Mysteries of the Universe

(scene opens in cluttered dining room)

Me: (to husband) I found one of Gamma’s stories in my Google Docs. I don’t know if it got emailed to me or what.

Husband: Yeah?

Me: It was amazingly complicated. There’s a deep and wide ranging mind in that child. Alarmingly and creatively intelligent.

Husband: I know. I’ve read some of her stuff.

Me: (looks out window, Gamma running around in circles talking loudly to herself and swinging a scooter by the handle) Y’know how some of our other friends have really smart and clever and deep children?

Husband: (warily) Yeah?

Me: How come they’re all self-possessed well spoken polite little mini-adults and ours is swathed in chaos?

Husband: Swaddled.

Me: Swathed. Swaddled. Difference?

Husband: Swaddled is comforting.

Me: (thinks) Fair.

Well, you asked.

(scene opens in mini-van)

Beta: I think Dad jokes aren’t funny. I bet mom jokes are funny. Mom, tell us a joke.

Me: (wearily) I’m well rested.

Husband: (uproariously laughter behind the wheel)

Me: (takes cue) My children are well behaved.

Husband: (increased laughing) Oh my god! That’s hilarious! I’m laughing so hard I’m crying!

Me: I never have to yell at them to do homework.

Husband: (booming fake stage laughter) It’s too much! Stop! I’m going to have to pull over if you keep going!

Me: My house is clean.

Husband: (pulls over to side of the road, puts head down on steering wheel, hysterical fake laughter)

(cut scene to four kids and a dog staring flatly at the front seat)

Beta: I’m sorry I said anything.

Husband: (to Carrot) Dear, that was wonderful. You should do stand-up.

Time Capsule

Me: (frazzled in the door of Gamma’s room) Okay, for the last time, pick up all. the. books and put them on. the. shelf. There are twelves books on the floor and it has taken you (checks watch) five hours to avoid picking them up.

Gamma: But it’s boring.

Me: You know what makes it less boring> Putting all the books on the shelf in five minutes or less.

(Beta walks up behind, taps Carrot on shoulder, hands her a bag of scout badges)

Me: (stares dumbfounded) I oughta pinch you. These are Webelo badges.

Beta: Yeah? So?

Me: It means they’ve been sitting in a drawer or under your bed since fifth grade! That’s how long its been since you cleaned where ever you found these!

Beta: Yeah, well, I’m about half way done on the drawers.

Me: (hyperventilating)

Time is Meaningless

(scene opens in cluttered dinning room)

Me: (resigned) Okay, smalls, the school has encouraged twenty minutes a day on each of your two learning programs to make sure you’re all caught up for the fall. I don’t want any arguing. You can play video games after your work. Capisce?

Gamma/Delta: (in cheery chorus) Yes mom!

Gamma: Can we have snacks?

Me: Yes, as long as you work.

Gamma/Delta: (wailing) WE’VE BEEN WORKING FOREVER WHY AREN’T WE DONE!

Me: Its twenty minutes of work, not twenty minutes staring and the screen. You’ve done one question! Finish the rest of the questions and you’ll be done!

Gamma/Delta: (moar wailing) THE CLOCK SAYS WE’VE BEEN HERE FOR THIRTY MINUTES WHY WON’T YOU LET US PLAY VIDEO GAMES!?

Me: (trying not to cry) You’ve only done two questions! You have to do all the questions in the practice session!

(dramatic music, fade to black, cut to White Girl Wine Commercial)

Leveling Up

(scene opens in trashed pandemic parlor, sound of ice cream truck in the background)

Gamma: (shouting, waving a fist full of dollars) Ice cream man! Mom! Please!

Delta: (quick to join in) Mom! Ice cream man!

Me: (giving up the protracted battle) Fine. Go. Don’t run into the street.

(smalls race out of the house. Carrot sits at the table, head in hands. Five minutes of pure silence passes.)

Gamma: (burst through door) Mom! I have ice cream!

Delta: (runs to table) Gamma bought me ice cream!

Gamma: (proud and wistful) I have finally bought ice cream from the ice cream man.

Delta: (matter-of-factly) Gamma feels very grown up right now.

Me: (sighs) I can tell.

