Wild Frontier

(scene opens in dinning room, half recovered from Thanksgiving, Carrot at table still in bathrobe)

Gamma: Can I have bread?

Delta: Can I have cookies?

Beta: I’m just going to have another one of these sugared cranberries. Is that okay?

Alpha: Why is Gamma having bread? Did you say that was okay?

Me: (suffering, trying to write, hands over headphones that are clearly not loud enough) Oh. My. God. Please. Go. Eat. There is food everywhere. None of you are young enough that I have to be involved in the feeding of you. Scavenge. Forage. Whatever. I don’t care. There are no rules any more. It is a lawless time –

Alpha: (alarmed) No! Please! There have to be rules! Please make some rules!

Me: (stares, starts to laugh)

Alpha: (defensively) If you don’t make rules there will be chaos.

Carrot’s Inner Voice: I’m sorry, do I know you?

Me: (moar laughter, some tears)

That’s Nutrition!

(scene opens in partially clean kitchen, Carrot standing in front of open refrigerator)

Me: (talking to herself) Sugared cranberries done. Cran-applesauce done. Pumpkin pie in oven. Need more apples for apple pie. Need oranges for turkey brine. Prosecco for….

Delta: Mommy? What’s in that box?

Me: (absently) The rest of Gamma’s birthday cake.

Delta: Can I have cake for lunch?

Me: That’s not a healthy lunch.

Carrot’s Inner Voice: It would make more room in the ‘fridge for the deviled eggs.

Delta: Please? I can show you my cutest face ever? (fists under cheeks, eyes very wide, lips pulled into hopeful pout.

Me: Fine. There’s no such thing for responsible eating for the next month anyway.

Back to Normal

(scene opens in laundry room, Carrot knee-deep in clothing)

Me: (pulled laundry out of drier, makes face, pulls out “clean” sock and sniffs it, more ugly face)

Beta: (enters basement)

Me: Beta! Slither hither? (puts laundry of “clean” clothes on the drier) Did you do this load I just pulled out?

Beta: (moderately sullen) Yeah?

Me: (hands sock to sniff) When your socks come out of the dryer smelling like feet, it means they came out of the washer smelling like feet. Did you use detergent?

Beta: Yeah. I used one of those pods. (points to laundry detergent)

Me: Welp, they need to be done again then.

Beta: (without blinking, holds up scout sash, clearly savaged by a wild animal)

Me: Oh. Huh. Looks like Epsilon missed you while you were gone.

Beta: (sadly) Glad he stopped before he got to the merit badges.

Me: Those could have been replaced too. Put it on my sewing table. I’ll go to the scout shop tomorrow.

Regrets? I’ve had a few…

(scene opens in morning parlor)

Me: (comes downstairs to collective cheers of MOM!) Hey guys. Beta, come here.

(scene changes to kitchen)

Me: (opens fridge, hands Beta large styrofoam cup) I thought it was going to be a can or 1-liter, but it’s a root beer. I ordered cheese fries last night and got you a rootbeer ’cause the pizza places never have them. It might be flat. Sorry about that.

Beta: That’s okay, mom. I’ll –

Alpha: (suddenly appears) Did I hear someone say cheese fries?

Me: (hands Alpha a styrofoam box) Here’s the last of them. I couldn’t finish them all.

(Gamma and Delta run in, chanting “Cheese Fries!”)

Me: Christ! I’m not awake yet! (rubs face) Alpha, could you share a little of your fries? Like I’m sharing with you?

Alpha: (resigned) Sure.

(twenty minute montage of arguing over cheese fries and lamenting not enough cheese fries and wanting moar cheese fries)

Me: (head in hands over cooling coffee) For the love of… I should have thrown them out. Why do you make me regret the things I do for you guys?

Gamma: Because we like food.

Delta: Because I’m five.

Beta: (smugly slurping root beer) Wow, when did he get self-aware?

Me: He’s always been more self-aware than the rest of you. Maybe you guys could go somewhere and let me have my coffee in peace?

In Jokes Make Everything Better

(cut scene-flashback, opens in foyer of Universal Studios hotel, two people having a conversation)

Me: (quietly) Beta, you’ve been talking about food all day.
Beta: I’m hungry all day.
Me: (epiphany moment) Beta, do you eat your feelings?
Beta: (serious face) Yeah. (dork face) Its because they’re so delicious.
Me: (letting it go, talks for other times) Well, its because you put cheese on them.

(flash forward, six people in parked van, most red eyed from crying)

Everyone: (collectively mired in personal misery and sorrow)
Husband: (reaches out, touches wife’s arm gently to get attention, mimes eating)
Me: (nods, collects self, sits up straighter, calls over shoulder) Beta? Do you want to go put cheese on our feelings?
Beta: That’d be great.
Me: (waves to husband to work the car machine)
Gamma: Why are we putting cheese on our feelings?
Husband: I think we’re getting something to eat.

Nutritional Awareness

(scene opens in morning kitchen)

Me: (in bathrobe examining containers of leftovers) Beta? Did you have dinner last night after I left?
Beta: (from dining room) Yeah, why?
Me: (comes in with lettuce bag) Did you have taco salad?
Beta: (slowly) Yeah.
Me: The lettuce isn’t even touched. Did you put any lettuce in your salad?
Beta: I did. I ripped off two leaves about this big (makes a small square with his fingers and thumbs)
Me: That’s not salad, that’s garnish. You basically ate a big bowl of taco meat.
Beta: (defensively) It had cheese on it too.
Me: (deep breath) That would explain why all the cheese is gone.