Potty training and dinnertime. These are the two greatest struggles of parenthood (at least so far, for me, as my kids are still young).
From the second they enter this world, the feeding battles begin. My oldest refused to nurse and fought me at every feeding for weeks. And once we began solid foods, he refused nearly everything. And trying something new?! HA! Not without begging, pleading, bargaining, and still … we usually failed to get him to take a single bite. I remember the first time he ate an orange slice. AN ORANGE SLICE. He held it in his mouth for 20 minutes, terrified to chew. And now, 10 years later, we still fight about food. Every. Single. Day. Thankfully, there are tricks that most parents know typically make meals at least edible by our picky eaters. In my house, these tricks are called ketchup and cheese.
That’s really all you have to do. Just put ketchup or cheese on it — whatever it is. Horrible dog food-tasting pot roast transforms into acceptable meat after getting doused in ketchup. Or baked chicken that Mom seasoned with terrifying things like basil or oregano is suddenly no longer scary when covered with cheese.
So what better company is there to relate to parents’ mealtime struggles than the one that makes America’s favorite ketchup? In a Youtube ad titled “Dinnertime Negotiations” posted today by Heinz, a mom, dad, and their son are sitting at the dinner table. They hear the worst sound in the world — the sound of the final squirt. They’re out of ketchup.
So obviously the boy’s meal is inedible vile garbage food now.
When he realizes he cannot cover whatever his parents probably spent two hours preparing with squirts of tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar (ingredients he knows nothing about his parents would like to keep it that way), he pushes his plate away.
Dad pushes it back.
Son says nope.
Dad says please.
Mom looks scared.
(You know this dance.)
It happens in our house when we run out of ketchup, too. Or cheese. But only American cheese. If we have cheddar, or provolone, or even mozzarella, my kids don’t care because those cheeses are all dead to them. It’s American or bust.
Or if we run out of syrup and my son cannot have his three-waffle breakfast that he’s eaten every single day since getting teeth. Having no syrup means having no waffles — and having no waffles means maybe having to try something new, and that’s like asking him to walk on hot coals, you know.
In their ad, Heinz recommends you always have a backup bottle, so your kid will eat his dinner. And they are right. Which is why we buy our ketchup in bulk, at Costco. Because even though I die a little bit each time I make deliciously seasoned grilled chicken wrapped in bacon and my kids slather it in ketchup, at least they are eating it.
So thanks, ketchup and cheese (American only!) for ensuring my kids, and millions of kids like them, get their protein. Parents would be lost without you.
And parents, don’t forget to add ketchup to your grocery list so your child will eat your horrid dog food garbage dinner that you spent hours cooking. Heinz says bottles are buy one, get one free for a limited time!