Finances are one of my biggest worries next to crop failure…and crop failure is only a worry simply because it impacts our finances. I didn’t want Dilly to go back to work now that we were parents, but I was really afraid that we had no other option if we wanted to maintain even our simple life-style.
Even though she’s still on maternity leave for awhile longer, Dilly sometimes goes down to the library to do some writing. I can sense that she gets a little stir-crazy. I remember her telling me that she thought she might want to write books, so I don’t mind the trips to the library so much even though I then have to take care of little Sydney by myself. If Dilly does publish a book, then maybe we will have enough extra income for her to quit her job at the newspaper.
Dilly says that she wants to continue working because she likes being around new people. She finds our solitary life a little confining. I’ve been encouraging her to join groups such as a Mommy and Me group sponsored by the City Council.
Dilly had met one local mother before Sydney was born. Her name was Eva Drudge. Eva was older and already had several children. Best of all, she was a stay at home mom. She’s the one who invited Dilly to join the Mommy and Me group. Eva was apparently a founding member. I hoped Dilly would look at how happy Eva was and be more inclined to stay home, too.
So it pleased me when Dilly invited Eva over. I was glad when the two became best friends.
And I was even more thrilled when Dilly announced that she was pregnant again right after Sydney became a toddler. Dilly had only been back at work for a little while when she had to take maternity leave again. She was worried that it would affect her ability to be promoted. I tried to be supportive, but secretly I was glad.
I’d been taking in extra work fixing things for people around town. With a new baby on the way, I was conscious of our need to have more ready cash. I was becoming knows as a bit of a handyman. It probably had something to do with having to learn to fix all of our major appliances.
It’s Murphy’s Law that things would start breaking right when we really needed to be saving money. Our washing machine really needed to be replaced, but with a new baby on the way, there was nothing I could do except hope the latest fix kept it running just a few years more.
The second pregnancy took it’s toll on Dilly more than when she was pregnant with Sydney. She was tired more and sick a lot more. It fell on my shoulders to potty-train Sydney. Dilly just couldn’t handle the smells, but we really wanted our oldest potty trained before the new baby arrived.
This time when Dilly went into labor I really did freak out. It was about a month too soon. Dilly and I hadn’t been in to see the doctor as much as we had hoped (money being so tight), but everything had been progressing pretty normally in the last trimester. Dilly was bigger than she had been with Sydney, but I’d read in the pregnancy books that this sometimes happened to pregnant women who conceived so soon after their last pregnancy. Weight gain was to be expected. I had thought nothing of it.
But Dilly hadn’t really gained weight. She had been pregnant with twins. Both of us knew that it would be a struggle with one new baby. I think we were both worried about having two infants. Where would we put them? Sydney’s room wasn’t big enough for three cribs.
With great sadness, my parents’ book nook on the third floor had to be sacrificed. Not only did we need the money from the sale of the furniture in that room, but it was also really the only space available for our new daughters, Samantha and Mina.
“I’m sorry Dill,” I whispered to Dilly as we put the finishing touches on the twins’ room. “I had hoped that this room would become your office.”
“Don’t worry about it Les. I don’t need an office. I can always work down at the newsroom.”
I gritted my teeth. I loved my little baby daughters, and I knew that we’d really need Dilly’s income now that we had three new mouths to feed. But I had wanted to build Dilly an office. I would even have purchased a computer for her (even though I hate them), so that she could work on her stories.
Once Dilly’s maternity leave was over, I still hadn’t figured out a solution to our money problems. I felt impotent as I watched Dilly run out to her co-worker’s car (we still didn’t have one). I just wanted to be able to provide for all of my family. I know that it’s an old-fashioned ideal. I wanted Dilly to be a mother only…maybe indulge her dream to write. She was so good at both.
But I couldn’t deny that even going to work didn’t prevent her from taking good care of the children. She helped teach Sydney how to talk and walk and she made sure to play with her every day. Dilly loved playing with all of the children. She made them laugh at the games she made up and the funny voices she used for their stuffed toys. Was it so selfish of me to want her to be able to do that full time?
Sometimes I felt myself going stir crazy worrying about the family. We had little money and taking care of three babies was really time-consuming.
The only way I found to alleviate the stress was to go fishing in the ravine behind the house. I caught some odd fish out there, but they did help fertilize the plants and I needed to start growing more perfect plants so that we’d have some extra money.
Dilly’s way of dealing with all of the stress was to cook. I tried to talk her into going down to the library to write, but she said she felt guilty leaving the babies. She assured me that she didn’t need to go out and that she wasn’t feeling cooped up.
I suppose we both sort of got used to a never-ending steam of taking care of the children and doing our jobs around the house. One day, as I was taking down the laundry from our room, I ran into Dilly outside of Sydney’s room.
“Hey,” she said, smiling at me faintly. I realized that we hadn’t really spent any significant time together in quite some time.
“Hey,” I said and gave her a much bigger smile. “How are you, gorgeous?” Dilly’s smile widened and her eyes sparkled. I think it was the first compliment I’d given her since the twins were born, and for that I felt really guilty.
“Laundry must be much more…stimulating…for you than I think it is,” she said and chuckled.
“All of the girls are napping, meet me in our room in 5 minutes and I’ll show you how stimulating a clean pair of socks can really be.” I wiggled my eyebrows lasciviously and Dilly giggled.
Well, I’ve always wanted a large family. Still, when Dilly found out she was pregnant again, I almost wanted to turn back time and take back my flirting that day on the stairs. We were barely keeping it together with three kids. I found myself suddenly grateful for Dilly’s income from the newspaper. I was getting the best of both worlds now…we were getting paychecks from her job, but she was able to stay home on maternity leave.
Actually, it felt like cheating the system, but I couldn’t complain about it. My farming, while becoming more successful, would not have been enough to sustain us.
Soon after Dilly found out about the new baby, the twins became toddlers—there were now three toddlers in the house. Since Dilly was pregnant, she got tired a lot faster. I had to pick up the slack. My days of fishing would have to be postponed…again.
However, I discovered one good thing about twins. They can entertain themselves. Mina (in red) and Samantha (in pink), spend hours playing together and jabbering at each other in their twin language. I did some reading on it and found this to be perfectly normal. They didn’t learn to talk as fast as Sydney, either. But that, I read, was also normal for twins.
Also, according to the books, one twin tends to be the dominant one. For us, that was definitely Mina. Mina was the one who learned to do everything first and Samantha followed.
Dilly was still going to the Mommy and Me group. She would take Sydney along since she was now potty trained and could walk and talk a little. Sometimes the two of them would stay later and Dilly would read to her. These visits with other mothers and children were probably what kept Dilly from going stir crazy like I was. And, while we still needed the money from her income, I couldn’t help but hope that Dilly might eventually make the decision to quit her job. I knew we could find a way to make things work without her pay check.
But we didn’t have to make that decision right away. Dilly went into labor with our fourth daughter while in the bathroom. It happened really quickly. Dilly came out to our bedroom to inform me that it was time but instead she was hit with intense contractions and couldn’t speak. I freaked out. I think I knew something wasn’t right.
“Les, I don’t think we will be able to get to the hospital,” Dilly managed to get out between panting and grunting.
“We have to Dilly. I already called the cab.”
“Nope. Not. Going. To. Happen!”
Somehow I managed to pull myself together. I finally recognized that Dilly was already in the pushing stages and I remembered from the births of our other daughters (especially the twins) that once you start pushing, you can’t stop. I really don’t know how we managed, but Dilly and I brought our fourth daughter into the world ourselves. We named her Kindra.