Good Clean Fun

(scene opens in chaos filled parlor, video game war in progress)

Me: That’s it. (turns off Xbox, picks up remote) We’re going to watch something fun.

(collective groan from four children)

Me: Here. We’re going to watch the 2019 Marblelympics.

(silence as marble filled lego stands comes on the screen)

Alpha: (full of teen angst) What in fresh hell is this?

Gamma: I’m Green Ducks!

Delta: I’m Savage Speeders!

Beta: (scowls at the tv) This is cancer.

Husband: (rushes in) Who’s winning, did I miss anything?

Me: No, they just lit the torch.

Husband: This is very exciting. I hope Oceanics does well this year.

Alpha: That’s it, I’m going for a walk.

Price of Nerdity

(scene opens in gloomy dining room)

(montage cut scenes of four children not able to exist without active involvement of their mother)

Me: (slams laptop shut) THAT’S IT!

(collective silence)

Alpha: (too little too late) Guys, you have to leave mom alone, she’s taking a test.

Beta: (having missed the last ten memos) What kind of tests?

Me: I am trying to take my Starfleet exams and I just got my first “pass” and just ruined my grade point average.

Alpha: (smirks) Starfleet? Oh, you’re playing game.

Me: (dangerous) I’m not. I’m reading .pdfs and taking tests. I’ve been homeschooling you all day, I’d appreciate it if you’d let me go to school.

Beta: (dismissively) It’s not even real school. Why would anyone pretend to go school?

Me: (hotly) Because that is what geeks do! Geeks go to pretend schools from pretend realities to get pretend degrees in pretend subjects and then wear pretend alumni shirts for pretend college reunions and talk about their awesome pretend careers! (puts head in hands) I’ll never graduate with honors now.

Gamma: Why even learn all that stuff if its pretend?

Me: So my people will think I’m cool.

Gotta stop it early

(scene opens in messy kitchen)

Gamma: (excited) Beta! I’ve been watch Minecraft YouTube! I know more Minecraft now!

Beta: (sweeping the floor and shitty about it) Oh yeah, how many blocks does it take…

Me: WE WILL NOT HAVE GATEKEEPING IN MY HOUSE!

Beta: (pouts)

Me: Hey Beta, do you know Dr. Who?

Beta: (pauses, lies badly) No.

Me: (knows his game) Try again. Hey, Beta, do you know Dr. Who?

Beta: Yeah.

Me: Oh yeah? Name them all.

Beta: (guilty grins)

Me: Oh, I guess you don’t know dick about Dr. Who. (gives the “understand?” look) That’s what it sounds like. Don’t. Do. It

(looks at the camera, breaks the fourth wall)

Me: Parents, don’t let your kids Gatekeep. It’s a dick move.

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)

Rise to the Challenge

(scene opens in tossed dining room)

Alpha: What are you reading?
Me: An article about how a movie theater is running all the marvel movies in order before Endgame.
Alpha: (unimpressed) Huh.
Me: Would you like to go?
Alpha: I already saw all of them.
Me: So? We could do it at home. We have all movies, we can spend all weekend watching them in order. A whole weekend! Think of all the popcorn we can eat!
Alpha: (grimace) I don’t really like popcorn.
Me: You break my heart. I’ll watch 59 hours of Marvel with Gamma. She still loves me. I’ll invite all my nerd friends and you can’t hang with us.
Alpha: Whatever.

Behind the 8 Ball

(scene opens at New Year’s table, Dominion being set up amid the snacks)

Me: Alpha, where are you?
Alpha: (offscreen, sullen) Here.
Beta: C’mon dude, we’re going to play a card game!
Alpha: (deeper sullen) No.
Me: (frustrated) Alpha, would you please come to the table? It’s New Year’s Eve and we’re doing new family traditions. Could we play some games, please?
Alpha: (storms into the room) No! I don’t want to do nerd things! I don’t want to be a nerd!
Me: (dies a little, mists up) Oh honey, you have no idea how badly you’ve already lost that fight.

