While Kennedy was promoted on Monday,
Yelena had to stay home because of her condition. She was not dealing well with pregnancy, and had quite a bit of morning sickness.
"Morning sickness"? she fumed to herself, and to the hapless butler, Berjes, who took the brunt of Yelena's bad moods while Kennedy was at work. "Seem like all-day sickness to me!"
She amused herself as best she could practicing Charisma.
Monday evening, after he had endured some ranting from his wife ("I sure hope you like this baby, 'cause I not doing this again!"), Kennedy worked on his Creativity.
He put his easel in the nursery he had set up in the new wing he had built for the baby. He had furnished the nursery using the great discount he'd gotten from Brandon Lilliard. It was a pleasant room, and being in there made Kennedy happy. (It also afforded him a refuge from Yelena.)
The hot tub he had planned to install in the stone patio between the nursery and the master bedroom had not yet arrived (Brandon had said something about a trade dispute with the Chinese supplier), but the delay didn't bother Kennedy.
He figured Yelena would probably not join him in a hot tub in her current condition and, if she did, she'd probably drown him given her mood.
Yelena went into labor after Kennedy had left for work Tuesday morning.
Berjes rushed in and tried to be encouraging. "You can do it, madame! Don't worry, I was a military man, myself--fought for the Queen! I can handle medical emergencies!"
The birthing went relatively smoothly except, to Yelena's great surprise, that she had twins--a girl, Yulia, and a boy, Yuri.
Yelena immediately put Yulia in the one crib, and phoned Brandon at the discount furnishings store, desperate for another crib. Brandon promised he'd have the second crib delivered within the hour.
Yelena passed the time waiting for the crib by feeding,
and bathing, her newborn son.
By the time she was done with this, Brandon--true to his word--had delivered and set up the second crib.
Kennedy was promoted again on Tuesday,
but could think of nothing but the new babies. He even delighted in changing diapers.
Wednesday morning, Yelena caught up her friends with news of the twins. "Oh, it was piece of cake", she bragged to Abhijeet. "I just pop them out and go back to work!"
To no one's surprise, Yelena had decided to return to work the day after giving birth. Berjes had assured Kennedy that he was well able to handle the infants. ("There was one time, sir, in the jungles of East India, that this local woman....") Kennedy thanked him and hurried off to work.
Once Yelena had left for the day, the contractors Kennedy had hired came to put another addition on the house, and to remedy some of the mistakes of Kennedy's first addition (among them, an odd roof line that had leaked rain into the new bathroom).
The couple had decided that they didn't yet need another bedroom for the unexpected twin, but that they did need a family room.
The couple's investments did well for the day, which was a good thing, because all the money was needed for the renovations.
Kennedy came home from his job and resumed work on the painting he intended to present to Yelena to honor the birth of their children. He had moved his easel into the new family room.
Berjes was really very good with the children (which was a relief to Kennedy, since other parents in the neighborhood had advised him that there were no decent nannies to be had).
Yelena was promoted on Wednesday.
She had convinced Kennedy that they should invite Abhijeet over for dinner along with their new contact, Cheryl Danaher.
"Could be such a cute couple!" enthused Yelena.
"Uhh, don't get your hopes up, hon'--he's a noted hound dog," Kennedy advised.
He then had to explain to his Russian wife what "hound dog" meant.
"Pah," she scoffed. "Right woman can change wrong man."
Kennedy wondered whether this applied to him.
Yelena greeted Cheryl at the couple's front door. "You look so skinny!" exclaimed Cheryl.
"Yah, throwing up all during pregnancy will do that for you," Yelena retorted. "Hopefully you will be luckier." (Yelena had learned that Cheryl's fondest hope was to have children.) "I hope you don't mind; we've also invited Abhijeet Depiesse to dinner tonight."
"Not at all," answered Cheryl with seeming pleasure. "Actually, I think he's kind of cute."
Everyone admired Kennedy's new painting,
dinner went well and,
during it, the home venue reached Rank 10.
After dinner, Yelena took Cheryl in to see the twins and handed her Yulia.
"Oh, she's adorable!" Cheryl gushed.
"Yah, Abhijeet is adorable, too," said Yelena, wisely. "And looks like he really, really likes you!"
"I'm not sure he's so into children, though," worried Cheryl.
"Still, he has good points," argued Yelena. "Is good cleaner." True, Abhijeet had autonomously cleaned everything in sight that evening (which was helpful, since the night nanny was capable of ignoring used bottles and diapers for several hours).
Yelena leaned closer to Cheryl. "He has good potential--trust me; I know. Is Russian thing."
Abhijeet came in from the children's bathroom and asked "Hey, what are you two beautiful gals up to?"
Yelena quickly responded "Nothing at all, handsome! Why don't you two go play some pool or something?"
Once the two guests had left for the home venue, the nanny came to take Yulia, and Kennedy handed Yuri to his wife.
"I'm going to go run interference," he said to Yelena. "I have no confidence in those two."
"Yah, they need help, for sure," agreed Yelena.
