Monday, July 4, 2016
The doctors kept the babies in the hospital for another two weeks. Even though the two girls were in perfect health, their little brother was still small, but with them beside him, and constant physical contact from nurses, parents and the rest of the relatives, including Zia Julia and Zio Joshua, the little boy began to gain weight and inches. He also, as the doctors had predicted, shed the excess hair and no longer looked like a little monkey, a comment that got Con smacked by more than his parents for saying it out loud. He didn't dare argue that they'd all been thinking it, this time.
With grandma and grandpa Rossi in the back seat with the girls and a proud Beth Ann in the front holding her only son, they waved and smiled at the doctors and nurses who had turned out to say goodbye to the remarkable Rossi's, their six pound two ounce girls and their five-pound baby boy whom everyone had been sure wouldn't live more than a couple of hours, and who was now healthier, heavier, and taller than he'd been when he'd been born. His hastily bought and washed clothes were still a little too large on him, but they knew he'd grow into them, then out of them, in no time.
Beth and Dante had originally intended to go home and begin settling in with their triplets, but mamma and papa Rossi wouldn't hear of it, and finally convinced them that the extra hands would be needed, especially at first.
When they arrived at the Rossi house, it was decorated with streamers and balloons, two signs in the yard proclaiming "It's a Girl!" and one that said, "It's a boy!"
They brought the babies into the dimly lit house and settled them into a playpen. A brightly colored mobile attached to two sides, ready to be wound and entertain the babies.
Two brightly wrapped packages were on the coffee table. One, which turned out to contain candy, was for Beth. The other was addressed to Dante and contained fine cigars, half bearing a blue band, the other half pink.
"Guess I'm going to have to take up smoking cigars!" he said in a delighted voice.
"Not as long as you want to live." his father replied.
"You mean, here?" Dante asked, a little put out.
"I mean, anywhere." Johnny Rossi said, holding out his hand for the box.
"Awww, come on pop, you really think I'm going to start smoking?" Dan protested.
"Absolutely not!" Mr. Rossi assured him, "I'm merely removing them since none of us will be needing them. Capire?" he said as he tucked the box under his arm.
"Coffee is ready for anyone who wants it!" Carmie said, coming out of the kitchen, wearing tennis shoes, capris and a pretty pink blouse that complimented her dark hair. "And how are my beautiful little nephew and nieces?" she asked softly, leaning over the playpen to coo at the babies and chuck the one girl and the little boy who were awake under the chin.
"Bethie, Dan? Can I hold one? Which one is she?" She asked permission, before touching the baby.
"Sure," Beth said with a smile. "If you look, the nurses at the hospital put little bracelets on the girls that have their names on them. We can keep them on until they start to develop their own personalities, or we can enlarge them by adding beads... they gave us extra. This one is... Mara." she said proudly, picking up the baby, and inspecting the bracelet before handing her over to her auntie.
Carmie's eyes misted over immediately as she smiled and spoke softly to the child in her arms, who looked back, puzzled and unfocused, before reaching out a little hand to grasp one of Carmie's fingers, which the woman thought was the most amazing thing she'd ever seen. She exclaimed over what a smart little girl her niece was.
"Bethie? Dan?" asked Amadeo anxiously.
"Go ahead, Dae, just be careful, OK?"
"Like he was glass, I swear," Amadeo said with a large grin as he carefully lifted the little boy out of the playpen.
Little Olivia slept peacefully while the others went into the kitchen for coffee and pastries, Carmie and Amadeo's attention were so firmly on the babies that their parents had to guide them to the table and seat them or they both would have been standing in the middle of the living room, lost in the adorable befuddled expressions on their niece and nephew's faces.
"What'll you all have to drink?" Asked Terri, only a little jealous that Carmie had gotten a baby first.
"I'd better have milk or iced tea," replied Amadeo, as though speaking to the baby in his arms rather than his big sister. "Better safe than sorry."
"Same here, please sis?" Carmie said, only slightly more aware of the people around her as she gazed at the light shining off of the fine hairs covering her niece's head, turning them gold and red.
Amadeo coo-d and chirped at his nephew, then began to finger walk up the baby's lower legs, "Here comes the mousie,” he said, continuing up the baby's legs to his belly "Creepin' up the housie, gonna build a nestie," he said, fingers climbing up over the baby's chest, finally tickling the baby gently under the chin, "In your little neckie!"