Lame Start

(scene opens in early morning parlor)

Gamma: (still in pjs with sequined sleep mask) Mom! I looked everywhere for the presents and there isn’t anything!
Me: (confused, re-heating yesterday’s coffee) Honey, Christmas isn’t for another few weeks.
Gamma: No! Wolfenoot! There’s supposed to be presents!
Me: Oh honey, yesterday was Wolfenoot. Its on your birthday. That’s why you got a stuffed wolf.
Gamma: (crushed) When’s the next Wolfenoot! Do I have to wait another year?!
Me: Yes, you have to wait another year. Things got busy this month, I promise next year the Spirit of the Wolf will do a better job.
Gamma: (slumps out of the room) That was the worst Wolfenoot ever.
Me: (calls after her) It was the first Wolfenoot ever! We’ve not had enough practice! (to self) Man, no love for the Wolf Mom.

Its Funny Because its True

(scene opens in dinning room)

Me: (harried, going over high school registration forms) Alpha, you can’t switch to Spanish next year, you’re taking German 2.
Alpha: (outraged) But wouldn’t it make more sense to learn a language everyone here is already speaking?!
Me: You can take Spanish in college if you want. Or you can start Spanish DuoLingo.
Alpha: But I’m already doing German DuoLingo as homework.
Me: You can do more than one at a time. I’m doing three right now.
Alpha: (sullen) But one of them is Klingon and that doesn’t count.
Husband: He’s not wrong.
Me: (harumphs)

All the colors

(scene opens in gloomy tossed dinning room)

Delta: Batman, mommy! Batman!
Me: What? (sees Delta with hair clip and pink baby blanket) Oh! Okay!
Gamma: (from under the table) What does he want?
Me: (putting blanket around Delta’s shoulders) He wants to be Batman, so I’m putting a cape on him.
Gamma: Batman doesn’t wear pink.
Me: It’s Pride. He’s Pride Batman. Pride Batman can wear pink.
Gamma: That’s not a thing.
Me: You wanna bet?

(scene ends with Delta zooming around the room in naught but diaper and pink cape)

Learn you good

(scene opens in cluttered parlor)

Me: (enters, sees Gamma on the computer) Gamma? What are you doing?
Gamma: Watching videos of games! (Pouty lipped cartoon character on the screen, with lipstick choices)
Me: (flinches inwardly) How about you watch something a little more intellectually stimulating than putting fake make up on a fake person?

(mother leaves, back momentarily, sees Gamma typing)

Me: Now what are you watching?
Gamma: I’m trying to find Kurzgesagt. Is that okay?
Me: (pauses, impressed) That’s fine.

Don’t Cross the Streams

(scene opens in a narrow mud room)

Me: Alpha, I wanted to show you what I got and I hope I don’t embarrass you too much wearing it.
Alpha: (looks up from tying shoes to see mother in a Starfleet Letterman hoodie) Nice.
Me: Am I cool?
Alpha: Nerdy cool.
Gamma: What does that say?! (points to patch)
Me: Starfleet Academy. Ex Astris, Scientia. “From the stars, knowledge”.
Gamma: Can I go! I want to go too! I want to go to the Starfleet!
Me: (hugs her) I’m sorry sweetie, it doesn’t exist. Yet.
Gamma: (outraged look of betrayal) Why not!
Me: We haven’t met the Vulcans or developed the Warp Drive yet.
Gamma: What’s Warp Drive?
Me: A way to travel through space in less time.
Gamma: Time and space? Like Dr. Who? Or is that Dr. Strange?
Me: No. Starfleet travels through space, Dr. Who travels through time and space, and Dr. Strange is just magic.

Unimpressed

(scene opens in moderately organized kitchen)

Alpha: So where are we going?
Me: St. Louis. We’re spending the night and on Monday we’re going to see the eclipse! (with great enthusiasm)
Alpha: (dismayed) But we have school on Monday.
Me: I’m taking you out of school. Once in a lifetime chance! Non-academic learning potential!
Alpha: (wilting further) We’re getting gym locker combinations on Monday.
Me: Solar. Eclipse. In. Totality.
Alpha: (Sagging completely) It’s just….just that…its less time I can hang out with my friend.
Me: Holy god. It’ll be another 99 years before this happens again. Could you just try to enjoy the fact that your nerdly space-obsessed mother finds a 3 minute event to be more important than sitting at a desk for six hours?