Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mystery Restaurant

Not wanting to cook for the little ones on such a brutally and prematurely hot and humid day, I announce that we were going to a “Mystery Restaurant.” The response this elicits from my children, ages four and eight, is similar to the response you’ll see from me when the officials from the Powerball Lottery hand me that giant cardboard check with all those zeros.

Anyway, Mystery Restaurant is a rare event. Mystery Restaurant with said restaurant being Pizza Hut is Halley’s Comet-rare. In other words, this is the first time I’ve had both the girls there in their short lives.

It may never happen again.

Patch (the four-year-old) is instantly overwhelmed. Won’t stop hugging me, squeezing me, climbing all over me in excited anticipation. In all fairness to her, she is a Pizza Connoisseur. And Little One (eight) regularly gets coupons to Pizza Hut as part of her monthly reading rewards from school. So we get a booth and scan the menus.

1. After the waiter leaves with our orders, Patch whisper-yells, “He’s weird!”

2. Despite being warned not to play with the lid on her cup, Patch does and immediately spills red fruit punch down her dress.

3. Returning from the bathroom, Patch’s arm and half her dress are wet. I never do get a firm answer to my question, “Did you fall into the toilet?”

4. In a low voice I have to threaten my four-year-old not to let the waiter know she was “sad because the food wasn’t there” when she got back.

5. Each of her pizza sstuffers has to be dissected to remove all trace of pepperoni.

6. An amazing amount of grease, sauce, and crumbs coats her fingers, palms, wrists, lower dress, lips, mouth, chin, cheeks, and one eyelid. This necessitates a second trip to the bathroom.

Little One, for her part, does a much better job. Twice her younger sister’s age, I don’t have to worry about her making a mess. No, with her the damage is much more subtle, and much more intense. A whole ’nother level, one I’m still trying to get used to.

Case in point: She makes a very funny popping noise with her mouth; the visual of it continues to crack me up. After doing it while awaiting our food, I make the passing remark, “Oh, we need to video that before you get too old to do it.” Oh no. Now she latches on to the idea that she MUST record it right now, on MY cell phone. She’s played around with my phone before, messing with the settings so much that I banned her from touching it. Especially since I was unable to figure out how to undue her changes. So I put my foot down, and now have to deal with a pouting pre-adolescent for a half-hour.

Then, on the way out, she spots one of those stuffed animal vending machines. Put in $3 and you keep moving that claw thing around until it scoops up an adorable cutsie wootsie kitty or puppy. Of which they each have a couple dozen at home. Now the guilt trip really kicks in and she’s good at it. But I’m still better, and I hustle them both in the car before Little One can get Patch emotionally invested in a potential stuffed animal.

So – that’s my Mystery Restaurant experience.

Let’s see … Halley’s Comet … doesn’t that come by every 76 years or so? 1910 … 1986 … hmmm … 2062, next time it’ll be by.

Might be the next time I take them out to Pizza Hut.

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