Monday, December 10, 2012

The Journal of Penny Grant - July 3 - Babies and the butler

One thing that must be said for triplets. If you need some distraction from your troubles, well, they are good for that. There is always a baby that needs something. A bottle, a cuddle, a quick change, there is always something.

Especially poor little Ruby. She frequently has a bit of a cough, is more restless and more fussy than the other  two babies. Daisy is the quiet one, she rarely makes even a tiny sound unless she's forgotten at feeding time. Joey is somewhere between. More vocal than Daisy but not nearly as fussy as Ruby.

Then there is Buddy. Poor tyke, I try to make sure that he gets as much attention as possible when the babies are sleeping. Going from a much loved only child to having 3 younger siblings was a huge leap for him. Add in having a parent leave for two years and he was definitely having a hard time adjusting.

"Hey Penny," Dad was over helping. "We've been talking about it. We've decided that instead of a babysitter, what you really need is a butler. When you girls were babies, your Mum and I found a butler to be a treasure."

"Is that 'we' as in you and Mum or 'we' as in the grandparent committee?" I asked.

He grinned. "Grandparent committee? I guess you could call it that. And yes, both families will be chipping in for the cost. We realised that since the babysitters have school most days and go home at night, you could really use some more and permanent help. If you get a good butler, he'll make sure everyone has food, cleans the place and takes care of the babies."

"What happens with a bad one?"

"We send him back to the agency and try again." Dad hugged me. "You are worn to a frazzle caring for 4 little ones at once. And the rest of us know the feeling, having spent time trying to care for all of them while you were out of action. Rather than wear the family out trying to help during their spare time, we can pay someone to do it."

Later that day, Jake arrived and I told him one of the beds in the far bedroom was his. He nodded and went straight to work. There was quite a lot of cleaning to get done, when the babies were all asleep.

Fortunately for me and the butler, it wasn't long before Buddy started school. The difference between 3 at home and 4 at home seemed small but I appreciated having one less child to rush around to tend to.

"Have fun at school today, Buddy. Do what the teacher says and be good for me, ok?" I told him.

He looked at the ground. "I don't like school. It's boring. And I don't like girls. They giggle all the time."

"I'm sorry Buddy but you still have to go." I pushed him firmly out the door and toward the bus. "It's important to get a good education." I kissed him on the head and watched him until he was safely on the bus. The first day, Buddy had been so excited about school. Since then, every day was more of a struggle to make sure he went.

"Take that, Nick Kane Grant." I broke another oak board just to show someone who was boss. It might have been me or it might have been the board. It certainly wasn't Nick, he was far too far away to appreciate the show.

So I was indulging in board breaking therapy when Jake came to ask me a question. "Ma'am, I was just tidying your room. I was wondering what I should do with the letters?"

That was an excellent question. There was a large and growing pile of unopened letters on the bureau in my room. Nick sends one letter a week without fail. I've never opened any of them, I just drop them on the pile. I've seen my Dad eye the pile. I've seen Em eye the pile. But neither of them have actually talked about it to me.

What I should tell Jake is to throw them in the trash, or burn them, or something. "Just leave them. I ..." started to try to explain why I kept them but couldn't find the words. I don't want to read them. I don't want to think about Nick. And I don't want to throw them out.

Jake didn't wait to find out why I wanted those letters left. He had the answer to his question, so he went back to his duties. I was left pondering why it was so difficult for me to do anything with those letters. That lasted until Ruby started fussing again.

I was trying to decide if I was finally going to take Ruby to the hospital for a serious checkup. Her cough just wasn't going away.

"What am I going to do about you, Ruby?" I asked my daughter. Then I finally had a brain wave. Veronica was in the medical profession, she could check Ruby. That's assuming that she can take a long enough break from the hospital routine to come and visit.

I rang my twin and found that she was on call but not at the hospital. "Can you come over and look at one of the babies? She fusses a lot, I'm afraid she might be ill."

