The Overture: Track 4A
by Creedog VanDrey
Summary: Every baby is different. Every baby has a personality.
A/N: This series is kind of dragging on for me, so I found new inspiration by mixing it up the pairings. I hope no one's expecting this to move along quickly, because this is really my go-to piece whenever I don't have inspiration for my other stories. It's formatted. It's low-pressure. It's character study. It's a sandbox.
Track 4, Side A: The Prelude
or "Beautiful Baby"
Little Rachel never knew what silence sounded like. Her daddies played music constantly, only turning it off when Rachel dozed off to lullabies.
Hiram had gotten a job at a trophy shop to supplement their income, and came home with a trophy every month declaring that his baby girl had won some singing competition or dance recital. His excuse was that one day her walls would be lined with them, so he wanted to make sure they weren't bare when she started out. Self-esteem was important.
Rachel never knew what loneliness was, either. Her fathers kept Rachel's crib in their room until she moved to a bed. Until she was two, she was never outside the presence of one of them; they staggered their work shifts to make sure that happened. She smiled because it made her fathers smile. She babbled because it made her fathers babble. She danced because it made her fathers dance.
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Little William, if he knew any better, would have thought he was a show piece. For the first six months of his life, his parents dressed him up in cute little outfits for all their family and friends to see.
Jack and Hazel's parents came to see their grandson, of course. But when most of William's aunts and uncles told the couple they couldn't come out to see William until the family reunion at Christmas, Jack and Hazel packed up their bags and made a dozen car trips to various parts of the Midwest to show off their newborn son. For them, the stress of toting around an infant was worth the gleam in their family's eyes.
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Finn was an easy baby. He never cried unless he was hungry or had a dirty diaper. He always finished his food and slept in longer stints than other babies his age. Carole could even take him out to restaurants with minimal trouble. She thanked her lucky stars that she had the kind of baby that made being a single mother easier. He got along great with other babies, even babies like Noah.
Finn loved TV. Carole spent most evenings seated on the couch, with Finn at her feet in his cruiser, both of their eyes glued to whatever was on: cartoons, the news, horror flicks. Finn never really seemed to care what was happening on screen, but he was staring intently, nibbling on Cheerios.
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Noah was not an easy baby. He sometimes cried just to hear the sound of his own voice or because he wanted attention. And once he got the attention he sought, he quickly moved on to other distractions. He got really cranky when it was his nap time and never slept long enough. Gabe and Abigail felt like comrades-in-arms; they grew closer emotionally as they grew apart physically.
Noah didn't care for blocks, unless he got to throw them. He liked noisy toys, pots and pans, bells, whistles, a cowbell that Gabe immediately regretted giving him, especially when Noah screeched until he got it back after his father had hidden it. To him, nothing in the house wasn't a toy. The baby-proofing implements in his way were minor obstacles, challenges to his tiny manhood to overcome.
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Santana did not like to be swaddled. She enjoyed wriggling around with purpose. She enjoyed, and practically demanded, to be bounced. By eight months, she was hell-bent on learning to walk, months before any of her daycare mates, on little legs barely strong enough to support her. Before her first birthday, she was toddling around her small house. Dr. Perez noted that Santana's development was in the ninety-ninth percentile, which Santana seemed to take more pride in than even her parents.
Santana was a clingy baby, though. She was distrustful of solitude, so she demanded that someone always be in the same room with her, though she rarely acknowledged their existence. She didn't interact much with playmates, but got cranky when they left. It took a lot of coaxing to make her smile. The world was there for her amusement, not the other way around.
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Quinn did not like to be swaddled, but her stubbornness was no match for the combined stubbornness of her parents. Judy dressed Quinn up in white and pink frilly dresses, and taped bows on her bald head (which Quinn liked to suck on). Most of the time, Quinn was no more well-behaved than other babies, but she showed rare calmness in church. She could sleep through the longest of services. She stayed awake but didn't make a peep when she played Baby Jesus in the children's Nativity Play. She smiled at the reverend at her christening.
Quinn didn't mind being left alone. When Judy tried giving Quinn her own room, the baby girl seemed to sleep better while her mother slept worse. But when company was over, Quinn wanted to be in the middle of everything. If someone wasn't looking at her, she wasn't happy. When she went to day care, she spent all her time crawling into the middle of groups, plopping herself down on top whatever toy had gained the interest of her playmates and sitting there quietly until the other babies caused a ruckus about the lack of access to their favorite toys.
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Margo connected with several other parents of infants in her community for a home play date rotation. Brittany was the first in the group to smile, which made the Fabrays very jealous. But she was last in everything else. She was the last to take her first steps, though she'd been shaking at the sound of music, any music, from two weeks old. She was the last to recognize her own name. She was the last to say her first word, which was neither "Mama" nor "Dada" but "zon," a word her grandmother had taught her after the little girl delighted in the sun shining through the window every morning.
Margo was very idealistic. She thought she could get Brittany onto a schedule and everything would be grand. The other mothers laughed at her. Margo had the last laugh. Brittany rarely cried because her mother would set timers to feed, change, and bathe her at the same times every day. When it was her nap time, she'd clutch whatever stuffed animal was laid in her hands and doze off moments later. She didn't worry about life.
A/N: You know, all the previews of "The Substitute" are on, and I keep seeing the Mini-Gleeks and I really hope that they don't in some way influence future chapters. But it's nice to have a visual.