten to the power struggle phase yet.

  7. 1. Men do not care about this stuff. Unless it is interfering on their ability to build something/watch the game/get laid.
    2. I don't want to pick my battles. I just wanted some ketchup!
    3. Lila hasn't started eating it with a spoon yet.
    4. Lila doesn't LIKE the expensive ketchup. It looks and tastes different. That kid has super senses.
    5. Our kids will not appreciate what we went through until they have kids of their own. It's the same dynamic that caused my mother to curse me that "when you grow up and have your own kids, you will get it all back 100-fold." My mother feels really bad for that curse now. But has no idea how to reverse it.
    6. You just wait, Mommy Boots. Wait.

  8. My kid is like that with pepper. meal times in my house require a battle over WHO the pepper shaker is closest to. Insanity.

    Kids are jerks.

  9. Oh man, where to start? Okay, So, as the lone Y chromosome having person lurking your page and inhabiting your bloglink, I'm of two minds here on a few things.

    First- All kids behave all the time. whether well or poorly they always behave. As a kid at heart, I've had to point this out whnever I'm being told to behave by one of the females that make up my circle of friends. And as such, I would choose to pick out this battle of words, cuz I'm a man, and therefore suffer from bouts of stupidity and a need to annoy! LOL

    Second- I have two boys. Thank GOD! If I ever end up remarrying and having another child, and it is a girl...just shoot me on the spot. I'm man enough to admit, I'm not man enough to deal with such a situation. There are far too many boys in the world that would have to suffer my wrath, I'd stroke out before the job was finished.

    Third- The power struggle that Ben has avoided is a smart move. discretion is, as they say, the better part of valor. Give Lila a few years to when she starts edging toward catching the boys' eyes. He'll have plenty of battling to do then.
    As for me and my sons battles, While I do find myself locked hopelessly in one after the other, I have intimidated the boys into heeding the 5 count to give me what I want when they have it. I'm not a huge ketchup fan, but if I choose to use it and they don't give it up... they understand my morals include justifiable homocide!

  10. Oh, so glad I stopped by!

    1. men don't get the power struggles. My husband is an avoider too. Me, I refuse to let them win - sends the wrong message (or so I tell myself)

    2. That pic was just adorable! LOVE her! She is not kidding about her ketchup!

    3. The end was PRICELESS! She knew what she was doing all along - smart girl!

    I stopped by via FTLOB & will be back! :)


  11. Ummmm...I laughed so loud while I read this. The kitten entrails sent me over the edge. Very, very funny!
    Stopped by after finding you at FTLOB to say hello.


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