I started feeling pretty close to normal almost as soon as Rum was born - it was amazing to me how quickly my body bounced back. But then, Rum had zipped into this world at such an alarming speed - perhaps my body just didn't have time to suffer too much and thus healed quickly.
I may have been too comfortable though because Rum was barely a week old when Val first got a little eager for marital relations.
He took the rejection well enough. It wasn't that I wasn't interested but the doctor had impressed upon me that it was best to wait four to six weeks after delivery. I didn't really intend to wait THAT long but Val could hold out for a couple weeks anyway.
I explained all this to him and he nodded and told me he understood. Rum started fussing in the nursery, giving us the chance to part without too much awkwardness. Val pulled out his laptop to email news about Rum out to family. I thought I heard him saying something about Rum's purple skin tone being a blessing but didn't have a chance to push the matter before Rum's cries escalated.
Rum was not the easiest baby to be sure. He cried - a lot. Even when being held and attended to he would cry sometimes and I couldn't really ever figure out what was upsetting him. Perhaps he was just destined to be a cranky little thing.
The one thing I knew for sure was that he got even more irritable when I took him outside with me. A couple weeks after he was born I brought him out in his stroller so that I could try to wrest the garden back under control and still have him near me. I made sure he was out of the sun and not overly warm. He'd been fed and changed and should have been content to doze for a little while.
But it was not to be! He cried and cried, even after I picked him and tried to sooth him. So I took him back inside and within a few minutes his wails slowed to mere whimper. The same thing happened every morning for a week and I soon realized I couldn't take him out with me. We invested in a better baby monitor and I waited until he was out for a nap before going outside to the garden.
Val's own work suffered as well. He'd been working on a commissioned painting since before Rum was born and the not so soft wails of our son seemed to keep his creativity at bay. Unfortunately his client was not apt to accept "newborn" as an excuse and started calling and pestering Val so much he set his alarm to wake up before Rum's normal wake up so he could slip outside and get some work on it done. He didn't feel the need to put on clothes at such an early hour for some reason though.
Although there were no complaints from Mrs. Mandarin next door - Mr. Mandarin mentioned it once or twice.
Once he heard Rum's morning calls though, he came inside and would try to get him before I woke up so that I could sleep awhile longer. Truth be told, Rum was always so attached to me during the day that I think Val loved the time he could steal with him in the mornings. And I enjoyed the extra sleep so who was I to interrupt father/son bonding?
It wasn't too long after Rum was born that Val started talking about our next baby..and our next. He had some notion of a large family of strapping boys and I couldn't help but think he'd married the wrong sister. El was the one who wanted a whole herd of children - I just wanted a full garden and a bookshelf full of cookbooks.
Still - I would like a little girl and agreed to having more, later - much later. In the mean time there was plenty of practice.
Rum's first birthday came up rather suddenly. It's amazing how fast that first day can go when you're surrounded by diapers and trying to bring in enough money to keep up with the bills and the repairs to the house. Val was painting so much he barely had time to help Jag with their Nectary business but he always made time for Rum and I.
We'd invited Jag and El to the party but they got there a little late. "So sorry! The sitter was late and everything was just chaotic!" El said as she gave us each hugs. "Oh my goodness he's so handsome!" she scooped up Rum and started tickling him.
Seeing his wife and brother were occupied - now with cake - Jag called me over to dance and I was happy to oblige.
Less than halfway through the song I started to feel terribly nauseous. I left my dance partner and ran for the bathroom. "Is she okay?" I heard Jag ask as the door swung shut behind me.
Val was hovering outside the bathroom door when I emerged. I assured him I was fine - I don't think he believed me. But we returned to the small party.
As part of our agreement with the city - we'd started making repairs to the house. Although I was desperate to fix up all of the inside, we knew that the outside had to be a priority lest the city come after us for not holding up our end of the bargain. So we'd cleared out some of the brambles and weeds. Although there was still a lot to go, it was an improvement.
Rum hadn't grown out of his dislike of the outdoors so he stayed indoors most of the time. If I was in the garden, he was either asleep or Val made a point to be working inside the house to keep an eye on him. It was a good thing too because Rum was a bit accident prone. It seemed like he was "bumping his toes" at least three or four times a day! And considering the fact that we had stairs and numerous areas that needed fixing in the house - it was a wonder he hadn't seriously hurt himself yet.
I was often having to scoop him up and kiss his boo-boos. Something about Mommy's kisses made everything all better in one instant. Of course once in awhile, a kiss wasn't enough so I'd sing and tickle him until his tears stopped and were replaced by giggles.
It was a few weeks after Rum's birthday when I put two and two together and realized I was pregnant again. So much for MUCH later. Still, though it was unplanned, I was happy with the news and Val was over the moon. He insisted we were having a boy and I had to remind him about my wish for a girl this time. I read an old wives tale about how watermelon consumed early in the pregnancy was likely to make girls. It had absolutely NO scientific backing and was completely ridiculous.
