The Watson's Guide to Raising a Child
1. Sleeping schedules will be interrupted, heedless of time or place,
by your child wanting/requiring your attention.
Do not chastise the child. It does not know any better.
John was vaguely aware that someone was staring at him. Or rather, he had the feeling that someone was staring at him and he hoped it was just in his dream, or maybe better yet Mary (they'd just gotten back from their honeymoon, but who was to say the celebrating couldn't continue?). He pried his eyes open, blearily looking towards the figure at the side of his bed.
He flinched backwards - hard - when he found a pale face, silver eyes, and curly hair staring directly into his face.
"Welcome back," Sherlock said.
"Sherlock, what are you doing here!?" John exclaimed.
"Sherlock...?" Mary mumbled. She clicked the light on and John flinched as the artificial light flooded the room.
"I was welcoming you home," Sherlock said, tilting his head.
"It's... It's four o' clock in the morning!" John retorted, glancing at the clock. "Why... Why are you in our room?"
"Well, I couldn't welcome you from the sitting room. Which is also why I'm here," Sherlock said, looking at John. "There's a new case," he said, eyes twinkling in the glow cast by the lamp.
John stared up at Sherlock, frowning. "You... You're serious?"
Sherlock tilted his head. "Why wouldn't I be serious? I have a case."
Mary sighed, laying back down. "John..."
John sighed, too, pushing the blankets away. "I'll take care of him."
Sherlock huffed. "Hey, I'm right here. I can hear you."
"Yes and, unfortunately, we can hear you, too, Sherlock," John said, gripping Sherlock's shoulders and turning him around. "So, let's see. What's about this case, then?"
Sherlock perked up immediately - John could literally feel the change in the detective's posture - launching off onto an explanation of the latest triple murder as John led him out of the bedroom.
2. Your child will be picky when it involves eating.
Use tactics such as gentle reinforcement, enthusiasm, or distraction to ensure that the child eats his or her dinner.
"Sherlock, please, join us for dinner."
"Ugh, leave me alone, Mary; I'm working!"
"Maybe you shouldn't come to my house and work," John muttered, although he smiled and winked at Mary. He picked up one of the warm rolls and pulled it apart, slathering on the jam. He then joined the detective at their kitchen counter, where he was currently hunched over a pile of notes. "What's this one about, then?" He offered the roll to Sherlock.
"Oh, there's been three beheadings. I think it might be some sort of set up for some vampire or zombie, horror type copycat murder, but I can't find the connection." He took the roll and bit into it thoughtfully. "I'm planning on going on a horror movie marathon, although still am at somewhat of a loss where to begin. Classics or new release..." He licked his lips and took another bite.
"Oh, classics are better," John said, turning away. He looked at Mary pointedly.
She nodded slightly, putting down an extra place at the extra seat at the table. "Oh, no, new releases are definitely the best way for you to go, Sherlock," she said. "It's the balance of probability."
Sherlock took another, larger, bite of his roll. "How would you know? John doesn't watch horror movies. He hates them."
"Oh, I've gotten him to watch a few."
Sherlock stood up, gravitating over to the table to grab the other half of his roll. "How on earth did you do that? He would always leave the room when I put them on. I was doing an experiment once on sleep deprivation-"
"I do not need horror movies to keep me from sleeping, Sherlock," John interrupted. "Lest you forget that I used to have nightmares and I lived with you for a year and a half."
Sherlock waved his hand dismissively, flopping into the free chair. "Yeah, that doesn't matter. The point was," he said, addressing Mary, "he panicked the second that the clown came out with the knife."
John bristled. "I hate clowns! Giving one a knife and an hour-and-a-half time slot, of course I'm not going to like it!"
"He jumped - visibly," Sherlock added, reaching for the spoon to ladle mashed potatoes onto the plate in front of him.
Good, then. The plan was working. Sherlock was distracted, and John could get a distracted Sherlock to do almost anything without noticing it.
" - and then he got up and left. Went upstairs to his room. Didn't come down the rest of the night," Sherlock was saying. "It was brilliant." He looked at John as he accepted the plate of fried chicken from him. "How can you be afraid of clowns but not be afraid of war?"
"It's two totally different things," John muttered, watching Sherlock select a leg before putting the plate aside.
"Whatever you say... Mary," Sherlock said, turning to her again. "What are the most popular classics? I've heard Interview with a Vampire is a classic. And Godzilla, although I'm not exactly sure if that's the type of movie I'm looking for..." he trailed off, shovelling potatoes into his mouth. "Suggestions?"
"Well... let's see..."
By the time that Sherlock flew back to his notes with a good list of horror movies to check out, he had (mostly unknowningly) consumed two chicken legs, a large helping of mashed potatoes, and a portion of green beans.
"Count it as a success," John whispered to Mary, as they collected up their dirty dishes.
3. Children are prone to be fussy when they are tired.
Be patient when trying to lull your child to sleep.
"Why don't you leave me alone, John?! I don't want to sleep; I'm not tired!"
"Sherlock, you're falling asleep on the sofa. Just kip for ten minutes and recharge," John said patiently.
