Mommy’s Little Helper

(scene opens in cluttered basement, laundry baskets overflowing with clean laundry)

Me: (folding) Boys, is the basket of laundry in front of the washer clean or dirty?

(pause for processing delay, Alpha muttering complex tactical plans into headphone)

Beta: Clean.

Me: Then can you move it off the dirty laundry pile?

Beta: (into headphone) Hang on, Online Friend, Mom’s talking to me. (pause for digital slaughter) Sure mom, just let me finish this.

Me: (casting about to appropriate basket) That’s fine. I… (stops to remember) Oh, right. Some of the clothes in that basket…

Beta: (into headphone) You need to get up to the platform.

Me: (interrupted, resets) There’s clothes in the basket that aren’t….

Alpha: (into headphone) I’m about five steps ahead of you, we’re running out of time.

Me: (starts to sweat) Delta’s clothes are in the basket…

Beta: (into head phones) Hold here a sec. (mashes some buttons) What did you want mom?

Me: (dazed blank stare, struggling to remember temporal placement)

Delta: (calls from the stairs) You need to se’arate Delta clo’s from you clo’s in ‘a bas’et, Beta.

Beta: Ok. Will do.

Me: (poleaxed) Thank you, Delta. I’m glad someone’s got my back.

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Accepting Responsibility

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)

Me: (pouring coffee)

Alpha: Mom. I added another chore to my chart.

Me: (doesn’t turn around) Oh yeah?

Alpha: Yeah. From now on, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday I’m reaping the souls of the damned.

Me: (turns around and sees amended chore chart) And what are you going to do with those damned souls?

Alpha: (caught off guard) Uh…roll them into a ball and carry them around with me?

Me: (sips coffee) As long as you put them away properly, I approve.

(time passes, Beta enters from stage right)

Beta: Hey, how come Alpha gets to harvest the souls of the damned and not me?

Me: You didn’t ask?

Alpha: You can have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Beta: Cool! (grabs marker)

Old joke is old

(Scene opens in dim cluttered dinning room)

Me: (typing furiously on laptop)

Beta: (bounces into the room) Mom! I have a joke for you!

Me: (internal sigh) Shoot.

Beta: You have to look at me!

Me: (sags a little, looks up) Shoot.

Beta: (smugly, holds up fingers in a V) I’m a Roman and I’m ordering five beers!

Me: (raises eyebrows, hold up fingers in shape of an L) Fifty bucks? Really?

Beta: (confused) No, see I was…wait…what?

Me: The letter “V” stands for five but the letter “L” stands for fifty.

Beta: (pouts and tries not to smile) No fair, mom.

Me: I might have heard that one before.

Experience vs Youth

(scene opens in cluttered dining room)

Alpha: Is today the day Beta gets back from grandmas?

Me: (wearily) I don’t know. I don’t know what anyone is doing any more.

Alpha: I like the quiet.

Gamma: Me too!

Me: (side eyes her, does not comment) Alpha, you know how you get more silence? Do good in school. Excel at sports. Get a scholarship and go away to college where you have your own dorm room and enjoy all the peace and quiet and never have to talk to anyone.

Alpha: That’s not how it works.

Me: (annoyed) That’s exactly how that works.

Alpha: I’ll have to share a room. That’s why they call it a dorm.

Me: It’s called a dorm because its a dormitory – a place where people sleep. You can get your own room and not have to share. They haven’t been one big large room of some twenty odd people since maybe the 1800s.

Alpha: (hotly) No. I…

Me: (interrupts) I had my own room in college and didn’t share with anyone.

Alpha: (Sullen rebellious stare)

Me: I swear to god, if the next words out of your mouth is “Things have changed a lot since you went to college, mom” I will destroy you.

Alpha: (exits scene)

All knowledge is worth having

(scene opens at shady and tree heavy play ground, Carrot & Beta on park bench looking at phone)

Husband: (approaching) What are you looking at?

Me: Doing some Boy Scout learnin’. Beta, what’s that? (points to tree)

Beta: (pleased) Black walnut.

Me: Is it edible?

Beta: (more pleased) Yes. You harvest them in September and can wack them through a hole in a piece of plywood with a hammer to rip the green fleshy part off.

Me: Did we find any?

Beta: (holds up four dirty whole walnuts) Over there. Under the oak tree.

Gamma: (runs over at top speed) Let me see! Let me see the nuts!

Beta: (hunches protectively over his find, scowls) No. Go away. These are my nuts!

Gamma: Let me look! I just want to feel your nuts!

Me: (with heroic nonchalance) Beta, let Gamma feel your nuts.

Beta: (turns with comically horrified look on his face, dumps the walnuts into Gamma’s lap, runs off stage left)

Gamma: (picks up the walnuts) Beta’s nuts are all rough and dirty.

Me: (maintaining composure) They are.

Gamma: (thinks for a moment) What are the other words for nuts?

Me: It depends on the type of nut, I guess. There are walnuts and peanuts and chestnuts and…

Gamma: (interrupts) No. (brow furrows, looking for the right words, said slowly and carefully) What are the other meanings of the word nut?

Me: Oh. (considers options, throws caution) Nut is the slang term for testicle.

Gamma: (makes same face as Beta, jumps up and says loudly) Beta! I have your nuts and I’m going to bury your nuts where you can’t find them and then you won’t have any nuts! (runs off stage right)

Husband: (sits in spot Gamma vacated) Proud of yourself?

Me: Immensely. (watches Beta outrage flail in the distance) You disapprove?

Husband: (shrugs) You’re the one going to be fielding phone calls from the school.

Ungrateful Colonials

(scene opens in dim dining room)

Me: So we have some options. We can leave in an hour to get a spot over the by river to watch the fireworks. Fireworks don’t start until nine. Or, we can go over to your cousins house and just do s’mores.

Alpha: (tired and sunburnt) Cousins.

Gamma: You can still see fireworks from Cousins’ House.

Alpha: Those are the illegal ones.

Husband: They’re nice, but not as nice as the city ones.

Beta: (less tired more sunburnt) Cousins’. Who needs fireworks when you have your family?

Me: (Pauses. Then to Husband) Did I just get pwned?

Husband: (shrugs)

Me: Okay, cousins it is. I just want everyone to remember when they’re older and complaining I never took them to see the big firework displays, the committee voted against me.