But I sent Val out to buy me some watermelon anyway.
Meanwhile, I continued to work on fixing up the outside of the house. I couldn't clear away the larger weeds on my own anymore but I could clear away the smaller ones and keep the garden in good order. It wouldn't do for our improvements to the house to make it look WORSE!
The further I got in my pregnancy though, the more tired I got and the harder it got to do little things for Rum - like pick him up out of his crib. He didn't seem to mind seeing as this meant Daddy picked him up even more often. As he'd gotten a little older - he'd become Daddy's Little Man as opposed to Mommy's Little Boy. I missed those moments a bit but I adored the new relationship between Val and Rum.
Val was the one Rum took his first steps toward and Daddy was sure to shower him with attention and praise as a result. Having conquered walking, Val felt it was time to sit down and try to get a few more words out of Rum - talking didn't come as naturally to him though.
At the end of the day though - Rum still needed cuddles from Mommy before he could go to sleep and it made my heart swell to know it. Val would start to protest as I lifted Rum up for a snuggle but one glare from me would silence him on the matter.
"I love you Rummy." I whispered.
"Wuv oo Mommy." Rum would say softly into my shoulder.
Afterwards we'd both give him kisses and tuck him into his crib for the night. He would usually fall asleep quickly, leaving us time to relax for awhile before our own bedtime.
Throughout the pregnancy, I'd refused all doctors visits and I told Val we were having a home birth this time. He wasn't thrilled with the idea but he couldn't argue with me when I reminded him how no one had been there to birth Rum except us.
Still, every day he would stop me in the midst of things to make sure I was okay. "Are you feeling the baby move? Is everything alright?" he fretted.
"Everything is fine Val." I said, though I was mildly concerned about my size with this pregnancy. I felt like I already had the belly of a full term momma and I still had three months to go! But the baby moved constantly so I never had any doubt that he or she was doing just fine in there.
Even though Rum was only a year and a half old - I decided it would be best to try and get him potty trained before the baby came along to make all our lives a little easier. While Val had been eager to teach him how to walk and talk - this was one skill he left entirely up to me. "Thanks dear..." I said to no one as I placed Rum on the potty once again. We'd already had three accidents that morning and I was desperate to get at least one success.
Within a few weeks, I could honestly say that Rum was on his way to being trained. We still kept a diaper on him for naps and bedtime but during the day he wasn't having any accidents and went straight to the potty without needing to be prompting!
"Mommy, wuv oo..." Rum said sleepily as I laid him down in his crib. My back was killing me and I still had about a month left of the pregnancy. I admit I had had a bad day just due to being so pregnant and I'd probably snapped at Rum a few times as a result. Those simple words had sent me spinning into a well of guilt.
I smiled though the tears forming in my eyes, "I love you too Rummy. Super much." I whispered, leaning over to kiss him on the forehead.
As I straightened back up, I felt the familiar pangs of Braxton hicks contractions and gritted my teeth. I waddled out of the room before leaning against the wall for support. Val and I were supposed to have a movie date on the couch but, feeling exhausted, I told him I was heading to bed a bit early.
I woke up a few hours later to more contractions - only these weren't Braxton Hicks. I knew right off that these were the real deal!
I paced the house slowly for a couple hours while Val continued to sleep. I didn't want to wake him until it was closer to time since someone would have to get up with Rum and I had a feeling I would be exhausted by then. Several trip up and down the stairs seemed to accelerate things a bit and I was soon shaking Val awake.
Val, who had slept through all of this and had no time to mentally prepare, stared at me in shock as I told him again that it was time. I finally got through to him and he started moving - getting the things we'd planned for the home birth. "Are you sure about this Cin? You're a month early..." he fretted, even as he was setting up are little birthing area.
"It'll be fine Val..." I said through gritted teeth. "Besides...I don't think there'd be time to get a sitter over here for Rum AND get to the hospital in time anyway...."
Everything was ready as I felt the first urge to push and like Rum, once that started our second son, Windsor Dust, was born into the world. He had my grey skin tone but I was sure I detected bits of purple hair. Val was placing him on my chest when I realized this wasn't over yet..."Val...I think..."
"Oh Cin! I see another head!" Val shouted at the same time. He looked up at me in panic and Amethyst Dust, my little girl, joined her brother a few minutes later. She was a nice deep purple like her daddy. "We have twins..." Val said, almost as breathless as I was. I could tell he was a little anxious that there might be a third down there but I knew it was done.
The children so far are:
Rum: Hates the Outdoors, Clumsy (Purple skin, Purple hair, Purple eyes)
Windsor: Loner, Grumpy (Grey skin)
Amethyst: Couch potato, Loves the Outdoors (Purple skin)