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Silvia’s point of view:

I wonder if all mothers worry about parenting as often as I do.


The other wives and grannies in the village warned me that no two children were alike, but I wasn’t expecting the difference between my first and second child would be so large. I’m sure we’ve been raising Richard to be a great man one day but comparing the two; when he was younger there were only typical baby problems. I already had enough experience helping my younger brothers and sister I figured I could handle anything.


Looking outside, the sun is going to set soon and my little woodsman should be almost home soon. I can’t waste any more time enjoying the view; I need to stir dinner and I haven’t burnt a meal in six years, not doing that again.


“Richard, is Aaliyah asleep yet?”, I shout over my shoulder.


Turning around to face the extended crib next to our table I see Richard staring at his little sister again, it's so sweet how much he helps me keep an eye on her. It helps free up my time to make supper and keep our house in shape, even if he makes her cry sometimes.


“Come over here and help me set the table, she’s not going anywhere soon”.


“OK”, he looks up at me sharply, still trying to steal glances at her as he scurries to our tableware.


Right before I tell him to wipe his hands first on the wet towel our door swings open with its usual screeching noise. I turn to quickly check if Aaliyah is going to wake up, only to not even see her stir a little. Richard used to wake up and whine every time Darrius would come home and I’d have to settle him down before we could eat. It still worries me how soundly she sleeps, if her little chest wasn’t slowly moving up and down, I’d have thought her dead.


I stride over to my husband as he sets down another large stack of wet wood, he’s been cutting all day and bringing extra home for winter. I lean into his wet shirt and give him a deep kiss letting him know how much I’ve missed him.


“Glad to see you too honey, let me take off my boots really quick and I'll help you grab the stew.” He is the kindest man I ever met. Even after cutting wood all day for the village; as soon as he walks through that door, he stars thinking of ways to help around the house.


Of course, I shoot his offer down with a small glare that reminds him what I want him to do. With the look of a kicked puppy, he grabs the bucket of water I keep ready for him and shuffles off to our room to wipe himself down. It always brings a smile to my face seeing my giant of a man act so cute when I scold him. No matter how cute he looks though I can’t let him track the filth of the forest in with a baby in the house.


Before Aaliyah, Richard was old enough to not get sick as easily, so I would let Darrius eat before he had to wipe himself down. I sort of miss the smell of my man mixed with the forest, it always hinted of the perfect mix of man and beast. Oh well, I’ll wait another year and a half and when she’s two, I might slack on the restrictions a little.


I lay a flat stone on top of our table and carry the pot of horned hare stew and place it on top the stone. Filling mine and Richards bowls first, I see Darrius wiped down about to take his seat at the table. The three of us hold hands as he leads us in the daily prayer.


“We give our thanks to the gods and spirits of the forest. We thank you for the food we received and the continued health of our family, may your blessings hold true.”


Hearing the end of the short prayer I can’t help but stare at Aaliyah. Its only been three days since she burst into an uncontrollable fit, she cried so hard she passed out. I’ve had nightmares of how pale she looked that day every night since. Since she started crying randomly a few days ago, I've been worried something is wrong. The only thing that calms her is if I rock her gently.


I know that’s regular baby behavior but considering how different it is from her normal behaviour, I can’t help but be worried.


“Don’t worry honey Aaliyah will be fine, remember how Richard would cry exactly like that. You don’t need to worry so much.”


It amazes me how much he can read my mind. “It is normal baby behavior but she’s never been like this before. The only times she would cry is for food or a changing. These random fits are starting to worry me.”


Darrius put the sweetest smile he could on reminded me what I already know. “Anastasia already came and checked her out… but if you're still concerned, I can try and convince her to come again tomorrow?”


“No, we can’t do that. I used my skills to negotiate the price down last time she came and sadly they're not high enough for me to use them successfully again so soon. She charges too much especially for her low leveled skills just because she has the only low cure skill in the village.”


I didn’t think when I ran away with my husband to this outer village, I would get to use the merchant training my parents forced on me so much. I almost wished I had taken it more seriously, almost.


“I’ll make sure I keep an extra eye on her over the next few days, if anything looks a little wrong, I’ll take her over to Anastasia's immediately.”


