The children are our future.

(scene opens in brightly lit kitchen)

Husband: (preparing to cook dinner)

Carrot: (staying out of his way) I was reading this moderately alarming article about how Covid has tanked the birthrate. Add that to the Covid death rate, that’s a significant population drop. There’s going to be some massive demographic shifts fairly soon.

Husband: Now stop to think all the Millenials that can’t afford to buy houses and start families and that Gen Z isn’t going to be able to do that either.

Carrot: A faster and bigger drop. (thinks) Y’know – even though we have four kids, its very possible we won’t have any grandchildren.

Husband: (washing a dish) Oh, I don’t know about that. Alpha is good looking and prone to making bad decisions.

Carrot: (with adoration) Awww. Just like his father!

Husband: (turns, glares, kisses Carrot’s forehead) Nice.

Carrot: I know.

Basic Education

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, Carrot helping Beta prep lunch)

Husband: Where’s the Vaseline?

Me: Metal cabinet? What do you need it for?

Husband: (holds up gauze square and Vaseline) Gamma hasn’t learned firestarting.

Me: Yes she has. (thinks) Okay, she might have memory lapse from that long ago. Dog memory.

Husband: No worries. We’re going to go firestarting. (heads out back door)

Me: (calls after) Twisted firestarting?

Husband: (shouts back) Maybe!

Beta: (stares in WTF)

Me: I’m a firestarter? Twisted firestarter? No? (sigh, grabs laptop) Hang on.

Beta: (watches required video in skeptical silence) Yeah. Sure. Okay. I’m gonna go make pizza now….

Me: You break my heart, Beta.

Drinking Our Feelings

(scene opens in cold rainy kitchen, kids stagger in)

Me: (ladling out into mugs) Here, the heavy cream was about to go bad, so I made homemade hot chocolate.

Gamma: (sips) Yeah….no. There’s too much chocolate.

Beta: (sips) Meh. Too much cinnamon.

Me: There is literally a dusting in there. Barely enough to scent it. You’re nuts.

Beta: (shrugs, places it on the counter, leaves)

Me: (hands Alpha a mug)

Alpha: (sullen) No. (leaves)

(scene fades to black with Carrot holding three mugs of heavy cream hot chocolate)

I bother why?

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)

Me: (fussing over crock pot)

Gamma: Mom, I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?

Me: You’re always hungry. Homemade chicken soup.

Gamma: I don’t like soup.

Me: Since when?

Gamma: Since always.

Me: What do you want for dinner instead?

Gamma: Ramen!

Me: Ramen is soup.

Gamma: No it’s not!

Me: Yes, it is.

Gamma: Well, it’s better than chicken soup!

(close of up murder face, cue laugh track, fade to black)

Know a Thing

(scene opens in cluttered basement)

Me: (standing amid several baskets of clean laundry, folding) Alpha, you remember you’re cooking dinner tonight for you merit badge?
Alpha: (On stairs) Yeah. I wish dad was here. To make sure I’m not going to blow up the house.
Me: (frowning) I know how to work the grill, son.
Alpha: (surprised) Really? You know how to grill?
Me: Of course. Believe it or not, I’m a fully actualized adult with an interesting back story and a wide range of useful skills.
Alpha: Do you know how to kill a cow?
Me: In theory. I haven’t had a chance to play test that.

Science might happen

(scene opens in oddly clean kitchen)

Beta: What are we having for dinner?
Me: (cleaning down counter) Ribs.
Beta: (distressed) I don’t like ribs! I have all the ingredients for my quesadillas and I haven’t made them yet.
Me: (affronted) What do you mean you don’t like ribs? Its cow. Cow is steak. You like steak.
Beta: It has bones!
Me: Steak sometimes has bones in it! Think of it as steak on the cob! You can eat it with your hands!
Beta: (tilts head) Can you do that? Cook steak on the cob? Around the corn?
Me: (stops cold) I…don’t know. I suppose you could. Get some really thin steak, tenderize it, get a good rub, wrap it around the cob and then grill?
Beta: Like really thick bacon.

(both pause, re-considering life goals)

Me: Wow.
Beta: Yeah. Wow.

(music crescendos, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Eat All The Things

(scene opens in brighter kitchen, partially clean)

Me: Tart chilling, cran-apple sauce chilling, butternut soup in the crock. Time for breakfast. (takes mini-cupcake off a tray) Please tell me you had one of these before I eat them all.
Husband: (washing dishes) No.
Me: They’re delicious. Pumpkin spice cake with cream-cheese frosting. You didn’t have any last time and I bought these specifically for breakfast.
Husband: (dismissive) You don’t have cupcakes for breakfast.
Me: (outraged) Why not?! There are breakfast burritos, no reason we can’t have breakfast cupcakes! (takes another mini cupcake) Besides, now its noon and so now they’re lunch cupcakes.