(As always, I’m running a bit behind, so this isn’t finished. Please enjoy the first bit of this story, and know the rest is coming. Merry Christmas, to everyone who celebrates, and to those who don’t, please enjoy awkward parenting at a time many, many people find stressful, even if their kid ISN’T screaming for a Hatchimal this morning)
“This should not be the hardest part of parenting.”
Tony paused, a cup of hot cider halfway to his lips. “Wait,” he said, his eyes narrowing. “You think THIS is the hardest part of parenting?”
Steve leaned his head against the back of the couch. “You got something to top it, Stark?”
“Last week we had to clip his toenails every time he went human because he decided it was hysterical to have long toenails and, as it turns out, he can control that,” Tony said, his voice dark.
Steve made a face. “That’s not in most parenting books,” he admitted. “I’ll still take that discussion over trying to figure out what he wants for Christmas.”
DJ crept up, a cup of steaming cider balanced carefully between his hands. He held it out to Steve with a broad grin. Steve took it, grinning back. “Thank you, Deej. Do you want some?” DJ considered that question, then shook his head, plopping down on the floor on the other side of the coffee table. He leaned his chin on the edge of the table and watched, his gaze curious, as Steve took a sip.
“Good?” he asked.
“Perfect,” Steve said, and DJ grinned. Steve took a deep breath, trying to stifle a feeling that he was a failure for having to ask this. “What do you want for Christmas?” DJ blinked at him, and Steve pointed at the huge tree that dominated the center of the room. “Christmas is this week, and you haven’t told us what you want yet.”
DJ’s face lit up. He grabbed his tablet from the table and folded his legs under him. He bent over the tablet, his fingers dancing over the surface. Steve took a sip of his cider, warmth curling through him.
“Smooth,” Tony muttered under his breath.
“You weren’t giving me a better plan,” Steve muttered back, giving Tony a look out of the corner of his eye.
Tony grinned. “You’re the planner. I’m a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ sort of guy.”
DJ held up the tablet. “This!” he said, his smile huge.
This is Pistachio, though we usually call him Big Beef because he has very strong arms. He was embarrassed about his unusual mouth, but when he saw the beautiful smile of Tiny he felt better about himself, so I showed him this picture of how cute it makes him look when he’s sleeping! Now he is proud of his little blep space and wants to thank Tiny for sharing his beautiful smile. His brother, Hiccup (Little Beef), has three strong legs, and is also a fan of Tiny! My Beefs are sometimes naughty like tiny, but do not have wet marshmallow jaws, so I have to make sure my nail polish doesn’t look like beetles or berries…
Hello Pistachio (Big Beef)! 😀🐸😀
Tiny thinks you are beautiful everywhere! 😊 He likes your lovely long black toenails and your fashionable beard spikes!
Tiny thinks your mouth is just perfect and he sends you 237 big Tiny kissies! 🐸😊🐸