Basic Math

(scene opens in afternoon dining room, argument in progress)

Me: (exasperated) You’re racking up a list of missing assignments! Where are they? Are you eating them?!
Alpha: (sullen, stomps out of the room, comes back with piles of papers) Here they are!
Me: (shocked) You had them this whole time? Why didn’t you turn them in?!
Alpha: (darkly) I couldn’t figure out these problems. (points to various problems on different pages)
Me: (trouble processing) So…you couldn’t figure out a single problem out of twelve and so you didn’t turn it in?
Alpha: (defensive) Yeah.
Me: (voice from the grave) So, instead of getting five 80% homework assignments turned in, you opted for five zeros.

(long pause)

Alpha: Yeah. I’m doing them all right now, aren’t I?
Me: (resigned) Honestly, I don’t care if you do them or not, but you’re turning in all these worksheets in tomorrow and you’ll be lucky to get 30% on them for being late. But better than zeros. Goddamnit, Alpha, some is better than none when talking about grades and money.

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I Feel Your Pain

(scene opens in oddly clean kitchen)

Me: (wearily stirring dinner)
Gamma: (perpetual whine) Moooooom! I’m so bored! What day is it?
Me: (deep sigh) Thursday. Same day as when I told you an hour ago.
Gamma: (whining intensifies) Thursday?! How much longer is Spring Break?!
Me: Friday, Saturday, Sunday. You have three days left. You go back on Monday.
Gamma: Three days?! (collapses to floor dramatically) I’ll never make it, I’m so bored. I wish I could go back to school today.
Me: Me too, honey. Me too.

Follow Up

(scene opens in foyar)

Me: (handing Alpha his scarf) Try to have a good day at school. Remember, if anyone asks you if you have any wishes today, go for something mundane like “can fly” or “turn invisible”.
Alpha: That’s boring.
Me: I know. But it won’t freak your teachers out. Maybe say “I want to be the Silver Surfer and fly through space” or “I want a TARDIS so I can travel time and space.”
Alpha: (deep sigh) I don’t want to have to spend my life saving the world.
Me: It’d be worth having a TARDIS. Anything more esoteric and your teachers aren’t going to understand.
Alpha: No one understands me.
Me: I know honey. Being weird is hard.

Threat Assessment Level

(scene opens in kitchen, ringing phone)

Me: Please don’t be Alpha’s school. Please don’t be Alpha’s School.

(close up on caller ID, Alpha’s school)

Me: (resigned) Hello?
Case Worker: (prim judgemental voice) Hello, it’s Alpha’s case worker. His teacher sent him to me for inappropriateness. I have him on speaker phone. He was supposed write down his three wishes as part of a class project. Go ahead and read them, Alpha.
Alpha: Hi mom.
Me: (worried) Go ahead, Alpha.
Alpha: My three wishes: Control over all sentient life on the planet, Fallout 4, to be able to control Death.
Me: (starts laughing) Well, I understand what you were going for in context, but perhaps you didn’t explain yourself well enough for the teacher. You need to work on your literary expression.
Alpha: I tried to. I tried to explain that there’s so much bad in the world that wouldn’t it be good to be able to summon Death and just have the bad guys poof into ash?
Me: Probably, but until you can use more expressive language in explaining your thoughts and ideas, you’re going to get in trouble for them.
Case Worker: (much different tone) Well, okay Ms. Carrot, I just thought you should know what’s going on in class and I get what Alpha’s trying to say. Just so many crazy things going on in the world right now, I just thought you should be kept informed. I’ll send him back to class.
Me: Thank you.
Alpha: Bye mom!
Me: Behave yourself.

You don’t want my solution

(scene opens in dim basement, outraged howling)

Me: (stepping over laundry baskets) What’s going on?
Beta: (dramatic) I don’t want to watch this!
Me: (looks to Gamma’s smug grin to Mother Goose Rhymes singing from TV) You’re not supposed to be watching, you’re supposed to be folding laundry.
Beta: (drama intensifies) That’s it, I’m going upstairs to wait. (stands up)
Me: Sit back down. Here, I’ll make it easier for you. (takes arm chair, turns back to tv, puts unfolded laundry in front of it) Here. Sit. No longer watching tv shows you can’t stand, you can focus on your single basket of laundry that has taken the last half hour for you not to fold. If you were truly motivated, you’d have it done before the second verse of Mary Had a Little Lamb.
Beta: (throws self into chair, goes limp, sobs pathetically, picks up t-shirt with two limp fingers, holds to face to mask suffering)

Being Helpy

(scene opens at tossed dining room)

