(scene opens in dawn-tinged bedroom)
Gamma: (comes running in)
Me: (opens eyes right before impact)
Gamma: I graduated! Today I go to first grade.
Me: (in amused pity) No, honey, the graduation ceremony was early. You have two more days of kindergarten.
Gamma: (face falls in shocked disappointment) But I’m a first grader now!
Me: (gently) You don’t go to first grade until August. You have two more days of kindergarten.
Gamma: (crushed) I was robbed. (slumps out of the room)
Husband: (mumbled into pillow) For someone who had such a hard year, that was a resolute show of spirit.
Me: Now she has all summer to get even more excited.
(scene opens with mom in pjs chasing a son through the kitchen with a squirt bottle and a hair brush)
Beta: Mom! You have to warn me before you do that!
Me: Hold still, I have to brush your hair. You look like you went through a threshing machine.
Beta: (suffers the attention of water and brushing)
Me: There. Now you look less of a mad scientist with your hair all over.
Beta: But I am a mad scientist.
Me: Well, yes, but the point is to not look like one so that way no one suspects you are up to something and can mad science in peace.
(scene opens on dreary wet walk to school)
Beta: Why are you walking us to school?
Me: Because Gamma’s teacher thinks she’s a savage for running around the playground without her jacket and I now have to be there in the morning to prevent it. This is called the ripple effect.
Alpha: I thought it was the Butterfly Effect.
Me: Similar (lengthy conversation ensues on the topic). And that’s why I get bent out of shape when you get in trouble at school. Because then I get trouble with school.
Gamma: School is boring.
Me: I know and I’m sorry. It’s boring and it’s awful, but I want you to learn things I can’t teach you, it’ll be more fun when you’re older and can learn about things you’re actually interested in, and for now you’re legally required to be in school.
Beta: We could homeschool.
Me: I haven’t been able to teach you to brush your teeth every morning, what makes you think I could teach you Algebra?
(scene opens at messy breakfast table, kids arguing)
Me: (coming to foggy awareness) What are you fighting about now?
Gamma: (mangles some words)
Beta: (talking over her) She took the crayon box upstairs to her room! Now how am I going to be able to my homework when all the pencils are in her room?
Me: (stroking out) Oh my god, Beta! How ever will we manage! There is no way any human could possibly ever climb all those stairs to the second floor for a pencil! No one could ever survive the arduous trek up a flight of stairs for a pencil! No way could you ever manage to bring one home from school! You’re going to fail school and forget how to write your name! We’re all going to die!
Beta: (furious, pounds up stairs, retrieves crayon box, grabs backpack and leaves for school)
Dela: (WTF look, staring after them)
Me: This is why mommy drinks.
Scene opens with silence and contemplation of coffee. Time passes.
Beta: Could we have music?
Me: (turns on Pandora’s 80’s station, just loud enough to fill the silence)
Time passes. Catchy tune kicks on.
Beta: Turn it up? I like this one.
Me: (kicks it up)
Beta: (Proceeds to talk at the top of his lungs, about nothing, over the song he just requested)
Me: (turns off the music to hear the prattle)
Beta: (stops talking, apparently cowed)
Everyone sits in silence for five minutes before music is turned back on. Loud.
Beta: (Proceeds to pick up where he left off)
Cut scene to Elgin burning.
For every righteous mouth that told me my problem is that I need to get the kids on “a schedule” – there’s the idiotic assumption that the kids will FOLLOW the schedule. After almost six years “get up, get dressed, brush your teeth” is still too damn complicated for them to do it unsupervised, without hand holding, micromanaging, and lectures on “Every morning we get up, get dressed, and brush our teeth!”