I’m finishing up one last chapter when my cell phone chimes with Felice’s ringtone. I glance over at Erik’s crib and see that he is still sound asleep. Sadie has Zay out at a playdate with Jax, so it’s just me and my little one. I swipe the red button quickly. “What’s up, girl?” I can hear the commotion in the background and already know.
“What’s up? I’ll tell you what’s up! Your niece is out of control! Do you know what she did?” I want to tack on a “this time?” but decided against it.
I have loved Mia since the moment she came into the world. She had a head full of golden curls and the pinkest cheeks—I was a goner from day one. I spent a whole lot of time babysitting her, munching on her chubby belly, and rescuing her from the gaudy wax museum outfits they put her in. I never planned on having my own kids, so she was the light of my life. And maybe I used to whisper rebellious things to her when no one was looking and encouraged her to be bad a bit. But this? I never expected her to turn into the little hellion that she is.
It started with her being a tiny cat burglar.
At barely two years old.
If she saw it, she stole it. So no one and nothing was safe.
Poor Felice and Michael were forever returning other people’s belongings with an embarrassed apology. At my wedding, she even stole Nick’s best friend’s antique key fob. Ayden was a good sport about it, but Felice and her mom were horrified. So we gave it back to him at Erik’s christening, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that he avoided Mia like the plague. It was the funniest thing in the world watching this tall, gorgeous man run for his life from a toddler.
Then Amma was born.
Look, I know sibling jealousy is a thing. When we brought Erik home, Xavier pointed at the door and cried for about two hours straight. He wouldn’t come near Nick or me when we held the baby, and he pitched a complete fit whenever I was breastfeeding. But one morning, he woke up and decided that hey, maybe this little dude isn’t so bad. Now he loves his brother to pieces and slobbers all over him. So I think we all keep expecting Mia to grow out of it.
But she doesn’t. At all.
She has been terrorizing Amma from day one. Stealing her pacifiers, hiding baby monitors, screaming at the top of her lungs whenever the baby was sleeping, waking her up, and even pinching her when she thought no one was looking. Her parents and grandparents are at their wit’s end. They’ve tried all kinds of strategies, read her books, and partnered with her pediatrician and even a child therapist. Nothing is working. And now Amma is crawling, so Mia has started pushing her over like a Weeble Wobble.
“I’m almost afraid to ask. What did she do?” The screams in the background are getting louder.
“Well, I’m at Neiman’s picking up some alterations. I took my eye off her for one minute. One minute, Kenna. They had these sweet Chanel sunglasses that I wanted to try on—they are the new tortoiseshell ones, you know? Anyway, when I turned back around, the stroller was gone. I’ve never been so terrified in my life. I called Security, and they told me that they had Mia on camera pushing Amma into a fitting room and closing the door. This little turkey came strolling around the corner with her hands just tucked into her pockets like it was nothing. I yelled at her, and now she is screaming like her pants are on fire. Michael is coming to meet us because I can’t handle her anymore.”
Her breath is hitched, and I know she is on the verge of breaking down. “Everyone is staring at us, and I swear I saw someone taking a video. I don’t know what to do with her.” Last week their fourth nanny quit. They all said the same thing—Mia was just too much for them.
Part of me wants to laugh (I know, I’m terrible), but as a mom of two babies, I know how she feels. “Let me talk to her.” Felice sniffles, and I hear her call out to Mia. “Auntie Kenna wants to talk to you.” The screaming stops immediately. I tuck my lips behind my teeth—the little faker.
“Heyyo?” Her little voice sounds so sweet —like a baby piranha.
“Hey, Mia, girl. What are you crying about?”
“Mama is a meanie.” She huffs over the line, three going on thirty years old. I struggle to hold back my laugh.
“Your mama is not a meanie. I need you to be a good girl and be nice to Amma.” I keep my voice stern.
“No like Amma.”
“Yes, you do. You are her big sister, and I need you to be nice to be her. Do you understand?”
She’s silent for a moment, and then she mumbles an “awright” before handing the phone back to her mother.
“I heard the whole thing. She hates her sister and thinks I’m a terrible mother.” Yup, Fela is about to crack.
