After so long without a baby in the house to care for, suddenly having two at once was a lot more work than Savannah and Morgan had anticipated. Miraj’s new job at the Willow Creek hospital meant he couldn’t help out as much as he’d like to at home and Johnathon was just a kid. He couldn’t do the messy stuff like feeding and changing diapers but he gave Avery and Madeline plenty of tickles and affection all the same.
“Oh Madeline, sweetie, please stop crying. Please? For Mommy?” Savannah sighed wearily one evening. She had endless patience for kids but even she was starting to feel the effects of lack of sleep. Just as she begged her daughter to calm down, her son started crying in his bassinet. “Great…” Savannah muttered, shaking her head. Morgan was outside in the garden, Miraj was at work and Johnathon was doing his homework. That only left one person to help her out and Savannah held back a groan. She was not in the mood to deal with her hot-tempered brother-in-law on top of her two screaming children but what choice did she have? “Will?!” Savannah called down the hall. “Hey Will, are you home? Could you help me out please?”
William appeared in the doorway of the nursery a minute later, covering his ears. “Let me guess. You want me to help you make the kids shut up?”
“Basically… except nicer than that,” Savannah frowned. “Could you take care of Avery while I handle Madeline? It’s a mess when they’re both going off at the same time.”
William walked over to Avery’s bassinet and awkwardly picked him up. “Uhhh… what do I do with it? I mean… him?” he squinted down at the squirming baby in his arms.
“Well support his head and neck, first of all,” Savannah explained. “Yeah, like that, that’s good. Then just… do whatever. Talk to him, sing to him, rock him back and forth, whatever calms him down is good. Baby raising isn’t an exact science.” She’d learned that quickly back when Johnathon had been a baby. William smirked.
“Unless the kid thinks screamo is soothing, I probably shouldn’t sing to him,” he told his sister-in-law while he began lightly bouncing Avery in his arms. Despite the tension between them, Savannah started laughing.
“Good point,” she agreed.
Between the two of them, Savannah and William managed to get both Madeline and Avery calm again and to both Morgan and Savannah’s great surprise, William started to spend more time in the nursery with the babies after that. It was the only time he wasn’t stomping around the house yelling at people and picking on his little brother and it was a most welcome change from his usual moody, surly attitude.
With William helping out more with the babies, it gave Morgan more time to work on her garden and hone her fishing skills. She found both hobbies more and more relaxing the more she did them and any chance to be outside in the fresh air was a chance she’d gladly take. Nature was her escape from everything, it was the place where she found peace and where it didn’t matter that she was deaf, the fish in the lake and the birds in the sky didn’t care and didn’t notice. Of course, Morgan still found time for her noisy, rambunctious family.
“RAWR! I’M THE SCARY SEA MONSTER! I’M GOING TO SINK YOUR SHIP, PIRATE JOHN!” Morgan shouted, waving her arms around wildly for the entertainment of her little brother who was making full use of his new pirate ship jungle gym in the backyard of the new estate. Johnathon laughed and leaned over the side of the ship, shaking his head.
“Oh Morgan, you’re so silly! Sea monsters can’t talk!” he signed to her but even though his sister wasn’t very good at playing the sea monster in his make believe pirate adventures, he was still glad to have someone to play with at all. His niece and nephew were still too small to play with and everyone was so busy with them all the time that he wound up feeling forgotten about a lot. Then there was William. Johnathon spent a lot of time hiding from his brother out of fear. He was just so mean! Johnathon didn’t get it; why did his brother hate him so much?
Luckily for Johnathon (and everyone else in the house who was suffering from sleep deprivation), Avery and Madeline didn’t stay babies for long. It seemed like several years passed in just a few days before the two youngest Charms were running around the house playing with their Uncle Johnny after school every day.
“Hey Mom, can we go camping?” Avery asked Savannah at the dining room table.
“Camping? Sounds like fun,” she smiled. “Why the sudden interest in the great outdoors, though? Your mom and I have to practically drag you away from your drawing table in your room to get you to go outside most days.”
“Yeah I know but I have this art project at school and I picked nature for my theme. I really want to create something different that I’ve never done before so I need… creative stimulus, I think my teacher called it!” he said with a little nod. “I want to see a landscape I’ve never seen before and be up close to it so I can capture the essence of it in my work.”
“Well, look who’s turning into a serious artist!” Savannah laughed and put a hand to her chin in thought. “Hm, you know how squeamish your sister is, I don’t think we could convince her to sleep in a tent but maybe if we rented a cabin, you could get your taste of the outdoors for your project and Madeline will sleep easy at night. I’ll talk to your mom about it but I don’t see why she’d say no. She loves being outside.”