Outer Limits

(scene opens in dim kitchen, Carrot on the floor holding screaming Delta)

Delta: (winding down to hiccuping sobs)

Me: You okay now?

Delta: (tearful nod) I just wan’ help.

Me: Honey, mom can’t help you with that. I don’t know how.

Delta: (tearing up) Make it so I can do it.

Me: (fraying sanity) Baby, I’ve never been able to solve a Rubik Cube. I want to help you but I can’t. I legitimately don’t know how!

Delta: (dissolves into wails of hopeless unending sadness)

Me: (closes eyes, rocks screaming toddler, practices deep breathing)

(pounding growing louder off stage)

Gamma: MOM! HELP ME! (Gamma runs through kitchen to bathroom, sounds of sick echoing off porcelain)

Me: (sighs, rolls weeping toddler off lap) Welp, at least this is something I can take care of.

(cue laugh track, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Inner Conflict

(scene opens in tossed parlor)

Me: (sitting at embroidery frame) Ready for school?

Beta: (struggling into jacket) Yeah. What day is it?

Me: Thursday. Do you have Robotics Club tonight?

Beta: (thinks) Yeah. I do. Y’know what? Today is not only Robotics Club, but Knitting Club and Anime club. All on the same day!

Me: That’s usually how it goes.

Beta: (deep dramatic sigh) It’s so hard being a nerd like me. (nods once, exits)

They know a thing, too.

(scene opens at cluttered table)

Alpha: I need help finding references on how alcohol affects the body.

Me: Look up Betty Ford Clinic.

Alpha: Says page is denied.

Me: The school laptop won’t let you look up Betty Ford Clinic? That’s absurd. You can look it up on my computer and use it as a reference.

Alpha: But she’ll think I’m making it up if we can’t pull it up on a school computer.

Me: Trust me, the teachers will know what the clinic is and who Betty Ford is.

Innate knowledge

(scene opens in cluttered parlor)

Gamma: (shrieking) MOM! BETA IS CALLING ME A LOSER.

Me: (resignedly enters the room, sees Beta with thumb on either side of his head, single finger raised like horns) Beta?

Beta: (waggles hands) I’m not calling her a loser, I’m pretending to be a moose.

Gamma: (moar shrieking) THOSE ARE ‘L’s! ‘L’s MEAN LOSER!

Me: (inhales deeply, stares in Ron Swanson) That’s not a moose. You need all your fingers for moose horns.

Beta: (processes, opens both hands) I’m a moose!

Gamma: (quick reversal) YOU’RE A MOOSE! MOOSE! MOOSE! MOOSE!

Me: (contemplates the absurdity of her existence, exits stage left)

Best. Birthday. Ever.

(scene opens, Carrot walking out of restaurant with her mom)

Host: Are you a Marine?

Me: (touches hair self-consciously) Uh…no?

Host: Oh, your sweatshirt says “Enterprise” on it. That’s a Navel vessel.

Me: (looks down at her brand new StarFleet hoodie) Oh! No – this is a Star Trek thing. Its a future Enterprise, not the current Enterprise.

Host: Oh, okay. (laughs and salutes) Thank you for your service, Captain.

Me: (salutes back) Carry on.

Magic Word

(scene opens at cluttered dinning room table)

Alpha: (at laptop) Mom, how do you spell relativ….reali…rel

Me: Relativity?

Alpha: Relatively.

Beta: (hovering around for no reason) He’s looking for a word that rhymes with “orange”.

Me: R-E-L-A-T-I-V-E-L-Y. And “door hinge”.

(stunned silence follows, boys stare, Carrot drinks coffee)

Beta: (mimes mind being blown)

Alpha: Holy shit.

Me: Language.

Alpha: No. Mom. Holy shit. You rhymed orange. That’s insane.

Me: (raises coffee mug and shrugs) Maybe now you’ll believe me when I tell you I know a thing?

Can’t Even

(scene opens in dim basement, Carrot surrounded by laundry baskets)

Me: (sorting t-shirts, stops looks around) Are you still smelling B.O?

Husband: (looks up from computer) I put a load through earlier because it was smelling.

Me: Yeah, I just took that out of the dryer. (sniffs article of clothing, drops it) Jebuz!

Husband: (gets up to look at basket) Did some dirties get in with the clean?

Me: I don’t think so. (Husband and Carrot proceed to sort boy clothes based on smell) Some of them don’t smell at all. How did so much stank get through the wash?

Husband: (turns to stairway, lets out a battlefield yell) BETA!

(Beta hurries downstairs into scene)

Husband: Explain to me your washing process.

Beta: (shrugs) Take the clothes, put them in the machine, close the door, push the button.

(moment of silence)

Me: And when do you put in the laundry pod?

Beta: (tries to affect confusion, fails) What laundry pod?

Husband: Holy god you’ve been washing your clothes without detergent all this time? (points at stank basket) Take these back to the laundry room, I will show you what laundry detergent looks like.

Trap, Set, Spike

(scene opens around cluttered breakfast table)

Me: (reading Kindle) So. Beta. Did you brush your teeth this morning?

Beta: (shoveling cereal into his mouth) Yeah.

Me: (conversationally) With what?

Beta: (spidey senses tingling) …with…toothpaste?

Me: Oh yeah? Where’s your toothbrush?

Beta: ….upstairs?

Me: (affected mildness) Interesting. Because I’ve noticed that your toothbrush has been bone dry for a few days, so I brought it down stairs with me at 6 am this morning so I could prove to you that I know you for a liar. So. When you’re finished with breakfast, go do that. The reason you’re getting cavities is not because you’re not brushing well enough, you’re not brushing at all.

Beta: (mopey, drinks last of milk goes to brush teeth)

Me: (calls after him) Also! Your toothbrush is electric and makes noise! I can tell you didn’t brush your teeth if I didn’t hear it! Sound travels! SCIENCE!

Fear the Burn

(scene opens with pensive Carrot in empty gym, gaggle of grandmas enter stage left)

Grandma #1: You came back!

Me: (wan smile) Wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. My legs still hurt from yesterday and today is leg day.

Trainer: (sailing in) Okay everyone! Grab a bench from the back, two or three risers as you like!

Grandma #2: (pats Carrot’s arm) Two. Only get two, my dear.

Me: (smile grows strained) Think anyone would judge if I only got one?

Grandmothers: (collective laugh) No!

Me: (gets two risers anyway)

Humility is a Virtue

(scene opens in gym, full of grandmas and Carrot)

Me: (looks around judgmentally, prepares for combat)

Trainer: Okay everyone, welcome to a new season. Let get some sweat!

(45 minute montage of Carrot struggling to do anything)

Trainer: And that’s it for this class! Good job everyone!

Me: (slowly gets up off the floor behind the grandmas, shakily puts medicine ball back on the shelf)

Trainer: (steps closer) You okay?

Me: (rolls sore rehabbing shoulder) I haven’t been in a gym since…uh…four kids ago?

Trainer: (nods approvingly) You did good. See you next time.

Me: (pants in pathetic) Yeah. Next time.

Premium American Import

(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)