𝘣𝘺 𝘌𝘥𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘰 𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘫𝘮𝘢𝘯
No cookies after dinner. No sweets at all. Better yet, no food at all. Oh, he’ll want it, but you put anything in that little tummy and WHAM!, he’s hyper, and after hyper comes tired and frustrated and cranky and WAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!, and then it’s all gone to The Gods’ Sauna and you’ve got twelve servants clearing off debris off the floor and fourteen carpenters hammering the walls back together and it’s all my, I mean… no, not anymore… ha ha!... thank the gods… HAHAHA!... it’s all your fault.
Oh, don’t look at me like that. I put in my time and then some. Edrin the Annihilator, ever heard of him? Course you have. Well, you could never get him to eat his porridge at the proper time, just pawed at it like a kitten and took three tiny spoonfuls and was like I’m done, not hungry, can I go play now, and of course before bed he was all I’m starving, just a little bit, pwetty pweaaaaaaaase, and then you’re smashed either way: either he doesn’t get his snack and blows up about that, or he does and then gets a second wind and then you need to settle him down all over again or… See this? This is from the time I let Edrin have strawberry jam right before bed and he decided he was a flying squirrel. Didn’t make that mistake again. Oh, I managed just fine after. Amazing how many things people think take two hands but you can get done perfectly well with just the one.
Oh, don’t worry, little pea. Our little Beviran’s nothing like that! He’ll ask for a snack, sure, but will settle in after a couple of firm nos. Most nights. You’ll see. (You’re up on your concussion protocols, right?). He’s precious, this one. I swear you’ll fall in love. Just look at him. This is my favorite age, when they’ve figured out how to stand up and walk around but not how to sit back down, see?, so he has to sway, sway, and let the weight of his little butt drag him down. POP!
Yes, my little sweetie! Yes, my darling! No. No, no, no, NO! Bevy! NO!!! You know better!
Can you, please? Yes. Give him the rocks. Yes, the round ones. He likes to crush them with his teeth.
What else? Oh, right. No walks after dinner. No games. No peek-a-boo. No where’s the baby. No, there’s a monster in the closet and it’s gonna catch me and I’m gonna run away but not too fast because secretly I wanna get caught so I can scream and giggle and kick my feet (I showed you were the bandages are, right?) and yell AGAIN! AGAIN! None of that shit, you hear me? He gets excited, you’re porridge.
I know they told you that he needs the stimulation, needs to train his little brain, blah, blah, blah. And, listen, it’s true. One day he’s gonna be up on the Tozulan Range vaporizing Kryttyms by the thousands and preserving civilization and all that. But not tomorrow he’s not. Not next week. The next Kryttym wave’s not scheduled for another four years, and little Beviran’s still not gonna be near big enough to have anything to do with that. You can stimulate him plenty during the daytime. Let him rip off trees and juggle horses to his heart’s content before he’s had his damn dinner. After dinner, you better hear me, it’s quiet, peaceful, whispery time.
Remember the one that single-handedly cleared off the Buffebben woods of all the venomous winged piranhas? Sure you do. Halloryn the Demolisher? I started calling her that after she demolished seven of my ribs playing tickle me until I pee myself one lovely autumn night after dinner. Oh, I can breathe fine. When it’s not too cold or too hot.
A bath he gets, a story, a song, a little – a little – snuggle time, then bed. Too much snuggle time and he falls asleep in your arms and then you need to carry him to the crib and put him down and no way you get to do all that without him waking up and WHAM! hurling you against the wall before his eyes even open. Yeah, right, they say they’re gonna cushion the walls any day now. They've been saying that since I first came in, after they scraped Nanny Cerine’s brains off the ceiling and named me her replacement. Pindaran the Unquenchable was here at the time. Just turned three. Couldn’t quench her need to be a pain in my ass. She took one look at me and gouged my eye out with her sticky little fingers. I was fanatical about cutting her nails after that, let me tell you.
Don’t cry, little pea. Don’t. This is an honor. A privilege. You get to raise the future savior of the world. What? Nobody will know? Nonsense. The hero himself will know. Little Beviran here, he’ll never love anyone as much as he’ll love you. No one. Late into the night, after a long campaign of disemboweling Zoskynners and chopping them to bits or some such, he’ll lie on a sharp boulder and look to the stars and sing the lullabies you taught him, and fall asleep thinking of your scent in his nose and your touch on his skin.
He won’t think of that while he’s throwing his tantrums. He wasn’t thinking of anything while he was ripping my legs off. (Beviran the Ripper, nice ring to it, right?). But he’s not to blame for that, is he? He’s just a baby!
Come, bring him over here. Don’t forget your breastplate! Let me teach you the clapping game. ✦