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(scene opens in mostly empty Post Office)

Lady behind the counter: Next!

Me: (walks up with large box and custom form, hands both over to Postal worker)

LBtC: (looks at form) You’re sending Cheesy Poofs to England? I love Cheesy Poofs. How do they not have any in England? (begins to type)

Me: Right? They have Starbucks and McDonald’s, what’s with no Cheesey Poofs?

LBtC: (points to monitor) Go ahead and accept the price on the screen and sign your name.

Me: (blinks in sticker shock, signs anyway) I’ll have you know, its cheaper to send Candy Corn to New Zealand.

LBtC: How do they not have Candy Corn in New Zealand?!

Me: That’s what we’d like to know!

A Whole New World

(scene opens in busy mall. Carrot walking with purpose, Alpha and Beta trotting along behind)

Me: (stops in front of Hot Topic) Okay, here we are. Go in there, look for your cool edgy hoodies. I’ll be back in five minutes.

Alpha/Beta: Got it!

(cut-scene)

Me: (wanders up, finds both boys leaning on the railing) Did you find what you were looking for?

Alpha: (dismissive) No, its where all the emo teens shop. Nothing there for me.

Me: (raises eyebrows, said cooly) Then it was totally your shop. (peeks in) I’d wear half that stuff if it was in my size. No wonder you didn’t like it. (thinks) Okay, there’s one other place we can try.

(montage of wandering through difficult crowds, uneven floor plans)

Me: (stops in front of Spencer’s Gifts) If you don’t find anything befitting your tough teen image, we’re back to the internet. (sails calmly past a shirt display full of profanity and pot leaves)

(Alpha and Beta edge carefully in, skittishly pick through the store)

Me: (discovers she lost her shadows, back tracks, finds them at the lava lamp display) I always wanted one of those.

Beta: (hopeful) Me too. Think we can get one?

Alpha: Uh…mom? I have questions.

Me: (looks up, follows Alpha’s gaze behind her to the Bachelorette section. Contemplates a row of turgid and rainbow colored lollypops for a moment.) Well. I have answers.

Alpha/Beta: (laughs nervously)

Me: What, embarrassed of a few penises?

Alpha/Beta: (more nervous laughter)

Alpha: (turns to brother) We will never speak of this again.

(both boys turn on their heels and march out of the store. Carrot follows humming a jaunty tune)

Hard to tell

(scene opens at zoo. Mom and child with activity backpack)

Gamma: Look at the bunnies! I’m a wild animal too, mama.

Me: (without inflection) Really. I had no idea. Okay Gamma, station four. (hands over ziplock bag) What is our activity?

Gamma: (pulls out laminated cards) Domestic Animals. Am I a domestic animal, mama?

Me: (hesitates) No. I’m pretty sure you’re not.

Gamma: (continues to read) Domestic animals are animals that can’t take care of themselves, they do not know how to find food or shelter in the wild. See, mama? I’m totally a domestic animal.

Me: (resigned) I stand corrected.

I can’t make it any easier

(scene opens in stairwell, Carrot wresting Delta into clothes)

Me: (yelling) Beta, are you calling for me?

Beta: (off screen) Where are my uniform pants?

Me: (calls up) One doesn’t fit, one it in the garbage for holes, and the third pair is still being treated to get all the ink stains off of it. Wear jeans.

Beta: I don’t have any!

Me: (stops, Delta runs away) What do you mean you don’t have any?! (stomps up stairs)

(scene cuts to walk up attic, Beta in shirt and underwear, in front of two dresser sets, one with each drawer labeled for contents)

Beta: (sullen) I don’t have any.

Me: (opens drawer labeled pants, camera close up of a chaotic mess of everything but pants. Opens drawer labeled shirts, camera close up on chaotic mess with a flash of denim. Pulls out a pair of jeans)

Beta: (sullenly takes jeans, wrestles them on)

Me: (enunciates) I labeled them. So you could be organized. So you could find. your. pants. We both know what you’re doing after to school today. (picks up shirt, sees high school logo, opens unlabeled drawer from second set, find it empty save for one sock. Close eyes, sigh, drop shirt, leaves room)

I think, therefore

(scene opens in the clean foyer, Delta singing to himself wandering aimlessly, Carrot sorting mail)

Delta: (sees legos on top of short cabinet, reaches up to get them) Momma!

Me: Hmm? (reading address)

Delta: Did you see that? I reach th’ top of th’ ca-net. I get th’ Legos!

Me: (looks up, sees excited Delta) Good job, sweetie.

Delta: I use be too small. (touches head and top of cabinet) Now I tall! (wonderingly) When I get so tall?

Me: (indulgent smile) Yesterday.