I wonder if my parents are still mad their eldest daughter ran away with a lumberjack. You would think they would have more sympathy. The both of them were childhood friends that happened to be business partners, they got to marry for love and money. I chose love and never looked back.
“I can help too mom; I won’t let her out of my sight!” Richard's claims distracted me from the thoughts of my old family so I focused on the ones I really love.


“I know you will sweety; mommy can always count on my little man.” Just hearing my son’s words brings warmth to my troubled heart.


“Heh-Heh”, hearing my husband chuckle across the table has me break the smile towards my son and redirect a cold look towards him instead.


“What? Just marveling at my beautiful family... you know you look much more beautiful when you smile… seeing you relax makes me happy!”


“You're right dear, I should relax more.” Watching him relax makes what I’m about to do so much more fun, does he think I’m going to let him off that easy with a few compliments. Time to land the killing blow to remind him who really runs this family; “I think I should take the rest of the night off; you can handle the dishes right?”


Seeing his scrunched-up face helps but isn’t the expression I was after; better hit him lower. “I think I’ll go to bed early so I’m feeling fresh tomorrow making Aaliyah’s first outfit.”


“What about our… thing tonight?”


He catches himself in front of Richard but can’t hide his panicked look now; that’s what I was after.


“I’m sorry for laughing, and don’t worry, I'll do the dishes tonight!” Women always hold the true power in a relationship.


The rest of dinner he keeps his eyes on his bowl and continues to eat with a cute sad face, it's so hard to stay mad at him.


Poor Richard has no idea why his father looks so beaten and smiles to offer his help.


“Don’t worry dad, I help mom with the dishes all the time; I’ll help you figure it out.”


The look of defeat he has from our sons offer pushes me over the edge and I can’t help but start laughing. While my husband starts to smile again; I’m reminded of how lucky I am for my family.


“Wwwaaaaa”


Just in time for us to finish dinner Aaliyah wakes up and demands her dinner. With her recent crying, it's becoming harder to read what she wants. I used to be able to tell if she was hungry or had a mess depending on her reaction. If she was hungry, she would almost cry in even bursts while if she soiled herself, she would become so loud the neighbors would probably come to change her if I wasn’t fast enough.


Thankfully she seems to be calming down as the days pass. I wish I could find whatever was bothering her and make it right.


She was just beginning to really love me holding her more and I thought she was getting attached to me like most baby’s do.


While going over my troubles in my head again some part of me is trying to pay attention to my two men working on the dishes together, I laugh again listening to my son giving tips to his father like it’s his first time doing dishes. The gods have blessed me so much, but I still have to mutter a prayer for my daughter under my breath.


The sun seems to be falling quicker each day we draw closer to winter. I really need to make some clothes for Aaliyah before the rain turns to snow and the house becomes much colder. Imagining her crawling soon on the cold floor sends a shiver down my spine as I remember how active she is for a baby; instead of Richard helping me around the house this winter, I’ll have to have him watch her constantly.


The boys are finishing and Darrius moves to prep the fireplace so it will burn for a few hours longer before dying out for the night.


Taking a now sleeping again Aaliyah and Richard to their room for the night I tuck the both of them in tight and give a kiss each; wishing them the sweetest of dreams.


I slip into my night wear and climb into bed next to my husband facing towards the wall. He snuggles behind me and starts to comb my hair with his hand. I wonder if he knows how much this makes me feel better.


I turn to look him in the eyes knowing even if I can’t see his face his eyes are strong enough to see me in this almost completely dark room.


“Am I a good mother?”, I ask where I think his face is.


“The Best”; answers right next to my ear.


We share a deep kiss and before he can try anything, I flip back around and wish him a good night. He tries to rub my back side hoping I'll give in to his rough but gentle hands.


I give a single sigh as a reach behind and pinch his hands with all my strength. He gives a quick yelp and retracts his bear paw from my butt. His physical stats are higher than mine so I know it didn’t hurt that much. He should know by now I stick to my promises and if he’s a good boy tomorrow ill make it up to him.


Feeling him shuffle to a more conformable sleeping position marks his surrender. I slip into a deep sleep and for the first time in three nights, I dream of my happy family safe and sound.

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4/18/20 Updated

 


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kosnik4

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