Shieldmaiden starter kit

(scene opens in tossed parlor)

Me: Gamma, can you help me pick up all the Quirkle tiles? Delta threw them all over?

Gamma: Sure mama. (gets down to scoop them up)

Me: So, I need to make you a new dress this weekend. A friend of daddy and mine is going to be king soon, and we wanted to go to Coronation.

Gamma: (eyes wide) Your friend is king? What does that mean we’re going to do?!

Me: Going to be. Remember we get a new one every six months? So we’re going to go to Coronation to wish him well and be happy for him. But that means we all need new garb, especially you. Do you want a blue dress? A pink dress? Red? Green?

Gamma: (dreamy delight) I want a black one. With skulls.

Me: (starts to laugh) Black with skulls?

Gamma: (still dreamy) I was born to fight. (snaps back) I will do well in the SCA.

(Cue epic sound track, mother tearfully hugs daughter, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

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Mercenary

(scene opens in dim cluttered parlor)

Me: Got your ID? Have a good day. Or try to, anyway. And find about about Cross Country.

Beta: (dismissively) I don’t want to do Cross Country.

Me: (surprised) I thought you were going to run this year?

Beta: Yeah, dad said if I ran this year, I could have a cell phone. But what he’s actually going to do is get Alpha a new one and I’d get his old one. What Alpha ever done for me? He doesn’t even like hanging out with me. (acidly) Why should I help him get a new phone?

Me: (bemused) He’s not getting a new phone, its a second-hand phone.

Beta: (sassy) Yeah, and then mine is third-hand. Again, why should I help him?

Me: So…no phone is better than a third hand phone?

Beta: (nose in the air) Exactly. (sails out, stage right)

I showed them

(scene opens at cluttered dining room table)

Me: (frowning over embroidery hoop)

Gamma: (sitting stupidly close, poking at her tablet) Mom, which is a German horse breed? Shetland, Holsteiner, or Gelderland?

Me: (stops, perplexed) Why on earth are you asking me that?

Gamma: I’m playing Horse Haven and I can earn coins for answering horse questions.

Me: Oh. (thinks) Uh, I’d guess Holsteiner. (turns back to embroidery)

Gamma: Yes! (silent a moment) Mom? What’s the name of Alexander the Great’s horse? Is it…

Me: (doesn’t look up) Bucephalus.

Gamma: (jackpot noise from tablet) You’re right! I got a thousand coins! You’re so smart, mom.

Me: There have been times in my life I’ve been mocked for knowing that.

Schooled

(scene opens in dim dinning room)

Me: Come here, Gamma, let’s brush your hair. You look like a rat’s nest.

Gamma: (hides her head) No!

Me: I have the soft brush (holds up large boar bristle brush). Sit down in front of me.

Gamma: (relents, sits on floor in front of Carrot) Make me beautiful.

Me: You’re already beautiful. You’re just unkempt. (begins to brush)

Gamma: What does unkempt mean?

Me: To keep something is to tend it and make it nice, like “to keep your room clean”. For something to be unkempt it means you’ve let it get messy. (lets her mull that over, continues brushing) Its an old word.

Gamma: Makes sense. You’re kinda old.

Mommy’s Little Helper

(scene opens in cluttered basement, laundry baskets overflowing with clean laundry)

Me: (folding) Boys, is the basket of laundry in front of the washer clean or dirty?

(pause for processing delay, Alpha muttering complex tactical plans into headphone)

Beta: Clean.

Me: Then can you move it off the dirty laundry pile?

Beta: (into headphone) Hang on, Online Friend, Mom’s talking to me. (pause for digital slaughter) Sure mom, just let me finish this.

Me: (casting about to appropriate basket) That’s fine. I… (stops to remember) Oh, right. Some of the clothes in that basket…

Beta: (into headphone) You need to get up to the platform.

Me: (interrupted, resets) There’s clothes in the basket that aren’t….

Alpha: (into headphone) I’m about five steps ahead of you, we’re running out of time.

Me: (starts to sweat) Delta’s clothes are in the basket…

Beta: (into head phones) Hold here a sec. (mashes some buttons) What did you want mom?

Me: (dazed blank stare, struggling to remember temporal placement)

Delta: (calls from the stairs) You need to se’arate Delta clo’s from you clo’s in ‘a bas’et, Beta.

Beta: Ok. Will do.

Me: (poleaxed) Thank you, Delta. I’m glad someone’s got my back.

Accepting Responsibility

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)

Me: (pouring coffee)

Alpha: Mom. I added another chore to my chart.

Me: (doesn’t turn around) Oh yeah?

Alpha: Yeah. From now on, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday I’m reaping the souls of the damned.

Me: (turns around and sees amended chore chart) And what are you going to do with those damned souls?

Alpha: (caught off guard) Uh…roll them into a ball and carry them around with me?

Me: (sips coffee) As long as you put them away properly, I approve.

(time passes, Beta enters from stage right)

Beta: Hey, how come Alpha gets to harvest the souls of the damned and not me?

Me: You didn’t ask?

Alpha: You can have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Beta: Cool! (grabs marker)

Old joke is old

(Scene opens in dim cluttered dinning room)

Me: (typing furiously on laptop)

Beta: (bounces into the room) Mom! I have a joke for you!

Me: (internal sigh) Shoot.

Beta: You have to look at me!

Me: (sags a little, looks up) Shoot.

Beta: (smugly, holds up fingers in a V) I’m a Roman and I’m ordering five beers!

Me: (raises eyebrows, hold up fingers in shape of an L) Fifty bucks? Really?

Beta: (confused) No, see I was…wait…what?

