"Mommy mommy mommy!"
Multiple voices call out from behind the door. My husband, Dean, groans beside me.
"Griselda, your children..."
"What do you mean my children, they are your kids too." I moan as I fix my face at the crook of his neck, his body heat warming me up.
"I wanted just two." His eyes are closed but he's awake.
"And your genitals had other plans. Attend to your kids." I groan as they begin to yell.
"You're way too fertile. And they are calling for you. I won't be able to pacify them." His hands draw me closer and a sigh escapes me.
"Fine." I say and reluctantly disengage from him. "I'm coming." I say but I bet they don't hear because the banging and shouting gets louder.
When I pull open the door, I'm tackled by five hyperactive kids with the same face, one however, is a girl.
"What took you so long? Was Dad being a koala again?" Jude, the Mama's boy, questions disapprovingly. Macy, the girl has already left the bunch to join her father on the bed.
"No. I was being the koala." I say with as much strength as I can muster. For kids of five, they are way too smart for their age.
Leonardo is already going through my drawer. "What are you doing gentleman?" I question, Jude has decided to wrap himself around my neck. Who's the Koala now?
"Books. Where are all the books?" Leonardo turns to me.
"I took them back to the library."
"You what?" My son has a girly voice sometimes.
"We can go get them later."
"No", he rushes to my side, "Now. Let's go now."
Fortunately, Dean is up with Macy sprawled on his back.
"We're just getting up honey. It'll take a while." Dean says
"Technically, honey is an endearment reserved for the female gender. A man is better referred to as Darling or Sweetheart." Trevor chirps.
"And where did you get such an idea?" Dean asks amused. Trevor turns to Leonardo.
"How did you feel when being referred to as honey?"
"Gooey and mushy." Leonardo replies with a straight face. Trevor turns to Macy who's watching from behind her father's back.
"How do you feel Macy?"
"Like Daddy's little princess."
Trevor lifts an eyebrow at Dean.
"Point taken." Dean nods knowing better than to argue with five 5year olds who think alike. It's hard to tell them apart sometimes. Wait. Macy, Trevor, Leonardo, Jude.
"Guys. Where's Malcom?"
"Making breakfast." They all echo. Dean's eyes widen just as I feel the blood drain from my face. I'm panting when I finally reach the kitchen and wish I had never come out at all. My kitchen...is in shambles...
The culprit is still oblivious to the ruckus he's caused as he glides– like a monkey– between cupboards. There are ladders. Four ladders. The bar stool is supporting him as he nearly burns the house down.
"Malcolm!" Dean shouts and goes to remove him from the gas cooker. Malcom...laughs!
"You little rat, what were you trying to do?" Even when he's mad, Dean can never bring himself to yell at his children. Especially Macy.
"I was making breakfast." Malcom replies easily.
"But you can't do it like Mom." Macy says.
"I so can if Dad would give me a chance."
"Technically, you can't. Mom is about 5 feet tall and you're barely three inches." Trevor says and Leonardo howls with laughter.
"Take that back." Malcom pushes Trevor while Jude goes on to intervene.
"Okay. Stop it. It's Christmas tomorrow. You don't want Santa to label you bad kids." That seems to douse the fire.
"Alright. All of you go brush your teeth."
"Already did." They echo.
"Bath time it is." Dean says
"Already did." They echo again.
That's when we notice their outfits. While they can be chaotic, they can also be organized especially where Jude and Trevor are concerned.
"Then I'll clean the kitchen." Dean says.
"I'll go get ready and make breakfast. Alright all of you, shoo shoo. To the living room. Don't destroy anything." They obey and I'm glad.
Later, we are all at the park. Dean is trying to keep up with Macy's energetic personality and Malcom's mischief.
Trevor is by a tree carried away by a book that is for people three times his age, Leonardo is beside him with a book too– a novel. Jude is beside me watching. Sometimes, I think he wants to be like me too much.
"Jude, go have a little bit of fun."
He looks at me innocently.
"Why? Am I being a nuisance?" I nearly choke on my spit.
"What? No. Where did you learn that?"
"Nuisance?" He asks
"Oh. You should go play some. Don't let me keep you here."
"But I like being close to you." He informs me. My heart melts and I can't help it when I cuddle him close to me. A shriek rings through the park and I recognize it as Macy's. Dean seems to have been occupied with Malcom. We all rush to the back of the slide where her call came from and a...is that a dog?– It's huge and very hairy– is at the foot of the slide.
"Daddy" Macy cries
The dog barks and wags its tail. Seems like it just wants to play but its size has scared Macy. Dean kneels and calls out to the giant which comes bounding towards him in a flash. Macy uses that opening to slide down and rush to my side while Malcom snickers.
"Marshal." A voice calls and a man comes running towards us. The dog barks and paddles to who I suspect to be his owner.
"I'm sorry. He seems to like kids." The man says sheepishly.
"No offense taken. Your children must enjoy playing with him huh?" Dean says as he gets to his feet. The man has a distant look in his eyes before he replies,
"Oh. I'm not a father. Not anymore."
"Oh. I'm...I didn't mean to..." Dean stammers
"It's fine. No problem there. You seem to have your hands full?" The man gestures to our children who are now observing the exchange between adults.
"You have no idea." I say and quicky reach to cover my mouth, "Oh my God, that was insensitive..."
"Please. It's fine. And what might your name be young lady?" He squats and questions Macy who now hides fully behind me.
"Macy. She's quite shy around strangers." Jude replies.
The man turns to Jude. "Oh I see. You must really care for her."
"I care for everyone. Like mommy does. I'm Jude." My son stretches his hand for a shake which surprises the man.
"Harry." He replies after accepting. "Well, I'll be on my way now. Nice meeting all of you."
"Same." I say
"A pleasure Harry." Dean says right after.
When we get home after dark, the kids are asleep no doubt exhausted. We already had dinner so I just assist them to change their clothes and kiss them goodnight. It's holidays and so I and Dean are home full time. We planned to go see my mother but Macy's fear of heights would not allow it and we can't go by road given the distance so Mom is coming instead.
It's bedtime and I've taken my usual position beside my husband, entangling myself around him.
"Another fight tomorrow huh?" He wraps his arm around me too.
"Yeah." I feel my eyelids droop. "But it's all worth it. They grow up real fast. It still seems like yesterday."
"Yeah. Liliana says they are no hassle but I doubt that." Dean says referring to the babysitter.
"Yeah. I hope she's enjoying her vacation. She deserves it. We gotta sleep now. I love you." I say as I feel my consciousness slip away yet his voice comes back to me,
"And I love you, Darling."