That’s not how any of it works

(scene opens in parlor sweatshop)

Gamma: Mom, how much money do you have?
Me: (tracing out patterns) Not a lot. Why?
Gamma: Well, maybe you and daddy and I could put all our money together and buy a foster child so I can have a sister.
Me: (stops tracing) That’s not how it works, sweetie.
Gamma: But I need a sister. I’m all alone in this house with all these boys. Don’t you want me to have a sister and a friend?

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Learning can be fun

(scene opens up in cleared dining room)

Alpha: (fumbling with project materials)
Me: Oh! Solar models! You can talk about totality we saw in St. Louis. (picks up sun-earth-moon model and arranges them for the joke) Solar eclipse. Lunar eclipse. Apocalypse.
Alpha: (stares for a moment) No. This would be the apocalypse (removes moon) because if there wasn’t any moon to stabilize rotation….
Me: Try again. (repeats it slowly with emphasis on “clipse”)
Alpha: (stare gets darker) Ha ha. That wasn’t very funny.
Me: It’s all I’ve got today.

Survival Skillz

(scene opens in sterile school meeting room, long table filled with various school official types)

Me: (enters in, carrying Delta, places extra large box of Kleenex on the table) Please excuse me. I’ve serious allergies that Claritin-D cannot contain. (sits, blows nose several times)
Helpful Older Lady: You should try Afrin nose spray. One squirt will clear it up.
Assembled People: (collective murmurs of agreement)
Me: (gentle smile) I’m also using the Afrin Severe Congestion spray. With menthol.
Assembled People: (collective gasp)
Helpful Older Lady: (clutches pearls) My goodness. That sounds…aggressive.
Me: (blows nose) Not aggressive enough.

What does that even mean?

(scene opens in tossed dining room)

Beta: Here mom, turns out we didn’t need this for school after all. The supply list was written by last year’s teacher and she’s not here.
Me: (takes thumb drive) Oh. Okay. (goes to put it in desk drawer)
Beta: Wait, don’t I get to keep it?
Me: What are you going to do with it? You don’t have access to a computer.
Beta: I’ll use it!
Me: Doing what?!
Beta: Filling it with dank memes! (assumes Troll Face)
Me: (WTF look) Go play.

For posterity

(scene opens in screaming banshee theater, sometimes known as the foyer)

Alpha: I want to wear what I want to wear!
Me: I just want you in a collared shirt! You want to be able to choose what you wear in the school photos, then you give me a week’s advance notice instead of forcing me to hunt down the photographer’s website and hunt for the school’s scheduled picture day based solely on the paperwork information your sister brought home for her picture day at a completely different school and a completely different day! You didn’t even know today was picture day until I told you!
Alpha: (sullen) School photos aren’t the real me.
Me: (snarls) School photos are for me and grandmas and all the other lame old ladies in your life that want lame cute photos of you hanging on their wall.
Alpha: Fine! (leaves stage left, slams door)

Contractual Obligations

(scene opens in dim basement rec room)

Me: (hot) Over the weekend you swore that all the laundry would get folded while you watched tv. Look. Not a single damn basket folded. You even tried to hide this basket behind the couch. Fold it. Now.
Beta: (whining) But….but… (tears on cue)
Me: I swear to god. This tv doesn’t go on until all the laundry is folded.
Beta: (turns and slouches away)
Me: Where the hell are you going?!
Beta: (sobbing) You said the tv couldn’t go on until the laundry is done, so I’m going to my room to read a book since I can’t watch tv.
Me: Sweet Zombie Jebuz! That threat means you fold the goddamn laundry! Do it now!
Beta: (more sobbing, limply picking up towels and wadding them together)
Me: (flees scene in attempt to stave off murder)