With Love

(scene open in mini-van, everyone dressed for arctic conditions)

Me: Okay, now when we get to the campsite I want you to behave yourself. This is a new troop, don’t overwhelm them.

Gamma: (bouncing with excitement) Okay, mama. When are we going to get there?

Me: We’re here. (turns into camp ground) This is where you’ll be camping for the weekend. It’s going to be super cold, remember to wear all your layers.

Gamma: (moar bouncing) Okay, mama. I can hardly wait to say good bye to you!

Me:

That’s one for the books.

(scene opens in frantic parlor, three out of four spawnlings in scout uniforms.)

Me: Everyone got their shoes on? Uniforms on? Find your coats.

Husband: Gamma. Fix your belt.

(camera cuts to Gamma in Webelo uniform, scout belt all twisted)

Gamma: (struggles with scout belt)

Husband: Did you miss a belt loop?

Me: (aggravated) Here, let me help. This part is…. (hesitates) Gamma? You somehow managed to tuck your pants into your pants.

(everyone pauses, exchanges looks)

Husband: (sighs) I’m getting in the car. Head out when you two are ready.

A little called out there.

(scene opens in cluttered dinning room, merit badge work in progress)

Carrot: (typing around Delta in her lap) Okay, requirement #2b says you have to pick a book of a “best of” list that you think you’d like to read and write it down.

Beta: (unenthused)

Carrot: (after the third list heavy on the “Live, Laugh, Love” bullshit) Wow, its a lot harder than I thought to find something to read.

Beta: Try narrowing it down to just best science-fiction of 2021.

Carrot: Here we go. (starts to scroll, points to the screen) Read that one. Don’t recommend. Oh! I read the first one of this series! (camera cuts to screen, showing Harrow the Ninth)

Beta: (skeptical)

Carrot: Stay with me. It’s got a very Warhammer 40k setting.

Beta: (skeptically interested) …..yeah?

Carrot: And everyone has a different flavor of necromancy.

Beta: (explodes) What is it with you and necromancers!? First its necromancer vampires! Then its necromancer space marines! (waves arms in Muppet flail) Look over there! Necromancer ponies!

Carrot: (loses it completely, laughs copious fat tears into Delta’s moppy blond curls)

Beta: Seriously. What the hell is wrong with you?

Delta (echoing) Yeah mom! What’s wrong with you?

(Carrot laughs until it hurts, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Going Extinct

(scene opens in church rec room, Cub Scout meeting in progress)

Delta: (whispering) Mom, I need a drink.

Me: (takes him by the hand, leaves the room)

(cut scene to hallway with an archaic drinking fountain mounted to the brick wall)

Delta: (looks at it, looks at Carrot) Do we have a water bottle?

Me: (confused) No. We don’t need a water bottle. Just drink.

Delta: (looks at it, looks at Carrot)

Me: (pushes button, leans forward, slurps up the arc of water) See?

Delta: (delightedly steps up and drinks enough water to drown an elephant) Mom! That was fun! I’ve never drank water like that!

Me: How have you never used a drinking fountain before?

Delta: School only has places to fill bottles. (runs back to rec room)

Me: (dies a little)

Back to Normal

(scene opens in laundry room, Carrot knee-deep in clothing)

Me: (pulled laundry out of drier, makes face, pulls out “clean” sock and sniffs it, more ugly face)

Beta: (enters basement)

Me: Beta! Slither hither? (puts laundry of “clean” clothes on the drier) Did you do this load I just pulled out?

Beta: (moderately sullen) Yeah?

Me: (hands sock to sniff) When your socks come out of the dryer smelling like feet, it means they came out of the washer smelling like feet. Did you use detergent?

Beta: Yeah. I used one of those pods. (points to laundry detergent)

Me: Welp, they need to be done again then.

Beta: (without blinking, holds up scout sash, clearly savaged by a wild animal)

Me: Oh. Huh. Looks like Epsilon missed you while you were gone.

Beta: (sadly) Glad he stopped before he got to the merit badges.

Me: Those could have been replaced too. Put it on my sewing table. I’ll go to the scout shop tomorrow.

Time Capsule

Me: (frazzled in the door of Gamma’s room) Okay, for the last time, pick up all. the. books and put them on. the. shelf. There are twelves books on the floor and it has taken you (checks watch) five hours to avoid picking them up.

Gamma: But it’s boring.

Me: You know what makes it less boring> Putting all the books on the shelf in five minutes or less.

(Beta walks up behind, taps Carrot on shoulder, hands her a bag of scout badges)

Me: (stares dumbfounded) I oughta pinch you. These are Webelo badges.

Beta: Yeah? So?

Me: It means they’ve been sitting in a drawer or under your bed since fifth grade! That’s how long its been since you cleaned where ever you found these!

