Generosity on the side

(scene opens in messy kitchen)
Beta: Hey! What happened to all the cookies!?
Me: You mean the birthday cookies you made for me yesterday?
Beta: Yeah! There are only three left!
Me: You mean there are only three of MY birthday cookies?
Beta: (failing to pick up on warning tone of voice) You weren’t supposed to eat them all, you were supposed to share and give us more than one of them!
Me: (simmering) Go do your homework.

Working one’s style

(Scene opens in cluttered dining room, angry industrial playing in background)
Me: (drinks coffee, watches wee hand carefully reach over the table edge, slide hair brush over edge and quietly disappears. Looks under table)
Delta: (squatting, pulls individual hairs out of brush, puts on head, pats in place)
Me: (watches for several minutes) This is what we’re doing?
Delta: (looks over, gives brilliant grin, goes back to putting loose hairs on his head)
Me: I’m not sure if I should be impressed you’ve figured out that’s where hair comes from or worried you think you can put it back.

Entry level cosplay: Overly Ambitious

(scene opens over chaotic pre-scouting dinner table)
Alpha: Mom, I figured out my Halloween costume for next year. (hands over a Magic Card)
Me: Oh yeah? (looks at Eldrazi) Uh…I’m seeing a lot of tentacles and gross appendages. I think this might be beyond our security clearance.
Beta: Security clearance? What does that even mean?
Me: It’s a Table Top reference. It means that our skills aren’t up to the task of making it.
Beta: Then why didn’t you just say that?
Me: Because I’m a Geek and I only know how to talk in game references.

Aim for the head of the class

(scene opens with maternal yelling over merit badge work)
Me: Alpha, your answer to “What life in America be like without Amendment # cannot be “We would not have that Amendment.” Treat this like a writing prompt. It’s all the same stuff you’re doing in school.
Alpha: (defiant tears) No we’re not!
Me: Then I guess you’re ahead of your class then.
Alpha: I don’t want to be ahead of my class! Then people think that you’re showing off how smart you are and that you’re all high and mighty and they don’t want to be friends with people who are all high and mighty.
Me: (sudden flash insight into America’s Culture of Dumb) Alpha, if your friends don’t like you because you’re smart, you need new better smarter friends. Don’t ever be proud about being dumb.

Arcane Rune Lore x5

(scene opens with enraged mother auditing a backpack, in tears there will be no school photos for Alpha this year)
Me: (starts to throw away a scrap of paper with drawings on it)
Alpha: No! I haven’t translated it yet!
Me: (closer look, Norse runes) It doesn’t say anything. English translation, anyway. Maybe something Norse, but I don’t speak Norse.
Alpha: How do you know!?
Me: (grabs paper, pen, writes in Norse runes) *because I know a lot of things you will never understand* (throws down pen) Now go brush your teeth.

Upstaging: Maternal Level

(scene opens with Beta bursting in the front door)
Me: Beta, how was first day of Sign Language Club?
Beta: Great! I learned how to say my name!
Me: Oh yeah?
Beta: (signs slowly, a few false starts) *Hi, my name is Beta*
Me: (signs, significantly smoother and well practiced) *Hi Beta, my name is Carrot*
Beta: (huffs, leaves room with nose in the air)

That doesn’t mean what you think it means

(scene opens with Saturday homework extravaganza)
Alpha: (reading merit badge book!) Mom! There are aliens! This amendment gives the government the ability to make aliens US citizens!
Me: Anyone not born in this country is considered “alien”. Mexicans are aliens, Russians are aliens, the Irish are aliens.
Alpha: But we’re all human.
Me: The world is very tribal. Everyone identifies themselves by country and/or religion. That’s why we have war. People are from the “wrong” country or the “wrong” religion.
Alpha: (downcast) Humans are stupid.
Me: (with infinite gentleness) We’re not stupid. We’re incredibly shortsighted.