"Ugh, I don't have time for sleep. Don't be stupid." Sherlock threw his arm over his eyes, chest rising and falling with a heavy sigh.
John picked the blanket up from the floor, shaking it out. "No, not being stupid. I'm being practical. You know you don't work well when you're over-tired."
"I am not over-tired."
"No. Course not." John fanned the blanket out, letting it settle down over Sherlock's sprawled out figure on his sofa.
Sherlock removed his arm. "What are you doing? Shouldn't you go... I don't know... take off all your clothes and engage in coitus with your wife currently or something?" He waved his hand a bit.
John drew in a deep breath, attempting to let the sex remark roll off his back. "It's three-thirty in the afternoon, Sherlock. She's at work."
"And why aren't you?" Sherlock griped.
"I had the day off. She didn't. You know this. That's why you came over today, remember? You deduced her menstrual cycle and said you didn't want to be around her while she was on it? Ring any bells?" he asked dryly, pulling the blanket down over Sherlock's feet.
Sherlock formed a silent oh with his mouth, dropping his arm over his eyes again afterwards. "Yes. Remember. Dull."
"Yes, I know," John said patiently. "Just rest," he added, tucking the blanket around Sherlock's shoulders and letting his hand stay there for a moment. "I'll be in the kitchen if you need me."
"Why would I need you?" Sherlock muttered.
John smiled as his friend unconsciously echoed his words from years ago now, turning away to flip the sitting room light off.
4. Accidents happen.
Carrying a change of clothes never goes amiss.
Sherlock tromped ahead of John, leaving wet footprints on the concrete as he walked.
"You know... you'll hate me, but this is really funny," John chuckled, following behind him stoically.
"Shut up," Sherlock growled.
"Oh, if it were me, you'd be laughing your arse off," John replied.
Sherlock sniffed disdainfully.
"Oh, stop pouting. It could... well, no, it couldn't happen to anyone," John giggled. "Not really. Sorry."
Sherlock shook his head, water flying off from the tips of his hair.
John laughed again.
"John, please!" Sherlock protested. "I'm cold and wet and tired and I want to go home."
John shook his head in amusement, although he did stop laughing. He could tell that Sherlock was dangerously close to a strop and he didn't want to deal with that. "Okay, listen. Next time you're trying to clear a gap over a broken down dock, try to take into consideration that the water will make you slip."
Sherlock huffed. "I realise that now. I didn't know it was so slippery."
John had to force back another giggle as he recalled the image of Sherlock, slipping on the dock and falling head over heels into the water below. He would have been more worried if the water was deeper, but since there was hardly any danger, John was just more amused than anything else. "Yes. Well. Remember that next time."
"Well, I'm not likely to forget, now am I?" Sherlock retorted.
John smiled faintly. "Alright. Come on... my flat's closer. We'll get you a hot bath and a change of clothes and a cuppa, yeah?"
Sherlock mumbled agreement, water dripping from the tip of his nose.
5. If your child says or does something improper, use gentle and positive reinforcement
to influence future behaviour.
"He's had sex three times this afternoon and not with his wife," Sherlock pointed out, jabbing his breadstick towards the waiter who'd just walked past.
"Sherlock!" Mary slapped his arm.
"Well, I didn't shag him," Sherlock muttered.
"Sherlock!" Mary protested again, although she was smiling now.
"What? Did you shag him?" Sherlock asked innocently.
"Stop it," Mary said, laughing. "I only shag John."
"Oh, I know," Sherlock said wisely, forking a piece of his chicken bruschetta pasta.
"Oh, this murder is fantastic," Sherlock exclaimed.
Sherlock looked at John, head falling a few degrees to the side. "Not good?"
John sighed. "Still not good."
"Damn it, Sherlock; what did I tell you about experiments in the kitchen?!" John yelled. "Go home and do experiments in your flat!"
"My flat's too quiet now," Sherlock muttered.
"You like the quiet!"
"I didn't want the quiet after three years."
Mary peered into the kitchen hesitantly. "What's all... this...?" she trailed off, taking in the sticky, bright blue mess splattered about the kitchen. John was wiping down the cabinets while Sherlock was his hands and knees scrubbing it from the floor.
"Sherlock exploded an experiment," John griped.
"It's just corn syrup and food colouring. How did I know it was going to explode?" Sherlock muttered, licking his knuckles.
"Maybe because you should have been paying attention!"
"It was an accident!"
Sherlock sat up, his shoulder hitting against the underside of the table. Mary saw it happening in slow motion before it did - the bowl of chilled angel-hair pasta John had been working into dinner tottered for a moment before plunging over the edge of the table.
"Sherlock-" Mary started, before the bowl of noodles flopped directly onto Sherlock.
"Ew!" Sherlock sent the now-empty bowl flying across the kitchen. His anger was somewhat lessened by the fact that he had angel-hair pasta draped in his curls, over his shoulders, and in his lap. "John... your pasta is cold," he intoned, looking at John.
Mary stared at him before starting to laugh.
Sherlock glanced up at her, frowning. "Stop laughing. It's your pasta."
"You look hilarious," she said.
