Chapter 4

Told you I'd be back! Thank you for being so patient with me. Hope you enjoy!

"Alright Mommy, ready to get this little guy home?" Max cooed at his wife as he turned in to the neighborhood.

"Oh yes I am, Daddy," Hailey babbled back at him. She smiled at Zachary sleeping in the backseat. "Those six weeks in the hospital weren't much fun, was it baby? Noo it wasn't. Nooo it wasn't!"

Alex held back a gag at the new parents. Sure, she and Mason might have acted the same way upon bringing their own baby home, but at least they didn't talk like that around anyone, especially with their older sister and niece sandwiched in the backseat with the baby. Alex and Leah were stuck right in the middle of goo-goo-gah-gah-ville.

Max watched his son blink sleepily and ball his fists in the mirror. "And how is our widdle Zach? Huh? Huh? Did he have a nice nah-up? Did he?"

That was it for Alex. "I don't know how he could have had a nice nah-up with his parents tawlking wike disss the whole. Drive. Home. And seriously? You know you've really busted the envelope when you can make nap into a two-syllable word."

"Ouuuuch." he replied. "Easy there, Momma bear. Moody much? I hope you remember who the one giving you a ride is."

She rolled her eyes. If only she had a quarter for every time someone had commented on her mood swings. They were pretty frequent this time around. "Sorry. Mason's getting the van fixed right now. Then again, I'm the one who offered to come help you guys out on your first day home."

"She's right you know," Hailey nodded, glanced at her through the mirror, and added, "Maxie Waxie." Alex let out the loudest beached whale groan she could possibly make.

"Seriously? Can we cool it with the baby talk? It's getting old really fast."

"Oh whatever. Zach likes it."

"Actually he doesn't," Leah informed them. "He thinks it's weird and demeaning."

The car went silent.

Alex raised an eyebrow at her. "Demeaning? That's a pretty good sized vocabulary word for a one and a half month old, Lady Translator."

She shrugged. "Okay, maybe he didn't think that. But he doesn't like it, that's for sure."

Max sighed as he parked in the driveway. "Simon says Leah's probably right. I guess we're done with the baby talk. For now, anyway."

They hopped out of the car and into the house. Alex was really past the point of surprise seeing her brother's home so tidy, based on his childhood room, anyway. She held the door open for Hailey and the car seat she was carrying.

"Okay, little dude, I think this calls for a grand tour," Max unbuckled Zach and held him in his arms. "Here's the living room, where we watch tv. Here's the kitchen, where we eat.." His voice trailed off as he made his way to the back of the house, Leah skipping after him. Hailey dropped the car seat on the coffee table and sank into the couch.

"Hectic day, huh?" Alex smiled, sliding onto the couch with her.

"You don't even know the half of it," Hailey sighed.

"Technically, I do." She laughed. "And I'll be doing it again in a few months." She rested her hand on her growing belly. It amazed her that at only two months she was already peeking through her shirt, she hadn't started showing with Leah until at least four.

"That's right, I forgot that for a second," she lay her head back on the couch and closed her eyes, just as Max and Leah popped back in the room, squabbling like sibblings as usual.

"Pretty pretty pretty please Uncle Max?" she whined.

"Oh I don't know, kiddo. I don't think you can handle it." He just couldn't resist messing with his niece.

"Yes I can! Yes I can!"

"Are you suuuuuuure?"

"Yes I'm suuuuuuuure!"

"Are you really suuuuure?"

"Yes I'm really really really really really suuuure!" she started hopping on alternating feet with anticipation.

"Okay, okay, pipe down you little Mexican jumping bean," he pushed her into the chair behind her by her forehead.

"Hey!" she pouted. "So can I?"

He waited for a beat. "Ye- the moms have to agree to it first."

Leah shot him a glare and turned to the two women on the couch.

"What is it, honey?" Alex asked curiously.

"She wants to know if she can hold Zach," Max answered for her. She exchanged glances with Hailey.

"Pretty please with candy and ice cream on top? I'll be super careful!" She begged.

Hailey smiled. "I don't see why not. Go for it." She eyed Alex, "It'll be good practice, right?"

It was hard for Leah to keep still as Max approached her with her cousin. She settled down enough for him to place him in her arms.

"Hold up his head with your elbow, Leah," Her mother reminded her. She nodded and did as she was told. Alex couldn't help but get emotional seeing her daughter cradle the child, knowing exactly what to do like she had been practicing for years. It was amazing how little girls were just born knowing how carefully to handle babies. The way they hold their dolls when they are small, and know to tuck them into bed and change their clothes the next morning, it's magical.

The tender moment was interupted by Alex's phone buzzing. It was Mason.

Van is up and running. Be there in a few. Ready for your first checkup?

She had almost forgotten it was moved again. She replied yup and stood up from the couch. "I'm sorry, I almost forgot I had a checkup today. Mason fixed the van and he's on the way. I'll swing by afterwards and help out, that okay?"

"Yeah, that's fine, do what you have to." Hailey nodded, also standing up and taking Zach from Leah.

"Mom, can I please stay here while you go? Pleeeeease?" she asked. That took her by surprise.

"You don't want to go to my appointment with me?" She questioned, almost in shock, since she had been bugging her about going all week.

"I mean I want to go, but I also want to stay and help out with Zach, can I?"

Alex glanced at her brother, then at Hailey. "No, honey, give the new parents some privacy. I really want you to come with me. It's important to me." They made eye contact for a beat. She could tell Leah was trying to get into her head, like usual.

Leah nodded and smiled. "Okay, I'll go." She slung her backpack over her shoulder and hugged her uncle and aunt. "Bye guys." She planted a kiss on her cousin's forehead and scampered to the door with her mother.

"Good thing you're not sticking around anyway," Max pestered, "'cause we were going to make you change all the poop diapers."

"Gross!" she exclaimed.

Alex laughed, "Oh don't think you won't have to change your brother or sister's diaper when it gets here, Lovebug. You might want to start practicing on Zach ahead of time." Leah groaned as they stepped out the door, where Mason was already waiting.

Yeah, let's just ignore the part in chapter 3 where her appointment was like a week later. And if you were confused, Zach is a preemee so he stayed in the hospital until now :)

Thank you for continuing reading! I will try to be more frequent with these updates, but you know, life likes to keep me busy sometimes.

Hope you enjoyed!