Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chapter Two of My NaNoWriMo Novel


**************CHAPTER TWO

After a couple days of rest for Mom and of close observation of the outside world by Shaddy, Dad brought them home from the hospital. What should have been a happy occasion turned ugly as soon as they stepped inside the small house that was to be her home. Shaddy jerked her head back and forth, over and over again as her mind reeled. What kind of a home was this? Were they kidding? It wasn’t even close to April Fool’s Day, but this had to be some kind of joke. The darkness she’d been living in for the past nine months was more to her liking than this wee little shanty.
*
Before Shaddy could express her opinions, Mom laid her gently on her back in her cradle which presently was near the kitchen table. She covered her with a blanket. Before her mother had let go of the blanket, Shaddy twisted herself over on her stomach and pulled the blanket over her head. I can’t take any more of this nonsense, she thought. I’m so awfully tired of it already. Honestly, though, I can't think right now; I’ll worry about it tomorrow.

“Be quiet, now,” Mom said to the boys. “You can see Shaddy later, when she wakes up. Go in the bedroom and play quietly.”

Dad was sitting on the davenport close to the cradle. The boys didn’t hesitate to obey their mother with Dad close by. They left the living room and were soon playing with puzzles on the bedroom floor. “Well, what do you think of our Shaddy?” asked Dad of Mom. "Oh, and I've forgotten. How much does she weigh?"
*
“Seven pounds and eleven ounces,” Mom replied. “What do I think of her? She’s full of, well, I don’t know what she’s full of, but I do know she wasn’t born like the boys. She exploded out of me as if she’d been shot out of a cannon. I hate to think what would have happened if Dr. Carlson hadn’t caught her. He turned as white as a sheet when it happened. He stood there with Shaddy in his hands completely motionless for what seemed like forever. I suspect he was thinking that we’ll all have our hands full.”
*
“Sounds like Shaddy will be giving the boys a run for their money before long.” Dad chuckled. “I doubt I’ll have to worry about her keeping up with them.”
*
“No, you’re right there, but I’m wondering how I’ll stay a step ahead of her. She looks at me as if she thinks she knows more than I do. She scowls and mumbles to herself a lot. I think we got more than we bargained for with Shaddy. Did you see the look on her face when we first came in the house? Obviously, she was upset and disappointed with our home. She’s acts way too grown-up for her age. I suspect she’ll be giving me a piece of her mind before long and I’m not sure I want to hear it. I feel terrible talking this way, but…”

“You’re tired, that’s all,” Dad said. “Send the boys out here and you go on and take a nap. I’ll make sure they don’t wake Shaddy up.”
*
Mom agreed and soon fell asleep in the bedroom. Dad and the boys whispered until they heard Shaddy wrestling with her blanket. A few seconds later, her blanket flew out of the cradle, slid across the coffee table and onto the floor.

“She’s got an arm!” Bobby picked up Shaddy’s blanket and looked at his father. “Should I cover her up again?” he asked.

Dad stood up and walked to the side of the cradle. The eyes that met his stopped him in his tracks. Shaddy was absolutely still except for her tiny fist. She raised it and shook it at her father. Without hesitation, Dad reached down and picked Shaddy up.
*
“Now, what are you so worked up about, you little stinker?” Dad said softly as he rocked Shaddy in his arms. “Throwing things and shaking your fist isn’t what I’d expected from my new little baby girl. I think what you need is a good share of time in my arms so you feel real welcome here. Your mother’s relaxing and that’s exactly what you need to do too.” Dad walked back and forth from the kitchen to the far wall of the living room with Shaddy in his arms. As he walked, he kept rocking her gently and talking softly to her.
*
Shaddy was in no mood for a nap, but the rhythm of her father’s voice and footsteps on the floor lulled her into a sleepy mode. Bobby and Tommy ran along behind them in their stocking feet. Dad could see they were nearly bursting with curiosity so he lowered his arms and let the boys take a peek at their new little sister. Shaddy’s face was relaxed and her fists had opened up. Bobby and Tommy stood in awe on their tiptoes, looking eagerly at her cute little face. Their eyes were wide and full of wonder.
*
“Put on your jackets and go out and play while the girls sleep,” Dad told the boys. “You’ll have plenty of time to look at Shaddy. I’ll call you when lunch is ready.” The boys hesitated for a second but then grabbed their jackets, slipped on their shoes and quietly opened and closed the door.
*
Dad continued walking the floor with Shaddy and occasionally peeked out the window to watch the boys at play. Bobby and Tommy were really good kids. They were having fun, playing catch with a football and jumping in the leaves at the same time. Dad looked down at Shaddy and ran his thumb under her chin. Shaddy’s eyes immediately sprang open. She lunged at his thumb and bit at it with her toothless gums.
*
“What in the world?” her father responded. He looked at his thumb and then back at Shaddy’s face. She seemed pleased with herself and close to laughter. “My, my, my, you’re just plumb full of piss and vinegar, aren’t you?”
*
Just then, Dad heard Mom stirring in the bedroom. He walked to her bedside, shaking his head. Mom was sitting on the side of the bed, reaching with her feet for the shoes she’d shaken off a good hour ago. “I feel a lot better now. I didn’t realize how tired I was,” she said as she stood up. “Were you shaking your head a minute ago?”
*
Not wanting to upset her, he didn’t mention the latest incident. “Oh, I must have been thinking about work or something.”
*
“So did Shaddy sleep?” Mom asked.
*
“She didn’t appear the least bit sleepy until I picked her up and walked with her. She relaxed and dozed off for quite a while and woke up just before you did,” Dad said. “I sent the boys outside after they got a look at Shaddy. You should have seen their eyes. I’ll never forget that moment.”

