Minis is all googly eye’d over the new baby. I wonder if he was that mushy over me? She is all red and squashed looking, not really pretty at all and she made squeaking noises like a kitten. And then, even all wrapped up, she peed on him but all he did was laugh and look at me. Why did he look at me? I’m a big boy and never peed on him. Not at all. Never ever ever ever ever!
“Ew! Is she gonna poop too?”
“No, no, Ili, it’s just baby pee. And see, she’ll have a clean napkin wrapped around.”
“That’s disgusting! She’s going to pee and poop in a napkin like a dinner napkin?”
The servant is there with a basin of water, a towel and a clean shirt for Minis and he takes his shirt off.
“Minis!” That’s Inensa. “Is that entirely appropriate?” She’s lying all clean and wrapped up in white sheets and stuff and looks tired but still wanting him… wanting me to be proper.
“I’m sorry, mother.” He looked a bit shame face and went behind a screen. His voice comes over the screen with the sounds of him splashing a little. “Ili. Binshala, may she rest in Selestialis, taught me that baby pee was just a little bit of water. Not really odorous. She said ‘you won’t melt’.”
“Oh good. Or I wouldn’t ever ever ever hold her.”
“I’m glad we’ve cleared up that problem, then,” he said and came out again. The servant had cleaned up the baby and gave it back to him.
“Shall we have an extra thick towel for Ili’s protection from toxic baby fluids?” He’s grinning at me.
“Minis! You’re silly!” I said that and sat down in a big chair with lots of cushions and they put Tesha on my lap.
She’s got her eyes closed and she’s bald but she smells a lot better than I thought, like the face powder full of lavender. I pick up one of her teeny, tiny hands. “May I?” I look at Inensa. She’s the closest thing to a mom I’ll have. She nods permission and I take the baby-glove off. It’s really a mitten since most babies fingers are so tiny and squished into fists. Kaita says that getting born is a kind of fight, like a fight to live, so babies hold their hands tight like that.
I think it’s because they get squished as they grow that they don’t know there’s more space out here yet. Her fingers at tiny and wrinkled and the nails on the ends are soft and pink. She blinks her eyes open and I’m glad they don’t look like Fish-eyes Poopy Head, her dad. Jia crawls through the cat-tunnel in the wall and lollups over, cheeping.
“Is it safe with that thing?” Inensa is sipping the tea Akminchaer gave her, and looks a little like she’s going to throw the hot stuff on Jia if he’s bad with the baby.
“He’s fine! He’s all right! He wouldn’t hurt a baby!” I put my one hand in front of Jia and Tesha both.
“I won’t hurt that thing. If it doesn’t threaten the child.” She lays her head back against the pillow and sets the cup down. “As long as you have control over it young Coronet Regal.”
I sigh. “Yes, pseudo-mama.” She looks at me and raises both her eyebrows.
“Did I hear you correctly?”
“Um… Yes?” Maybe she doesn’t like that name.
“That would make me your P.M. I suppose.” She almost has a smile on her face. With her and my almost grandfather you really have to look for the smile. “Yes. I am a real mother twice over now, and a pseudo-mother once. You shall have to buy me a pseudo-motherstone one day.”
I laugh. “That’s a good idea.” The baby kicks and squirms on my lap and screws up her face and Jia pats her head with his tentacle ends.
Minis who has this funny look on his face reaches for the baby and picks her up, which is good because she’s kind of damp and squishy, even with the extra towel. “She probably wants her mama, again.”