Another day, another challenge. Tiberius and I spent most of the next few days working on our skills, me on logic, him on charisma. His job quickly promoted him to Substitute Teacher, and we felt like we were actually getting somewhere in the world. After the initial nausea, my pregnancy progressed nicely, and both of us eagerly awaited our bundle of joy.
With our diligent skilling, I managed to finally achieve my lifetime wish, Perfect Body, Perfect Mind, so we had a private celebration with hot dogs I finally managed not to burn. Both of us are stinky as all get-out, but the water isn’t safe to use for washing without getting chemical burns, so we just have learned to deal with the smell. Laundry continues to pile up, and without a way to wash it, we’re forced to give the dirty stuff away to people who are worse off than we are. Every Monday, without fail, a nasty man from the local mafia comes by to take all the cash we have left after bills for “protection” money. Selfishly, I wonder why my Military connections don’t exempt me from this, but then, there isn’t much available to spend the money on anyway.
After a harrowing home birth (the hospitals can’t be bothered to deal with small things like routine births with how short staffed they are), Alton made his appearance into the world. The next couple days were a blur of trying to get enough sleep to function while taking care of a needy baby. However, I could barely wait to do it all again. Somehow through all the sleeplessness, Tiberius still got another promotion to Elementary school Teacher, and we finally feel like he’s starting to make a difference. His class is small, but the tiny faces are starting to reflect a bit of hope, inspired by his teaching.
Alton went from babyhood to toddlerhood, and was easy to potty train. Day by day, we spent time with him, watching him grow and learn. He enjoyed the toddler books I’d bought right after college, and seemed to learn from them. Tiberius was the one to finally get Alton talking, and his first word was “camera”.
While Tiberius worked, I taught Alton to walk, and I enjoyed the surprise on Tiberius’ face when Alton walked to the door to meet him one day after work. Before we were ready for it, Alton aged up to childhood and was looking forward to joining Tiberius’ class at school. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t likely to cooperate, and the first three days of school for Alton were snow days.
Alton found ways to keep busy, though, and learned some more logic off our chess table. Tiberius, also worked on his logic skill and the two of them had fun playing against each other in the evenings. I noticed a twinge of nausea, but didn’t think anything of it until my tummy started growing again. A new baby! I think Alton was as excited as Tiberius and I, and we all hoped for a baby brother for him. Alton was quite the little trouble-maker, and we kept running into booby traps – a spraying sink, an overflowing toilet, and a whoopie cushion on the couch. Somehow, to his delight, he always seemed to get away with it. (Except for the whoopie cushion – Tiberius caught him at that one and scolded him fiercely.)
Alton retreated for a while, and played quietly upstairs with the toy my parents had sent him. He seemed strangely attached to it, and carried it with him everywhere.
Things didn’t turn out quite like we all hoped, and Andrea’s birth seemed much easier than Alton’s. Alton took the fact that it was a girl better than the rest of us, and seemed to be happy to have a little sister. Once again, the days went by swiftly as we all adjusted to the baby’s schedule. Alton seemed tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hot dogs, but it was all the safe rations we could do. He was a trouper through all the late night wake ups from the baby, and loved sleeping on the top bunk of his bunk beds.
Before we knew it, it seemed, Andrea aged up to toddlerhood. Where she got her beautiful blonde hair, none of us know, but she’s really a dear. All of us love her, and she seems to be thriving.
Alton finally got a day or two of school, and seems to be reading quite well now. Two field trips got cancelled due to regulations, and he wasn’t able to finish a project on the local grocery store. He seemed to be behaving himself much better, or perhaps he was just too busy helping with the new baby to get into trouble.
Tiberius is now a High School teacher, and stays after school to give lectures to any of the kids, parents, or other townies that can come listen. Finally, he’s making a real difference, although few teenagers are allowed to come to class. Hopefully, he can change the regulations soon to allow them to go to school like the younger kids.