Chakats, in general, could be said to be rather fond of children, especially their own, whom they are more than happy to look after, educate, and provide anything else the young one may need.
That being said, that doesn’t stop parents from getting annoyed.
"Honeymane!" Browneyes looked down at hir wayward cub — shi had only looked away for a moment, to finish up a sentence in hir psychology essay, when hir child disappeared. It hadn’t really been an issue until Brown had heard a crash from the kitchen, which in and of itself wasn’t problematic. Being empathically linked to Honeymane, shi could sense the cub wasn’t in any sort of trouble, but nevertheless, it was, at least in Browneyes’ mind, a good idea to go check on what was going on, and see what sort of trouble hir little one had gotten into. Sure enough, the condo’s kitchen, and hir year-and-a-half-old cub was covered in a fine layer of flour, and several condiments.
Browneyes’ snow-white cub looked up at hir with a great big grin, and hir carefree attitude was quite infectious, no doubt in part due to the empathic connection they shared. Regardless, Browneyes did hir best to put on a stern face. "Look at this mess! Honeymane, I’ve told you a thousand times not to try climbing these shelves; you could get seriously hurt."
Honeymane shook hir head. "Wasn’t climbin’. Was movin’."
Browneyes sighed. Shi should have known. Ever since Honeymane had started to manifest hir Talent more completely, shi had caused all manner of trouble: objects going missing, flying around the room, and so on. It probably didn’t help that hir natural chakat curiosity was combined with such an impish personality, although, as hir mother would remind hir every time shi complained that, it was probably just a stage. "That may be, my little one, but you’ve made a very large mess." Browneyes bent down, picked hir cub up, and attempted to remove some of the flour by hand. "And you are positively filthy. I think it’s time for a bath."
The flour-covered cub struggled in hir mother’s grasp,. "No baff! No baff!"
Browneyes shook hir head, tucked the protesting child under hir arm, and left the kitchen for the bathroom. Once there, shi quickly turned the tap on and began filling the tub with water. After a few minutes of trying to get Honeymane to cooperate, and getting nowhere, shi tested the water to see how hot it was and, judging it suitable, shi dunked hir child into it. Almost straight away, the water turned a murky white, and Browneyes set to work trying to work the mess out of Honeymane’s fur. Shi wasn’t making it easy. Besides trying to leap out of the tub and make an escape every other time Browneyes was slightly distracted, shi also made a great number of splashes, and used hir Talent to hurl some of the bath water at hir mother several times. So, by the end of the affair, both mother and daughter were more then than completely soaked.
Finally, Browneyes gave hir child one last rinse, and lifted hir out of the tub, (much to Honeymane’s joy), and began drying hir. Halfway through, problem number two awoke.
Browneyes had moved back in with hir parents ever since shi had gotten pregnant that fateful day, and the crowded condo became even more crowded when Darktoes’ parents, now Browneyes’ mother’s mates, moved in with them as well, having emigrated from Earth to Chakona about six months after Darktoes had been shipped off. Naturally this was cause for celebration (although at the time shi hadn’t felt much like celebrating), and hir mother sired a child by Spadespot. And so, about six months after Browneyes’ daughter was born, the family found themselves celebrating the birth of another new family member, Sugarback.
Browneyes finished up drying Honeymane as quickly as shi could, before going to Sugarback who, by this time, had begun crying softly, no doubt wondering why no one hadn’t answered hir empathic and vocal pleads for food. While all four of the older chakats were out shopping at the local market, Browneyes, much to hir displeasure, had been left to baby-sit the children of the house. Once shi had entered the room, Sugarback stopped crying and reached upwards towards hir, and waited for Browneyes to pick hir up and feed hir. The brown-and-white cub eagerly latched on and began suckling. Shi wouldn’t be weaned for another half a year, and Honeymane was nearly completely so.
Normally, Browneyes would simply enjoy the moment; breastfeeding was one of the most relaxing and fulfilling things shi had ever done, and on occasion shi had even pondered switching gears and becoming educated in the art of wet nursing. Right now though, there simply wasn’t any time to spare. Normally shi didn’t mind looking after hir daughter, and hir half-sister, but with such an important paper due fairly soon, shi needed to dedicated as much time as possible to it.