Beta: Yeah, well, I’m about half way done on the drawers.

Me: (hyperventilating)

Basic Education

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, Carrot helping Beta prep lunch)

Husband: Where’s the Vaseline?

Me: Metal cabinet? What do you need it for?

Husband: (holds up gauze square and Vaseline) Gamma hasn’t learned firestarting.

Me: Yes she has. (thinks) Okay, she might have memory lapse from that long ago. Dog memory.

Husband: No worries. We’re going to go firestarting. (heads out back door)

Me: (calls after) Twisted firestarting?

Husband: (shouts back) Maybe!

Beta: (stares in WTF)

Me: I’m a firestarter? Twisted firestarter? No? (sigh, grabs laptop) Hang on.

Beta: (watches required video in skeptical silence) Yeah. Sure. Okay. I’m gonna go make pizza now….

Me: You break my heart, Beta.

Hand Me Downs

(scene opens up in dim kitchen, soggy Boy Scouts dragging in)

Husband: (sitting on stool, prying off boots) Beta? Did you take the tent to the garage?

Beta: (tiredly) Yeah.

Me: (studies offspring) Beta, I have to get you a new uniform shirt, you’re about to pop buttons off of that, give it to me.

Beta: No mom. It’s fine. (unbuttons uniform anyway, hands it over)

Husband: Take the patches off and burn it. I doubt he’s washed it recently.

Me: I can wash it. (yells out) Gamma! Slither hither!

Husband: No.

(Gamma comes tearing in, Carrot hands over the scout shirt)

Gamma: (puts it on, only slightly oversized, starts flail-dancing)

Husband: Wow. That almost fits.

Gamma: (singing) We’re all growing up and I don’t like it. (runs from the room)

Husband: What the…

Me: That’s been my weekend. I’ll wash the shirt.

Bad Business

(scene opens in cluttered dining room)

Me: (sorting Girl Scout cookies into piles)

Husband: (enters) I hear we have cookies to sell?

Me: Yes. These are what we have left. (camera cuts to mostly empty box)

Husband: Beta said we had Thin Mints.

Me: I just sold them to your brother.

Husband: My brother?! How could you? I was downstairs!

Me: I could hear you on a conference call.

Husband: I was downstairs!

Me: This has more to do with me selling them to your brother and not that I sold them before you could get off the call.

Husband: (outraged) Well obviously!

Hard to tell

(scene opens at zoo. Mom and child with activity backpack)

Gamma: Look at the bunnies! I’m a wild animal too, mama.

Me: (without inflection) Really. I had no idea. Okay Gamma, station four. (hands over ziplock bag) What is our activity?

Gamma: (pulls out laminated cards) Domestic Animals. Am I a domestic animal, mama?

Me: (hesitates) No. I’m pretty sure you’re not.

Gamma: (continues to read) Domestic animals are animals that can’t take care of themselves, they do not know how to find food or shelter in the wild. See, mama? I’m totally a domestic animal.

Me: (resigned) I stand corrected.

All knowledge is worth having

(scene opens at shady and tree heavy play ground, Carrot & Beta on park bench looking at phone)

Husband: (approaching) What are you looking at?

Me: Doing some Boy Scout learnin’. Beta, what’s that? (points to tree)

Beta: (pleased) Black walnut.

Me: Is it edible?

Beta: (more pleased) Yes. You harvest them in September and can wack them through a hole in a piece of plywood with a hammer to rip the green fleshy part off.

Me: Did we find any?

Beta: (holds up four dirty whole walnuts) Over there. Under the oak tree.

Gamma: (runs over at top speed) Let me see! Let me see the nuts!

Beta: (hunches protectively over his find, scowls) No. Go away. These are my nuts!

Gamma: Let me look! I just want to feel your nuts!

Me: (with heroic nonchalance) Beta, let Gamma feel your nuts.

Beta: (turns with comically horrified look on his face, dumps the walnuts into Gamma’s lap, runs off stage left)

Gamma: (picks up the walnuts) Beta’s nuts are all rough and dirty.

Me: (maintaining composure) They are.

Gamma: (thinks for a moment) What are the other words for nuts?

Me: It depends on the type of nut, I guess. There are walnuts and peanuts and chestnuts and…

Gamma: (interrupts) No. (brow furrows, looking for the right words, said slowly and carefully) What are the other meanings of the word nut?

Me: Oh. (considers options, throws caution) Nut is the slang term for testicle.

Gamma: (makes same face as Beta, jumps up and says loudly) Beta! I have your nuts and I’m going to bury your nuts where you can’t find them and then you won’t have any nuts! (runs off stage right)

Husband: (sits in spot Gamma vacated) Proud of yourself?

Me: Immensely. (watches Beta outrage flail in the distance) You disapprove?

Husband: (shrugs) You’re the one going to be fielding phone calls from the school.