“I can just about imagine their expressions. She’s all they’ve been talking about for weeks. I’m going to fix us some lunch. I could use some help if you don’t mind putting Shaddy down, dear.”
*
“I think I can tear myself away for a few minutes, if you insist. I’ll pull her cradle over here so she can watch us.” Dad settled Shaddy comfortably in her portable bed and covered her with her blanket.
*
“There’s leftover chili in the refrigerator and bread in the breadbox. I’ll cut up some celery and spread it with peanut butter. That should fill us up, don’t you think?” Mom said.
*
“Sounds like plenty to me,” said Dad. “When we’re done, we can feed Shaddy.”
*
Mom stood in front of the stove, stirring the chili while Dad got the bread and butter on the table. Shaddy was bored and felt ignored so she wadded up her blanket and launched it over her mother’s shoulder and into the pot of chili. “Well!” was all Mom could say. She turned her head and her eyes met Shaddy’s. Shaddy’s expression was challenging, as if she were asking, “What's wrong now?”
*
Dad saw the soiled blanket and laughed. “She tossed her blanket a little while ago when you were lying down,” Dad said. “She’s quite the athlete.”
*
“This daughter of ours is scaring me,” Mom said while she cleaned the chili off the edge of the blanket. “How can she possibly be doing such things when she’s only a few days old?”
*
“It sure beats the heck out of me. I feel like I’m watching a strange movie only I can’t turn it off,” Dad said while he walked to the cradle. He started to reach for her but then remembered how she’d latched onto his thumb. He pulled his hand back and rested it on the edge of the cradle. Shaddy sensed her father’s apprehension and felt bad about her previous behavior. She smiled widely and stretched out her arms to him. Her father let out a long sigh. He forgot everything else that had happened and scooped Shaddy up and held her close.
*
Father and daughter went over to Mom and Shaddy repeated her smile and held her arms out to her mother. “Oh, my goodness,” Mom said as she accepted Shaddy’s hug. “Now this is the little girl I’ve been waiting so long for.”
*
“I think Shaddy’s going to be just fine. I’ll call the boys in,” said Dad.
*
“Why, that’s the first smile I’ve seen on your face, sweetie,” said Mom. “You were so busy watching all the activity in the hospital that I didn’t think you knew I was there. I never saw so many doctors and nurses coming and going before. Someone was always sneaking in to get a peek at you as if they’d never seen a baby in its bed before. You must have been putting on quite a show by the looks on their faces when they turned and left. Those faces you make are quite startling I must admit, although I saw so many that I got used to them.”
*
Tommy and Bobby quietly opened and closed the door as they came inside. Their eyes opened wide and they rushed to Mom to get another good look at Shaddy.

“Can I hold her?” Tommy asked.

“Can I hold her?” Bobby echoed.

“After lunch, both of you can hold her. Sit down now and Dad will fill your bowls.”

Mom held Shaddy in her left arm while she ate. The boys kept smiling and talking to Shaddy and she smiled and waved her arms at them. They all enjoyed themselves while they ate and soon it was time to take their plates to the kitchen counter and help with the dishes. Mom washed while Dad held Shaddy. He put the butter, bread and peanut butter away while the boys wiped the dishes. Shaddy played with her Dad’s ear and yanked on his earlobe.

“Careful Shaddy,” Dad said. “That’s the closest thing to an earring I’ve got. I don’t want to lose it.”

They finished in the kitchen and moved into the family room. Since Tommy was the oldest, he held Shaddy first. He asked for her blanket to cover her with.

“It’s in the dryer. It had some chili on it,” Dad said with a laugh. “That sister of yours tossed her blanket into the pot of chili. She’ll be playing ball with you fellows long before I thought she would.”
*
“You boys never did things like that, ever. I thought girls were quieter and better behaved than boys, but I’m not so sure anymore. I’ll fix a bottle and we’ll take turns feeding her. How does that sound?” Mom asked.

“I’ll feed her and we’ll leave it at that for now,” Dad said. “Let’s not contribute to her rambunctiousness by passing her around like a football. We’ll let her eat in peace. Turn on the television, Tommy. Lassie should be coming on in a few minutes.”
*
“I’ll be folding towels. Remember to burp her every once in a while,” Mom said.
*
Shaddy was starving after watching the rest of the family eat. She sucked and gulped until the bottle was empty. Her dad didn’t have a chance to burp her until she had drained every last drop and when he tried, nothing happened. Shaddy stuck out her finger and when her father took hold of it, she pulled it back and let out a great big burp. Mom came from the other room and stared at Shaddy. The looks on everyone’s faces were so amusing to Shaddy that she started laughing and before long everyone was laughing until they were crying.
*
The remainder of the day passed without a hitch. At bedtime, Dad turned the lights out and everyone settled down.

7 comments:

Natasha said...

Baby Shaddy is quite the little pistol!!! This is a lot of fun.

Shaddy said...

Natasha: Thanks for reading this long chapter. I'm glad you thought it was fun to read. That's what I'm hoping for.

darksculptures said...

I'm still trying to get over eating chili with celery and peanut butter as a side. Not only is this clever but you bring all of these little unique details to the story making it believable. I'm having a great time reading your story.

Shaddy said...

darksculptures: Thank you for your kind comment and for reading this lengthy chapter, lengthy for a blog post that is. I'm so very, very delighted that you're enjoying my novel.

dayner said...

This is so much fun! Great story, baby Shaddy sounds like she's gonna be a handful and an adventure. Can't wait to read more!

Shaddy said...

dayner: Goody, goody! I appreciate the time you took to read this chapter and I'll be posting more soon.

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