That’ll learn ya

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)

Delta: (pointing to top of cabinet at a bucket of Easter candy)
Me: No, that’s not yours. That’s Alpha’s.
Delta: (bird shriek)
Me: Too much candy will make you sick. No. Not yours.
Delta: (shriek intensifies)
Me: You’re lucky Alpha doesn’t like candy very much. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

(time passes,scene changes to 23 month old in a high chair)

Me: Was it yummy?
Delta: (picks a masticated pile of what once might have been yellow peeps)
Me: Ready for nap time?
Delta: (looks up, face clearly saying “I have learned the true meaning of regret. Put me to bed.”)

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Too through

(scene opens in unexpectedly clean kitchen)

Alpha: (bent over sink, head under running water)
Me: …and I can tell when you don’t use shampoo when showering because it doesn’t look clean and smells greasy.
Alpha: What does greasy smell like? Fried chicken?
Me: No, not exactly. It smells like…
Beta: (shrieking from dining room) BEE! A BEE! (runs into kitchen) MOM! A BEE!
Me: (throws towel on Alpha, goes to dining room, sees exceptionally large paper wasp on the chandelier) It’s okay, guys. Everyone stay cool and get me a towel.
Alpha: (hands over damp hand towel from trying his hair)
Me: (twirls it, eyeing wasp on chandelier. Rethinking plan, steps up onto dining room table and crushes wasp into towel)
Beta: Yay mom! You got the bee!
Alpha: Way to go mom!
Gamma: You’re so brave.
Me: Yeah I was kinda scared there. (crushes towel tighter to kill wasp, drops it on kitchen floor after gasping in pain, runs to sink, puts hand under cold water) Quick! Who has their shoes on!?
Kids: (collectively panics)
Me: Damnit! Who has their shoes on?! (sees Alpha has one on) Alpha! Step on the towel! Still alive!
Alpha: (figuring it out) I will avenge the Mother! (stomps on towel repeatedly, declaring vengeance until wasp shoots out the side)
Kids: (scatter squealing)
Me: (feeling faint, resting head on faucet) Where is it?
Beta: Behind the door!
Alpha: I’m on it! (squashes wasp dead, cleans up carefully under direction)
Gamma: Are you okay mommy?
Me: (pulls hand out of water, surveys palm, determines it was just a tip, not a full sting) I’ll be okay. It only hurts a little now.
Beta: Mom? Why is your hairbrush on the stove boiling?
Me: (closes eyes against the morning) I found lice in my hairbrush today.
Kids (scatter squealing)

Easter Loot

(scene opens in gloomy dining room, dusted with Easter grass)

Beta: Where are all the eggs?
Me: I don’t know. You’ll have to look.
Beta: (looks out window, sees 100 plastic eggs on the yard) Oh my god.
Alpha: (turns to look) Dear lord.
Me: (sips coffee, smug)
Beta: How did our eggs get outside?!
Me: I don’t know.
Alpha: That’s never happened before. Why didn’t the Easter Bunny come inside?
Me: Dunno. Maybe the door was locked and he couldn’t get in.
Beta: Then where are our eggs if he couldn’t get the house?
Alpha: And where did he get all those eggs if he couldn’t get ours?
Me: He’s the Easter Bunny. He’s magic. Maybe he pooped them out.
Alpha: Well, I’m not touching them.

Appetizing

(scene opens a dining room table)
Beta: I couldn’t find Crackle or Snap in this word find. I did find Pop.
Me: (idly looks over to see the word puzzle on the cereal box)
Beta: I also found the word poo!
Me: Look closer. It’s ‘spoon’ not ‘poo’.
Beta: No! Look! Right there….oh….yeah, the word spoon.
Me: They wouldn’t have put ‘poo’ on a cereal box. Not on purpose.
Beta: They might have.
Me: Not if they wanted parents to keep buying Cocoa Krispies.

Hard Lessons

(scene opens in gloomy foyer)
Me: What took you so long?
Beta: I had to put my shoes on.
Me: Well, Gamma left without you.
Beta: (sounds of outrage and distress)
Me: You’ve been mean and rude to her all morning, she’s convinced you don’t like her, and now you’re going to be upset that she walked to school without you?
Beta: (Distress intensifies as he fights with his jacket)
Me: What did you think would happen? No one is going to waste time trying to be friends with someone who’s mean to them. And now you’re on your own. Have a nice day at school.

Magic of childhood

(scene opens on a front porch)

Gamma: I have a map, mommy! Look!
Me: (distracted glance, picking up a trike and screaming Delta) Lovely, honey.
Beta: (from inside) She can’t follow that map!
Gamma: I’m hunting for buried treasure! (pokes at X)
Me: Pirate treasure? (carries trike and Delta down the stairs to the sidewalk)
Beta: (comes to the door) That map is totally wrong!
Gamma: This is going to be an excellent adventure! It’s even written in my favorite pink color!
Me: I’m sure you’d have a great time. (paces slowly after Delta, walking his trike)
Gamma: Bye mom! (runs down the block)
Beta: (storms out of the house, yelling) Mom! You can’t let her follow that map! It’s totally wrong! She’ll get lost!
Me: For the sweet love of god, Beta, she’s not going to get lost.
Beta: (hysterical) Didn’t you see it? It was just a scribble on a page!
Me: (matching tone) Could you try to have an imagination? She’s not going to get lost! People call it “pretending” and she’s going to pretend to follow the map, run to the park, come right back and probably tell us how she sailed over the ocean and climbed a mountain and find pirate gold!
Beta: (undecided and pouting) There aren’t any mountai….
Me: Get back in the house before I slap some sense into you.

Taking direction

(scene opens in messy kitchen, body language suggesting recent maternal altercation and cooling down)

Boys: (slink in stage left)
Me: (deep breath) Thank you for getting your pjs on. Now we’re going to try this again. Beta? Go get your pjs on, please.
Beta: (trying not to smile through a pout steps around corner)
Alpha: Walk walk, stairs stairs stairs, change change, stairs stairs stairs, walk, walk.
Beta: (comes out from around the corner)
Me: (realizes what just happened) That was very well done. (gets back into scene) Thank you, Beta. Now, did you want seconds on the pork chop or dessert?
Beta: Seconds, then desert.
Me: Head to the table.
Beta: (leaves)
Me: Stage directions? Really?
Alpha: (proud) I thought it would be funny.

To-do list

(scene opens in gloomy foyer)

Me: You have everything?
Alpha: Yes. (shrugs on backpack)
Me: What are you going to do today?
Alpha: Turn in all my math homework! (picks up violin case)
Me: Good jo…
Alpha: Then conquer Asia!
Me: It’s good to have goals.
Alpha: (strides out the front door)