The Restaurant

If you visit our house on any given Saturday you will find our driveway full of cars and The Office full of young men. It is D&D day or “Geek Squad” day as my dad calls it. One of the Geek Squad is my younger brother-in-law who spends non- interesting moments of the game out of The Office hanging out with my kids. Usually they ask him to play with them or watch as they play Mario Sunshine for the zillionth time (they quit playing through and use it as another way of playing house–it is kind of hard to explain but Mario is somehow a big brother and so on and so forth. Anyway, none of that is the point. )

Last week he was hanging with the kids while they were playing their favorite game “restaurant”. He reminded them of how they used to play restaurant–I had forgotten that restaurant had always been a favorite since I was seldom involved–I was too busy trying to keep up with our crazy household. He was right though. It has been a favorite game since Rachel was old enough to have a kitchen set.

When we moved to this house (7 years ago) she was about 3 and had a kitchen set with very few foods. She and her one year old sister would use whatever was the right color as a food. Now, keep in mind that these kids had tons of food allergies and had a very limited menu that they knew about. They were known to enforce that menu on all their restaurant guests. Usually the visitor (since they made all visitors attend their restaurant) would request random foods which the kids would insist they didn’t have. In the end the only thing anyone could order was oatmeal. The visitor would then insist that the restaurant server and cook go shopping for more foods and they would go off to the other room to find more foods only to return and find that oatmeal was the only thing the chef knew how to make.

Nowadays they still play restaurant nearly everyday. Rachel’s restaurant, now christened “The Golden Streak” has a much bigger menu which grows each time she learns to make another food. It is clean (since I require she clean before she cook), there is a hand written menu and a variety of noodle and sandwich based meals. Yesterday she added salad to the menu so today I ordered take-out to be picked up at 12:30. We’ll see if she gets it right.

Her sister is often the patron, her brother often the server. Esther is the sort of customer where you learn patience and that the customer is always right. She also uses counterfeit gift cards instead of money. She may well be what drives Rachel out of the restaurant business.

They also have a music store (run by Esther–no wonder all the cd’s have gone missing), a post office (run by Rachel–that is where my calculator and scale went off to), and some other random stores that they all seem to run at varying times. Ah, my little entrepreneurs. Usually they do use real money for all their back ad forth and I know Rachel weighs and figures out postage for each package she mails. (Her business would be more effective if she didn’t make the things she mailed.:))
It is funny because both their daddy and I are not good at business. I am more likely not to charge at all than to ask for money for my work (I only charge because my husband insists on it.:)) My husband gets paid much less for the work he does because he hates asking for raises. I am fairly good at organizing yard sales though my prices tend to be cheap–I just want rid of stuff.:) The kids had a taste of this this summer and I think it is what fueled their desire for shops and sales. We’ll see if it continues. I am however very happy with the amount of learning that is occurring during this restaurant phase–they know that restaurants get shut down if they don’t meet certain standards and I have threatened as much. It also helps Rachel with her writing sand spelling (she writes the menu fresh each day), with her patience and organization skills–she is learning how to prepare foods on demand and get foods so they are all hot at the same time. Plus, since I am not involved in the process other than to give advice and occasionally help out when the restaurant gets swamped she is more willing to figure things out herself.

This was ready at 12:25 when I stopped in to check on them. She came up with the container by herself.:) Issac made the coffee.