Baby Abigail's sweet disposition remained the same as the weeks progressed. She was such a happy little thing! She almost never cried, unless she was in pain, and was perfectly content to sit and watch everything going on around her. She took her naps right on schedule and woke up even more cheerful than before.
Eugene and Rapunzel adored their little bundle of joy. Rapunzel couldn't stop cuddling and kissing her. Eugene was like putty in her little hands. Robby and I actually chuckled over the way Eugene cooed and babbled with her. I'd never seen him so completely enamored...which was pretty amazing, considering how strong his love for Rapunzel was!
Around 3 weeks after Baby Abigail's arrival, Beast'sbelle came in to have another chat with Eugene and Rapunzel. Apparently, she'd found another little one that needed some parents.
Rapunzel told me later that Beast'sbelle seemed hesitant and felt bad even asking them, since they'd just gotten into a routine with Abigail. But they seemed like they were enjoying parenthood so much, she figured it couldn't hurt to ask.
"There's something you need to know, too," Beast'sbelle warned them. "Emmaline was separated from her parents (not by me!), so she has some pretty major anxiety issues. She'll need a lot of reassurance and love."
Rapunzel and Eugene discussed things for a few days and came to the conclusion that another addition to their family would only make things better! (And with a first child like Abigail, who could blame them?) Not only that, but Rapunzel, ever compassionate, was almost brought to tears at the thought of poor little Emmaline losing her parents. She was ready to shower this new little one with love and affection in the same way she'd loved and cuddled Baby Abigail.
Little did they know then the consequences of their decision. Everything was about to change.
Honestly, when Rapunzel told me what they'd decided, I was a little bit concerned.
"Are you sure you guys are ready for a second baby?" I asked her. "Things are going so well with Abigail, but don't you want this time to just be able to focus on her and developing your family? There will be plenty of time to add siblings later!"
"But that's just it," Rapunzel said excitedly. "Things are going well, so why not add another baby? We can do this, I know we can! And poor Emmaline! Can you imagine what it must be like to suddenly have your parents gone, at an age when you need them so desperately? I couldn't live with myself if I let her go."
"I'm sure Beast'sbelle would be able to find another doll family to take care of her," I reasoned. "She wouldn't want Emmaline to be alone, either."
Rapunzel looked a little hurt. "So you don't think we should do this?"
I tried to weigh my words carefully (something I'd been getting better at since hanging around Robby). "It's not that I don't think you can...I just wonder if you should. I'd hate to see you and Eugene overdo yourselves."
"Well, it's too late now," Rapunzel said firmly. "We already told Beast'sbelle we'd do it, and we can't back out now."
She sat quietly and set her jaw. It almost looked like she was trying to keep herself from crying. I'd never seen her like this! What had happened to my steady, unruffled friend?
"I'm sorry, Rapunzel," I said gently. "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I'm just trying to look out for you, that's all."
Rapunzel blinked back tears. "I know," she whispered. "I'm sorry. I've been really emotional lately. Abby's been sleeping, but I like to get up and check on her every few hours, so I'm not getting as much sleep as I should. I guess it's making me a little more defensive than usual."
Which is why I'm concerned, I thought to myself. If you're this tired with a good baby, why do you think you need to add another one who may be more demanding? I wanted to voice my thoughts out loud, but I knew it wouldn't do any good. And like Rapunzel said, the deed was done. They'd already committed. Baby Emmaline would be here in the morning. I just hoped my friend knew what she was doing.
November 12th was brisk but still clear and sunny. And early that morning, Beast'sbelle brought Baby Emmaline in to Eugene and Rapunzel. She made sure they were settled okay, and then headed out in a rushed manner. It was picture day for her family, and there was still much to be done.
Eugene took Baby Emmaline, who immediately arched her back and began wailing at the top of her lungs. Baby Abigail started squirming in her crib, which panicked Rapunzel. Abby had never had an interrupted nap before, and Rapunzel didn't want to rock the boat!