Fortunately, Ronnie could come around and check. She arrived in ten minutes and I gave her Ruby to examine.
"No fever. Her eyes look good. Tummy seems fine. Anything odd about the contents of her diaper?"

I shook my head. "Looks pretty much the same as the other two."

"I think that she might have a minor infection. It's not a problem though, she seems fine." Veronica cuddled and cooed at Ruby then handed her back to me.

I sighed in relief. "Thanks Ronnie, I'm glad you could come take a look."

"Now that I'm finally here, maybe I should check on the other two?"

I nodded. "That would be great." My twin took a quick look at the other two babies.

"I'm pleased to say that all your little ones are perfectly healthy," she said as she put Daisy back in the crib.

"Thanks so much for checking. Do you think you'll have time next week for the big birthday party?" It was going to be massive, the triplets officially entering the terrible twos. I was inviting everyone that might vaguely be interested in coming. Jake was looking forward to it, a chance to cater for a crowd of adults instead of a mountain a baby food and baby bottles.

"I'll try. It's usually hectic at the hospital on the weekend. You just wouldn't believe how many stupid things people do on the weekend." We hugged and Veronica left.

Bonus pics

Nick is being very adorable around the house

When he isn't annoying Penny who wants to stare at the same baby as he does.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Journal of Penny Grant - June (something) - And the world fell down

I have no idea how long it took before I started to recover from the shock. Whether it was days or weeks. It actually felt like months but I'm pretty sure it just felt that way due to how absolutely miserable I was. I was spending nearly all my time huddled in a little ball on the bed. Crying until I could cry no more. Sleeping and then sobbing into the pillow again. The pillow was always damp because of it.

The rest of the family was all that kept me from having a visit from social welfare. I heard doors opening, things happening in the kitchen, babies being cared for. Occasionally someone would open the door to our - I mean my - bedroom. Sometimes they called my name but I never answered. There were times when someone would force me to eat some food but I stopped the moment they stopped.

Poor Buddy was the one who finally got me out of bed. I think he managed to slip away from whoever was supposed to be watching him.

"Mummy?" A little hand poked me. "Mummy, please get up."

"Go away. Leave me."

"But Mummy? Doncha wuv me any more? I wanna cuddle." Buddy was sounding lost, lonesome and very sad. I realised that poor Buddy had lost two parents that day. That wasn't fair to him or the triplets.

"Oh, I'm sorry Buddy. Of course I love you." It was hard getting out of bed. While I had plenty of rest, I really hadn't had much to eat. I was light headed and the room threatened to go grey. Still one of the two important guys left in my life needed me. "Come here, little man. Give Mummy a big hug."

Buddy squealed in delight as I lifted him up for his cuddle. "Mummy!" He was loud enough that I heard footsteps approaching. "I missed you so much Mummy." My dad had just poked his head in the door, he was starting to smile when he saw I was finally up. "I miss Daddy too. Where's Daddy?" asked Buddy.

Dad's smile faltered when he heard Buddy's words. My heart, well, it had already been broken so thoroughly that I only sobbed a few times when I heard that. "Gone, Buddy. He's gone far far away."

"When will he come home?" Oh, my poor little boy. Buddy so looks up to his father, now what?

"I don't know Buddy, but not for a long time. Can you be a brave big boy for me? Help Mummy while Daddy is gone?" Assuming I let him come home at all.

Buddy looked at me with his bright eyes. He reached toward one of the fresh tears tracking its way down my face. "Daddy make Mummy cry?" I nodded. "Daddy bad!"

"Your daddy is very bad. You'll be good for Mummy?"

"Buddy will be good for Mummy." Oh right now I wish my little man didn't look so much like his father.

I gave him another cuddle. "That's my little man."

My dad finally came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to collapse again.  "Penny," he paused obviously thinking about what to say. "Food?"

My stomach rumbled at the mere suggestion. "Oh, yes, good idea." I carefully put Buddy down, fighting to keep my balance. Dad walked carefully behind me as I slowly made my way to the table.

"So you and Mum been here all the time?"

