1.38: They Grow So Fast

 

Screenshot-61
A few months into Spring, Shane was introduced to his newest son, Jace. Once again he felt the sensation of his heart going all soft and melty the first time he gazed into his child’s eyes. To his surprise, Lilith decided to give Jace the surname Stone. “To carry on your father’s name,” she explained.

“But what about your father’s name? There are no more Meadows’ on the island now either.”

“You did say you wanted another boy,” she coyly pointed out.

He laughed. “I said that a long time ago, and it was mostly a joke. You made me a happy man just by marrying me, and you’ve given me three beautiful children,  I’m more than blessed.”

 

 

Screenshot-142
Twisting around to look at him as he sprawled across the bed behind her, Lilith found herself caught for a moment in his intense eyes. After all these years, a look from him still made her heart skip a beat sometimes. “I couldn’t have done it without you,” she said softly, feeling his fingers curl around hers.

“It was my pleasure.” He waggled his eyebrows at her, making her laugh, then his expression turned reflective. “When I first started thinking about spending my life with you and having children together, 3 boys and a girl was just a number that popped in my head. It was the day we went to see Daniel’s son Jake when he was born.”

 

 

Screenshot-8-1
He remembered the day well. Watching her hold and play with Daniela’s baby had really hit him, and everything else in that moment had kind of fallen away as he’d contemplated having children with the women he loved so much.

“And to think, Jake’s a teenager now!” Lilith exclaimed.

Shane mused over his warm memory a few moments more. We could have a son…or three, he had thought to himself. And maybe a girl too. Thinking back to that brought a smile to his lips. “Alastair too,” he said, bringing himself back to the moment. “And Dustin. They grow so fast.”

 

 

Screenshot-5
And his own children were growing fast too, before his very eyes. Although Carrick was far more reserved than his little sister Ayala, he nonetheless was as boisterous and exuberant as any boy his age. Lilith was always worried he’d hurt himself, with all the running and climbing he was constantly doing. Shane smiled wistfully to think he’d been much the same as a boy, how exasperated his mother had often been at him.

 

 

Screenshot-27
Carrick quickly grew impatient and bored when helping in the garden, but he was old enough now that Shane took him fishing and hunting as well. Carrick declared those activities to be fun, and his added efforts proved helpful in keeping the family well fed.

“How would you feel about joining the Scouts after school?” Shane asked him one afternoon. Given his interests, it seemed like a good fit.

Carrick kept his eyes on the water, his brow furrowed. “Dunno. What do they do that I can’t do with you, Dad?”

Shane smiled at that; Carrick was his little shadow. “You’d learn different ways to do things, learn how to catch new fish, and track game better than I can. Plus, you’d get to hang out with other boys your age. Sometimes they even go camping across the island.”

All the way across the island? Like, to the volcano far? That’s pretty far.”

Shane nodded. “Daniel said that Jake was going to join the Scouts too.”

“Cool.”

And that settled it. Carrick wanted to enroll right away. Anything that Jake did, Carrick wanted to do too. Shane took him to sign up the next day. “But you can’t let your grades drop,” he said, trying to be stern over Carrick’s sudden enthusiasm for scouting. “If your grades drop, your mother won’t be happy and I’ll have to take you out of Scouts.”

 

 

Screenshot-31
So Carrick worked extra hard on his homework on nights that he didn’t have Scouts meetings.

 

 

Screenshot-37
In fact, he even made the honor roll–and stayed on it. Shane enjoyed helping him with his assignments as the family relaxed around the fire after dinner in the evenings.

 

 

Screenshot-127
“Fishing’s so much cooler than messing in the garden, Dad.” Carrick told Shane one afternoon. “I’m glad we don’t do this in Scouts.”

“I used to think so too when I was your age. But working in the garden is rewarding too. We always have fresh fruit and vegetables to eat, and herbs to season our food with. And I can make nectar from many of the fruits.”

“Mom does make a good stew with all this stuff,” Carrick shrugged, gesturing toward the vegetables.

Shane chuckled. “Yes, yes she does.” Carrick sure never complained about eating.

 

 

Screenshot-131
“Plus, it’s important to take care of your family,” Shade added. “You’ll have a family to take care of one day too.”

 

 

Screenshot-134
Carrick thought about that for a moment, tilting his head to one side. “Mom says she hopes I grow up to be a good, helpful, romantic man like you. Are you really romantic Dad? That sounds like mushy stuff.”

