Chapter 4: Filling the House

March 14, 1969

My newest baby has arrived, four days after he was expected to. He came last night at 11:15, and for once I was able to have my epidural. Oh it felt so good. Best labor I ever had. And he looks so much like his sister too! Same mess of hair though its more dark brown then black. Same nose, pouty lips, and eyes that draw you in. We planned on naming him Sebastian Richard after the dads (I've always loved dad's name) but he's just not a Sebastian, and Darrel agrees with me. We're not sure what he is so right now he's Baby Boy Beauson.

Now for the sad news. Our little boy wasn't born breathing. It was fifteen seconds before he took his first breath so they need to run tests on him to make sure everything it alright. I pray it is. I'll be staying in the hospital until I can take my boy home with me. Its a nice little vacation actually. No little ones running around under foot, causing messes, or calling for my attention. I miss them terribly at the same time though. I'm enjoying my rest, and it just being me and my baby but I also look forward to seeing my kids again. Darrel went home so get me some things and said he's bring Tony and V back with him for a visit.

Darrel arrived with Tony and Virginia shortly after Christine had finished feeding their new baby. Fifteen-month-old Virginia crawled right up on the bed and dove at her mom to give her a hug while Tony stayed back until his mom held out a hand for him. The kids settled on either side of their mom to gave down at their little brother.

"He smells like powder." Tony commented giving his head a sniff.

"Name?" Virginia asked.

"He hasn't got one yet. What do you two think his name should be?"

"Joey!" Virginia shouted out instantly, making the baby give a jump.

"What do you think, Tony?"

Tony looked at his little brother, studying him before giving a nod of his head. "Yes, Joseph."

And so the newest member of the family came to be named Joseph Richard Beauson. Everyone called him Joe for short except Virginia. She was the only one called him Joey and when he developed speech he was sure to let people know only she could call him that.

Virginia adored her little brother. When he cried she hurried to his side to check on him. When he needed a new diaper, she stood beside her mom or dad, handing them the needed item for changing. And she was sure Christine was left alone when she was feeding Joe.

One night, after the kids were put to bed, and Joe was put down in his crib, Darrel and Christine were curled up on the couch together, enjoying their time with each other when they heard footsteps and the giggles of a little girl upstairs.

"Is Virginia out of her crib?" Darrel commented.

"Not it!" Christine called and smirked happily to herself as Darrel made his way upstairs to check on the noise.

"Virginia! What are you doing?" She heard Darrel say.

"Snow. Snow daddy." she hear a little voice replied.

Deciding her had to see what was going on, Christine climbed the stairs and saw Darrel standing in Joe's bedroom. Peeking over his shoulder she saw that the bedroom floor was covered in baby powder as was her daughter. "Joey snow." Virginia said, looking through the rails of the crib.

"Are you showing Joe snow?" Christine said. The little imp nodded her head. Christine laughed. "Take your pick: Virginia or room clean-up?"

"I'll get the broom." Darrel said with a sigh of exhaustion. Christine did her best to wrap off her daughter of the powder. She was up to bathing her tonight, plus she knew Virginia preferred bathing with Joe now.

Thusly the year rolled by with mishaps and small victories. Darrel's business was doing incredibly well. However, this wasn't all goodness and joy for the family for some of the jobs took Darrel far away from town. He did his best to remain close to home but this couldn't always be done.

Christine did her best to get through her days though she was exhausted by the time she tucked the children into bed. She missed Darrel terrible but felt it most in the evening when she was alone. She filled that time with making a new program at the library. A craft hour to follow reading time. She tried each project with her children, pleased to have something that preoccupied them so much. The parents at the library loved it too, and borrowed the books she had found the ideas in home.

And so summer past and the family made it through winter. Christine was still testing out craft with her kids when spring began thawing the earth, drawing in Joe's first birthday. On one particular day Christine decided she would make play-doh. Her plan was to test out the recipe and put it in the goodie bags for Joe's first birthday party (for the kids over two anyways). To her joy it turned out wonderfully. Tony and Virginia found great joy in the craft, freeing Christine up to do some cleaning and tidying around the house.

However, Christine soon learned that giving play-doh to toddlers was not the best idea and so the item never made to it the goodie bag list. When she returned from putting laundry away she found Tony and Virginia sitting in the living room, Joe occupied nicely in his activity walker.

"Are you two done playing with the play-doh?" Christine asked, going to the area on the linoleum floor to clean it up.

"No." they said in unison.

"Where is it then?" Christine asked looking around her for the hunks of colored doh.

"We have it." Tony said.

In horror Christine saw that her children were in fact still playing with the play-doh in the carpeted living room. It was nearly impossible to get it out though she had better luck when it dried.

"Why did you give them play-doh in the first place?" Darrel asked when he returned home and heard the story. He remembered all too well the trouble his little brother Leo would get into with the aid of play-doh.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time, Darrel!" Christine told him with irritation. The craft was not introduced at craft time at the library.

As Virginia grew she began to take the position of 'the child to keep an eye on' while Tony settled into a little world of his own where he entertained himself without creating too much trouble. The baby powder was the first hint but had been brushed off as baby play. The second hint came when she found a black marker in a desk draw.

While Christine was busy in the kitchen preparing supper the little girl climbed upstairs for she knew the hallway wall was blank and needed something to fill it. On this day Virginia was recalling how her mom always measured her and her brothers to see how tall they were getting. With this on her mind she proceeded to mark her height, her toys, and giving a guess on the height of her brothers on the wall in permanent black marker. She was way off on her guesses of Tony and Joe's heights.