Me: The letter “V” stands for five but the letter “L” stands for fifty.

Beta: (pouts and tries not to smile) No fair, mom.

Me: I might have heard that one before.

Experience vs Youth

(scene opens in cluttered dining room)

Alpha: Is today the day Beta gets back from grandmas?

Me: (wearily) I don’t know. I don’t know what anyone is doing any more.

Alpha: I like the quiet.

Gamma: Me too!

Me: (side eyes her, does not comment) Alpha, you know how you get more silence? Do good in school. Excel at sports. Get a scholarship and go away to college where you have your own dorm room and enjoy all the peace and quiet and never have to talk to anyone.

Alpha: That’s not how it works.

Me: (annoyed) That’s exactly how that works.

Alpha: I’ll have to share a room. That’s why they call it a dorm.

Me: It’s called a dorm because its a dormitory – a place where people sleep. You can get your own room and not have to share. They haven’t been one big large room of some twenty odd people since maybe the 1800s.

Alpha: (hotly) No. I…

Me: (interrupts) I had my own room in college and didn’t share with anyone.

Alpha: (Sullen rebellious stare)

Me: I swear to god, if the next words out of your mouth is “Things have changed a lot since you went to college, mom” I will destroy you.

Alpha: (exits scene)

All knowledge is worth having

(scene opens at shady and tree heavy play ground, Carrot & Beta on park bench looking at phone)

Husband: (approaching) What are you looking at?

Me: Doing some Boy Scout learnin’. Beta, what’s that? (points to tree)

Beta: (pleased) Black walnut.

Me: Is it edible?

Beta: (more pleased) Yes. You harvest them in September and can wack them through a hole in a piece of plywood with a hammer to rip the green fleshy part off.

Me: Did we find any?

Beta: (holds up four dirty whole walnuts) Over there. Under the oak tree.

Gamma: (runs over at top speed) Let me see! Let me see the nuts!

Beta: (hunches protectively over his find, scowls) No. Go away. These are my nuts!

Gamma: Let me look! I just want to feel your nuts!

Me: (with heroic nonchalance) Beta, let Gamma feel your nuts.

Beta: (turns with comically horrified look on his face, dumps the walnuts into Gamma’s lap, runs off stage left)

Gamma: (picks up the walnuts) Beta’s nuts are all rough and dirty.

Me: (maintaining composure) They are.

Gamma: (thinks for a moment) What are the other words for nuts?

Me: It depends on the type of nut, I guess. There are walnuts and peanuts and chestnuts and…

Gamma: (interrupts) No. (brow furrows, looking for the right words, said slowly and carefully) What are the other meanings of the word nut?

Me: Oh. (considers options, throws caution) Nut is the slang term for testicle.

Gamma: (makes same face as Beta, jumps up and says loudly) Beta! I have your nuts and I’m going to bury your nuts where you can’t find them and then you won’t have any nuts! (runs off stage right)

Husband: (sits in spot Gamma vacated) Proud of yourself?

Me: Immensely. (watches Beta outrage flail in the distance) You disapprove?

Husband: (shrugs) You’re the one going to be fielding phone calls from the school.

Ungrateful Colonials

(scene opens in dim dining room)

Me: So we have some options. We can leave in an hour to get a spot over the by river to watch the fireworks. Fireworks don’t start until nine. Or, we can go over to your cousins house and just do s’mores.

Alpha: (tired and sunburnt) Cousins.

Gamma: You can still see fireworks from Cousins’ House.

Alpha: Those are the illegal ones.

Husband: They’re nice, but not as nice as the city ones.

Beta: (less tired more sunburnt) Cousins’. Who needs fireworks when you have your family?

Me: (Pauses. Then to Husband) Did I just get pwned?

Husband: (shrugs)

Me: Okay, cousins it is. I just want everyone to remember when they’re older and complaining I never took them to see the big firework displays, the committee voted against me.

Into the Wild

(scene opens in packed camp Trading Post, girls filling arms with last minute camp swag)

Me: (standing patiently in line) Did you have a fun week? Glad for it to be over?

Gamma: How long until I can be a CIT?

Me: Oh. That’s high school level Girl Scouts. (starts to stroke daughter’s hair) You’ll have to wa… Gamma, did you shower at all this week?

(mom behind in line with similarly grungy daughter starts laughing)

Gamma: (sighs) Yes, mama.

Me: (horrified amusement) Your hair is…crunchy.

Gamma: (eye roll and sass) Mom. It’s camp.

(more laughter from behind)

Me: (concedes point) I was probably flexible with my shower schedule at camp too.

For Whom

(scene opens in cleaned parlor, new grandfather clock against the wall)

Beta: Now where did this clock come from?

Me: (dusting the wood gently) My grandparent’s. You probably never noticed it because Busia had the chimes off.

(clock strikes the half hour, Westminster Chimes ringing clear)

Beta: Ohmigod! Alpha! Come here! The clock got its ring from the clock in Five Nights at Freddy’s!

Me: (irked) No, the music comes a tower clock in England….

Beta: (interrupting hastily) Right, right. But that’s where we know the chimes from.

Me: (dismissive) Learn you some.

(multiple cut-scenes follow, shots through out the day of the chimes at the quarter hours, Alpha and Beta shouting out “Freddie clock!”)

Me: (completely unhinged) I SWEAR BY ALL THE OLD GODS AND THE NEW THAT THE NEXT ONE THAT CALLS THE WESTMINSTER CHIMES A “FREDDIE CLOCK” WILL BE SACRIFICED TO ERII SO HER REIGN MAY LAST FOREVER!