Time is Meaningless

(scene opens in cluttered dinning room)

Me: (resigned) Okay, smalls, the school has encouraged twenty minutes a day on each of your two learning programs to make sure you’re all caught up for the fall. I don’t want any arguing. You can play video games after your work. Capisce?

Gamma/Delta: (in cheery chorus) Yes mom!

Gamma: Can we have snacks?

Me: Yes, as long as you work.

Gamma/Delta: (wailing) WE’VE BEEN WORKING FOREVER WHY AREN’T WE DONE!

Me: Its twenty minutes of work, not twenty minutes staring and the screen. You’ve done one question! Finish the rest of the questions and you’ll be done!

Gamma/Delta: (moar wailing) THE CLOCK SAYS WE’VE BEEN HERE FOR THIRTY MINUTES WHY WON’T YOU LET US PLAY VIDEO GAMES!?

Me: (trying not to cry) You’ve only done two questions! You have to do all the questions in the practice session!

(dramatic music, fade to black, cut to White Girl Wine Commercial)

A little proud

(scene opens in evening dinning room)

Me: (weary in front of laptop)

Beta: (walks in with dog) I found something on my walk.

Me: (looks confused) What’s is that?

Beta: (hands it over) There’s a lot of money it it. That’s enough to help me get an Oculus, but that’s stealing. So I though you and dad could get it back to the guy.

Me: (stunned, opens wallet to see cash and cards) Uh, yeah. We can do that. That was good of you, Beta. It’s important to get all the cards and I.D.s back, but sometimes that cash is all someone has to get them through the month. This could be a life saver.

Beta: (shrugs, pleased and embarrassed, leaves stage left)

Exhibit A

(scene opens in sunny dinning room)

Me: (tiredly gathering up pandemic homeschool supplies)

Beta: (laying on floor in sunbeam with doggo) Mom? Which do you love more, the kids or the dog.

Me: (sighs) Well, the dog doesn’t argue with me about every. single. thing. I. say. so maybe I love the dog best.

Beta: Except when he’s pulling on the leash or not sitting when you tell him or chewing on things he’s not supposed to…

Me: Hey Beta? You’re kinda proving my point.

Beta: …..damnit.

Helping the Revolution

(scene opens in cluttered dining room, Pandemic Homeschool in progress)

Carrot: Okay after you draw your picture, we have to write sentences.

Delta: (scribbles out a snowman) Done!

Carrot: Write “My snowman has long hair”

(twenty minute montage of this being attempted)

Delta: Done!

Carrot: (slightly frazzled) Okay, is your snowman a boy or girl? A he or she? Or is your snowman a they?

Delta: (thinks) My snowman is a they. Because snowmen can be boys or girls.

Carrot: Awesome. Write “They have long arms”.

(another twenty minute montage as Carrot sinks deeper into her coffee)

Delta: Mommy, this is my last one. Teacher says I only have to do two sentences, not three.

Carrot: (sigh) Honey, I am your teacher.

Lessons for my Daughter

(scene opens in dining room)

Me: (brushing Gamma’s hair) You’re getting so tall. You’re so amazing. (rests chin on top of Gamma’s head)

Gamma: I am tall.

Me: (continues brushing hair) I want you to know something. You’re going to be tall like your father’s family. Me and Aunt T? We’re not tall. Your dad? Very tall. (turns daughter around to face her) I want you to understand something very important.

Gamma: (uncertain) Okay?

Me: (smiles gently) There are going to be men out there who are going to be threatened by a tall woman. Because it makes them feel like they’re not strong and in charge and you know what? (stops smiling, pokes her chest) You don’t need men like that.

Gamma: (throws arms up) I AM INVICIBLE!

Me: You are.

Gamma: And I have poison coming out of my teeth. I’ll bite them.

Me: (kisses her forehead) That’ll learn ’em.

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)

Hard Lessons

(scene opens in gloomy foyer)
Me: What took you so long?
Beta: I had to put my shoes on.
Me: Well, Gamma left without you.
Beta: (sounds of outrage and distress)
Me: You’ve been mean and rude to her all morning, she’s convinced you don’t like her, and now you’re going to be upset that she walked to school without you?
Beta: (Distress intensifies as he fights with his jacket)
Me: What did you think would happen? No one is going to waste time trying to be friends with someone who’s mean to them. And now you’re on your own. Have a nice day at school.

Why does this even need to be said?

A mile walk to pick up the car from the shop included lighthearted conversational topics such as:

“Beta, accept the fact that you are wrong. Do not be that guy that has to justify why you had to be mean to someone. It is not her fault you have to be a jerk, it is your fault you wanted to be a jerk. No one wants to be friends with that.”

And

“Gamma, breaks are for the weak. We do not stop for a rest at the end of every block, we walk until we get to our destination and then we rest. The longer we take to get there, the longer we will be walking.”