The scene would be surreal for most, but in our household it’s just another day.
“Tell them, Dad.” Seleme smiles at me, nodding to where both our little ones are levitating around the massive chandelier, lighting the candles with their fingertips.
“Kids. Listen to your mother, now.” I do my best to use my stern voice but truth is I’m a pushover for all three of them. And they know it. “It’s not safe.”
“What’s not safe?” Raymond squishes up his face in true confusion. “I could fly before I could walk and fire doesn’t hurt us.”
“Yes, but it can hurt the house,” Seleme retorts, slowly lifting off from her feet to go airborne, moving to each child in turn, taking their hand and bringing them back to the floor while they pout and poke fire at each other. “Stop.” Seleme touches them both on their heads and they look up. “If you don’t behave, you can’t play with the new puppies.”
“Awwwww.” They whine simultaneously.
“Well, that’s the choice,” I add.
A few months ago, we completed our ‘normal’ family by adding two strays from the local shelter. Before we could get them to the vet and have them fixed, they decided they liked each other. A lot. And now we have six more in the mix.
Avery comes over and stands in front of me, bottom lip pushed out with her most distressed face.
“Papa.” She looks up at me with Seleme’s blue eyes, my dark hair hanging down over her shoulders. “The puppies will miss me.”
“They’ll miss me too.” Raymond shouts, coming up to my side and pulling my hand. “They like me best.”
“No they don’t!” Avery pokes her tongue out at her brother, whose blonde hair and dark eyes are a perfect contrast to her own.
He also stands four inches taller than her, growing at an exponential rate compared to most human children.
Seleme shrugs at me with a smile. “I’m going to make their lunch. Good luck.” She sashays out of the dining room into the kitchen, wearing a sleek black lace gown that reminds me of something Morticia Addams would have worn, but she looks a thousand times sexier.
Her blonde hair has grown down nearly to her ass, and the curves she developed during her short pregnancy have remained and still drive me to the point of madness every day.
The kids throw defiant glares toward each other as I take each of their little hands and crouch down.
“You know…” I look at one, then the other, pulling them in front of me so they are standing shoulder to shoulder. “Grandma and Grandpa are coming to visit tonight.”
They both light up like a sunrise.
“They are going to love the puppies!”
“I want Grandma to teach me how to make biscuits and gravy. Mommy doesn’t know how. Not like Grandma.” Raymond lowers his voice, looking over his shoulder to the kitchen. “Mommy tries, but it’s not the same.”
I chuckle. “She does try and you’re a good sport because when she makes them for you, you eat them like a trooper.”
“Yeah.” Avery chimes in. “You’re a lucky duck, Daddy, you only drink blood and don’t have to eat some of Mommy’s cooking.” She sticks out her tongue.
Both of them act more like they’re five or six years old, and we are learning to go with the flow on their development because there is nothing in the records that compares to the complexities of their birth.
“I know, but we need to be nice to Mommy about her cooking. It’s only eighteen more years, and you’ll be drinking blood too. For now, you have to eat some of what she cooks and your cow’s liver and blood. She wants you to try new things.”
Avery looks sad. “Like her Cheez-its? She misses eating them. But they’re yucko.”
“No they’re not!” Raymond objects. “I’ll eat Cheez-its even after I turn. I’m like Mommy, I don’t ever want to stop eating them. They’re the best.”
“Okay, well, this goes for both of you: if you want to eat them, you eat them.” I look at Avery. “If you don’t, you don’t. Now…It’s only two hours until sunrise. Food, then baths, then sleep, then Grandma and Grandpa should be here and I don’t want you guys having the grouchies from missing your hour of sleep.”
I look in the kitchen and watch Seleme working the whisk in the gravy, the scent of burned biscuits already swirling in the air.
“Okay, can we go see the puppies now?” Avery asks and before I can answer, Anna’s voice comes through from the front foyer.
“Yes, you can.”
“Aunt Anna!” They both drop my hands and go running as she drops to her knees and they tackle her with a hug.
Unlike Anna, who just walks through the wall, Dimitri uses the front door, following a second behind her and waving to me from across the enormous foyer.