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?

Gwen              “Wennie”

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 – 

Gwen              What?

Peter               I didn’t write anything down.

Gwen              Peter!

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.)

Gwen              Peter!

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               Yup.

Gwen              What?

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              This?
(Gwen raises and drops her eyebrows very quickly.  The baby laughs loudly.)

Baby               You are so good at that Wennie!  Do it again!

                                                                        (She does.)

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.

Gwen              Ok.

Baby               Carl doesn’t want to go to college.

Gwen              What?

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.

Gwen              Jesus.

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.)


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