“J.P.!” Tomas called. “Pop on out of that bassinet, son! We’ve got another little brother or sister joining us any moment.”
Jeffrey Pine wasn’t too sure he wanted to be rushed out of the bassinet. It was pretty cozy in there.
But once he felt the freedom of being able to jump and run, he knew he was ready.
“Aunt Sugar!” he said, when she joined him for a game of chess. “Ten fingers! Think about it! It’s like a miracle of nature! Ten’s the perfect number! It’s like the center of everything! Ten tens make a hundred!”
“I know!” she cried. “Base ten! It’s so miraculous! It’s like our fingers are built-in calculators!”
While the young genius and his aunt were bonding over chess and mathematics, labor pains interrupted Red’s composing at the keyboard.
“Oh, geez,” she breathed. “I don’t remember it hurting this much with Jeffrey.”
Pacing did the trick. A few hours later, J.P.’s little sister, Cypress, was born. For Red, holding her newborn felt just as amazing the second time.
Aunt Sugar came over right away to welcome her niece into the world.
“You might grow up to be an auntie just like me and your aunt onezero,” Sugar said. “Do you know that I’m the one who chose your name? It’s from a painting I made long ago of a cypress tree!”
onezero headed right over to congratulate Red.
“You did it!” she said. “You’ve brought the generation nine heir and spare into the world!”
onezero and Sugar are amazing aunts. Autonomously, they feed, change, and cuddle the babies. I’ve always thought being an aunt was the best ever, and I guess they agree!
Jeffrey joined his grandfather on the courtyard for snack.
“These cupcakes are heavenly!” Nathanael said. “Your aunt Sugar made them!”
“Are they made with magic?” J.P. asked.
“No, even better,” replied Nathanael. “Strawberries!”
“These are good!” said Red, diving into one of the fresh cupcakes.
“Gramps,” said J.P., “I set a goal for today. Wanna hear it? I’m playing Arithmetic Attack for five hours straight! No, six! Make it eight!”
“Are you after high score?” Nathanael asked.
“Naw,” said J.P. “I’m after smart.”
Jamie dropped by later in the evening.
“I hear you and Tomas have two kids now,” he said.
“We do!” Red answered. “It’s so amazing! Really a life-changing experience!”
“Well,” said Jamie, “you don’t look much different.”
Inside, Tomas found J.P. on the computer.
“You know, son,” he said, “it’s a big responsibility, being the big brother. You’ll be the one to help Cypress with learning, and you’ll be the one to look out for her at school. And if neither of you roll the goofball trait, you’ll be the last heir of the Bough legacy. Do you think you’re up for it?”
J.P. thought, if being a big brother was such a big deal, maybe he’d better meet this little sister of his, the one who pushed him out of the baby bassinet.
When he saw her there, looking up at him with the silliest grin, he melted inside. She giggled and waved her arms and kicked her legs.
“You’re gonna be a little rocket scientist, aren’t you?” J.P. said. “And then we’ll go on all sorts of adventures in outer space! We’ll conquer everybody with magic strawberry cupcakes! And we’ll teach everybody all the things, so that it’s a universe of knowledge!”
Cypress giggled and cooed and waved her arms and legs.
“I’m gonna like being the big brother,” Jeffrey Pine said.