“Do you think she’s okay?” Sofia asked as Hank joined her for breakfast. “Last night she was talking alone in her room.”

“I read that babies often babble to themselves when they going to sleep. It’s called self-talk.”

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“For hours? I think that’s why she’s been all whiny these past few days.”

Hank wasn’t surprised. He’d passed by Julia’s door at night and heard her talking to herself about the day’s events. It was pretty cute, none of it made sense yet, but you could tell she was trying. “I think the website said if it was interfering with her sleep we should put her to bed earlier. But it’s normal, she’s learning strategies on how to put help herself to sleep.”

“You’re working on the house today?” Sofia asked.

Hank nodded. “I’m hoping Lucas and I can get the rest of the windows in upstairs. I think some of them are leaking again.” Hank sighed, he’d started finding puddles again. The windows were just too old.  He wasn’t surprised they leaked when it stormed, but he just hoped it wasn’t the plumbing again. “You?”

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“I’m meeting your sister at the park for lunch. You should join us.”

“I’ll have to pass if I’m going to get all this work done, but tell her and Guppy I say hi.” Hank was glad to see his sister out and about. That old house they’d grown up in could easily be classified as a mausoleum. If any place deserved to be haunted, it was the Pigglewiggle mansion.


“Sofia!” Ari called out as Sofia set Julia down. She hurried over. “How’s my niece?”

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“She’s fussy today, watch out,” Sofia warned and true to form, Julia started squirming the moment Ari picked her up. Ari gave her a quick cuddle and then set her back down. She crawled over to the sandbox.

“Teething?”

Sofia shrugged. “Probably, she’s got most of her teeth already, but perhaps there’s a couple new molars coming in.”

05-07-16_9-46-25 PM “I’m so glad Guppy is done with all that,” Ari laughed.

“Ah, but you’ve got a lot of new things to worry about now.”

“School and homework, I know,” Ari groaned.

“Girls and driving,” Sofia teased.

“He’s not that old yet!” Ari protested.

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“He will be soon,” Sofia laughed. “And he’s going to be a cutie and you know it.”

The two women caught up on news while they watched Julia play. Sometimes Sofia wished Guppy was younger so the two could play together, but she knew it couldn’t be interesting to play with a toddler when you were seven.

Eventually Ari’s husband, Minsk, called them over for lunch. Sofia laughed at the ease with which her sister-in-law flirted with her husband. She wished Hank could have made it so she wouldn’t be all alone. But the house always came first. She didn’t mind that normally. And it wasn’t like he didn’t give her plenty of attention. She wondered how much longer she could avoid telling him her news.

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Once lunch was over, it was time to head back home so Julia could take her nap.

Julia never protested her naps, and always fell asleep so quickly compared to when they put her down for the night. She was getting so big now. It was hard to remember than just a few months ago she had been so tiny.

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Really it should be Ari warning her. Sofia was pretty sure Julia would be driving and dating all too soon.


“When are you planning to finish off this kitchen?” Lucas asked as they took a quick lunch break. He washed his hands in the sink to get the dried paint flakes off.

Hank’s mouth was full of hot dog, but he quickly swallowed. “It’s not that bad, is it?” He looked around the small kitchen.

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“It is very dated.” Lucas laughed. “I think this style hasn’t been IN style since my grandmother was a kid. I can get you a pretty good deal on cabinets and we can put some new counter tops in here. I’m not even going to mention the floor.”

Hank had gotten kind of used to the worn wood counters, but looking around anew? Yeah – the floor was bad. “I’ll have to look at the budget, but I think it can probably stretch to cover a new kitchen. I know Sofia would love that.” He nodded to himself half convinced already that he had his next project lined up.


I visit her a lot, at first it was to keep her company. She seemed so tiny in that crib and all by herself in that giant bedroom.

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Often she’s asleep when I visit. But that’s okay. When that happens I just keep and eye on her, and make sure she doesn’t wake up. She often wakes up in the middle of the night. She gives this little “coo” and looks around. Her face scrunches up like she’s going to cry, until she sees that I’m there. It feels good to know that I’m needed.

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If she’s awake when I visit, I tell her about my pictures and about the darkness. Talking her her has made me realize that not a lot of interesting things that happen to me. So when I ran out of things to tell her about me, I told her stories about James. About the boy in the pictures that I saw in the darkness.

Now that she’s older, we can do more together. Sometimes in the winter, I get to visit before her bedtime. She tells me about her day and I tell her about mine. She doesn’t really make sense yet. At least her words don’t mean much yet. But I find if I listen really hard, I can tell if her day was good or bad or what she’s feeling.

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I find myself looking forward to the nights in a way I never have before.


Credits

* Bedroom Curtains by Mabra at Arte Della Vita
* Distressed furniture, floors, walls, and windows from Daer0n, mainly from the haunted house set
* Challenge details: CitizenErased14’s Ambrosia Challenge
* Cameo appearances by Ari, Minsk, and Guppy Pigglewiggle. Guppy is the gen 10 heir from my first legacy. I set both of Hank’s sisters and their kids in this save and am leaving them up to MCC’s fate. It was cute to watch Ari and Minsk flirt with each other the entire time!

Current Score 997 (-3 points for the ghost being in the same room as a non-heir)

Confession. Yes, I’m just as desperate as the next for toddlers – I have a feeling the game switch doesn’t really work – especially the outdoor one. But I figured I try it out just this once. I did have fun making her as a toddler. She’s a cute little thing.

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