"Ewwww, mouse nest on my baby? I don't think so." Beth Ann joked.
"No mouse nest?" Amadeo asked his nephew in a silly voice, as though astounded that his mother wouldn't want something as pretty as a mouse’s nest on her son's neck. "Then let's try this instead, OK?" he asked the baby as he proceeded to sing a song. He gently took the little boy's hand in his and waved it, in time to the music, as though directing an orchestra.
"One bottle of pop, two bottle of pop, three bottle of pop, four bottle of pop, five bottle of pop, six bottle of pop, seven bottle of pop, POP!
Don't dump your muck in my dustbin, my dustbin, my dustbin,
Don't dump your muck in my dustbin,
My dustbin's full!
Fish and chips and vinegar, vinegar, vinegar,
Fish and chips and vinegar, vinegar and POP!"
"Oh, that's just charming." Said Terri, wrinkling her nose. "Vinegar and pop? Not together I hope! Great song for a baby."
"I thought you'd like it since you used to sing it to me when I was little." 'Deo said, with a little attitude combined with more humor.
"So." Gabe finished for her. "You sang it to me too, and Con."
"Yeah, the vinegar and pop went great with the frogs and snails and puppy dog tails. Remember how I used to freak out when I saw sheepdogs? I thought their tails had been cut off to make me! Thanks, sis! Why don't you tell that to little Nathan here and traumatize him too while you're at it?" he joked.
"You guys are terrible," Terri said, laughing as she poured everyone's drinks. "OK little sister, big sister wants a turn."
"I'm not done yet," Terri said, giving a mock pout.
"Mamma, tell Terri to let me have the baby. It's my turn." Carmie said, grinning, knowing full well she sounded about five years old.
"Sorry bambinas, that's Bethie's baby and you'll have to ask her or Dante." Natie replied with a grin.
"Bethie? Dante, aren't I your favorite sister in the whole world? Can I hold Mara next? Pleeeeeeeaaaaaasssssse?"
"Ugh, you guys want a little cheese to go with all that ham?" Dante complained.
"I thought it was 'whine' to go with the cheese?" 'Deo asked, confused.
Johnny came up with a solution. "Troops! Present babies!" he said, loudly enough to get his family's attention but not so loud as to scare the babies, which his wife would have killed him for. "Pass left!" he ordered.
Terri grinned as Mara was handed to her by a grumpy looking Carmie, and a delighted Con took his nephew.
After about twenty minutes of the babies being passed around, little Olivia began to wake and cry. Dante put a hand on Beth's arm when she began to jump up. "I'll get her, Bethie Bean," he said quietly, “I'll bring her right to you so that you can feed her. All right? You relax." he said,
No one except Natie noticed the look on her daughter in law's face. She got up and took three bottles out of the refrigerator, setting them to warm quickly. "Dante, take Beth Ann upstairs, I'll warm the bottles, then we'll bring the babies up, and you can all have some alone time with them.
All you need to do is call us if you need anything. All right?" she asked casually, winking in response to Beth Ann's look of relief.
"But mom..." Dante began, not understanding.
"You just need some family time, sweetheart, and we're all right here if you need us for anything."
"Thank you, mamma,” Beth Ann interjected. "I could use a little quiet time with the babies if that's alright with everyone?" she asked deferentially, but once they saw her face they realized she was getting worn out and wanted quiet.
"Of course, Bethie," Dante said, taking his wife gently by the arm and leading her upstairs. Gabe and Con each had one of the girls and Mr. Rossi trailed behind with Nathan. As soon as the bottles were warmed adequately, Mrs. Rossi brought them upstairs with clean spit up cloths and a diaper bag full of the necessities.
"She won't agree to stay here forever, you know. Any more than Gia and Rene would after they had theirs." he reminded her gently afterward.
"Oh, I know." she replied a little sadly, "And of course I'm not going to keep them prisoner. Bethie and Dante are both perfectly capable of taking care of their children, but I will miss them when they leave."
Johnny grinned down at his wife. "They only live across town, bella mia, not in the next state."
"Oh shush, you. You know what I mean," she said, swatting playfully at her husband.
Rhymes from Mama Lisa's World (USA)
Creep Mouse (Here Comes the Mousie)
Nursery Rhyme Game
A/N This song might not have been around in the '60s, but I like it.
Fish and Chips and Vinegar