Sometimes Thom thinks some people are just meant to have big, boisterous families and houses crammed with kids and toys and noises.
He’s definitely one of those people.
There’s a flow to it, to their family life. Whether or not it’s a result of attitudes – they both think this is pretty much the higher meaning of their existence – or a lucky coincidence, they do seem to be awfully good at making this work.
Sure, it’s not always a walk in the park to have four children reasonably close over a couple of years. Nobody should fool themselves to think that. But Thom is still amazed at just how easy it feels, all the same.
Kiera already talks about a fifth child, like a distant possibility in a couple of years. If they still can.
He thinks about it, too, but part of him is afraid to disturb the balance. Upset the household peace.
Ruby is still the maker of mischief, will probably always be no matter how much of a big sister she becomes. She’s still the one most likely to be found in the woods, high up in a tree or busy pulling pranks on the neighborhood pets. At four she’s not quite as prone to running away anymore, but she still has the habit of running outside in her pajamas to stand in the rain or throw herself in a puddle.
But other than that, their kids are pretty damn easy to handle, if you ask him.
They, too, seem to enjoy being part of a big family and there’s hardly any jealousy between them. Ella and Rhys are adorable with baby Myles and Ruby, even if she isn’t particularly interested in him, lets him explore life in relative peace.
Rhys is the helper of the family, always on a mission to assist people. It’s not something he does for pocket money or praise either, it just seems to be something he wants to do. He’s probably more tidy than either of his parents, Thom wagers, so it’s just as well that he picks up random tasks around the house.
He’s a sensitive soul, keeps to himself in school and at home. Kiera sometimes claims he’s the child they’ll have least trouble understanding, as he grows up, since he’s inherited their introversion and introspection.
Ella, on the other hand, is a creative person. A bit too restless to be into books, but it seems her talents are best put to use when she’s creating things so Kiera has bought her a pottery table.
Thom tries to raise her interest in nature, too, hoping she might enjoy helping out on the farm in the future but so far no great success has been achieved. She mostly runs around, wreaking havoc.
Unsurprisingly Rhys enjoys weeding, though and can spend a good hour doing that during the warm summer evenings before bedtime. He’s very meticulous about it, too.
But regardless of what he might occasionally hope for the future, the farm is Thom’s responsibility and he’s the one pouring hours upon hours into it. It’s a lot of work but they make money and with the added income of selling their own salmon, they manage to save enough each season to be able to slowly turn the attic into bedrooms for the kids.
He’s actually really proud of that, of taking his family’s farmhouse and keeping it in good condition, even improving it for the future.
And he’s thrilled about having Kiera along for the ride.
Since summer is such a busy season, Thom compensates by taking some time off whenever he can and devote that time to hanging out with his kids. Kiera claims it’s like a vacation to have just a four year old and a baby in the house, as well, so he takes the twins camping in the outskirts of Barchester.
The weather is lovely so they mostly just hang out, talking and exploring the surroundings.
Ella is intent on starting a bug collection so she’s brought equipment for it, but tires after catching two beetles.
“I’ll catch every bug in the forest later,” she declares, digging into the bag of marshmallows.
“No,” her brother protests. “That’s not possible.”
Thom doesn’t say anything, merely smiles to himself.
Clara had texted him earlier, telling him she wanted to come along but he had never actually thought she would make it. Nature isn’t her thing. To put it mildly. But she’s been wanting more contact with him lately, calling and texting on a daily basis to catch up on things and discuss their lives.
Mostly, he must admit, her own.
The kids love their aunt Clara, so they’re excited that she’s going to be camping with them and Rhys makes her promise she’ll tell him a super long bedtime story later.
She’s had a pretty rough time lately with a messy divorce and plenty of arguments with the kids who seem to have rooted for their father in the whole debacle. Thom can understand why since it’s Clara who’s behind the whole divorce, but he can also understand how it hurts you to look at your kids and think that they blame you for their suffering. That must be awful and he feels sorry for her.
“So, how are things then?” he asks when his kids are both climbing trees out of earshot. “With everything?”
Clara shrugs. “Simon wants a family.”
“You sound surprised?”
“No.” She sighs. “I’m not. Just… disappointed, I guess. I had hoped we could be something different than that. We’ve got a good thing now, in the city. I write a lot and he’s successful at work and we go out for dinner almost every night. You know.”
Thom laughs. “I really don’t. But I can imagine.”
“Besides, I’m getting too old.”
“Oh sure, you’re practically ancient by now. A walking historical monument.”
His sister grins at him. “Idiot.”
He pauses, not sure how to talk about her twins without sounding like a terrible know-it-all, or offending her family in some way. But Samuel and Sienna had been the crankiest, loudest, least happy babies and toddlers Thom has ever met in his life, and if Clara has been forever scared of the idea of having more children, he can totally understand her. But he can’t say that.
“Just… remember that not every kid is demanding to raise,” he says instead. “A lot of them are pretty adorable bundles of joys, too. Especially if you just get one at the time.”
Clara smiles; he thinks she gets what he means. He doesn’t know what she’ll do with it.
* The Hillers are such family sims it’s ridiculous. House is crowded with needy kids and the parents are both happily waddling through the diapers and bottles and baths. 😀