As a mom, I look forward to taking my kids out to dinner. Wait, did I just say that? Please know it has taken me and my husband YEARS to do this without leaving a restaurant early, apologizing profusely for the pile of crumbs left on the floor, and/or paying for the check while one of us deals with two restless kids in the parking lot. (We’ve been doing a lot of take-out and home dinners through the years to avoid these awkward moments.) So, fast forward to 2011. My daughter Sarah is 7 (going on 17). I treated Sarah and a few of her friends for an impromptu dinner the other night at a low-key diner. Let me repeat that this was impromptu, meaning my brain didn’t have enough time to register exactly what it was that I had agreed to do. (Something that happens every time I go shopping with my kids, which is another story.) The dinner started our innocent enough. Four little girls were drawing quietly and politely swapping stories about their teachers, recess and pop songs, etc. Let’s jump to the part where we ordered beverages. We don’t allow soda in our house. (Only mommy’s and daddy’s emergency supply of Diet Coke for those extra sleepless nights.) This was a special back-to school treat, so I allowed it. They have this thing called Blue Blast at this particular chain, which is a syrupy mixture of cotton candy flavoring and lime soda. Blue Blast is the equivalent of liquid speed for beings under 4 feet tall. They each had a plastic cup filled with the stuff. Big blue mistake. It hit their brain 30 seconds after it reached their lips. They were overstimulated on the stuff, not listening, talking loudly, jumping in their seats, giggling, not finishing their meals and causing us to get dirty looks. I hinted to the waitress that we were ready for the check before their blue mustaches even had a chance to dry. I had them buckled in their car seats and in their driveways within one and a half KidzBop songs. As soon as we got home, my daughter was running around the house with our Golden Retriever chasing him as he chased his tail. My husband looked at me and says, “What in the heck did you do with our daughter?” I had never seen her so hyped up. I had to give her two cups of water and a shower and it was another 45 minutes before she finally crashed. She passed out as soon as her head hit the pillow. For the love of blue food coloring and coca cola, I will never let my kid have this stuff again!

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