My Three Tunes and Why Kids Love Ketchup

Today I learned:

1. My Three Tunes:  It’s no wonder my kids rarely ask me to sing to them. Tonight I realized I sing all nursery rhymes using one of only three tunes.

How did this come to my attention? At bed time tonight my four year old corrected me when my version of Yankee Doodle sounded a bit too much like the Itsy Bitsy Spider.

If I was ever asked to sing a national anthem prior to a sporting event I would, rather unfortunately, be this guy…

 2. Why Kids Love Ketchup: While shopping at Costco I decided to buy a 5L tin of Heinz Ketchup. It’s the size you see at a picnic for about 300 people. I suspect it will last us a few weeks.

Conceptually the purchase made perfect sense – we go through Heinz Ketchup at a pace rivalled only by milk – but admittedly it presents some logistical challenges in terms of storage. At the end of the day though, it will be eaten. Our kids put it on everything. While I will admit to some hyperbole on this blog, this is not one of those times. They smother noodles in it, douse fish with it and even dip fruit in it.

As the kids started in on our massive new tin tonight it occurred to me I have always just accepted their Ketchup love-in as “one of those things.” I had never questioned their behaviour.

I had never asked myself, why do they love Ketchup so much?

Interestingly, it is not so much about the taste as it is about control. I found a great piece by Malcolm Gladwell from a few years back in The New Yorker. From the article:

“If you are four—and I have a four-year-old—he doesn’t get to choose what he eats for dinner, in most cases…but the one thing he can control is ketchup.  It’s the one part of the food experience that he can customize and personalize.” 

It makes sense. We offer very few choices at meal time, partly as a coping mechanism to maintain some semblance of sanity at meal-time when faced with two kids that possess desires which flip on and off as fast as a light switch. But regardless of what we are serving we always allow Ketchup in pretty much whatever quantity they would like.


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