Mum answered, "No dear. The whole family has been here. Stephen and Abbey pop in almost every morning before he opens the pub. Vincent and your niece Miriam are spending a lot of the nights here. Miriam is now the most experienced baby sitter in town."

Dad interrupted the conversation. "Only a little soup for the moment, you haven't had a decent meal for awhile." Dad set a small bowl of soup in front of me. It smelled divine. "Brad and Em have been coming over most afternoons. Even James and Jaimee regularly visit though I think triplets have permanently put them off kids of their own. Veronica keeps trying to come but her hospital schedule is nearly impossible."

"I don't know what to say. Without you guys," I trailed off. Without them, I might have lost everything that's important to me.

"It's just what families do," my Mum said quietly. "You needed us, we were there."

I saw Dad off in the corner sending a few text messages. I could guess what the contents were "She lives" would be the gist of it. A few minutes later, he came over. "Em wants to know if it's alright if she and Brad visit."

I blinked a few times. "Why would I have a problem with that?"

"You might hold it against them that their son broke your heart." Dad sort of shrugged at me.

"They aren't to blame. There is only one person to blame for that." I wasn't sure if I was going to scream or what. "Him, I'd happily break in two." I finished my bowl of soup chasing up the last drops with the spoon.


I thought for a moment. "Not yet. I think this needs to settle properly first." I started to push my chair back to find that Buddy was playing just behind me. "Hey, little man, how about you move just a little?"

"Mummy pway?" he asked hopefully.

"In a minute, Buddy. You want to help me with the babies?" I pointed to the triplets room. "They need cuddles too."

"Can Mummy pway after?" He tugged at the bottom of my shirt. "Pwease?"

Well, I have to give Buddy bonus points for persistance. "We will have to wait for your other granddad and grandmom to arrive so we can say hi. After that, we can play for a little."

So, Buddy and I visited the triplets. How could Nick leave these three lovely babies? Ruby was coughing a bit in her crib. I checked, her temperature was fine. I cuddled her, then Daisy and finally Joey. I showed each of them to Buddy, who said hi to his little siblings.

By the time the babies were back in their cribs, Brad and Em had arrived. “Penny!” gushed Em. “It’s so good to finally see you on your feet again.” My father-in-law didn’t say anything but did pull me into a big hug. 

“Mum was telling me about how everyone pitched in to help. I’m sorry that I was in such a state I had no idea who was around.”

“You aren’t the one that should be sorry. Between the triplet and that our son suddenly went overseas, it’s not surprising that you’ve had a breakdown,” said Em. “Our son, on the other hand,  could never be sorry enough for what he did.”

Brad nodded. “We’ve been hoping that you’d recover soon. Your dad told us that Grants are born tough, and there wasn’t a need for therapy. I’m glad he was right.”

I suddenly felt shaky and the room threatened to go grey on me. I was sitting on the floor with everyone except Buddy staring at me in concern. “Penny, are you ok?”

“Just a little dizzy Dad. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about really.” After spending so much time in bed, I was bound to be a bit shaky.

Buddy took my sitting on the floor as a sign. “Mummy. Here’s my favourite toy.” He showed me that odd doll that had turned up in the mail when he was born. “You can pway now?”

I looked at all of Buddy’s grandparents, watching us. It was good to see how much my family would pull together to help. “Yes Buddy, we can play now.”

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Journal of Penny Grant - June 3 - What just happened?

Life with three babies continues to be difficult. We have to schedule a time during the night for each of us to do the baby rounds; cuddle and feed, or cuddle and change. It's tiring having to get up at least once a night every night.

"Honey, if you take care of the babies all night tonight, then I'll do it tomorrow. We could each have one good night sleep."

I shook my head. "Nick, the last time you told me that, you didn't follow through the second night. I'm not letting you sleep all night first." Poor Nick was seriously stressing out from too many babies. Not enough sleep and he's definitely not comfortable with that many new babies around. I wasn't much better. I love my babies but they are so much work.

"I swear honey, this time I mean it."

"No, Nick. We'll do the usual. I'll check them at 1. You get 4." I rolled over to get what sleep I could before 1 am rolled around.

