Sunday, 10 July 2016

Baby 2: I take it all back

As Audrey wakes for the fourth time that night, I realise how wrong I'd been about everything. Mum had warned me so, so many times that parenting is one of the hardest things to do in life and I (foolishly) hadn't believed her. I yawn as I cross the hallway into the nursery.
 Audrey is, of course, still in her crib and crying her eyes out. I lift her up and hold her close to me. "Hey baby girl. Hey, hey," I say quietly. "What's wrong, eh?"
Being a baby I'm not surprised that she doesn't reply, but when she starts sucking gently on my shoulder I decide she's probably hungry. I walk downstairs with her in my arms, bouncing up and down slightly with every step.
In the kitchen, I prepare a bottle for my firstborn child and try not to glare too hard at the clock. Thankfully, it is Audrey's birthday tomorrow and the days of refusing to sleep through the night will, mostly, be gone. As she drinks her milk, I begin thinking about my plans for the next day. Of course, I'll need to work the garden, and then a trip to the grocery store to sell what I've grown. Since I'm down there, I might stop by the bookstore and say hello to James again.
James and I had decided that, barring his participation in the challenge, we'd step back the relationship and get to know each other better before we really continued anything. I for one think it's a great idea, because I can't count the number of times I'd gotten deep into a relationship with a man for them to simply turn around and leave me as soon as anything challenging arose.

Audrey falls asleep in my arms and I carry her upstairs to bed, for a few hours, hopefully, of sleep. By the time the sun rises, we're both slightly more rested and I carry her to the cake I've set up to age her into toddlerhood. Standing next to an excitable James, who had come despite the early hour and late invitation, I cheer and encourage my daughter."Good luck Audrey!" I say with a grin.
Audrey grows up into a toddler with great success, and ends up with my hair, James' eyes and the rest of his features. I'm slightly peeved that my first child doesn't look like me, but also incredibly glad that she isn't absolutely hideous. Not that I'd reject an ugly child. It's just that pretty ones are... prettier.
I set about the rest of my day with renewed vigour now that I know Audrey will be able to entertain herself slightly more. My garden is really developing, and it takes me slightly longer than I'm happy with to get everything done. Unfortunately, the only gardener available for hire in the town is much more suited to mowing lawns and weeding flowers than taking care of a large scale growing operation like mine. Also they looked at me strangely when I met them, so they were fired faster than you can say 'vegetables'.
Of course, also on my list of things to get done is some more progression in my challenge. When I head downtown to the grocery store I watch everyone who walks past, evaluating them to see whether they'd be good participants. The most likely option I see is one with silvery hair, but I don't know him well enough to just approach him on the street. Still, I make a mental note to find out who he is so that I can ask him to participate some other time. I spend the rest of the day teaching Audrey to walk,
and use the potty. 
Thankfully, she seems to take to these lessons like a duck to water, and I have one less task off my plate for the next few days. The pressing of all these burdens is really starting to get to me, and I'm almost thankful when I get a phone call from mum.
"Hey Peg. How are you doing?"
"Honestly, I'm considering ways to kill myself with baby bottles." I tell her, honestly.
"I told you it was hard. And hey, if you need help, I'm only like five minutes away. Call me if you need me. Anyway, I might have been interfering a little and found you a new father. He's willing to participate if you'll do it the 'science way'."
"Really! Who is it?" I ask. Despite how stressed I am, I want to move on with my challenge as fast as I can.
"His name's Vitus. You probably saw him around town. Silver hair, purple eyes. And he isn't related to us."
"Huh. I guess we have similar taste. I saw him down in town and I was gonna try and find out more about him. Send him my way."
Mum hangs up after telling me that she'll get him to come over ASAP and I head indoors with instructions to try and play more with Audrey. Like I don't play with her enough when I'm chasing her around the house to try and get her dressed. Yeah, I don't think I'm really a natural parent, much as I love kids. Still, I take Mum's advice and actually have a good time pretending to attack Audrey with 'The Claw'. She seems to like it too.

