Following a call from the Kindergarten class mom, I'm adding juice boxes to the grocery list when Lars appears beside me. "We need applesauce and new goldfish. I don't like the pretzel ones and neither does my little guy."
"Your little guy?"
"The one what lives in my stomach, who doesn't like pretzels."
Ahhh, the little stomach guy! I'm amused and a little bit mortified about that guy. He was a spontaneous creation many years ago, when Ross first became aware of dessert but hadn't yet grasped the "after dinner" part. Aware that we had ice cream waiting in the freezer, Ross asked for some in the middle of a meal. When we said he could have dessert after he finished more of his dinner, tribal instinct forced him to cry out, "But I need to save room for dessert!" All parents are programmed to reply that there is always room for dessert, a statement which is invariably countered with a request for proof. In a burst of inspiration, I told Ross that there's always room because there's a special place for dessert, behind a little door at the top of the stomach. When he asked how the door got opened, I told him he had to eat his dinner to make a pile of food for the little man in his stomach to climb up so he could reach and open the dessert door. Much to my surprise, Ross accepted this explanation. He ate his dinner, then enjoyed his dessert and life went on with dessert firmly in its' after dinner position. A couple of years later, when Lars was first interested in a mid-meal dessert, I was amused to hear Ross solemnly explain about the dessert door. Since then, the dessert door and the little guy who manages it have quietly been keeping all our stomachs in order. Once, when we thought to have a "dessert first" night, Ross laid down on the floor...so his little guy could walk over to the door without the pile of food. Lars' little guy doesn't like every food (see his comment on pretzels, above) - convenient for Lars, who is pickier than the rest of us. I doubt either of the kids believes in Santa Claus, but boy are they down for the Dessert Door Man.