As much as Tes talked about not wanting a baby to side track her career - when the day came for her to go back to work full time, she was reluctant to leave. I'd become a full fledged teacher and was off for the summer so it's not like he'd be with baby sitters - still, she held him close as the carpool honked outside for her again.
"Sweetie." I said finally, fearing the carpool would leave her behind or they'd all be late.
"I know I know..." she said with a frown.
"I'll take good care of Zuko I promise." I said with a smile.
Finally she nodded and placed him back in the crib. "Mommy will be home before you know it little guy - I promise." she said.
She gave me a quick kiss and reluctantly left the room. Once the door closed, I knew her head was back in the game because I heard her running down the stairs. She didn't want to leave but she couldn't be thinking about Zuko the whole time she was at work trying to save lives.
Zuko started crying a few minutes after she left and I scooped him up. "It's okay, she'll be home soon." I said, cradling him closely. "Why don't we get you some breakfast. Would you like formula or formula?" I asked with a playful smile. He smiled back at me and I knew all his worries had melted away.
Summer was coming to an end when Tes snuggled against me one night after all the kids were in bed. "Honey..." she said, running her finger casually along my chest. I knew she was thinking...maybe even plotting something; I only hoped it was good.
"Well come on, spit it out." I said, figuring she'd delayed long enough.
"I think...well I know...I want another baby..." she said finally, after a lot of stalling.
"Not that I'm not okay with this but Zuko is only five month old....you want one now?" I asked. I was very surprised by her request given how afraid she was of babies hindering her medical career.
"Well...not RIGHT now...I mean I can't just get pregnant and have one in three days - that's crazy!" she teased. "But I figure...if we have all our babies close together instead of spreading them out I'll be better able to focus on work later on..."
The logic didn't make that much sense to me but I decided to focus on the 'all our babies' part. "Just how many babies are we talking about here Tes?"
She shrugged. "Three or four...plus Azula and Katara of course..."
"You realize this is only a three bedroom house right?" I said with a laugh. But if she wanted a baby, we were going to have a baby!
I was sure we got pregnant right away - okay maybe I was mostly hopeful but she WAS throwing up and avoiding Zuko's diapers like the plague. To be fair, I would have avoided them too if I'd had that option. "I think you're pregnant." I said feeling her tummy.
"It's only been a week honey!" she said with a laugh.
"Still, I think you're pregnant." I said.
She refused to acknowledge me but of course...I was right! She was pregnant! She found out shortly there after and we couldn't be more thrilled with the news.
The girls were happy too, even Azula. Afer we'd brought Zuko home, Azula had spent most of her time with her nose in a book or working on homework but once in awhile she'd go into the nursery and look at him. She almost seemed curious more than anything else. Of course I think she was curious about everything.
"Dad..." she said after we announced the newest pregnancy. "Where do babies come from?"
I should have been expecting the question but I admit it took me by surprise - so much so I just about choked on my food. "Um, well - from the mom's tummy." I said lamely.
Tes rolled her eyes at me. As a doctor, she'd never shied away from using all the appropriate terms and being honest with kids - as much was age appropriate. Azula must have realized I wouldn't give her the answers she wanted so she turned her attention to Tes and looked at her expectantly.
Katara, who didn't seem overly interested in the answer, went outside to play. I followed her out there and watched her climb the ladders and slide over and over again. If she could sleep in the playset, I think she would.
When I came back inside to start dinner, Azula's curiosity seemed to be satisfied and she was doing her homework with a friend I sort of recognized. "Who's the girl?" I whispered to Tes.
"One of the Annan's I think. She's in Azula's GT classes." Tes said. "You'll be happy to know that Azula's questions have been answered you coward." she teased.
"Good." I said, trying to decide if I wanted to know what she told her.
"Do you want to know what I said?" Tes prompted.
"Nope, I trust you." I replied, and set about making dinner.
Zuko's first birthday came up on us shortly after Tes entered her final trimester. She felt awkward and huge so we decided to have a small family party at home with no guests really. I promised Mom and Dad that we'd come over after the baby was born so they could have plenty of grand baby spoilage time to make up for it.
Zuko followed everyone everywhere. He hated the fact that he could only crawl while everyone around him could walk but I knew he'd pick that part up soon enough and we'd all be wishing to have the crawling days back.
Since Tes was now on leave again and I was teaching, I usually only had a few minutes first thing in the morning to see Zuko before I left for the day but it was some of the best minute of my day. I'd been moved up from the elementary school to the middle school so now I had preteen drama all day, every day - as if I didn't get enough of that at home from Azula and Katara! A smile and laugh from Zuko was enough to fortify me for the day though.
Azula seemed to have completely gotten over her aversion - or whatever it was - to Zuko. She was a wonderful big sister. On a normal day she'd come home and breeze through her homework; even though she had almost twice as much as Katara now she almost always finished before her. Then she'd go seek out Zuko and relieve Tes for a bit.
Tes was feeling all the aches and pains of pregnancy as her due date loomed closer. By the time Azula and Katara got home, she was ready to pass out for a nap. If I didn't wake her up when dinner was ready, I think she would have slept though the night though.
Being Tes's second pregnancy didn't stop me from talking to the baby or wanting to feel it kick my hand. "This baby seems to be awake ALL the time!" Tes whined as I leaned forward, placing my ear against her belly.
"And I think it must be an octopus or a gymnast because I swear I'm getting kicked in the ribs and in the bladder at the same time! How is that even possible?" she said.
"You're the doctor, you tell me." I said with a laugh. She just glared at me - clearly it was an inappropriate time or subject to be joking.
"Da-a-a-a-ad!" Azula called out. She had a special talent for whining out like that.
"Wha-a-a-a-a-at?" I replied, coming up the stairs to see what was the matter. Azula looked at me like I'd grown three heads for using her whine against her and Tes barely contained a laugh.
"It's shark week and the TV is busted!" she said, pointing to the stream of static flitting across the stage like a million ants on parade.
"I'm going to get some ice cream...and maybe some carrots." Tes said, looking happily inspired by her culinary idea.
Azula and I shared a horrified look. "Eww" Azula muttered and stomped off to her room, leaving me to tended to the ant parade on TV.
I'd barely started when I heard a thunk from downstairs and the clattering of silverware. I stopped messing with the TV and practically flew down the stairs to find Tes clutching her belly. I knew that look!
With Zuko I'd been calm - at least until we made it to the hospital - but this time all I could see was the huge puddle of water on the ground and think about the fact that she wasn't due for another month.
I was...less than collected about the situation.
It took Azula handing me Tes's overnight bag and the keys to the car to get me to calm down a few minutes later. "Um...thanks...." I said, blinking a few times to clear my head.
"I called Grandma - she's on her way." Azula said. She looked at the puddle of water that Tes was still laboring in. "You should probably go now...Katara and I can look after Zuko until Grandma gets here." she said, sounding far too grown up for her tender age.
"Right...we should go..." I wrapped Tes's arm around mine and helped her outside to the car. "Lock the door!" I called back to Azula who was waving from the doorway. When had she gotten so....calm?
Labor went much faster this time. Only an hour after reaching the hospital, Tes delivered our second son Sokka - he was only six pounds but cried loudly the moment he entered the world. A few minutes later - to everyone's surprise - she delivered a six pound baby girl, who we named Suki. She was quite the sneaky little child because no one had EVER suggested we were having twins!
Mom was ready for us when we got home with them though - everyone had a place to sleep in the nursery thankfully.
The Force is strong in this family
Tes has a lot of expressions lol
He looks a tad creepy here hehe