Inter-office Memo

(scene opens at the top of the stairs, furniture pushed onto the landing)

Me: What is this?

Gamma: (briskly exiting her room) I’m just doing a bit of cleaning.

Me: (somewhere between shock and confusion)

Gamma: (hands over a clipboard) I’ve come to some decisions about what I want my room to look like.

(camera cuts to clipboard)

Me: Uh, okay.

Gamma: You probably should talk it over with dad.

Me: Sure. I’ll do that. (slowly backs away, exits scene)

I need an adultier adult.

(scene opens at cluttered dinning room table, Pandemic Homeschool in Progress)

Me: (too through) Okay, next project. Remember the book the teacher read to you this morning in Zoom? Here you have to draw a picture about what makes you “you” and record it.

Delta: (anxious) I don’t know what makes me “me”!

Me: (striving for patience) It can be anything. Anything you like about yourself.

Delta: (thinks) My skin!

Me: (begins to tremble) …..maybe something different?

Delta: If it weren’t for skin, we wouldn’t be human!

Me: (closes eyes, hangs head, submits to the will of the gods) You are technically correct.

Delta: (hums to himself as he beings to draw) Look mommy! I drew my skin! (camera cuts to computer screen showing a flesh colored blob)

Me: (faintly) Great job. Remember to use the microphone to explain what you drew and why it makes you “you”.

Delta: (leans toward lap top, hisses) ….mmmmmyyyyy ssskkkkkiiinnnnnn. (normal voice) Goodbye! (digitally submits assignment) All done mommy! Time for a brain break.

Me: (stares at her coffee) Yes. Quite.

Too Much Creativity

(scene opens in tossed parlor)

Gamma: (fresh from school) Mom! I have to make a machine for school tomorrow!
Me: Wha..? Why?
Gamma: I…(self aware pause) I didn’t finish it in class. Maybe draw it?
Me: Do you have to make or draw?
Gamma: (mental processing) …both? I need a machine that makes my life easier with snacks.
Me: (can’t even) With what? Snacks?
Gamma: Whatever we have in the house. Its a machine about snacks.

(scene cuts to cluttered dinning room)

Me: There. You have styrofoam cups, bendy straws, tape, scissors, and this aluminum tray you brought home from school. Have at.
Gamma: Whee!(proceeds to cut everything into confetti)
Me: Uh, what are you making?
Gamma: I’m just cutting.
Me: What about your snack machine?!?
Gamma: (surveys carnage) Oh. I forgot.

Learning can be fun

(scene opens up in cleared dining room)

Alpha: (fumbling with project materials)
Me: Oh! Solar models! You can talk about totality we saw in St. Louis. (picks up sun-earth-moon model and arranges them for the joke) Solar eclipse. Lunar eclipse. Apocalypse.
Alpha: (stares for a moment) No. This would be the apocalypse (removes moon) because if there wasn’t any moon to stabilize rotation….
Me: Try again. (repeats it slowly with emphasis on “clipse”)
Alpha: (stare gets darker) Ha ha. That wasn’t very funny.
Me: It’s all I’ve got today.

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.

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.