Sure enough, 1 am and the babies needed attention. I went around to every crib, picking up little ones and giving them the attention that they need. At least Buddy is old enough to sleep through the night now. There's only the triplets to check.

At 4 am, Nick tried to ignore the sounds coming from the baby monitor. "No, back to sleep", I heard him mutter. In the end, it took a gentle shove to move him out of bed.

He's very good with the babies once he gets up. It's just the getting up that he finds difficult.

It's not surprising that he is good with the babies. How can you look at the sweet little face of one of the triplets like Joey and not be in love with them? Ruby is my gem, Daisy is my flower and Joey is ... hmm, that fails as a metaphor doesn't it?

Well, Joey is special too. They are all precious little babies. They are also sometimes loud, stinky and demanding little babies.

And our little Buddy is our handsome little man still. Though he's not so little any more. School is just around the corner for him.

Needless to say, I'm grateful for that. Because the triplets are going to be moving around a lot more soon and having one child old enough to do some things for himself will be good.

The little swing had worked so well for Buddy that we went ahead and bought two more. So all three babies can sleep in those swings.

It's one of the few times that we can really take a break from the babies.

Nick uses the quiet time to take a long relaxing bath.

I tend to use the time to work out or practice my board splitting skills.

All too soon for me, Nick ran out of parental leave and was due back on the base.

"Bye Nick. Hope work isn't too stressful today." I gave him a light kiss as he got ready to leave.

"Bye Honey. See you later."

Nick's day may or may not have been stressful. But mine was very busy.

The triplets need the same amount of attention during the day. They can't know that there is only me today.

I tried to give them the same amount of cuddles and attention as they had been getting from both of us. This was keeping me so very busy that I failed to notice for awhile that Nick was late getting home. It was nearly five when I realised.

I decided to give Emerald a call. Nick isn't under her command, of course, but his Mum might know a bit of what's going on at the base.

"Emerald? It's Penny."

"No, I'm fine. I was just wondering. Do you know when Nick will be getting off duty? He's usually home soon after three and he's not turned up yet."

"You'll ring his commanding officer and find out? That's great. Give me a ring when you know what's up."

It was about 15 minutes after I rang Emerald that I notice she and Brad were approaching the door.

That's odd, I just thought she was going to ring. And Brad too?

"Emerald. Bradley. It's a surprise to have you guys come and visit."

"Well, dear. It's about Nick. I didn't want to just ring."

Brad was standing there, rubbing his temples like he had a headache.

My anxiety level started scaling upwards. Did he get hurt? Was he in the hospital? Why didn't the base call me?

Emerald said, "We better sit down, dear. Brad and I want a serious chat."

We moved over to the sofa. "So, guys what's up? Is Nick hurt? Will he be ok?"

Emerald sighed and shook her head. "It's not that. I wish it were that."

"I don't understand."

"Nick transferred this morning to a unit that was being posted overseas today. He is taking a two year tour of duty in Simolia."

Nick's parents looked at each other and sighed.

I was still trying to absorb this news. Nick had done what?

Brad took over the story. "We've pretty much always known that Nick has an evil streak. His grandfather, my father was like that." He shook his head slowly. "What we didn't know was that he's also a bit of a coward. So when he found out that there was an opportunity to go overseas and leave his family behind, he went."

"I knew he was stressing about the babies but he left us? He's gone?"

Emerald nodded sadly. "Two years. Now that he's on tour of duty, there's nothing that can be done to get him back. This is why we had to come over. I didn't want to break this news over the phone."

I was still stunned. If they hadn't come over, I would have assumed it was some joke that I was failing to get the point of. But I know that Brad is like me, it wasn't a joke.

I wanted to run out of the room, screaming or crying. I wanted to break boards until I broke me. I wanted...

I wanted Nick. But he was out of my reach. And out of our lives.

"Em and I want you to know that we are here for you. We've already told your parents, and our other children Abbey and James. Your parents promised to ring your twin so the entire family knows."

