31 Plays in 31 Days: Death by Baby
Death by Baby
(Dorie and Gwen sit at a kitchen table drinking tea and talking.)
Dorie They are just so beautiful.
Gwen I know and I love them, they are the best.
Dorie Are you ok?
Gwen I’m really really tired.
Dorie Well, you do have triplets.
Gwen It’s not the babies. I always thought it would be the babies, but it’s everyone else. It’s the people. The old bags who walk up to the stroller when they are sleeping and say “oh, can’t I just see them?” It’s the people in the grocery store “Oh, you’ve got your hands full!” It’s the people who keep saying to me “Oh, they all look just the same, how do you tell them apart?” Oh and then there’s the people who want to know if I’m breast feeding…who the fuck knew that was such a goddamned loaded question. There is no right answer, by the way. If you ever find yourself with a baby in your arms and someone asks that question, just punch them in the face and run. I feel the same about all the people who ask if they are natural. I feel like I should wear a t-shirt that says “not your fucking business.” And everyone has an anecdote or a horror story or advice. I fucking hate all the un-fucking-solicited advice. If I hear “Sleep when the baby sleeps” one more time I’m going to fucking kill someone with a newnew.
Dorie What’s a “newnew”?
Gwen It’s what my mom calls a pacifier. I don’t know why.
Dorie My mom called it a “passie”.
Gwen I know. Everyone calls it a passie. Passie makes sense. But I can’t get it out of my head. She was over here for a week. I swore I would call everything by its proper name. But this is a “newnew” this is a “wovie” this is a “baba” and this is a “ruffers”. Oh, and she is “gammie”.
Dorie What are you?
Dorie Not mommy or mamma or –
Gwen I know, right? But even Peter is saying it. Oh, and he gets to be “dada”, but I am “Wennie”.
Dorie Ok, but the triplets are only three months, it’s not like they even know what any of it is. And you can just tell you mom –
Gwen I know, I know.
(Peter enters with a happy baby in his hands. He carries the baby to Gwen. The baby stretches out his hands to her and giggles happily. Gwen takes him.)
Peter Where’s Wennie? Where’s Wennie? Here’s Wennie! Here she is!!!!
Gwen What’s wrong?
Peter Nothing, he’s fine. He was just awake and I didn’t want him waking up the other two.
Gwen I’ve got another hour with Dorie. Can’t you –
Peter I know, I’m sorry, but I need a nap.
Gwen Dorie is here –
Dorie I can go if –
Gwen That’s not what I mean. I need you here.
Peter I have work –
Gwen Fine. Give me the note pad.
Peter Oh crap –
Peter I didn’t write anything down.
Peter I know, I know. I’m just so tired.
Gwen You’re so tired?
Peter Can we not play this game right now?
Dorie I should just go.
Gwen Please stay, I need to talk to an adult.
Peter Nice Wennie.
Gwen For the love of god stop calling me that!
Peter I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
(He starts exiting.)
Peter I think the other two will be asleep for at least an hour. One isn’t so bad, right?
Gwen When will I get to sleep?
Peter Gwen, please. I’m so tired.
Gwen Ok, ok. Go. I’m sorry.
(Peter exits. The baby giggles.)
Dorie Is everything ok?
Gwen We just need some sleep. All of us.
Dorie Maybe I should go, I think I’m in the way.
Gwen No, you aren’t, really.
Dorie I am. I can tell. Don’t worry about it. I love you. I’ll go.
Gwen No, please. Look. He’s happy!
(The baby starts crying.)
Dorie I’m going to go.
(Dorie leaves. The baby stops crying and starts giggling again.)
Gwen You evil little thing. You did that on purpose.
Baby I said: Yup.
Gwen I’m going crazy.
Baby Look, Wennie, maybe you are going crazy. Maybe you aren’t. It’s hard to say right now. But, let’s you and I talk like adults, ok?
Gwen This is weird.
Baby I’m not going to lie, I think it’s all a little freaky-deaky myself, but none-the-less, you and I have some important business we need to discus. Got it?
Gwen Go it.
Baby First of all, I got a list of demands that myself and the others have put together. No more twinkle twinkle music box. We don’t like wearing the same outfits. The nipples on those fancy new bottles taste weird. Every now and again we want to get dada in the eye when he’s changing our diapers. Carl wants a puppy like that one kid in the sandbox had. Jenny wants to go to the beach more. I want more cheerios in my diet. Once our list of demands has been met, we will allow the two of you a good solid six hours of sleep on the weekdays and seven hours on the weekend with naps on holidays. Got it?
Gwen Do you mean it?
Baby Hey, I don’t open my mouth unless I mean it, all right? I’m not just flapping my gums to hear myself talk. Can I continue?
Gwen We all want more Beatles and Talking Heads, less baby Mozart. That shit’s dumb. And whatever weird uncle bought us all the Oakland A’s stuff can take it all back. We’re Giant’s fans all the way.
Gwen I know, right! But I don’t want to hurt his feelings.
Baby We’re loyal to the Giants, ma, sorry.
Gwen But your Uncle Charlie loves you.
Baby We love him too. Really. He’s got a funny mustache and his eye brows to that thing we love.
(Gwen raises and drops her eyebrows very quickly. The baby laughs loudly.)
Baby You are so good at that Wennie! Do it again!
Baby Ok, ok. That’s great, but I don’t want to be distracted any more. Now, we would like to come to an agreement a few things in the future. These are negotiable, but it would be best to think about it before you say no. We’ve still got the power here. So far we’ve just given you a taste of what we can do sleep wise.
Baby Carl doesn’t want to go to college.
Baby He wants to travel for a little bit, maybe get married too early and then he wants to live in a van and make leather jewelry.
Gwen Oh god no.
Baby I know, right! It gets worse. Jenny will go to college, but she wants to drop out half way through to move to New York to become an actress.
Baby Don’t worry, she’ll go back to school and get a degree in graphic design.
Gwen That doesn’t make me feel any better.
Baby Then you’ll love this: I want to be a republican.
Gwen Come on!
Baby Hey, these are negotiable, but it’s our opening bid.
Gwen You’re breaking my heart you know that?
Baby Hey, Wennie, I love you but this parenting stuff was never meant to be easy.
Gwen If you become a republican it’ll kill your father.
Baby He’ll get over it.
Gwen Having kids is like having your heart walking around outside of you. I heard that from a friend, but it’s so true. These things you are telling me scare me so bad.
Baby That’s just the stuff we know we want, who even knows about the stuff we’ll figure out we want later.
Gwen Will you still be a republican if I do this?
(She raises and lowers her eyebrows. Baby can’t help but laugh and laugh and laugh.)
Baby Ah, Wennie, I love you.
Gwen Do you think you could call me mommy?
Baby We’ll talk about it.
(End of play.)