Chapter 5 - The one with all the babies
With twin infants in the house, I'm sad to say that little Rum had to play on his own a lot. For his part, he didn't seem to mind too much usually and was very attached to a toy rocket ship - a fact that would follow him into childhood it seemed.
Windsor and Amethyst couldn't be more different from each other. Amethyst was a very calm, laid back sort of baby while Windsor was clingy and cried often.
A few months after the twins were born, I could sense that Val was getting a bit of cabin fever - we'd been stuck in the house for weeks because going anywhere with a toddler and two babies was just an impossible feat. I suggested he take Rum out to the park or something so they could get some time away.
When they returned home though, I found out that the trip to pier had been short lived. Rum, never one for the outdoors, had quickly lost interest in the place and started whining about going inside. Instead they went over to the library for a bit of story time. This would become a monthly routine for those two.
It was during one of their little outings that all heck broke loose in the house. It was almost time to feed the twins so I ran to the bathroom while I knew I'd have the opportunity. Unfortunately the toilet clogged up and I could hear the rustling of the twins even as I tried to unclog it.
The overwhelming smell from the mess in the toilet reached my nose and I was hit with a wave of extreme nausea. By now the babies were wailing for food, the toilet was beginning to spew it's mess on the floor and I knew I'd NEVER make it to the downstairs bathroom.
I knew, but refused to acknowledge, that I was once again pregnant. While I loved children, we were already overwhelmed with the three we had! What would we do with another one?
I pushed the thoughts of sadness and dread from my mind and focused on planning the twins birthday party. In a few short weeks we would have three toddlers in the house to keep up with!
Where Rum was a copy of his daddy in respect to coloring...
Windsor had my grey skin and eyes and a head full of purple hair.
And Amethyst had my eye color and hair color, but her daddy's deep purple skin tone.
Finding the time to teach the twins to walk and talk was almost impossible. Val hadn't seriously painted in weeks and I was only keep the garden in a minimal state of existence. If i had the time or energy I'd prune it back for awhile but I didn't even have time for that.
Naturally, we were both thrilled that Rum was completely trained in all these things and was becoming more and more independent. While I hated the idea that he'd be going off to school soon, it would be nice to have one less little person under my feet for a few hours a day.
Rum spent all his free moments indoors either reading or playing on the computer. He was addicted to computer games. Given that he hated being outdoors, it was a battle we left for another day.
I was tending the garden when I first felt the familiar pains of labor. Like the twins, I had planned for a homebirth - but not in the middle of my garden. Slowly and carefully I made my way inside. Val, for his part, had become more practiced about this experience and knew it was best to be on hand but mostly leave me to my own devices until I summoned him.
Once again, to our surprise, we welcomed two little babies into our family. Our third son, Minsk, was born first and seemed to be smiling and cooing from birth.
He was quickly followed by his twin sister Violet.
If I thought the house was chaotic before, it just became one hundred percent worse. Half the time we found Rum sleeping on the couch since his bed was in one of the nurseries. We didn't have the time or money to do a proper expansion on the house at this point and he said the babies were just too noisy for him to sleep well up there. Poor kid! Val and I agreed that we'd have to find a way to get him a proper room soon or his school would suffer.
I'm not sure if it was because he was sleeping on the couch or what, but Rum would always wake up well before the rest of us and sneak into our room where the computer was set up. While it was a laptop computer, we'd made it clear to him that he was not to take it from our room without permission and help. Of course that meant he had to sneak around to get his computer time sometimes.
"Go back to bed Rum!" Val hissed. "It's four in the morning..."
Still, in spite of his late night/early morning computer adventures - Rum was always up and ready for school in the morning.
While he was gone, we were able to tend to trying to wrestle words and steps from Windsor and Amethyst. Windsor was not an easy pupil though. He was more interested in picking his nose than learning how to say words for things he knew nothing about. "Say CAT...cat..."
Windsor grinned and shoved his finger further up his nose as he excavated for his treasure.
