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When our second daughter was born it was just before sunset. It was a relatively smooth delivery so I was released the next day from the hospital. Lyra spent the night at our house with Liam so she could babysit Nori for us. By the time we got home, it was still early in the morning and Nori was fast asleep so Michael and I decided to surprise her with her little sister. We put the baby in the bassinet and quietly waited to see how Nori would react. Like clockwork, Nori woke up just before 7 and was immediately aware that something was different.

She sat up in her bed, looking around curiously before her eyes landed on the bassinet. I guess she heard the baby rustling around so she went to investigate which was when Michael and I entered the room.

“Look baby girl,” Michael pointed to the bassinet, “Mommy and I brought home your little sister.”

“Sister?”

“Yes, do you want to meet her?”

She nodded enthusiastically as she approached the bassinet and stood on her tip toes to see inside. “Bay-bee sister?”

“Yes, sweetie, it’s your baby sister,” I said.

“Bay-bee sister in your tummy mama.” She said matter-of-factly.

Smart kid. “She’s not in my tummy anymore. Mommy went to the hospital so she could come out of my tummy and we brought her home.”

“Sister name Nori too?”

We both laughed at that one. “No honey,” I said. “Her name is Olive. Say, Olive.”

“Ah Liv?” She said tilting her head. “I like Ah Liv!”

Michael and I decided to keep the food trend going by naming our daughter Olive which ended up getting us an eye roll from Lyra. She still hadn’t warmed up to the name Nori as yet.

Unlike Nori, Olive was a crier and she practically cried for everything! A dirty diaper couldn’t last longer than a minute on her bottom before she started screaming bloody murder! There were days when I swore I was losing my mind. It was like no matter what I did, I could never comfort her. Even Michael’s attempts fell short a lot of the time and he was practically a baby whisperer. He could get any baby to stop crying…except for this one.

But unlike me, he built up a tolerance for incessant crying. It didn’t wreck his nerves the way it did mine. He had the patience to wait it out because she would eventually calm down after rocking her a few times. It was so overwhelming for me so I was really excited to get to go back to work. I felt guilty leaving Michael with the sole responsibility of caring for a toddler and a fussy infant all day so I ended up taking Nori with me to work.

Aside from her pesky habit of touching things, she was relatively well behaved. She always listened to me and she rarely got irritable or fussy. She could stay in my office with me and quietly watch bunny videos on her tablet while I placed orders online or did the weekly payroll.

Only one time she managed to stroll out of the office while I was distracted on the phone and made it out to the dining room but thank goodness Sara caught her and brought her back for me. Otherwise, she’s a perfect angel. My little angel.

My little angel.

“What are you up to babe?” Michael asked as he entered the kitchen. “It’s been a while since you’ve baked something.”

“Did you forget what today is?” I asked him.

“Uh…is it Nori’s birthday already? But she just…”

“No, silly” I laughed. “It’s yours! How could you not remember?”

“Oh, right.” He smiled awkwardly. “I just…I don’t think too much about it. I didn’t really have anyone with me to celebrate the last one so…”

I felt a little sad to hear that. I knew his Mom died when he was in high school so that meant she died before his last birthday when he became an adult. Michael always got sad talking about his Mom and I wanted it to be a happy occasion so I moved away from the topic. “Now you have me and the girls to celebrate with you. Well, maybe just Nori since Olive is still sleeping, thank goodness!”

He nodded before saying, “Thank you, babe. I know you must be tired so thanks for the effort.”

“Don’t worry about it, honey. You’re my husband and the best husband at that. What kind of wife would I be if I didn’t make you feel special on your birthday?”

“You make me feel special every day.” His tone was serious and I could see the love and appreciation in his eyes.

“And I’m gonna make you feel extra special when we put Nori to bed.”

When the cake was finished and decorated we gathered in the dining room. Nori sat in her high chair looking around like she was confused as to why we would put candles on a cake. She would know soon when it was her turn.

I sang happy birthday in my awful singing voice. I think my singing might have also added to Nori’s confusion. Usually, I leave the singing of the songs to Michael and Lyra. It’s not one of my gifts, unfortunately.

At the end of it all when the candles were removed, she got excited once again. What toddler wouldn’t squeal in excitement over a chocolate cake? I probably should have made one of those sugar-free carob cakes instead. This cake was pure chocolate decadence and refusing her a slice would induce a temper tantrum like no other. Believe me, I learned that the hard way from the last batch of chocolate chip cookies I made. But it was Michael’s favourite so I mentally prepared myself for the sugar high and the resulting crash that would inevitably come with tonight’s festivities.

She ate most of the frosting and then played with the rest, making this huge mess on the high chair. It took all my willpower to not freak out when I saw her hands covered in mashed cake. Michael laughed it off and I tried to keep my cool but those crumbs bothered the hell out of me and I just wanted to grab a towel and start wiping. Instead I simply kept calm and ate my cake. Children are messy, Michael says. I just have to get used to it so I smiled and focused on how yummy the cake tasted.

All in all, I feel pretty lucky. Sure I’m exhausted on most days. And yes, there are times when Michael and I bicker because we’re both tense from work or the babies. And the house can never be as clean as I want it to be not with Nori roaming around the place. But at least we’re all happy and healthy and that’s all that matters.

If only life could always remain so simple.

****

Sorry there wasn’t much of Olive in this chapter. Unfortunately, she and Nori were born during the time when the game had a glitch that made babies look 5 shades lighter than their true complexion whenever anyone picked them up. It’s weird to show a brown baby in a bassinet but then when someone holds her she looks so pale she’s almost yellow. This is why I jumped to toddler Nori in the last chapter and why the next time you’ll see Olive, she’ll be a toddler as well.

Oh, and yes, that guy is who you think it is! LOL.

 

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