Shane shrugged a little sheepishly. “Uh, well she brings out the best in me. And uh, sometimes that means being romantic. I just love your mother and want to take good care of her.” He tried hard not to stutter. It’s not time to have that talk yet already, is it?

“I want to be able to take care of a mother someday too, like you.” Carrick said decisively. “Can I go play at Jake’s now?”

 

 

divider

Screenshot-92
Ayala was growing up too, or so she informed her brother. “I’m almost as big as you Cary,” she told him.

“Nuh uh. I’m the oldest and I’ll always be bigger than you.”

Ayala looked at the block in her hand and then threw it at him.

 

 

Screenshot-93
“Mooo-ooom!”

 

 

divider

Screenshot-8
But Ayala did have her birthday the very next day.

 

 

Screenshot-100
Carrick found it a bit annoying to have his little sister at school bugging into his business all the time. It was kind of fun to do homework together though, because he got to show off what he’d already learned.

“Gosh Cary, you’re so smart!” Ayala gushed.

Well, I guess she’s not so bad after all…maybe. At least she didn’t join the scouts club too, choosing instead to do some girly after-school activity.

 

 

divider

Screenshot-118
Shane lounged back on the bed, looking at Carrick’s Scouts honors and the dancing award Ayala had already earned. “I’m going to add another room onto the shelter,” he announced, almost to himself.

Lilith turned to face him as she held Jace, nursing him. “What brought this on?” she asked.

“Well. Carrick’s sleeping in the loft, and Ayala in her bedroll under the overhang. Jace will outgrow his crib soon enough. It seems like a good idea to add another room so they have an indoor sleeping place as well.”

 

 

Screenshot-102
Shane went to work the next day, hauling timber into camp to shape into planks. Mortar was mixed and rocks dug out from around the waterfalls in the hills, and a fireplace took shape. Shane positioned these against the back of the fireplace in his and Lilith’s bedroom, to share the flue and chimney. When Carrick arrived home from Scouts, Shane showed him how to plane and shave the boards. “These will be the walls for your bedroom,” he explained, “and it will have a fireplace that connects through to the one in your mother’s room.”

“A bedroom? But I like sleeping in the hayloft! Why can’t we just put a tent up or something like everyone else does?”

“Trust me, you’ll be glad for things like this when winter comes again or during bad rain storms. A tent is good shelter, but this is better. You know, it’s part of that taking care of your family stuff I talked to you about.”

“Yeah I guess that makes sense. Sometimes when it rains hard, it blows in under the overhang, and Ayala sleeps down there.” Carrick nodded wisely.

 

 

divider

Screenshot-170
A few months later, the Riverhavens hosted a big party for Daniel’s birthday. Daniel was well beloved by most of the villagers, and the huge turnout unleashed general mayhem and chaos over the newly built Riverhaven camp.

 

 

Screenshot-183
“How far along are you?” Lilith asked Daniela. Daniela was pregnant again and the already large Riverhaven family would grow even more.

“About five months now I think,” Daniela answered. “I can feel the baby moving some now.”

Lilith glanced over at Daniel, now an elder whether he wanted to admit it or not. New life was always a thing to be celebrated, but the bittersweet smile on Daniela’s face acknowledged the unspoken knowledge that he would miss much of this child’s life.

 

 

Screenshot-190
The women talked around the fire, refreshing the food on the table as the herd of teenage boys continued to plow through it. The rest of the children ran around screaming and shouting as they played, and the boom of the men’s laughter frequently drifted through the camp.

 

 

Screenshot-176
“Daniel, you’re too young to be getting old,” Shane teased. “Who’s going to chase the women around with a magic wand now?”

“O-ho, very funny young man. I’ve still got lots of punch left in me. Ask Daniela!” Daniel hooted. “Got me another bun in her oven, even.” Daniela rolled her eyes at him from across the camp.

 

 

Screenshot-192
To prove his point, Daniel called one of his many daughters over, and lifted her into the air as she hung onto his arm. Shane just shook his head, laughing. “See? Lots of power left in these guns! Besides, Dustin is proving to have the family talent and will carry on the family line with his wand quite admirably.”

 

 

Screenshot-175
Meanwhile, Carrick seemed to have an admirer in little Nala. He humored her for a short while, but when she wanted to play patty-cake, he ran off to find Jake. It was much cooler to hang out with the older boys than a sissy little patty-cake girl, anyway.

 

 

Screenshot-202
The day wore on into afternoon with a pleasant mood as everyone enjoyed themselves. The toddlers soon tuckered themselves out, and Lilith and Daniela were able to get a few of them down for naps. Nala stubbornly refused, instead toddling around after Carrick, much to his chagrin.