In his first year of school, Rum started out struggling a bit with staying on task with his school work. I imagine his mind was wandering to his computer adventures or the words he could find in his books.
When he brought home a little blue girl for an after school playdate, I started to wonder if maybe it wasn't the computer that was distracting him. A few weeks later, he went over to the Mandarin's house a couple lots down to hang out with their little girl!
Being so young, I knew there were only friends - or I hoped so anyway! But still, he seemed to be surrounded by friends that were girls...
Still, even with his "dates" with the girls, Rum always found a little time to play on the computer each day after his homework and chores were done. Seeing as the Mandarin girl was managing to get him outdoors - I couldn't argue with that.
The early mornings were the best time for Val and I to pursue our own interests because as soon as the kids woke up - we knew there would be no time for anything but tripping over children, toys and keeping them all fed and clean and happy.
I was slowly trying to recover the garden that had gone to mostly weeds in the intervening weeks and Val, while still not at his easel as much, had a renewed interest in his guitar.
After dinner and after all the kids had been tucked away into bed, Val and I worked together to clean up the house. It seemed like a tornado blew through every day and there were always a dozen things to clean up at least.
And finally, as the clock neared midnight, there was time for us to go to bed. If we didn't just collapse into bed and pass out, we had other ideas for things to do in bed. Val talked about having another child and I couldn't help but laugh. How could he spend all day doing nothing but cleaning up messes from the five we had and still think of adding another one to the mix?!
And yet - with the babies only five months old, with two toddlers and a young child - I found myself pregnant once again. This time had to be the last though! There was no more room in the house! When I first found out, I left Val with all the kids and went down to the pier - eager to just get away from them all lest I start crying. Don't get me wrong, I knew a baby was a wonderful blessing but we were barely staying afloat as it was...what would another baby do to our household?
Val, eager to help lighten my load in anyway, started to upgrade the sprinklers in the garden so they'd water the plants every day. I was thankful for the gesture - it would likely save me at least an hour of work a day.
We also had a very good crop of fruits and vegetables to sell that brought in a fair amount of money. Between that and offer from the diner to bring some of my own grown produce to them, we were able to do a proper expansion on the house. It was amazing what could be done by expanding out just a few square feet! Rum now had a proper room of his own and we even had an extra room ready for when the baby came. With any luck we'd be able to transition Windsor and Amethyst out of their cribs and into big kid beds soon.
I was feeling exhausted and huge when Violet and Minsk's birthday rolled around but that didn't stop me from getting cakes. We opted to just have it be us for the party - didn't figure they'd mind too much given that they are babies.
After the cake was had, Val and I each scooped up a pair of toddlers and put them upstairs to play. How were we going to manage with four toddlers? And an infant to boot soon enough? I was exhausted just thinking about it!
I'm not sure when the little Mandarin girl came over but I noticed her cornering Rum toward the end of the party. "So Rummy..." Rummy!? "I was hoping you'd ask me to the spring dance..." she twirled her hair around her finger and fluttered her eyelashes at him. They do realize they are only seven years old don't they?
For his part, Rum looked over and me panicked and I just shrugged. Next to me, Val was shooting him thumbs up signs and Rum seemed to gather a modicum of courage from that. He turned back to her and nodded awkwardly. "Um...well...yeah? You wanna go to the dance? With me I mean?" he said, stumbling over the words.
"Oh yes Rummy! I'm so happy you asked!" she shrieked and threw her arms around his neck. Rum looked entirely freaked out to have a girl so close to him and hugging him.
It was only a few short weeks later, just days before the aforementioned dance, when I went into labor once again. Val woke up long enough to be sure everything was all right and then proceeded to lay back down. I couldn't really blame him, I never put him to much use during these things.
Normally, however, I did get a chance to wake him up for the actual birth. Our fourth soon, though, was very eager to join the world. I didn't even have a chance to stumble over toward the bed and jab Val awake before I knew I'd be too late.
Haiti Dust, our sixth and final child, was born in the wee hours of the morning.