Emilie watched her baby girl, her fascination with the world, questioning why. Charlotte seemed to be deep in thought as her birthday got closer; she wondered what came next, would she enjoy school, make friends easily, would they play games or was it all boring books. Far too many thoughts for a four-year-old to have, but she adored her big sister following her through the house; Eliza resorted to hiding in the bathroom to find the peace she needed to study. Patrick had influenced her eating; they were food lovers like their father, leaving clean plates after meals, although, unlike Patrick, Charlotte rarely had seconds.
She worried, gone was the boy who raced his sister to school, his naughty behaviour, stealing from friends and class, Patrick had withdrawn. He shied, clinging, his hand grabbing Emilie’s top when Eliza’s friends were over, shaking his head at the thought he should play outside with them; Emilie sighed as Patrick got under her feet. Lee hung awkward by the door, the one boy in Eliza’s group; Patrick needed to balance the numbers or forced to walk the plank. Patrick gave a frightened look as he followed the boy; Emilie hoped that might be one friend.
Emilie failed to keep with all the changes; Eliza had excelled, language, imagination, thinking; she was dancing and running with those first steps. Her heart ached for the simple times; Emilie puzzled over chess pieces, her daughter thinking several moves ahead, calling checkmate within four steps. Teenage years were approaching; Eliza humoured her father, Rylan’s sudden desire to spend time on her, reading his books the way his father had done with Ziva. His material, unsuitable for young ears; the latest drew on Ziva’s dream, abducted by aliens. The strange green and purple beings, sudden, sickening confusion and uncomfortable feeling when the main character sat down, Emilie scowled as he read the most graphic parts, but at least he was trying. She hoped this change was enough; Eliza adored her father despite everything, proud of his work, achievements, respecting him when he failed to notice her.
With the family growing, changing, Emilie wondered how she fitted in; her days filled with potty training, teaching, and baking were feeling empty. She chatted with Ziva, considering how she could transform her computer knowledge into something beyond a hobby. Thoughts of being in an office, a structured day outside the house, was unappealing. Ziva suggested her former employers and others were taking on freelancers for short term work. The pay could be reasonable, but Emilie believed it could be the answer to keep her home for the children after school.