My weird, yet very imaginative kids have had a lot of down time this summer. They have read through every book, watched every movie, played every card game, exhausted every toy. We are almost seven weeks into summer break and they have now resorted to developing elaborate new businesses.
Kid B did it first. She told us to check our emails repeatedly, which contained print ads for her new restaurant. Then she sent us promos with “unscripted” video reviews from Kid D and Kid E (“Come to the new… What is it called again? Oh yeah, come eat at… wait, what is the name? I can’t say it right. Well, the food is yummy and you should go there!”). Then she bugged us to no end about it. So we finally gave in and walked into the dining room/ patronized her establishment. She presented us with detailed, realistic menus. We were encouraged to order meals, which she actually prepared for us (Jackpot!). It was mostly breakfast food and it was good. Then she presented our table with a bill.
Normally I would just play along and give her fake money (invisible, Monopoly, counterfeit… anything we had lying around). But for whatever reason I was in a really good mood (probably because I didn’t have to make anybody breakfast), and I could appreciate all of the effort she put into making the menus, meals and promotions. So I gave her real money to pay the bill, plus tip. Two brand-new twenty dollar bills fresh out of the ATM, to be exact.
Kid B played it so cool. She did not bat an eye when she saw that she was getting legitimate United States greenbacks for playing a game. She just continues to do her waitress-y things and asked if we would like any change (as a family we have frequented a restaurant or two, so the kids know the routine), took her money and ran.
What struck me as funny (but in hindsight I really should have predicted) was how quickly many more new businesses started popping up all around our house. Kid C started an art studio where a customer could commission a drawing or painting. Her artwork was spectacular! Not as original, but just as hardworking and eager, Kid D opened a business called “Pictures Without Picture Frames.” He did not wait to be hired, but drew on spec his renditions of whatever you were doing when he happened to decide he wanted to draw you. Even Kid E got in on the action with a toy store. He sold toys that he didn’t happen to be playing with at the moment (“Um, no, actually that isn’t for sale. I am playing with that. And that one too. No, THAT one is my favorite, so sorry but you can’t buy it either.”). Funny enough, I got bills from each and every one of them too.
So of course I went back to the ATM and paid every single one of them with real money.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…