For posterity

(scene opens in screaming banshee theater, sometimes known as the foyer)

Alpha: I want to wear what I want to wear!
Me: I just want you in a collared shirt! You want to be able to choose what you wear in the school photos, then you give me a week’s advance notice instead of forcing me to hunt down the photographer’s website and hunt for the school’s scheduled picture day based solely on the paperwork information your sister brought home for her picture day at a completely different school and a completely different day! You didn’t even know today was picture day until I told you!
Alpha: (sullen) School photos aren’t the real me.
Me: (snarls) School photos are for me and grandmas and all the other lame old ladies in your life that want lame cute photos of you hanging on their wall.
Alpha: Fine! (leaves stage left, slams door)

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Feeling pretty

(scene opens in gloomy early morning dining room)

Me: (clicking laptop, nursing black coffee)
Gamma: (full of life and delight) Mom! Put this in your hair.
Me: (leans down without question, gets purple flower barrette clicked in place)
Gamma: There! Now you’re a real mom!
Me: I wasn’t a real mom before?
Gamma: Real moms wear flowers in their hair.

Simple skills

(scene opens in workspace, the floor ankle deep in bolts of fabrics)

Gamma: Mom! Can I have some fabric for making doll clothes?
Me: Sure. (paws through scrap pile for silk bits)
Gamma: Thanks mom! Hey, what are doll clothes.
Me: (pressing seam open in a cloud of steam) For dolls?
Gamma: No, what are they for?
Me: Doll clothes are for dolls to wear. (sits down at the serger)
Gamma: Mom, do you know anything about clothes?
Me: (side eye) Apparently not.

Fashion adventure

(scene opens on basement stairs)
Gamma: I want to wear my new hoodie!
Husband: (fusses with zipper) Can you get this to work?
Me: (fusses with zipper that isn’t setting right)
Husband: What do we not do while wearing white?
Gamma: Color on it?
Husband: Right. We don’t eat while wearing white. We don’t wear it outside. We don’t use markers and we don’t color on our white hoodie. Got it?
Me: (zips it up) There you go.
Gamma: Awesome! I’m going upstairs to use my new markers!
Husband: Get back here.

Working one’s style

(Scene opens in cluttered dining room, angry industrial playing in background)
Me: (drinks coffee, watches wee hand carefully reach over the table edge, slide hair brush over edge and quietly disappears. Looks under table)
Delta: (squatting, pulls individual hairs out of brush, puts on head, pats in place)
Me: (watches for several minutes) This is what we’re doing?
Delta: (looks over, gives brilliant grin, goes back to putting loose hairs on his head)
Me: I’m not sure if I should be impressed you’ve figured out that’s where hair comes from or worried you think you can put it back.

I’m just trying to help

(scene opens over changing table)
Delta: (wrestling the evil clothes) *screams*
Me: (uncaffeinated) Yes, Delta. It’s cold in here, you’re getting pants AND a sweater.
Delta: *screams intensifies*
Me: (unmoved, transfers Delta to the floor) There. It’s 48 degrees in here, you’ll feel better.
Delta: (full of murderous rage rolls across the floor) *blood curdling screams*
Me: I’m going to get coffee (leaves room)
Delta: (realizes how comfy and toasty warm he is – finally – falls asleep)
Me: No one ever listens to me.

Clothes make the man

(scene opens over ironing board)
Me: Here, Alpha, you can wear this shirt for photos tomorrow.
Alpha: (with scorn) I can’t wear that, that’s your shirt!
Me: (only slightly bitter) Alpha, this is a man’s shirt. When I worked at Polo I bought men’s clothing because women’s clothing was too small. I’m wearing men’s jeans right now.
Alpha: (eyes pants, incredulous and crestfallen)
Me: Men’s clothing is generally better made and more comfortable. I’ll leave this shirt here for you to try on once you’re done with your homework.

Best foot forward

(scene opens in kid’s barely organized room)
Me: First day of kindergarten! What skirt do you want to wear, khaki or navy?
Gamma: I like black.
Me: It’s navy. Trust me. What shirt?
Gamma: Red like the blood.
Me: Awesome. I’m going to love talking to your teacher.

Good advice

(scene opens in messy boys’ bedroom)
Me: Ohmigod guys, you’ve been up here 20 minutes, how long does it take to get dressed? (eyes Beta) Beta, those pants don’t fit.
Beta: (cue whining and opposition)
Me: Ohmigod. Beta. Take them off before I loose my shiznit.
Beta: (more whining, hands over pants)
Me: (fixes sizing tab inside) Put these back on. When your pockets gape and your belly hangs over the front, they are too small. Just because you can button your pants does not mean they fit.
Beta: (sullenly stands there in pants that fit, refusing to give the satisfaction of being right)
Me: Please. Guys. I’m 43 years old. Could you just once take on faith that I actually know what I’m talking about and not lying to you but trying to help you get through life without looking stupid?