How to talk to them

(scene opens in early cluttered dining room)

Delta: (suddenly alarmed) Where’s Narbles?!

Gamma: (in kitchen) Over here! (camera cuts to squishmallow purple narwhal on the counter)

Me: Thank you, for finding her…. Hey, is Narbles a boy or a girl?

Delta: Um…Narbles is from the sea and a sea creature, so both.

Me: Oh. What do you call someone who’s both?

Gamma: (comes out of kitchen) A helicopter.

Me: You don’t call them a helicopter! That’s silly.

Gamma: (seriously) No, they’re helicopters. (holds up hands at 90 degrees) Helicopters have the blades on top and blades on the back. See? Both!

Me: That’s pretty good logic, but you can just say “they” if you don’t know or they say they’re non-binary.

Gamma: What’s binary?

Me: Binary is when you only have two choices. Non-binary would be a third option.

Gamma: Cool. Can I have Nutella for breakfast?

Me: (sigh) And that concludes the lesson. Sure, share with Delta.

(two kids throw up their hands cheering and run off screen)

Threefold rule

(scene opens in crowded foyer, conversation in progress)

Gamma: I don’t want my toys to become voodoo!
Beta: No, your toys aren’t voodoo, there are dolls called voodoo dolls.
Gamma: But that’s scary! I don’t want voodoo dolls.
Beta: Your dolls don’t become voodoo dolls, they’re something totally different.
Gamma: But they hurt people! If you punch them don’t I get hurt?
Beta: I don’t know how it works actually.
Me: (rubbing forehead) It’s time to go, guys. Let me get my jacket on and I’ll explain sympathetic magic to you on the way to school, okay?
Gamma: Yay! Mommy is teaching us magic!

Scarred, I tell you

(scene opens in echoing Legoland cafe, filled with screaming kids)

Gamma: Mom, who’s that lady with the red hair?
Me: (turns, sees wall covered with portraits of superhero min-figs) That’s Poison Ivy. She and Harley Quinn are girlfriend-girlfriend.
Gamma: Huh. Which on is Batman’s girlfriend?
Me: Catwoman.
Gamma: Oh. Can I have goldfish with my pizza?

Power of a name

(scene opens in toy tossed bedroom)

Me: Enough, Gamma. I’ve been after you all week to pick up.
Gamma: But I did!
Me: (enhancing her calm) You have not. Look, I’ll help.
Gamma: But it is!
Me: (ignoring, pointing to books) Put these on the shelves. (pulls out bin) Put the dolls in here. I’ll collect the dirty laundry.
Gamma: (uncertain) Okay.
Me: (picks up jeans to reveal an Elves Lego min-fig) Here. Put David Bowie in the Lego box.
Gamma: David Bowie? How do you know his name is David Bowie?
Me: That’s the Goblin King. Everyone knows the Goblin King’s name is David Bowie.
Gamma: Thanks mom.

Dress for the job you want

(scene opens in moderately neat kitchen)
Gamma: (hands Delta a white unicorn beanie baby)
Delta: (hugs it)
Me: That was very nice of you Gamma.
Gamma: I thought he would like it, I can’t have unicorns.
Me: Why not?
Gamma: Because they’re white. I’m the Burning Reaper. Black and white are for different things.
Me: I see.