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?

Though she be but little…

(scene opens in post holiday dining room)

(Husband and Carrot existing)

Gamma: (hotly) You know what mom? I want cranberry sauce. And I want it now!

Me: (sigh) Sure. Go ahead. Why are you so angry?

Gamma: (savagely) Because I like it!

Husband: (faint laughter) God help her first boyfriend.

Me: (resigned) It’ll probably be for the best.

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)

How to talk to them

(scene opens in early cluttered dining room)

Delta: (suddenly alarmed) Where’s Narbles?!

Gamma: (in kitchen) Over here! (camera cuts to squishmallow purple narwhal on the counter)

Me: Thank you, for finding her…. Hey, is Narbles a boy or a girl?

Delta: Um…Narbles is from the sea and a sea creature, so both.

Me: Oh. What do you call someone who’s both?

Gamma: (comes out of kitchen) A helicopter.

Me: You don’t call them a helicopter! That’s silly.

Gamma: (seriously) No, they’re helicopters. (holds up hands at 90 degrees) Helicopters have the blades on top and blades on the back. See? Both!

Me: That’s pretty good logic, but you can just say “they” if you don’t know or they say they’re non-binary.

Gamma: What’s binary?

Me: Binary is when you only have two choices. Non-binary would be a third option.

Gamma: Cool. Can I have Nutella for breakfast?

Me: (sigh) And that concludes the lesson. Sure, share with Delta.

(two kids throw up their hands cheering and run off screen)

Bad Business

(scene opens in cluttered dining room)

Me: (sorting Girl Scout cookies into piles)

Husband: (enters) I hear we have cookies to sell?

Me: Yes. These are what we have left. (camera cuts to mostly empty box)

Husband: Beta said we had Thin Mints.

Me: I just sold them to your brother.

Husband: My brother?! How could you? I was downstairs!

Me: I could hear you on a conference call.

Husband: I was downstairs!

Me: This has more to do with me selling them to your brother and not that I sold them before you could get off the call.

Husband: (outraged) Well obviously!

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)

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!

All knowledge is worth having

(scene opens at shady and tree heavy play ground, Carrot & Beta on park bench looking at phone)

Husband: (approaching) What are you looking at?

Me: Doing some Boy Scout learnin’. Beta, what’s that? (points to tree)

Beta: (pleased) Black walnut.

Me: Is it edible?

Beta: (more pleased) Yes. You harvest them in September and can wack them through a hole in a piece of plywood with a hammer to rip the green fleshy part off.

Me: Did we find any?

Beta: (holds up four dirty whole walnuts) Over there. Under the oak tree.

Gamma: (runs over at top speed) Let me see! Let me see the nuts!

Beta: (hunches protectively over his find, scowls) No. Go away. These are my nuts!

Gamma: Let me look! I just want to feel your nuts!

Me: (with heroic nonchalance) Beta, let Gamma feel your nuts.

Beta: (turns with comically horrified look on his face, dumps the walnuts into Gamma’s lap, runs off stage left)

Gamma: (picks up the walnuts) Beta’s nuts are all rough and dirty.

Me: (maintaining composure) They are.

Gamma: (thinks for a moment) What are the other words for nuts?

Me: It depends on the type of nut, I guess. There are walnuts and peanuts and chestnuts and…

Gamma: (interrupts) No. (brow furrows, looking for the right words, said slowly and carefully) What are the other meanings of the word nut?

Me: Oh. (considers options, throws caution) Nut is the slang term for testicle.

Gamma: (makes same face as Beta, jumps up and says loudly) Beta! I have your nuts and I’m going to bury your nuts where you can’t find them and then you won’t have any nuts! (runs off stage right)

Husband: (sits in spot Gamma vacated) Proud of yourself?

Me: Immensely. (watches Beta outrage flail in the distance) You disapprove?

Husband: (shrugs) You’re the one going to be fielding phone calls from the school.

Ungrateful Colonials

(scene opens in dim dining room)

Me: So we have some options. We can leave in an hour to get a spot over the by river to watch the fireworks. Fireworks don’t start until nine. Or, we can go over to your cousins house and just do s’mores.

Alpha: (tired and sunburnt) Cousins.

Gamma: You can still see fireworks from Cousins’ House.

Alpha: Those are the illegal ones.

Husband: They’re nice, but not as nice as the city ones.

Beta: (less tired more sunburnt) Cousins’. Who needs fireworks when you have your family?

Me: (Pauses. Then to Husband) Did I just get pwned?

Husband: (shrugs)

Me: Okay, cousins it is. I just want everyone to remember when they’re older and complaining I never took them to see the big firework displays, the committee voted against me.

No Gratitude

(scene opens with mom coming from grocery shopping)

Me: (humming, puts away groceries, pulls out bag of hazelnut M&Ms, divides equally in four bowls, hands them out)

Alpha: (doesn’t notice bowl balanced on his belly, too busy raiding)

Beta: (takes it with extreme dramatic suffering, cheek stuffed with gauze)

Delta: M&Ms!? I LOVE M&Ms!

Gamma: (hands bowl back) Mom, I only like Skittles.

Me: (sighs) Eat your M&Ms, sweetie. They’re good for you.

Expectations

(scene opens in moderately clean kitchen)

Me: (washing dishes at sink)
Beta: (comes up with small desert plate, plain cheesecake with a single bite taken)
Me: Want some cherry on top?
Beta: (hesitantly) Uh…no. I don’t like it.
Me: What’s wrong with it?
Beta: It doesn’t taste like cheese.
Me: (laughing) Honey, its cheesecake not cheese.
Beta: (explosive) What manic decided it was a good idea to put sugar in cheese?!
Me: Its a sweet cheese! Its supposed to be soft and sweet and creamy and used in desserts!
Beta: (fumes in outrage)
Me: (waves a wet hand) Put it on the counter, I’ll eat it when I’m done.

(Beta stalks off screen)

Husband: (watching from other doorway) The best part of that was him thinking he was being served a wedge of hard cheese for desert and being okay with it.
Me: Now I know what to give him tomorrow.

Not Winning

(scene opens at cluttered dining room table)

Me: (cheerful) Something new for dinner tonight!
Beta: (preens)
Me: Mr. Picky Eater wanted to try something new for pasta night, so we’re having ALFREDO! (puts down bowls of noodles and sauce)
Beta: (shovels it in)
Alpha: (takes one bite gags, puts hands over mouth) Sorry.
Gamma: (watches brother, slowly puts down fork) I’m not hungry.
Delta: (taking cues from the herd) Not hungry, mama.
Me: …you’re serious? It’s just fancy mac’n’cheese!
Gamma: (slinks away from table) I’m going to get ready for Scouts.
Delta: I go too! (takes off)
Alpha: (still at table with hands over mouth) I’m sorry but…just…no.
Beta: (finishes his bowl, grabs Gamma’s, keeps eating)
Me: (stunned) I cannot believe this.
Beta: (mouth full) Right? It’s even better with chicken.