0/10 Not Recommend

(scene opens in detritus laden dinning room, Carrot sorting through a school year’s worth of papers)

Me: Gamma? Can you come here and fill out your memory book for the school year?

Gamma: (slinks to the table, picks up pen) No field trips. No cafeteria. No classrooms. No playground. Guess I’m done.

Me: Wait! Get back here! (dumps twenty half used notebooks in recycling) What’s on the next page?

Gamma: (looks at choices) Goals for next year.

(camera close up on scribble reading “See people”)

Gamma: Am I done?

Me: Go ahead. (sighs, picks up Delta’s book as Gamma flees stage left) Delta? What was your favorite game?

Delta: Nothing.

Me: On the playground?

Delta: Nothing

Me: Favorite story?

Delta: Nothing.

Me: Favorite color? Favorite teacher? Names of your friends?

Delta: Black. None. I don’t have any.

Me: Damn, kid. Do you like anything?

Delta: I like XBox.

Me: (writes that down) The parenting books did not have a chapter on this.

….and call him George

Beta: Hey mom? What’s Epsilon playing with outside?

Me: (distracted) I don’t know.

(Beta leaves, comes back)

Me: Oh. Epsilon 3, Bun-buns 0

Beta: Except for that one, he’s not hurting them. And that one I think was an accident. He’s just chilling with them. Like he doesn’t know what to do with it when he catches it.

Me: Well, he’s a herd dog. Maybe he’s trying to herd the bun-buns.

Beta: Maybe we should get him a rabbit stuffed animal?

Me: He likes to chew on things, I don’t want associating bun-buns with eviscerating stuffies.

Ouch

(scene opens in mini van, pulling away from kindergarten pick up line)

Delta: Is today Mother’s Day?

Me: No, yesterday was Mother’s Day.

Delta: Mother’s Day is only one day?

Me: Yes. Only one day.

Delta. Only one day a year?

Me: Yes. Mother’s Day is only one day a year.

Delta: So only one day a year you have a life?

Me: (quiet, merges into traffic) Yes. Thanks for pointing that out, Delta.

Delta. (happily) You’re welcome, mommy!

Funny Because True

(scene opens in rainy dining room)

Beta: (shuffles up groggy) Did you get your other cards?

Me: (sips coffee) Yes.

Beta: (hands over pink envelope) I went to the store, looked at cards for ten seconds and decided this was the one.

Me: Oh boy.

Husband: (from kitchen) Thanks for getting me in trouble, Beta!

Me: He’s not wrong!

Odds are Good

(scene opens in shoe warehouse)

Register Lady: (checking pastel and white athletic shoes) I hope these stay nice and white for you.

Me: They’re not for me. They’re her’s. (tilts head in Gamma’s direction)

RL: (confused look) And how old are you, pretty girl?

Gamma: (proudly) Ten.

RL: (shocked) She’s ten years old and wearing a lady’s seven?!

Me: (sighs) Husband is 6’4″. None of them take after me.

RL: (moar shocked) She’s going to be tall.

Me: I’m hoping for Super Model. Help pay for college.

Checking In

(scene opens in basement)

Me: (quietly walking up behind Bigs, checking laptop screens for shenanigans) Are you both in class?

Both: (doesn’t move, wearing headphones) Yeah.

(shot Beta’s screen tiled with screens bearing kids’ names)

Beta: I’m in music class, the teacher is about to start

Me: (to Alpha) What about you?

(Alpha’s screen a single shot of an empty room)

Alpha: I’m watching my favorite YouTube. “Drying Paint”

Me: (doubles up laughing)

Beta: (to Alpha) Wow. You made her laugh.

Alpha: I didn’t just make her laugh. I got the wheeze out of her.

Insight

(scene opens in cluttered basement, Supernatural on the tv)

Me: (walks through carrying coffee mug, stops)

TV: (Sam and Dean pick themselves up post-boss conflict)

Me: Which your favorite character? Sam or Dean?

Beta: (supposedly folding laundry) The car.

Me: (sips coffee approvingly) Good choice.

TV: (Dean puts two rounds into final boss)

Me: My favorite is Dean.

Beta: (heavy) Of course it is.

Me: What’d you say?

Beta: Nothing! Nothing. Nice weather we’re having.