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)

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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.

Into the Wild

(scene opens in packed camp Trading Post, girls filling arms with last minute camp swag)

Me: (standing patiently in line) Did you have a fun week? Glad for it to be over?

Gamma: How long until I can be a CIT?

Me: Oh. That’s high school level Girl Scouts. (starts to stroke daughter’s hair) You’ll have to wa… Gamma, did you shower at all this week?

(mom behind in line with similarly grungy daughter starts laughing)

Gamma: (sighs) Yes, mama.

Me: (horrified amusement) Your hair is…crunchy.

Gamma: (eye roll and sass) Mom. It’s camp.

(more laughter from behind)

Me: (concedes point) I was probably flexible with my shower schedule at camp too.

For Whom

(scene opens in cleaned parlor, new grandfather clock against the wall)

Beta: Now where did this clock come from?

Me: (dusting the wood gently) My grandparent’s. You probably never noticed it because Busia had the chimes off.

(clock strikes the half hour, Westminster Chimes ringing clear)

Beta: Ohmigod! Alpha! Come here! The clock got its ring from the clock in Five Nights at Freddy’s!

Me: (irked) No, the music comes a tower clock in England….

Beta: (interrupting hastily) Right, right. But that’s where we know the chimes from.

Me: (dismissive) Learn you some.

(multiple cut-scenes follow, shots through out the day of the chimes at the quarter hours, Alpha and Beta shouting out “Freddie clock!”)

Me: (completely unhinged) I SWEAR BY ALL THE OLD GODS AND THE NEW THAT THE NEXT ONE THAT CALLS THE WESTMINSTER CHIMES A “FREDDIE CLOCK” WILL BE SACRIFICED TO ERII SO HER REIGN MAY LAST FOREVER!

Scale Appropriately

(scene starts in bedroom, Carrot knee deep in girl toys)

Me: (sorting, cleaning, organized)

(off screen the shouts and yells of boys)

Me: (sighs, extracts self, goes downstairs)

(scene begins in kitchen, moderately clean)

Delta: (wailing in toddler)

Alpha: (throwing up hands) That’s it! I’m done! I’m done! No more!

Beta: (sees disapproving Carrot in the doorway) Delta gets upset because the show ends and he wants another one.

Alpha: (outraged) And he doesn’t tell me what he wants, he just cries for what he wants! We already showed him out to use the remote!

Me: (sighs, rubs forehead) He’s four, guys. He needs help using the remote for a smart TV. That’s a little above his pay grade.

Beta: (indignant) He can do lots of things above his pay grade. He should be able to use a smart remote!

Me: (with salt) Almost like how, as teenagers, you should be able to brush your teeth twice a day without me yelling at you, yet for some reason that seems to be way beyond your pay grade.

(camera cuts to three way stare down)

Alpha: (sighs, takes Delta’s hand, head to tv room) I’ll fix it for you, Delta.

Me: (silent and strategic retreat)

Away She Goes

(scene opens in wooded clearing, small cabins in semi circle)

Me: (hugging daughter, taking photos)

Gamma: (brightly) Okay! Bye mom! See you in a week!

(Husband and Carrot wave excitedly, turn to leave)

GS Counselor: (perplexed) You’re leaving already?

Husband: We’ve been dismissed.

GS Counselor: ….Oh. (proceeds to chat with Gamma as parents move away)

Alpha: (falls in with Delta on his shoulders) That went a lot easier than I expected. I was expecting tears or something.

Husband: I don’t know why you’d think that.

Me: This is her second year of resident camp and she’s only going into third grade. You and your brother didn’t go to resident camp without a parent until going into sixth.

Husband: She’s the bravest kid we’ve got.

Alpha: (makes sound of one pwned)

Potential Avenger Spoilers

(scene opens in kitchen in the midst of a deep clean)

Me: (walks in from outside, carrying bucket of movie popcorn)

Husband: (looks up from cleaning the stove) Hey, how was it? Did you cry?

Me: A couple of times.

Husband: A couple?

Me: The first time was…(voice starts to crack and waver) …was… (hard swallow) when Cap called the hammer. (tears start, looks away from audience) Hang on…hang on…wait…. (looks back, composed) Okay. Good. (deep breath) Right.

Husband: (nods in understanding) Hawkeye’s family.

Me: Yeah. (deep breath) Second time. Um, there was that one line up? (husband nods) And Gamma leans over to me and… (voice quavers again) ….and…and she says to me… (braces self) “Women make the best super heroes.” (tears start again)

Husband: (small voice) Oh. (face turns pink, looks away)

Me: Yeah. (sniffs) I was not prepared for the feelz.

He’s On To Us

(scene opens in early morning dinning room, Husband and Carrot at the table)

Alpha: (wanders in, sleepy) I had some weird dreams.

Me: (sips coffee) Oh yeah? What were they about?

Alpha: (groggy) I was on a bus going some place. Me and my friends from school. And we were just going. And it was dark. And the ride just kept going and going and going. Like we were never going to get there…

Husband: (leans over, in stage whisper) I think he knows.

Me: (same whisper) Hush.

Alpha: (pauses uncertainly, then with determination) No. (stalks out of the room)

(Husband and Carrot laugh uproariously)

No Gratitude

(scene opens with mom coming from grocery shopping)

Me: (humming, puts away groceries, pulls out bag of hazelnut M&Ms, divides equally in four bowls, hands them out)

Alpha: (doesn’t notice bowl balanced on his belly, too busy raiding)

Beta: (takes it with extreme dramatic suffering, cheek stuffed with gauze)

Delta: M&Ms!? I LOVE M&Ms!

Gamma: (hands bowl back) Mom, I only like Skittles.

Me: (sighs) Eat your M&Ms, sweetie. They’re good for you.