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.

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)

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)

Learning Lab

(scene opens in dim early morning kitchen)

Me: Alpha, get your jacket, its cold out.
Alpha: It can’t be, it was 50 yesterday.
Me: Its also 5:15 am in the morning, hence colder than high noon. Also, welcome to winter in the Midwest. One day 50, the next day -50. Get your jacket.
Alpha: No, I’m good.
Me: 11 degrees. Jacket and gloves.
Alpha: No, I got pockets.
Me: I get that you think you’ll be fine, because you’re going straight from car to school, but having the jacket in case we break down is also a good idea.
Alpha: We’re not that far away, I can walk to school from where ever we break down.
Me: (paralyzed with lack of caring) Fine. Get in the car. Dad’s car. He’s parked behind me.
Alpha: Oh. The shitty cold car?
Me: Without seat warmers? Yeah.
Alpha: (leaves, standing ground on not getting jacket or gloves)

(cut scene to inside mini-van, windows edged with heavy frost)

Alpha: Is the heat even on?
Me: Yeah, its an old car, you have to give it a little time to warm up.

(time passes)

Alpha: Is the blower even working?
Me: Ayup. Takes a lot of work to warm up from 11 degrees.

(more time)

Alpha: Why is it so cold?
Me: Gosh. If only there was an article of clothing you could have brought with you that would have kept you warm. Maybe with sleeves and a hood? What’s that thing called? A ja-quet?
Alpha: (non-committal teen-age harumph)
Me: (smug)

Fashion Commentary

(scene opens in parlor)

Me: (scrutinizing daughter) Did you get those pants from grandma for Christmas?
Gamma: (jumping around) I don’t know.
Me: I like the color, but they look awfully snug.
Gamma: That’s just the fashion, momma.
Me: (frowns) I’m not a big fan of jeggings. Do you like them?
Gamma: (bouncing on a mini trampoline) Yes! They’re pretty!

(follows several scenes of daughter running through room, mother staring perplexed)

Me: (resigned) Gamma, come here please. I need to look at those pants.
Gamma: (obediently walks over, turns round so mom can check tag)

(camera close up on size 4T)

Me: Oh dear gods, you’re wearing your little brother’s pants.
Gamma: So?
Me: You’re eight. He’s three. Go take them off and change into something else!
Gamma: I was wondering why they were a little tight.

Don’t Cross the Streams

(scene opens in a narrow mud room)

Me: Alpha, I wanted to show you what I got and I hope I don’t embarrass you too much wearing it.
Alpha: (looks up from tying shoes to see mother in a Starfleet Letterman hoodie) Nice.
Me: Am I cool?
Alpha: Nerdy cool.
Gamma: What does that say?! (points to patch)
Me: Starfleet Academy. Ex Astris, Scientia. “From the stars, knowledge”.
Gamma: Can I go! I want to go too! I want to go to the Starfleet!
Me: (hugs her) I’m sorry sweetie, it doesn’t exist. Yet.
Gamma: (outraged look of betrayal) Why not!
Me: We haven’t met the Vulcans or developed the Warp Drive yet.
Gamma: What’s Warp Drive?
Me: A way to travel through space in less time.
Gamma: Time and space? Like Dr. Who? Or is that Dr. Strange?
Me: No. Starfleet travels through space, Dr. Who travels through time and space, and Dr. Strange is just magic.

Inconsistent Application

(scene opens in dim foyer)

Me: Alpha, why are you wearing four shirts under your uniform?
Alpha: Because I might get cold. Dress in layers.
Me: Sweet zombie Jebuz. Your father told you dress in layers for camping, not for when we’re going to be indoors all the time. Take off those extra shirts!
Alpha: (steps behind door to de-layer, returns and hands mother shirts)
Me: Now get on your jackets and go to school.

(boys put on flimsy fleeces, girl puts on puffiest ski coat)

Me: (exhausted by stupidity) Alpha, why – if you’re cold enough to wear four shirts indoors where the heat is on – are you putting on the thinnest jacket you have to brave the cold rain? Don’t you think that – if it is that cold out – you might want a warmer jacket?
Alpha: (sullen) Maybe. (storms off into the freezing rain)
Beta: (conversationally) It is cold out. Maybe if I had the gloves dad took, I could wear those and be warm.
Me: (closes eyes) You mean the gloves you were wearing all day on Saturday when it was warm and sunny and you were complaining of being too hot and dad took them from you because you were being dumb?
Beta: (thinks about it) Yeah. I guess so. (steps out into the freezing rain in too small fleece)