She gently took Emmaline from Eugene, hoping she could soothe her. Emmaline quieted down a bit, but was still fussing and whining in Rapunzel's arms. No matter what Rapunzel tried, Emmaline refused to be consoled. Her face was a pitiful mess of tears and frowns.
Rapunzel looked up at Eugene helplessly. Everything had been so easy and natural with Baby Abigail right from the start! It was obvious they had their work cut out for them. But Rapunzel was not the type to give up easily. She told me later that she was sure if she just kept loving Emmaline, eventually she would calm down and get used to her new family.
"Well, this should be interesting," Eugene smirked. He squeezed Rapunzel's shoulder. "I'm sure she'll get used to things soon."
As if in direct disagreement with her new daddy, Emmaline started wailing again. Baby Abigail, completely unaccustomed to such noises, woke with a start in her crib and joined in with her new big sister.
Robby and I, who were already on our way to meet the new arrival, heard the awful commotion and wondered if it would be helpful to show up or not. After deliberating for a while, we decided that friendly faces might be the best medicine for Eugene and Rapunzel right now.
The scene that met us as we arrived at the top of the curio cabinet was not nearly so serene this time. Eugene and Rapunzel both looked flustered and out of their depth. Rapunzel was jostling Emmaline with one arm and rubbing Abigail's back with her other hand. Eugene was just bending over to pick up Abigail when we came into view.
"How's it going up here?" I asked, half playfully.
"Very funny," Eugene said sarcastically.
"It's a little crazy," Rapunzel said bravely, "but we'll figure it out. It's just going to take some time for everyone to adjust, that's all."
Truer words were never spoken. That entire week was one of the longest all of us had ever known. Baby Emmaline was a complete basket case. She tended to be somewhat quieter if Rapunzel held her, but she was never what you'd describe as a happy baby. If Eugene tried to hold her or even looked at her the wrong way, it took the next 2 hours for Emmaline to recover.
The nights were the worst. Emmaline would only sleep if Rapunzel was holding her. If they tried putting her into a crib, she'd scream the entire night. And I do mean the entire night...they tried it a couple of times.
Part of me felt like if they would just stop giving in to her, Emmaline would learn to sleep by herself. But at the same time, I could see how utterly exhausted and drained Rapunzel and Eugene were. I didn't think giving them parenting advice would be appreciated...especially since I wasn't a parent myself.
Most nights, Rapunzel "slept" on Beast'sbelle's jewelry box with Emmaline curled up next to her (not that there was much actual sleep happening!), while Eugene slept propped up against the lamp post with Abigail in the crook of his arm. Unfortunately, Abigail's perfect sleeping habits had been close to destroyed with Emmaline's constant crying.
Meanwhile, the rest of us were relocated to the top of the 18" doll shelf on the other side of the room. Beast'sbelle explained that she thought it might help a bit if we left the top of the curio for the new family.
One interesting thing I learned from this whole experience is that humans are apparently immune to the noise from crying baby dolls. Every night, I would cringe at the sobs floating across the room. I could hear Ben grinding his teeth, and the sighs and shifting of feet from the larger dolls around us, especially Maggie's loud grumbling from her room below our feet. But Beast'sbelle and her husband never seemed to act annoyed or lose any sleep over it.
The third morning after Emmaline's arrival, I asked Beast'sbelle about it, mainly to satisfy my own curiosity. To my amazement, she said that she hadn't heard any crying. Then, that very moment, Emmaline started again. I pointed this out to Beast'sbelle.
"I kind of hear a faint sound, yes, but nothing more," she told me.
Incredible. My ears were literally ringing, and Beast'sbelle could barely even hear it.
I mentioned this to Robby and Ben the next night. Ben suggested that perhaps the cry of a doll baby was in a register that was difficult for humans to hear. He explained a book he'd read once about training dogs. It mentioned the use of dog whistles. Apparently, dog whistles are very loud to dogs but cannot be heard by humans. It was weird, but it at least provided one possible explanation.
For the first time in my life, I wished I could be human, too.
Part 2 coming soon! :)