Sherlock scowled and pinched a piece of the pasta, flinging it across the room. It landed somewhere around Mary's chest and shoulder, which stopped her laughing.
"Sherlock!" John protested again. "Stop it!"
Mary just peeled the pasta away from her shirt and threw it back, smiling as it caught Sherlock in the face.
Sherlock scooped up a handful of pasta and, instead of throwing it at Mary like she expected, chucked it at John. "Enjoy dinner," he said bluntly.
Of course, when Mary burst out laughing, the rest of them invariably did, too... well. Eventually, anyway.
6. Temper tantrums should be handled as they happen.
It does not do well to always give in to your child.
"Give it back."
"Give it back!"
"I will give it back after this show's over."
Sherlock groaned and sprawled out across the sofa, plunking his head directly into Mary's lap. "Why do we have to watch this stupid romance thing, anyway?! Crimewatch is on!"
Mary smiled, resting her hand on Sherlock's head.
John just sighed. "Because we were watching it before you rudely flounced in and changed the channel. Go watch Crimewatch at your flat."
"But John," Sherlock said, tilting his head back to look at John, who was sitting on the other side of Mary, "I like watching it with you," he finished flatly.
John rolled his eyes and looked back at the TV. "Shh. This is over at the hour."
"Crimewatch is over at the hour!"
"Shh..." Mary murmured, carding her fingers through Sherlock's hair.
Sherlock instantly stilled. "No. Wait. Do that again."
John and Mary both looked at Sherlock. "What?" Mary asked.
"My... whatever you just did."
"Play with your hair?"
"Sort- ow, don't pull on it!" Sherlock snapped. "Pressure. I meant, apply pressure."
"Like a scalp massage," John guessed.
"I'm not asking for a massage," Sherlock said bluntly, although he shuffled back a bit as an invitation for Mary to do it, anyway.
John scoffed and turned back to the TV, as did Mary, who just laughed quietly but gave Sherlock his first (and the first of many) scalp massages.
He was half asleep by twenty after and completely unconscious by half past. He'd never been more relaxed in his life.
7. All in all, bask in their youth. They grow up fast.
"He's like a child," Mary said softly, leaning against John's shoulder.
John rolled his eyes. "You should have seen him before he... left."
"Well, I think he's a good friend for you, John."
John smiled faintly, the laugh lines crinkling by his eyes. "Yes... He is good for me. You're good for me, too, though, you know."
"Oh, am I?" Mary asked teasingly, affection sparkling in her eyes.
"I wouldn't be anywhere if not for you... and for him, too," John replied, wrapping his arm around Mary.
"But you're here," Mary reminded.
"I am," John agreed. "Huh... do you think it seems heartless to wake him up to ask if he wants to go out to dinner with us?"
"It looks like he's already eaten," Mary remarked.
"Yes..." John sighed and pulled away from Mary. "Although that is a good thing," he mumbled. "Never bloody ate when he was on a case. Probably still doesn't." He went over to the familiar brown leather sofa, crouching down next to it. "Sherlock... Sherlock?" He gently shook Sherlock's shoulder. "Hey..."
Sherlock pried his eyes open. "... Jawn...?" he slurred, voice thick with sleep. His eyelids fluttered shut even as he spoke.
"You want to go into your bed, Sherlock? I'm sure it's more comfortable."
Sherlock opened his eyes again. "... Case..."
"You solved it, mate. This morning, remember? Meant to go out to dinner to celebrate, you and Mary and I?"
"... Oh..." Sherlock's eyes fell closed again. "... Forgot..."
"Deleted it," John clarified.
John sighed. "Mary, can you-" He was about to ask if she could help him get Sherlock into bed, but she was already there, walking around to the other side of the sofa. "Thanks. Come on, Sherlock, go into bed, alright? Then you can sleep all night; you don't have to worry about dinner."
He painstakingly got Sherlock to his feet and John took his weight on one side, Mary on the other. It wasn't uncommon for Sherlock to be dog-tired after a long-running case, although, without John to wheedle him into bed once he followed him home now, he knew that Sherlock spent a lot of the time sleeping on the sofa, floor, or, on sparse occasions, the stairs.
Step by step, they managed to get Sherlock back to his bedroom. Sherlock unceremoniously flopped onto the blankets without uttering a thank you. The fact was, he was probably already asleep again.
After John tucked him in and Mary had taken a wet wash cloth to wipe away the sweat and grime from Sherlock's face, they flipped off the light and left the room.
"Child," John agreed, reaching for Mary's hand.
"But you love him." She entwined her fingers with his.
John smiled. "Doesn't every parent love their children?"
Mary laughed softly and led the way out of Baker Street.
I intended for this to be mostly humour and then it ending up being a little more serious, but I like it. I love a Sherlock/John/Mary platonic relationship, because Mary'll do things for Sherlock that John won't (ie, egg on experiments or play with his hair). So, the timeline's a bit messy since, you know, their relationship deteriorated, but... just ignore that. The canon's timeline makes it difficult to write domestic moments like these. xD
I do not own Sherlock, nor any other movies/etc mentioned. Thank you!