Me: (absently eating a bowl of diced chicken while reading)
Delta: Mommy, I want. (pulls on bowl)
Me: Okay. (holds bowl down for him to take a piece)
Delta: No mommy. I want. (pulls bowl)
Me: (considers last five pieces) Okay, you can have it.
Delta: Thank you. (wanders off)

(Off screen, the sound of the garbage lid)

Me: Delta! Did you just throw away my lunch?!
Delta: (proudly) I help! (puts dirty bowl back in the cabinet)

Don’t Cross the Streams

(scene opens in a narrow mud room)

Me: Alpha, I wanted to show you what I got and I hope I don’t embarrass you too much wearing it.
Alpha: (looks up from tying shoes to see mother in a Starfleet Letterman hoodie) Nice.
Me: Am I cool?
Alpha: Nerdy cool.
Gamma: What does that say?! (points to patch)
Me: Starfleet Academy. Ex Astris, Scientia. “From the stars, knowledge”.
Gamma: Can I go! I want to go too! I want to go to the Starfleet!
Me: (hugs her) I’m sorry sweetie, it doesn’t exist. Yet.
Gamma: (outraged look of betrayal) Why not!
Me: We haven’t met the Vulcans or developed the Warp Drive yet.
Gamma: What’s Warp Drive?
Me: A way to travel through space in less time.
Gamma: Time and space? Like Dr. Who? Or is that Dr. Strange?
Me: No. Starfleet travels through space, Dr. Who travels through time and space, and Dr. Strange is just magic.

Taken on faith

(scene opens up in tossed dining room, everyone on laptops)

Beta: (sounds of frustration) That doesn’t make sense!
Me: (getting up from chair) What’s the problem?
Beta: I’m doing powers and it keeps telling me I’m wrong! Six to the power of zero! It isn’t six or zero, so what is it?!? Khan Academy is broken!
Me: (stares at screen, recalls distant memory, types, computer makes victory noise)
Beta: (outraged) A one?!? How is six to the zero power a one?!
Me: I don’t remember why it is, it just is. (sits back down)
Alpha: Math is stupid.
Me: Math is the Universal Language, but sometimes language doesn’t make sense.

Empathetic

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, Alpha struggling with the back door)

Me: (confused, looks over his shoulder) Oh, thanks for bringing in the garbage cans. Your sister was supposed to do that.
Alpha: (stands in doorway, exhausted) I don’t think I want to do my service hours tonight for Scouts.
Me: Are you getting sick?
Alpha: No. (pause) We watched a movie about Anne Frank and it showed what happened to her after she got sent to the camps.
Me: (compassionate smothering mom hug) People are evil. Our great goal in life is to not be evil. And to stop other people’s evil.
Delta: (awkward toddler run, hands Alpha a lollipop)
Alpha: (takes lolly, rubs Delta’s head)

Mom Joke

(scene opens in kitchen, packed with family doing a clean)

Alpha: (bags garbage)
Beta: (bags recycling)
Me: (wiping chairs)
Husband: (supervising)
Beta: Should I take this recycling out?
Me: Yes. Take it around town. Take it to a good movie. Maybe a nice dinner.
Beta: Wut?
Husband: I love you so much right now.

The Music Speaks to Them

(scene opens in chaotic mudroom)

Me: Ohmigod, its going to be 50 today (starts stripping Gamma of arctic layers)
Alpha: Maaaam!
Me: (sighs) What?
Alpha: Beta turned the song into a gothic rock song!
Me: What? What song?
Beta: No I didn’t!
Alpha: He did!
Me: (exasperated) Beta, what song?
Beta: (summoning a voice from the gravel pit) Mary had a little Lamb! She cooked it until it was no more!
Me: Oh, that’s not gothic rock. Might be a little more Viking Death Metal. And that’s okay.
Alpha: (disappointed)
Beta: (preens)

O+

(scene opens in early morning kitchen, everyone in pjs)

Husband: Did you have fun on your trip yesterday?
Me: (fumbles tiredly with coffee cup) Oh yeah. We had a blast. Everyone was disappointed we weren’t spending the night, but I feel like I passed a test with all these road trips I’m suddenly being invited along on.
Husband: (sips tea) Oh yeah?
Me: Maybe I’m easy to travel with? I don’t have any feeding restrictions. I can sleep anywhere. I have no conversational filters and have limited hot button issues. I’m always up for an interesting side trip. I can tolerate a wide range of music.
Husband: (mildly) You are good at putting up with being annoyed.
Me: (ignoring implications) Oh, that reminds me. Pregnant Friend told me I’m #2 on her speed dial for when she needs back up on going into labor. Apparently husband faints at the sight of blood and not am I the only one she knows who’s done it a few times, but she’s betting I’m perfectly fine with casual random nudity.
Husband: You’re like the Universal Donor of Friendship.