Plopping down in front of hir computer, shi tried to gather hir thoughts as much as shi could and work on the next sentence, all the while making sure Sugarback didn’t slip out of hir embrace. Thankfully, Sugarback and hir own daughter were relatively quiet, and shi was able to finish up the paragraph. At nearly the same time, hir half-sister decided shi was full, and figured it was time for play. Brown sighed to hirself and saved hir work. Shi’d have to get back to work on it later in the day, when someone else was here to look after the two little terrors.
After releasing Sugarback, the kitten dashed off to find hir niece. Deciding not to leave anything to chance, Brown followed hir, and discovered Honeymane sitting in the den area, playing with some toy PTVs. Of course, the minute shi caught sight of Sugarback, the two of them were engaged in some rowdy horseplay, but much to Browneyes’ relief, they weren’t breaking anything.
Grabbing one of the pillows that taurs typically used to sit on, shi dragged it closer to where the two were playing, and turned on the TV to check the news. As shi’d expected, nothing much was going on, but shi left it on anyways, and watched the two children. The two were extremely close, and Browneyes expected when they got older, that they’d be nearly inseparable. It wasn’t all that unusual for chakat parents to have two children close together in order to foster such close relationships, and it was relatively common among most other taurs as well. That being said, it was hardly a requirement. Browneyes wasn’t an only child, but shi had been born in relatively isolation in terms of kinship, and when shi had been growing up, shi had wished for a sister or such.
Soon the horseplay turned into a game of tag, with Honeymane being chased by Sugarback around the various furniture and such. In reality, it wasn’t really an even match, as Honeymane had inherited a number of traits from hir sire, and because of it, shi could run reasonably quicker and longer then than most chakats hir age, but shi seemed to slow down enough to allow hirself to be caught — something that pleased Browneyes as a mother; hir daughter mayight be a pain in the ass at times, but at least shi had a sense of right and wrong, and fairness. Soon the chase was reversed, and Sugarback dashed off down the hallway, with Honeymane hot on hir tail.
Browneyes didn’t bother to get up,; shi was sure they were going to return quickly. Sure enough, the two of them trotted back into the den within a few minutes... both of them leaving white paw prints all over the floor.
Brown swore. Shi had completely forgotten to clean up the mess in the kitchen! Grabbing the vacuum cleaner from the hallway closet, shi tried as quickly as possible to clean the mess up. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as bad as shi had originally thought it was, and shi was able to make short work of it. To finish, shi used the vacuum to remove the paw prints the two kittens had tracked throughout the condo. The trail lead hir to the den, where the two children were huddled on one of the pillows in fear of the loud noise being generated by the vacuum.
Switching off the machine, Browneyes went over and gave the two children a hug and couple of lick-kisses on their foreheads, while projecting an empathic feeling of comfort, before picking up the vacuum cleaner and stowing it back in the closet. Running hir hand through hir hair, shi realized how stiff it was, and remembered that shi hadn’t properly dried hirself when shi had been splashed by the flour-and-water mixture that was the bath water.
Browneyes groaned. Shi hoped it wasn’t too difficult to wash out, but shi’d have to wait until someone else was home, before trying. Plunking down on hir pillow again, shi was greeted by the two kittens, still seeking the comfort of hugs and cuddles, something Brown was more then than happy to supply. This momentary spot of calm didn’t last long, and soon the two kittens were back to their normal rambunctious selves.
Browneyes smiled to hirself; being a mother certainly wasn’t easy, but it did have its moments.
To be continued in The Letter.
Chakats, Stellar Foxtaurs and other concepts © 2009 Bernard Doove
Browneyes, Darktoes and other characters are copyright me, Honeymane
Feedback is greatly appreciated. Please send your questions, comments, etcetera to HoneymaneFeedback@gmail.com
And a special note of thanks for Sandwalker for his help putting these stories together.
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