Kennedy arrived at the home venue to find Cheryl practicing pool shots alone, Abhijeet having been distracted by a poker table with 3 other customers.
Kennedy joined Cheryl and racked up the balls.
"You know, some guys just take longer than others," he said, attempting to be supportive.
"Did you?" Cheryl asked pointedly.
Kennedy, not taking offense, chuckled. "I thought all I cared about was money. I didn't even know I wanted children till I married Yelena."
After their guests had left, Kennedy and Yelena went to sleep, then got up early and tried out their private hot tub for the first time.
"How you think it went last night, Kenny?" asked Yelena, desperately curious.
"Okay, probably," replied Kennedy. They discussed their friends' possibility of being happy together, and then remembered that today was the twins' birthday.
"Can we have cake before you go to work?" asked Yelena.
"Sure," said Kennedy. "I have time. I'll always have time for the kids."
Yulia grew into a toddler looking very much like her mom.
Yuri, on the other hand, didn't much look like either of his parents, except for having Yelena's dark coloring.
Yulia happily headed immediately for the toddler play table,
while Yelena attempted to toilet-train Yuri.
On her way to work Thursday, Yelena was pleased to see how well her twins got along with each other.
Berjes continued to take very good care of Yulia,
He had become very attached to the children, since his only daughter and her husband were living in England with his only grandchild, Calista, and he rarely saw any of them.
Kennedy was not promoted on Thursday.
As soon as he returned from work he set about toilet-training Yulia,
then teaching her to walk.
"Come on, Daddy's little princess!" he exulted at her progress.
Yelena did get promoted on Thursday,
but had less luck than Kennedy with toddler training. She tried to toilet-train Yuri, but without noticing that he was too exhausted to cooperate. (He was a grouchy little kid, under the best circumstances.)
Yelena tried all 4 potties before her son collapsed on the floor.
Kennedy, who had successfully taught Yulia to walk,
brought her to the potty once again before putting her to bed. "What the heck is going on in here?" he asked as he surveyed the chaos in the toddlers' bathroom.
"I miserable failure as mother!" sniffed Yelena.
"Nonsense," Kennedy replied. "Yuri was just too tired to concentrate on learning a new skill. You look tired, hon," he said, comfortingly. "Why don't you go to bed and I'll put Yuri in his crib?"
"But he no go potty and now he smell bad! And I got kid-pee on my shoes!" wailed Yelena.
Kennedy stifled a smile as he ushered his frustrated wife off to bed, tucked his daughter in,
then woke his son and put him into his crib. "The kid did smell bad," Kennedy admitted to himself.
Yelena got up after a few hours' sleep and tried to improve her relationship with Yuri by teaching him a nursery rhyme. This, also, did not go very well.
Yelena worked on toilet-training Yulia, and remarked to herself how much more cooperative the girl was than her brother, even when tired.
Yulia was in fact a very sweet-natured girl,
and behaved well for Berjes, making his job considerably easier.
Kennedy was finally promoted to Architect on Friday. He felt sure that the good mood in which he'd gone to work had played a part in his success, and that his happy relationship with his daughter was largely responsible.
He continued to work on toilet training his children,
even getting up in the middle of the night to try to anticipate their needs.
He finally made a little progress with Yuri at about 5:00 in the morning.
Kennedy returned from work on Saturday afternoon. Once again, he had missed out on a promotion. He fell into bed exhausted and dispirited.
He was awakened shortly after 8 p.m. by a rare tantrum from Yulia, whom Burjes had put into the highchair but forgotten to feed before he left for the night (and whom the night nanny was, predictably, ignoring).
As long as he was awake, Kennedy figured he might as well continue toilet training Yuri.
Yelena came home just after 10 p.m., having been promoted.
In a great mood, she was able to complete Yulia's toilet training,
while Kennedy played peek-a-boo with Yuri to try to make the boy more receptive to training.
On Sunday morning, Kennedy finished teaching Yulia to talk ("Yulia love daddy!"),
and rewarded her by letting her play on the jumpy horse.
Against all odds, the difficult Yuri finally completed his potty training, also thanks to Kennedy,
but Yelena's attempt to teach him to walk was fruitless.
"Kid is soooo stubborn. Don't know where he gets it!" sighed Yelena.
Yelena had finally had it with her son, and called up the Good Witch for company.
Kennedy was promoted on Sunday,
and was just trying to resume teaching Yuri to walk when the boy suddenly grew up.
It was not auspicious.
Kennedy went to wake up his daughter,
who grew up spectacularly.
Both children almost immediately fell asleep in the beds Kennedy had brought from Yelena's starter home,
while Kennedy tried to figure out how to redo the kids' bathroom.
When Yulia arose in the early morning, she was so thrilled with the bathroom that she autonomously brushed her teeth.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Motherhood comes more easily to some women than to others. As the children get older, Yelena's particular gifts (her zeal, her business savvy, her relentless drive to succeed) may allow her to guide Yulia and Yuri into becoming responsible and productive adults. In the meantime, well, at least they have their father....
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