 

 

Screenshot-203
Daniel continued his youthful bragging, showing off his biceps to anyone who would pay attention, much to Daniela’s embarrassment, and the indulgent amusement of Joel and Shane. Joel soon took his leave, though, and headed back up to the bar to put things in order there.

 

 

Screenshot-177
“Dustin, will you show me your wand?” Ayala preened in front of Dustin. His aqua eyes looked down at her, surprised.

“My wand?”

“Daniel said you had a wand too and that you had the family talent with it.”

He looked a bit nonplussed.

“So? Can I see it?”

“Wands are not for little girls,” he said, a little too gruffly, before turning on his heel and heading toward the Hale brothers.

Ayala stamped her foot in the grass behind him. Little girl!

 

 

Screenshot-210
“I can’t believe your brother! He’s such a mean turd face!”

The twins nodded sympathetically. “He’s real bossy,” Natalia added.

“Luckily he’s not here all the time, he lives with his mom Kaila,” Nicola put in.

“Well I’m no little girl and he was being rude! One day he’s gonna be sorry he said that to me!”

 

 

Screenshot-212
As the sun inched toward the horizon, the ladies started cleaning things up as people began to drift homeward. The teens hadn’t left a lot of food to put away, fortunately, so most of the cleanup was moving chairs and tables back to their normal spots and rounding up the children as the Meadowstones too prepared to go home.

 

 

Screenshot-205
“Cary! Cary you’ll come play again pweese?” He looked down at Nala’s finger pointing up again and rolled his eyes.

“Maybe Nala, maybe, but now I gotta go home with my dad.” He had absolutely no intention of coming back to play with a baby!

 

 

divider

Screenshot-214
Lilith and Shane sat around their own campfire at home that evening, enjoying the relative peace while Carrick and Ayala talked, chattered, and argued about all the fun stuff they’d done that day. Carrick insisted he’d had more fun hanging out with ‘the guys’. “But you’re too young to hang out with the teenagers,” Ayala meanly pointed out.

“I’ll be as big as them real soon and I can hunt and fish with them already. And besides I’m not young. You’re young.”

Lilith and Shane exchanged a look across the fire, just smiling at the simplicity of it. “Finish your food, both of you, then go play with your blocks or work on homework,” Lilith interjected firmly. Carrick started to say something in response, but a look from Shane made him close his mouth again. Dad didn’t like it when you talked back to Mom.

 

 

Screenshot-164
Shane stood watching the kids playing after dinner, when Lilith came up behind him, resting her hand on his shoulder. Without thinking, his arm encircled her and pulled her close as they continued to watch their children.

“I want to have another baby,” she said suddenly. Seeing Daniel so aged had reminded her that the years were passing for her and Shane as well. She wanted to make the most of them.

 

 

Screenshot-165
She tugged his hands, pulling him around to face her “And now’s as good a time as any to start.”

 

 

Screenshot-166
“Now? Are you sure you’re ready?” It hadn’t been overlong since Jace’s birth.

“Never readier,” she replied blithely as he pulled her into a deep kiss.

“Gross you guys, get a room,” came Carrick’s voice behind them.

Lilith giggled and Shane smothered a laugh against her lips.

 

 

Screenshot-167
She took his hand and led him down the path to the orchard, where Shane pulled her down onto the soft grass and rolled on top of her. “You’re sure?” he asked, kissing her mouth.

“Oh for gods sake Shane, take your pants off!”

Now who’s the romantic?” His laughter blew across her neck as he moved to obey.

 

 

Screenshot-169
Some time later, he pulled her up for another kiss. “You’re amazing, baby, you always are.”

“See?” she said, “This was romantic after all, in the orchard, under the stars.”

He swatted her behind. “I’m most happy to oblige,” his hand cupped her to him again before releasing her and reaching for his pants.

As usual, sex had been on hold for several weeks following the birth of the baby, so this had been a pleasantly surprising evening. He was hoping for another round after the kids were asleep.
divider

 

Challenge notes~ Perfect Children progress. Carrick mastered all toddler skills, toys, and books, as did Ayala, and both have already mastered the blocks table. Since my simmies don’t have stoves, instead of mastering the toy stove, I’m having Shane do homework with Carrick and Ayala most nights. Carrick’s already won awards from Scouting.

5 kids–well, we have three now. In my game she’s pregnant with number 4. Gonna have to really rush them now though. Both of them are getting closer and closer to elder, and at this point they will die before the youngest complete their teens 🙁