Though she be but little…

(scene opens in post holiday dining room)

(Husband and Carrot existing)

Gamma: (hotly) You know what mom? I want cranberry sauce. And I want it now!

Me: (sigh) Sure. Go ahead. Why are you so angry?

Gamma: (savagely) Because I like it!

Husband: (faint laughter) God help her first boyfriend.

Me: (resigned) It’ll probably be for the best.

I feel seen

(scene opens in early morning kitchen)

Me: (muttering to self, running around first floor) Keys. Keys. Where are my keys? Wallet?

Husband: (from kitchen) THE BEST OF US!

Me: (finds keys, enters kitchen) What?

Husband: (sitting on stool, zipping up Delta’s jacket) Tell mom what you just said, Delta.

Delta: (bundled up, ready for school) You do the most work in the house.

Me: (surprised, serious) Yes. Thank you for noticing. Let’s get in the car.

Husband: Have a good day at school, Delta!

There Will Be a Test

(scene opens in dim kitchen)

Me: Beta, surprise quiz. If someone told you they supported White Supremacy then said “lol, just kidding”. Are they White Power or not?

Beta: They’re White Power.

Me: Why?

Beta: Because anyone who said that is just trying to cover it up. If they weren’t White Supremacists they wouldn’t joke about being one.

Me: Excellent critical thinking skills there. This goes back to the Two Rogers Rule….

Beta: (interrupts) I don’t know that one.

Me: If Mister Rogers and Steve Rogers wouldn’t do it, neither should you.

Beta: So I should jump out of an airplane without a parachute?

Me: Well, Mister Rogers never jumped out of a plane without a parachute, so I’m thinking you shouldn’t either.

Beta: Fair

Basic Education

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, Carrot helping Beta prep lunch)

Husband: Where’s the Vaseline?

Me: Metal cabinet? What do you need it for?

Husband: (holds up gauze square and Vaseline) Gamma hasn’t learned firestarting.

Me: Yes she has. (thinks) Okay, she might have memory lapse from that long ago. Dog memory.

Husband: No worries. We’re going to go firestarting. (heads out back door)

Me: (calls after) Twisted firestarting?

Husband: (shouts back) Maybe!

Beta: (stares in WTF)

Me: I’m a firestarter? Twisted firestarter? No? (sigh, grabs laptop) Hang on.

Beta: (watches required video in skeptical silence) Yeah. Sure. Okay. I’m gonna go make pizza now….

Me: You break my heart, Beta.

Hand Me Downs

(scene opens up in dim kitchen, soggy Boy Scouts dragging in)

Husband: (sitting on stool, prying off boots) Beta? Did you take the tent to the garage?

Beta: (tiredly) Yeah.

Me: (studies offspring) Beta, I have to get you a new uniform shirt, you’re about to pop buttons off of that, give it to me.

Beta: No mom. It’s fine. (unbuttons uniform anyway, hands it over)

Husband: Take the patches off and burn it. I doubt he’s washed it recently.

Me: I can wash it. (yells out) Gamma! Slither hither!

Husband: No.

(Gamma comes tearing in, Carrot hands over the scout shirt)

Gamma: (puts it on, only slightly oversized, starts flail-dancing)

Husband: Wow. That almost fits.

Gamma: (singing) We’re all growing up and I don’t like it. (runs from the room)

Husband: What the…

Me: That’s been my weekend. I’ll wash the shirt.

Soundtrack of our lives

(scene opens in pandemic parlor, music server up way too loud)

Jethro Tull: (blasting) War Child dance the days, and dance the nights away.

Me: (at embroidery frame, taking slow careful stitches)

Gamma: (comes running in, begins to dance, flailing in a mad frenzy of arms and legs)

Me: (pauses, watches over top of reading glasses)

Gamma: (sees her mother watching, flees the room)

Me: (to no one) Should have seen that coming.

(scene fades to black, music roars to silence)

Future Engineer

(scene opens in pandemic homeschool)

Beta: Mom, check my eyes? The question says “look at the slide on page eleven and describe a negative feed back loop”. But the slide that talks about negative feed backs is on page ten.

Me: And?

Beta: What should I do?

Me: Ignore page number and answer the question. The question is about negative feedback loop. Do you see the slide that talks about feedback?

Beta: Yes.

Me: Then talk about negative feedback.

Beta: (thinks a moment) I’m going to tell the teacher its on the wrong page.

Me: (sigh) Okay. But also answer the question about the negative feedback loop and don’t wait for her to say “Okay, look on page ten for the information”.

You talking to me?

(scene opens in dim cluttered kitchen)

Me: Delta, you didn’t wash dishes the other day. (puts bowl on the stack)

Beta: (stops, holding bagel) Delta?

Me: What?

Beta: You said Delta. He’s not old enough to do dishes yet.

Me: (looks around empty kitchen) Was I looking at you? I don’t care if I called you “Your majesty, Queen Elizabeth”, you know I’m talking to you. So. Your majesty. You didn’t do dishes yesterday. Get on that.

Beta: Right. Sorry. On it.

Distance Learning: K Edition

(scene opens at cluttered table)

Me: (bent over stale coffee gritting teeth) Again, Delta. Makes the “N” sound? List or Note?

Delta: (wailing) But I don’t know!

Me: Delta. What starts with the letter “N”? List or Note?

Delta: I don’t know!

Me: (surrenders, picks up toddler, tucks under arm, heads for stairs) Well, I guess you’re too tired to do your work. Nap time.

Delta: NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

Me: (stops) What letter does “No” start with?

Delta: THE LETTER N!

Me: (drops child) Is it the same sound as List or Note?

Delta: NOTE!

Me: (points to laptop) Go over there and push the right button so we can finish this level and move to the next one.

Drinking Our Feelings

(scene opens in cold rainy kitchen, kids stagger in)

Me: (ladling out into mugs) Here, the heavy cream was about to go bad, so I made homemade hot chocolate.

Gamma: (sips) Yeah….no. There’s too much chocolate.

Beta: (sips) Meh. Too much cinnamon.

Me: There is literally a dusting in there. Barely enough to scent it. You’re nuts.

Beta: (shrugs, places it on the counter, leaves)

Me: (hands Alpha a mug)

Alpha: (sullen) No. (leaves)

(scene fades to black with Carrot holding three mugs of heavy cream hot chocolate)

So Not Prepared

(scene opens in mini-van in the rain)

Delta: Mommy? Are you going to tell me a secret?

Me: What? (laughs in mom) No. I don’t have any secrets.

Delta: (incredulous) You’re not going to tell me secrets about love?

Me: What?! (scrambles) Uh…you can’t make people love you.

Delta: (dismissively) I already knew that. I want a different secret.

Me: (panicky) I don’t know how to explain this to a five year old. Uh…well…someone’s love won’t complete you. You have to be a whole person all by yourself.

Delta: That’s a good secret.

(ten minutes drive in silence, split screen between confused Carrot and contemplative Delta)

(pulls up in front of school, Carrot hops out to unbuckle Delta)

Dela: People forget the secrets their family tells them. I sometimes forget.

Me: (uneasy) It’s okay to forget sometimes.

Teacher: (walks up with digital thermometer for daily check) Looks like you’re good to go, buddy! Ready for a new day of kindergarden?

Delta: No. (walks slowly inside)

Me: (drives home in WTF)

Am Disappoint

(scene opens up in kitchen)

Me: (tiredly making lunch and drinking cold coffee)

Delta: Mommy, can I ask you some questions? (sits on stool)

Me: Sure honey, what’s wrong?

Delta: How many more days until life gets easy?

Me: (extreme feelz) I wish I could tell you.