"Are you sure?" my voice was trembling as badly as the rest of me. "Are you sure that Nick is gone for two years?"

Emerald sighed. "I'm sure. I double checked the duty rosters and the lists of the troops that shipped out today. Nick won't be here for two years."

"Penny, your dad and I talked about it. There will be a sitter coming over every day. Your parents are doing half the cost, we'll be doing the other half." Brad said softly. "I know it's not the same but ring someone in the family any time it gets too much."

Tears were starting to flow. How could Nick leave now? Those babies would be toddling around everywhere, Buddy was ... oh god, Buddy was so close to his dad. How can you tell someone his age that Daddy is gone?

I was a ball of misery. A plate of food appeared in front of me then eventually disappeared again. Babies cried and were quiet again. And the world finally went away until the next day.


For the fans of Jerod (Shrimp) Grant
His sons Dedric and Alfred.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Journal of Penny Grant - May 31 - Baby invasion

I don't think there was ever a better or scarier moment then coming home with so many babies. Triplets, oh dear plumbob, how were we going to cope with triplets?

One boy, two girls. They are going to so change our lives.

My parents did twins and that worked out fine for Veronica and I. But I think Stephen was a bit more mature at the time than little Buddy is. It's going to be another year before Buddy starts school. In the meantime, the triplets are going to take a lot of our time. And I already shudder to think of when all three are tottering around the house.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Journal of Penny Grant - May 30 - Oh my plumbob

"Hey there, little man. You're going to be a big brother soon. Our eldest child, not our only one."

Buddy just giggles in delight that his daddy is giving him attention.

"Now I want you to be the best big brother that ever was." Nick is just so happy about the new baby soon to arrive. It's rare to catch him in a bad mood since I really started showing the baby bump.

Nick takes care of Buddy a lot while he's at home. Taking care of bottles, nappies, and nap times whenever he can.

It's a good thing that he's willing to because this pregnancy has been a bit rough on me. I'm tired a lot and can barely move sometimes. Meditation seems to help so I'm doing quite a lot of that. Somewhere close to my men though.

One of their favorite activities is reading together. Nick and Buddy read a picture book every day.  Buddy's favourite is the book about colours. He just can't get enough of it. He's been read to from it, looked through it on his own, drooled on it, chewed on it, just about everything a toddler can do to one book.

Buddy is particularly fascinated by colors. When Nick is away, he looks at the book again, pointing at things and making sure he has the names right.

"Gween, Mama?"

"Yes, sweetie, green."


"That's the aqua, Buddy." I turn the page. "That's blue." Buddy clapped his hands.  "Can you tell me what colours are in the rainbow, Buddy?"

We turned to the rainbow at the very end of the book. "Wed, owange, yewoww, gween, bwue..." He paused at the last two.

"That's ok Buddy, the last two are tough. That's indigo and violet."

I've tried to get Buddy a decent colour set but there never seems to be one in town. I think he'll be amazing at art some day.

I took a rare moment of feeling better to try and permanently fix our perpetually leaky shower. It's amazing how incredibly irritating "drip, drip, drip" is when you are home too much. Nick would have scolded me if he'd been home, I was on my feet for a long time working on the shower.

Even feeling better, it took hours to get any where with the project.  I won't know for at least a few days if it's finally working better. Stupid plumbing, next up is the toilet that always blocks.

There is nothing to raise the spirits then having family and friends over for a small gathering. I needed something to take my mind off my ever expanding stomach.

"I see you're nearly ready to give me a new niece or nephew, Penny. You look so amazing when you're pregnant." Veronica smiled a lot at my baby bump.

"I wish I felt that way. I'm just exhausted, Veronica. I don't remember it being anything like this for Buddy." I sighed.

Veronica gave me a small hug. "I think women are programmed to forget the bad parts of pregnancy or there might not be enough babies to go around. You've been getting checkups?"

"Yes, I haven't run into you at the hospital yet but I've been getting the checkups. How's the job?"

"I'm still at the lower end of the medical career, but I'll fly someday." I'm sure my twin will. She has the brains of the family, that's been obvious for a long time.

It was nice to see that Ronnie is still pretty keen on her Eddie. I know that they still live together in a small house.

I still hope that they'll go further but her career demands so much of her time. I just don't know if it will ever happen.

It is a relief that Eddie is willing to fit in with the rest of the family. He actually danced with Mom for some time before she had to rest.

I'm glad Mom was feeling well enough to come. From what Daddy has been saying, she's been feeling poorly quite often lately.

I tried dancing for a while with Vincent.

Fortunately, Buddy gave me a good excuse to leave after a few minutes. He's not usually a fussy little fellow but the excitement of having so many people around wears him out quickly. I could tell he was starting to whine a bit and would work up to a full tantrum soon.

So I picked him up to put Buddy in the crib. I waited around for him to drop off to sleep.

"I hope you are nearly ready to come out little one. Because Mommy is so very tired of carrying you around all the time."

After everyone had finally gone home, Nick and I went to bed.

"Nick, do you still love me? Even when I look like this?"

"Of course I do, honey. You are stunning, I've always thought so." Nick nestled closer to me. "You need some proof?"

A little while later and Nick had certainly made his point. Well, I'm still not sure that I actually look acceptable for other people but you have to believe the ones that you love, don't you?

"Morning gorgeous. How are you feeling today?"

I cupped Nick's face in my hand. "Still tired but feeling a bit better."

"I want you to take it easy while I'm at work. Don't over stress yourself. You promise?"

"I'll try Nick, but things have to get done around the house." We are not nearly at a stage in life where we can afford a daily maid service.

As I told Nick, there are things that have to get done around the house. Even the simplest chore is getting so difficult now. It takes a long time to waddle to the front of the house to take out the trash.

I hope to heavens that this baby comes soon. Because if I get any bigger, they are going to have to air lift me to the hospital. Assuming that the helicopter can carry a whale like me around. I'll never ever fit in a normal taxi.

"Oh, Buddy, my little man. You know, you aren't so little any more."

Between the pregnancy and the rate Buddy is growing, daily cuddles will all too soon be a thing of the past. Sometimes I can barely lift him up.

I decided that Buddy needed something new to read. Instead of buying another book, we went over to the library.

We picked out a lovely colorful book about birds. Buddy was fascinated by the pictures, all those birds and all those colors. Some of them are from other countries, I could promise Buddy that someday he would see them. How could I resist taking him along to China or Egypt once he's old enough?

We had nearly looked at the entire book when the labor pains first started. The contractions were still fairly far apart, so I called a sitter and a taxi. While waiting for the taxi, I rang Nick at work and Daddy at home to let them know it was time.

First I took little Buddy home in the taxi, fortunately the sitter was waiting at the door when we arrived. Then I left for the hospital.

It was good to see that not only Daddy but Mom, Vincent and Miriam were all waiting at the hospital. It's good to know that you can count on your family for support.

I entered the hospital and fortunately Nick arrived not long after.

It turned out to be a longer stay then we first thought. I'd been very serious that I wanted no details about the baby pre-birth, I had thought maybe we were having twins though. I was wrong. We didn't have two babies. We have three new babies; Joey, Daisy and Ruby.

Poor Nick is stunned. He hasn't said a word since Daisy was born, I think he nearly fainted when Ruby joined the family.


Twallan is responsible for the mixed triplets. The first time around, there were three girls but the game crashed when I went to save and quit. I kind of wanted one boy anyway so on the second try, I MC the first to boy.

This time, the game is saved with our new triplets so all is stable here.

Phillip and Vanessa spent the entire time the triplets were being born flirting with each other. They may be elders but that fire burns brightly still.

Bonus pics

Rocio Grant - one of Penny's many cousins, this is the little sister of Jerod (Shrimp). Yet another pretty gen 4 girl, gen 4 seems to be kind of special.

Phillip, don't you think you should stop dancing and go home?

Seriously, Phillip, it's dawn now and you still haven't gone home. Go home.