Her activity was not discovered until her father came home and he went to fetch her for supper. "Virginia! What are you doing?"

"Daddy see how tall I am." She said proudly pointing at her mark where she had drawn a face of herself to show it was hers.

Try as they might, Darrel and Christine were not able to get the marker off the wall. The ended up having to strip off the wallpaper and recover it. "I hear paint is becoming the style in homes." Darrel put in. It was not true. He just hated to wallpaper. Christine won the argument, however, when her sister Amelia offered to help her, having come for a visit to show off her new baby. By the end of the project Christine felt that Darrel had actually won the argument. Four hours of listening to her sister go on about her baby girl as if it were the first baby to grace the family was tedious.

"Jen not as pretty as our baby." Virginia declared after seeing her little cousin. To her, no baby was prettier then her Joey. Christine kept her mouth shut for she felt bias by saying that her babies were prettier, but she did admit to Darrel that Baby Jen did resemble her large nose, balding father. Her ears even stuck out in the same manner as him.

The third hint that really started making Darrel and Christine start paying attention to where their 'little V' was and why she was being so quiet was when she discovered Christine's make-up in the bathroom. After a particularly quiet half hour in the house one afternoon, Christine went looking for her daughter to find her in the bathroom Darrel and Christine shared, applying make-up to all available surface of her face.

Christine cleaned her daughter up and made sure to keep the cosmetics in the drawer. A couple days later she found Virginia in her bathroom again this time with her and little Joe's face covered in eye shadow and lipstick. This time Christine moved all her make-up into the bathroom cabinet, and trying to explain to her daughter that she was not suppose to go into mommy and daddy's bathroom. Not an easy thing for a young child to understand when she is occasionally bathed in there. By the following week Virginia had gotten her hands on the make-up once more, this time parading herself and Joe before the grandparents with their faces like clowns.

I am proud to say (though its a strange thing to see as an achievement) that I have finally found a place for my make-up where Virginia cannot get her hands on it. Christine wrote three months later in her diary. This is the sad part of it though, I am keeping them in a lock box in the top drawer of my dresser where Virginia had the more difficult task of reaching them. But after having Joe eat half of my lipstick and losing two cases of eye shadow to this 'play' it was time for desperate measures. Oh, how my friend Patti laughed the other night when she saw where I had to keep my make-up!

With the issue of the summer concerned Darrel and Christine turned there attention to the newest stage of their family's life: the beginning of school. It came at a good time to, for Darrel's parents had announced that, with Richard now retired, they were going to spend their winters in Florida. "My old bones can't take these harsh Canadian winter much more." Cheryl remarked. Given they didn't need to concern themselves until November, Darrel and Christine were pleased that they would only need to be placing two kids in day care instead of three.

"Though that'll change come summer time." Darrel said, rubbing Christine's flat stomach.

"Even then we'll at least be only paying for three kids, not four to be in day care. I may even take the whole summer off. I haven't decided yet."

Tony got excited over few things, but the more school shopping he did with his mom, the more excited he got. After the purchase of his Batman backpack he refused to part with it, even took it to bed with him. He got a new haircut, went to the dentist to have his teeth checked on, and visited the eye doctor. It was discovered that Tony was in need to glasses. Christine was thankful that Darrel had been taking in so many jobs at Dutchie's Construction Co. so they could afford this sudden expense. Tony seemed pleased at the idea of getting glasses though. "I'll look like dad." he said as the order for glasses was placed. They came in two days before school started and the change it took on Tony was remarkable. His parents never realized how bad his vision was until he put on his specs.

"Wow, I can see all the leaves on that tree." he said pointing to the tree in their front yard. "Hey there's a bird over there!" he pointed to an eagle soaring in the sky. He even noticed the blue flowers in the wallpaper in the upstairs hallway for the first time.

"Maybe we should have all the kids' eye sights checked." Darrel remarked.

The first day of school dawned. Christine was glad she didn't have to be at work until an hour after Tony went to school, still giving her time to get ready for the day, drop the other two off at Gran-Gran, all while getting to see her son off on the school bus.

To celebrate the momentous occasion, Christine rose early to make a breakfast of pancakes and bacon. Tony dressed himself in his new school clothes and came downstairs to proudly show himself off to his parents. He double checked his back pack to make sure everything was in there that he need before baring through his mom's picture taking-one of just him, then one of him and his siblings-before being excused to wait out on the porch for his bus.

Darrel had told work he would be late coming in so he too could witness seeing his son go off to school for the first time. Tony sat patiently on the front steps while his sister and brother played with Jakey on the dew covered lawn until he saw the yellow school bus come down the road. He jumped to his feet but his dad stopped him. "It has to go to the end of the road to turn around, then it'll come back to pick you up." In the years since Darrel built the house, the other lots on Cherry Lane had been purchased and houses were built. There were now eleven other houses on the road other then theirs. None could be seen from their lot yet but it would only be a matter of time. There was already talk of turning the dirt road to pavement next summer. Christine was thankful that there was at least enough families on the road now for them to send the school bus to pick them up.

Tony was waiting at the end of the driveway when the bus came back. Christine took one more picture of him boarding the bus before he was taken away for his first day of school. "Our baby is growing up, Darrel." she sniffed, hugging into her husband.

"You have three more babies still to go. You'll be use to it by the time this next one starts school." Darrel told her, giving her forehead a kiss.

"I don't think I will. At least I have a few more years before that happens."