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A secret weapon

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Last month on vacation in lovely Kennebunk, Maine, we ate once again at a fun little place called The Ramp in Cape Porpoise. (I highly recommend it for their lobster roll and blueberry cobbler.) We had planned to get there early to preempt a long wait and hunger-induced freak-outs. But, despite our best intentions, there we were getting seated at 6:30 and the kids were on the verge, particularly little JB, who had eaten the last of my diaper bag Cheerios hours ago at the beach. We were able to occupy the older two with menu decisions and the decor – the room is packed with old sports and politics paraphernalia. And right in front of the hungry and cranky toddler was his recently-discoverd piece de resistance: ketchup. Within moments there was a whine rising in his throat, his arms outstretched, eyes hopeful. So, I did it. I squeezed ketchup into his bowl and presented him with an appetizer. The big kids thought it was hilarious that I was letting him eat a bowl of ketchup. Everyone was suddenly happy, the mood lighthearted and conspiratorial. JR and I virtually high-fived ourselves. After a few refills (yes, I allowed him not one, but 3 “servings”), our salads and entrees arrived, and he moved on. At the end of the meal, two women in their 70’s stopped by our table to commend us on how well behaved our children were. One of them asked, “What’s your secret?”.  Only after they left the room did I answer honestly: ketchup.

2 responses »

  1. I’ve actually resorted to giving my 1 year old a pat of butter! I’m ashamed to say it, but then again, there are more unnatural things! She eats it with her finger and it’s like a miracle. Of course, lucky for her health, they don’t serve butter in Italian restaurants! We’d never go anywhere if we didn’t have some secrets up our sleeves, right?!


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