When Vitus arrives the next morning, my thoughts are confirmed. It is indeed the man I had seen yesterday. He smiles at me, then gestures awkwardly. "Shall we get this show on the road?" I nod and follow him down the driveway to my car, driving us both down to the fertility clinic. There, I'm inseminated and am able to continue on my way. Although it's much easier than normal impregnation, I do feel like much of the challenge has gone out of the challenge by doing it like this, especially because Mum actually sent him my way.
Of course, with a new baby on the way and Audrey all skilled up (although she seems more inclined to eat the stick from the xylophone than play on it),
it is prime time for her to have another birthday. With that in mind, I take her to the kitchen and set about aging her up. She grows into a reasonably well-adjusted child, who finds that her attachment to animals makes it impossible for her to actually eat them.

She tends to follow me around as I garden dressed up in 'dungaroos like a farmer, Mummy!' to tell me all about the dangers of eating meat. Fortunately for her, she has a very accommodating mother who is willing to work her way into vegetarian meals for her firstborn child, even when pregnant with her younger siblings.
Thankfully, this doesn't stop her from fitting in reasonably well at school, and she heads off down the valley every morning with a smile on her face.
Unfortunately for me, a happy daughter does not mean a functional house as -- to my dismay-- the toilet breaks on only the second day of my pregnancy. It's tricky for me to get down, and I am in no financial situation to call in a repairman so I'm forced into fixing it despite my difficulties.
It isn't long after that that I find myself heading down into town to register myself as a self-employed gardener. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it earlier, especially because it's one of the few things I do with my time. So one day while Audrey is busy at school, I drive down to fill in the paperwork. On the way out I go into labour and give birth to baby 2, Benjamin Brendan Everard and Baby 3 
, Clara Charlie Everard. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Baby #1: Easier than I was expecting

“Are you sure you’ll be okay? Parenting is much harder than you ever think it’s gonna be. I know when I was first starting out I had to pretend to be a famous painter on the internet just so I could make enough money to survive.” Mum says as we stand on my doorstep.
“Yes Mum. You and Aunt Paisley paid for the down payment on this place, and with my garden, my photography and everything else I have going on I think I’ll be alright for money. I’ll phone if I need you, yeah?” I reply, keeping up a brave face for my mum. Every so often I notice her lip quivering, and Paisley will take her hand or loop an arm around her shoulders. She nods, and wraps me in a hug.
Screenshot-32I step back awkwardly and rub a hand on my arm. This isn’t the first time Mum’s seen me move out, but I guess the idea of me starting a challenge of my own is enough to bring out the clinginess in her. She steps back and buries her face in Paisley’s shoulder as she walks down the garden path and I hear her say, between quiet sobs, “She’s doing it to carry on the legacy Pais! I inspired her so much, and it’s just so sad-” before they get out of earshot and I am left to an empty house.
First things first, I get down to tending to my garden. Although it’s small at the moment there is a lot of space available for it and as I nurture my natural talent I expect it’ll grow more. Currently I have a few apple trees, watermelon plants and some tomatoes, all courtesy of Mum’s original garden.
As I’m harvesting, I happen to hear someone walk past whistling. Expecting it to be one of my neighbours, I step away from the tree and make my way towards the road. To my surprise, it isn’t one of my neighbours, but someone from further down the valley, closer towards the lake. I head towards the fence nearest the road and shove my hands in my back pockets with a grin. “Hi there,” I say with a grin, and whistler freezes on the spot. When he notices me, he walks over and shoves a hand in his pocket with a blush.
“Hello ma’am. I don’t believe we’ve been introduced. And that’s suprisin’ since I walk past your house every day on my way up to the mountains.”
“It’s understandable,” I reply “Seeing as I just moved in. I’m Peggy Everard.”
He gawps when he recognises my name. “So you’re one of Skye’s then? I read about her. Gee whiz, that challenge. How’d she do it?”
“Oh, mostly emotional breakdowns and tears, I hear she parented a bit too. I honestly have no idea.”
“Gee. All those kids. I’m James, by the way. James Oxford. If you’re not too busy, I’d like to take you to dinner, you seem like fine company.”
I blush, then nod. “I’d love to. And hey, maybe over dinner I could make you an offer, I have a feeling there’s somethin’ you could offer me that’d help me out more than a little.” He frowns slightly at my comment, but shrugs it off. “It’s nearly evening already, if you wanna wait inside I’ll just go wash my hands and freshen up a bit—we can go for dinner now.”
He grins at the suggestion, and I show him into the kitchen diner. With his pick of the rather ridiculous number of chairs around the dining table, he perches on one of the stools by the island, allowing him to continue chatting idly to me as I wash up.
To my surprise, the local bistro is empty, save for the staff, when we arrive and so we have ample time to spend perusing the menus. “I think I’ll have the lemon and eggplant lasagne,” I say, “What are you thinking?”
“That there’s way too many kinds of pie on this menu.” James says, smiling. “Seriously though, have you tried this place’s Bouillbasse? It’s to die for,”
“I don’t think I can even say Bouillbasse, if I’m entirely honest.” I reply.
Our food is, of course, delicious and it was an ideal introduction to the restaurants of this town. I make a note of the name, deciding to try and sell a few of my fruits and vegetables here when I get a big enough harvest.
Over dinner I finally broach the subject of my own challenge, and James has the decency to pretend to be alarmed. Of course, he’d been expecting it since I told him he might be able to help me out. Thankfully, with a little convincing,

