Old Fashion Hobby

(scene opens in dim dining room, homeschool hell in progress)

Me: (frowning, thinking, typing slowly)

Gamma: (comes around table to look over Carrot’s shoulder) Black Phoenix Alchemy? Is that for me? Because I like alchemy?

Me: (confused) What? No. Go back to your chair.

Gamma: (lingering) I’m curious.

Me: (sharply) Go!

Gamma: (flouncing away dramatically) Why isn’t it for me? Why won’t you let me do alchemy?

Me: (struggling to focus) Black Phoenix Alchemy is a perfume site, not alchemy.

Gamma: (bemoans) Why doesn’t anyone do alchemy any more?

Me: (trying to articulate) Now it’s called chemistry.

Gamma: Doesn’t sound as much fun as alchemy. I suppose I could do chemistry if I had to.

(Carrot puts head down on table, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Small Person, Big Question

(scene opens in bathroom, bubble bath in progress)

Delta: When will Corona end?

Me: (taken aback) What? Uh…Oh, I don’t know honey. No one knows. It’s a mystery.

Delta: (agog) No one knows? In the whole wide world?

Me: Nope. Scientists are working on it.

Delta: Where did Corona come from?

Me: An animal. Sometimes people can get sick and give it to animals and animals can get sick and give it to people. It’s why we have to be careful when we cough and stay clean. Wash your hand! (lathers Delta’s head)

Delta: (laughs) Animals can’t cough!

Me: No, but they can spit on you! (pours water on Delta’s head)

Delta: (shrieks and laughs)

(fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Trap, Set, Spike

(scene opens around cluttered breakfast table)

Me: (reading Kindle) So. Beta. Did you brush your teeth this morning?

Beta: (shoveling cereal into his mouth) Yeah.

Me: (conversationally) With what?

Beta: (spidey senses tingling) …with…toothpaste?

Me: Oh yeah? Where’s your toothbrush?

Beta: ….upstairs?

Me: (affected mildness) Interesting. Because I’ve noticed that your toothbrush has been bone dry for a few days, so I brought it down stairs with me at 6 am this morning so I could prove to you that I know you for a liar. So. When you’re finished with breakfast, go do that. The reason you’re getting cavities is not because you’re not brushing well enough, you’re not brushing at all.

Beta: (mopey, drinks last of milk goes to brush teeth)

Me: (calls after him) Also! Your toothbrush is electric and makes noise! I can tell you didn’t brush your teeth if I didn’t hear it! Sound travels! SCIENCE!

Opportunity strikes

(scene opens in tossed dinning room)

Alpha: (thinking himself clever) Mom, if people evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?
Me: (shock) Did you just seriously ask me that question?
Alpha: (bravado wavers a bit) Yeah.
Me: (anticipatory stretch, cracks knuckles) I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Sit down while I learn you good. Its been a while since I used the Anthro degree. (picks up pencil to sketch out hominid family tree)

(time passes, multiple cut scenes follow, science happens)

Alpha: (whimpers)
Me: There. And that’s why, my little hairless ape, there are both monkeys and human beings. Before you decide this play this trick again, the same goes for dogs and wolves. Unless you’re dumb enough to think that pre-historic saber-toothed Bichon Frise roamed the earth hunting undersized mammoths.
Alpha: (slinks off to kitchen to do dishes)

Science might happen

(scene opens in oddly clean kitchen)

Beta: What are we having for dinner?
Me: (cleaning down counter) Ribs.
Beta: (distressed) I don’t like ribs! I have all the ingredients for my quesadillas and I haven’t made them yet.
Me: (affronted) What do you mean you don’t like ribs? Its cow. Cow is steak. You like steak.
Beta: It has bones!
Me: Steak sometimes has bones in it! Think of it as steak on the cob! You can eat it with your hands!
Beta: (tilts head) Can you do that? Cook steak on the cob? Around the corn?
Me: (stops cold) I…don’t know. I suppose you could. Get some really thin steak, tenderize it, get a good rub, wrap it around the cob and then grill?
Beta: Like really thick bacon.

(both pause, re-considering life goals)

Me: Wow.
Beta: Yeah. Wow.

(music crescendos, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Fun Sponge

(scene opens at crowded breakfast table)

Beta: Mom! Mom! Mom!
Me: (shuffles out of kitchen, clutching coffee)
Beta: I got a question for you!
Gamma: (giggles conspiratorially)
Me: Hit me.
Beta: (smugly) What came first? The chicken or the egg?
Me: (sips coffee) The egg.
Beta: (not expecting an answer) How do you figure?
Me: Dinosaurs laid eggs. Birds evolved from dinosaurs. Chickens are birds. (sips coffee)
Gamma: (changes the direction of her laughter)
Beta: Wow, mom. Way to ruin a good riddle.
Me: I live to serve. (shuffles back into the kitchen)

Lawful Good

(scene opens in full airplane)

Beta: (spastic) Look! Look! Look! (pointing out window)
Alpha: (white knuckled, grits) Could you not?
Me: (calmly reading Kindle) Alpha, it’s okay. We’re not even turbulent.
Beta: Yeah, Alpha, not like we’re about to drop out of the sky in a flaming wreck.
Alpha: Seriously? Why would you say that?
Me: We’re in a tin can being thrown through the air, held aloft by the Laws of Physics.
Alpha: MOM!
Me: Math is magic.

Learn you good

(scene opens in cluttered parlor)

Me: (enters, sees Gamma on the computer) Gamma? What are you doing?
Gamma: Watching videos of games! (Pouty lipped cartoon character on the screen, with lipstick choices)
Me: (flinches inwardly) How about you watch something a little more intellectually stimulating than putting fake make up on a fake person?

(mother leaves, back momentarily, sees Gamma typing)

Me: Now what are you watching?
Gamma: I’m trying to find Kurzgesagt. Is that okay?
Me: (pauses, impressed) That’s fine.

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.

Don’t Cross the Streams

(scene opens in a narrow mud room)

Me: Alpha, I wanted to show you what I got and I hope I don’t embarrass you too much wearing it.
Alpha: (looks up from tying shoes to see mother in a Starfleet Letterman hoodie) Nice.
Me: Am I cool?
Alpha: Nerdy cool.
Gamma: What does that say?! (points to patch)
Me: Starfleet Academy. Ex Astris, Scientia. “From the stars, knowledge”.
Gamma: Can I go! I want to go too! I want to go to the Starfleet!
Me: (hugs her) I’m sorry sweetie, it doesn’t exist. Yet.
Gamma: (outraged look of betrayal) Why not!
Me: We haven’t met the Vulcans or developed the Warp Drive yet.
Gamma: What’s Warp Drive?
Me: A way to travel through space in less time.
Gamma: Time and space? Like Dr. Who? Or is that Dr. Strange?
Me: No. Starfleet travels through space, Dr. Who travels through time and space, and Dr. Strange is just magic.

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.

Unimpressed

(scene opens in moderately organized kitchen)

Alpha: So where are we going?
Me: St. Louis. We’re spending the night and on Monday we’re going to see the eclipse! (with great enthusiasm)
Alpha: (dismayed) But we have school on Monday.
Me: I’m taking you out of school. Once in a lifetime chance! Non-academic learning potential!
Alpha: (wilting further) We’re getting gym locker combinations on Monday.
Me: Solar. Eclipse. In. Totality.
Alpha: (Sagging completely) It’s just….just that…its less time I can hang out with my friend.
Me: Holy god. It’ll be another 99 years before this happens again. Could you just try to enjoy the fact that your nerdly space-obsessed mother finds a 3 minute event to be more important than sitting at a desk for six hours?