Early Bird

(scene opens in suburban arctic wasteland, small child climbing icebergs)

Me: (fumbling for phone with numb fingers)
Nice Dispatch Lady: Hello, how can I help you?
Me: The bus hasn’t arrived yet and was wondering if there was a reason its late?
NDL: Sure, give me your information. (sounds of typing) Says the bus should be there at 11:09.
Me: Yeah, we’ve been out here since 11:05 and the bus never shows before 11:10.
NDL: (cautious) Do you know what time it is?
Me: 11:20.
NDL: (carefully) It’s 10:20.
Me: (pause, checks phone, zoom in on time) Oh, you’re kidding me. (with horror)
NDL: (with humor) Nope, not kidding.
Me: Welp, I guess I’m going back inside and taking the battery out of my phone. Thanks for your help.
NDL: (with Bless Your Heart sass) No problem. You have a good day now.
Me: (hangs up phone) Totally deserved that.

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Time, Time, Time

(scene opens in dim dinning room)

Alpha: (comes in foyer, shedding snow)
Me: (concerned) What are you doing home? Did they cancel track?
Alpha: No, I have homework.
Me: (appalled) ….you ditched track to do homework? You’ve missed all of last week’s practice already! How much do you have?
Alpha: I have to finish the late worksheet.
Me: That’s it? (temper rises) How long do you think that’s going to take you?
Alpha: (hesitantly) All night?
Me: You actually have no clue how much homework you have on any given night, which is amazing since you never bring homework home.
Alpha: (defensively sullen) I didn’t think I could run if I had homework.
Me: (shakes fists at the sky, shrieking) School. Practice. Homework. Dinner. Bed. There is time for all things under heaven! What kind of life do you think you’re going to live where you can clear your entire calendar for twenty minutes worth of work?
Alpha: (tearfully sullen) A life on the streets.
Me: (collects with difficulty) Even street people have a schedule in an effort to survive. Thank you for making homework a priority.

(Alpha exits, Mother screams silently and tears out hair)

How am I not ruling the world?

(scene opens in a tossed parlor)

Me: For the last time today, sit down and do your reading for English.
Beta: (whining) But I did my reading!
Me: That was for your Merit Badge. Different book. English class. Now.
Beta: (more whining, gravity suddenly triples in effort to reach paperback)
Me: (refuses to be baited, sips coffee)
Beta: (studies book as if having never seen it before) What page was I on?
Me: (temporarily looses vision) What makes you think I would know that?
Beta: (guileless) You’re supposed to be keeping up with my homework so I know what I’m doing.
Me: Find. Your. Page. Read. The. Whole. Book. Tonight.

And so we begin

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!”