and the assurances that he can see me again for a second date, I get him to agree to participate.
He has to leave, that morning, to get to work at the local bookstore. Thankfully for me, I have reason to go down with him. Unlike my mother’s challenge, where multiple fathers are actively encouraged, I see no reason why I shouldn’t have all my kids with one father. If that just happens to be James then good for me. Of course, there’s also nothing stopping me from having multiple fathers AND a long term relationship.
I do indeed follow James down to the bookstore, where I pick up a couple of pregnancy books to read over the next few days. Then, I head back home and continue looking after my garden—which I’d interrupted yesterday in my eagerness to get this challenge moving.
Unfortunately, I’m interrupted again, this time by the nausea my mother had warned me about. Despite her warnings, I hadn’t expected it to be nearly as bad as this, and I gain a newfound respect to her for doing this 100 times. I groan quietly, realising that I could potentially have to do this 26 times, or even more.
I’ve just finished dinner and found myself in great need of a shower when my bump pops. I snap a picture and send it to Mum straight away. I get a series of emoji’s back suggesting that she’s happy for me.
The next few days pass as normal, although slightly slower due to my increasing size. I read
work out a little
and maintain my garden.
When I’m not letting James speak to the baby, or trying to get some sleep. It’s all much easier than I’d been expecting, save for the occasional uncomfortable moment.
Of course, all my ideas are shattered instantly the moment I go into labour. The pain is so bad that I think for a second that I might be dying, but I cast that idea aside. Highly unlikely. Based on what Mum had said, this would be labour. Unwilling to go through this for the first time at home alone, I phone James and head down the valley to the hospital. Screenshot-56
There, I give birth to Baby 1: A little girl who I name Audrey Arabella Everard.

A/N: SO it would appear I’m blogging again. Much like when I first started, I’m going to be surprised if anyone actually reads this. If you do, hello! *waves*. This is mostly just for my entertainment, since I actually graduated from high school this year, so I have an extended summer before I start at university. *ghostly whoo noises*. Feel free to comment, or not, as the feelings take you. I’m just glad to be back!
A/N 2: I’m actually going for a naming theme for this challenge too. First names will be the names of Fictional characters, and the second names will be song titles/Artist names. Just wait until I get to H, Winking smile. In this case, Audrey was named after the girl from Netflix’s Scream TV Series, and the song is Arabella by the Arctic Monkeys.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Gen 2 Says Hello!

Screenshot-29Hey, hi, hello. Y’all might not remember me, I’m Peggy Everard. I was baby 85 of my mother’s baby challenge, and my birth was one of the last she actively blogged about!That;s actually my claim to fame, that I was the final Everard baby whose conception got a backstory. I know, not much of a legacy—right?Screenshot-30So I’ve decided to do something about that. I’m going to be starting the A-Z challenge! It’s a lot like a 100 Baby Challenge, but with one big difference- I’m only having 26 kids. Once I finish that, then we’ll go from there. Maybe I’ll do another one until I reach 10 like Mum. Or maybe something else, who knows!
The rules of this challenge are pretty simple—I have to have a kid named for every letter of the alphabet before I die.Of course, since my mother has that nifty potion she got from her mother, via a secret and shady government agency, I think I’ll be alright. ; )

Just for kicks on my part, here’s Peggy’s traits: