That doesn’t mean what you think it means

(scene opens with Saturday homework extravaganza)
Alpha: (reading merit badge book!) Mom! There are aliens! This amendment gives the government the ability to make aliens US citizens!
Me: Anyone not born in this country is considered “alien”. Mexicans are aliens, Russians are aliens, the Irish are aliens.
Alpha: But we’re all human.
Me: The world is very tribal. Everyone identifies themselves by country and/or religion. That’s why we have war. People are from the “wrong” country or the “wrong” religion.
Alpha: (downcast) Humans are stupid.
Me: (with infinite gentleness) We’re not stupid. We’re incredibly shortsighted.

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Outrage, stage left

(scene opens in basement, mother folding laundry)
Alpha: (coming down stairs) I have to do my reading homework and I finished Deathly Hallows.
Me: Cursed Child is on the sewing table. Listen, you need four books in six genres for your Reading Merit badge. Cursed Child is a play. If you document your reading, this will count for your badge.
Alpha: Okay. I’m getting a snack first.
(time passes)
Me: (goes upstairs with clean laundry to hear outrage) What’s wrong?
Alpha: This isn’t a story! This is a play! I wanted to read a real story!
Me: (sigh) It is a real story. You just have to pay careful attention at who’s doing the talking.

Parent Advisory

(Scene opens at grade school touring 6th grade country projects)
Me: (looking over a display on Japan) Nice work, Alpha
Alpha: They have all sorts of festivals too.
Me: Oh yeah, they have the Cherry Blossom one, one for a full moon, one for kids, probably one for incense, one for the royal family.
Alpha’s Friend: They also have one for spring that has…. (trails off)
Me: They have several for spring. Or are you talking about the one where they carry the bier with a….(realizes she’s about to say “oversized penis” to a 6th grader on school property)
Alpha’s Friend: Yeah. That one.
Alpha: You know about that one mom? How do you know about that one?
Me: I know lots of things. But yes, they have that “other” spring festival too.