“Felice, she is three years old. She doesn’t think you’re a terrible mother. She’s just angry because you disciplined her. Chin up, sista.”
“I’ll try. Michael is here. I’ll call you later.” I hear Mia kick up a stink again, probably putting on an award-winning performance for her daddy. I shake my head and stare at my baby. He’s the sweetest thing— an easy sleeper, big eater, and smiley as all get out. He loves everyone and is content to be held. I can’t imagine him pulling half the shenanigans that Mia pulls. But then again, I am his mother, so lord knows what kind of trouble he will eventually get into.
“Hey, baby.” I look up and see my hot AF husband in the doorway to my office. His dark grey suit hugs his body perfectly, matching tie and custom shirt completing his professional look.
“Hey yourself. I thought you had meetings all day.” I get up and let him pull me close, sweeping a hot kiss across my lips.
“I did. But I missed you, so I came home a little early. Is that ok?” He grabs my butt and squeezes it tightly.
“Yeah, that’s ok.” He releases me with another kiss and leans over Erik. He smiles slightly and brushes his fingers through his hair. “Where’s our other kid?”
“Out on a playdate. Have you heard from Michael at all?” I sit in my chair, but he lifts me and places me in his lap instead. “Yup. He called me on his way to pick up Felice. I see the little demon is at it again.” He chuckles and tightens his arms around me. “Did she tell you what happened at Kayla Winters house?”
“Wait, which one is that again? Did I meet her at that charity thing?” I tily my head and squint.
“That’s them; they have a girl Mia’s age. So anyway, I guess they had a playdate set up, and lo and behold, Mia disappeared halfway through. So they started looking for her, and she came barreling out of nowhere with some personal item of Mrs. Winters in her hand.” He wipes the sides of his mouth with a big grin.
“What kind of item?”
“Mrs. Winter’s eight-inch self-love device.”
I blink and then burst out laughing. “Wait, her vibrator? Oh my God!” I can’t stop giggling.
“Worse was somehow she turned it on, so it was buzzing all over the place, and Mia was screaming “tickles mama” and playing keep-away with it. Needless to say, I think that was her last invite over.” My laughter turns into shouts, and I clap my hands over my mouth. “Poor Felice.”
“Poor Michael too. He has a houseful of upset women and no clue how to fix it.” He kisses the top of my head and sighs. “You know how I said that I wanted a girl? I lied.” I burst out laughing again, and he joined in.
“If our daughter did half of the things that Mia did, I probably lose all of my hair overnight. And you’d better love me if I went bald.” The mental picture of my very handsome husband without his wild mane of hair makes me smile. “Of course I will. I’ll love you when your knees are creaky and you are down to two teeth.” I kiss his chin and snuggle against his chest. “When are you leaving for London?” Nick’s best friend Ayden is having some demonstration of a project Nick is an investor in.
“Not for a few weeks. Ayden has an expert from America looking over some improvements before they open it up to the investor group. I wish you could come with me,” he nibbles on my ear.
“Me too. And although I think Grey and Charles would be thrilled to watch the boys, I’m sure they need to concentrate on Little Miss Xena The Warrior Princess. Maybe next time.” I lean sideways so his nibbling can continue. Erik stirs in his crib, fussing as he wakes. My good boy.
“Your son is going to be hungry.” I stand up and pick up the little chunk butt. He’s already over twenty pounds at five months, just like his big brother was. I sit back on Nick’s lap and set him up. He latches on immediately, happily slurping away, his big amber eyes watching both of us. He pauses at one point and smiles at me, then resumes his eating—little charmer.
“I can’t wait to have another one.”
“What??” I crane my neck around. “We have two already—and Zay is barely two. Can you give me a minute?” I stare at him in horror, hoping he’s joking, but nope, he’s dead serious. “Nick?”
“I love you and our boys so much. I want more with you. More babies, more time, more everything. I won’t apologize for it.” His green eyes are serene. “Not to mention making babies with you is my favorite job.”
I roll my eyes but soften. “You’re crazy; you know that?”
“Yup, crazy about you.”
© JM Blake 2021