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?

Advertisements

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)

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.

Shieldmaiden starter kit

(scene opens in tossed parlor)

Me: Gamma, can you help me pick up all the Quirkle tiles? Delta threw them all over?

Gamma: Sure mama. (gets down to scoop them up)

Me: So, I need to make you a new dress this weekend. A friend of daddy and mine is going to be king soon, and we wanted to go to Coronation.

Gamma: (eyes wide) Your friend is king? What does that mean we’re going to do?!

Me: Going to be. Remember we get a new one every six months? So we’re going to go to Coronation to wish him well and be happy for him. But that means we all need new garb, especially you. Do you want a blue dress? A pink dress? Red? Green?

Gamma: (dreamy delight) I want a black one. With skulls.

Me: (starts to laugh) Black with skulls?

Gamma: (still dreamy) I was born to fight. (snaps back) I will do well in the SCA.

(Cue epic sound track, mother tearfully hugs daughter, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Mercenary

(scene opens in dim cluttered parlor)

Me: Got your ID? Have a good day. Or try to, anyway. And find about about Cross Country.

Beta: (dismissively) I don’t want to do Cross Country.

Me: (surprised) I thought you were going to run this year?

Beta: Yeah, dad said if I ran this year, I could have a cell phone. But what he’s actually going to do is get Alpha a new one and I’d get his old one. What Alpha ever done for me? He doesn’t even like hanging out with me. (acidly) Why should I help him get a new phone?

Me: (bemused) He’s not getting a new phone, its a second-hand phone.

Beta: (sassy) Yeah, and then mine is third-hand. Again, why should I help him?

Me: So…no phone is better than a third hand phone?

Beta: (nose in the air) Exactly. (sails out, stage right)