Friday, April 19, 2013

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 43 - Responsibility

While James pulled in a steady income, he didn't offer much to Alpha for pocket change.  While he provided the basic necessities - food, clothes, school lunch money - he didn't see what point there was in giving her an allowance.  She'd just spend it on something silly.  So she turned to completing odd jobs around town to save up some money.
The school's boiler was making a funny noise, and they said they'd pay her if she could get it working again.  How hard could it be to fix a boiler?  She'd watched James fiddle with the plumbing around the house when it started acting up more than once, and if he could do it then she certainly could.  The basement was dark and creepy, though, so she resolved to finish the job as quickly as possible.
So much for getting it done quickly.  After several hours of work, the boiler was finally running smoothly again, and Alpha walked away with $300 in her pocket.  It wasn't much, but if she saved it it could go a long way.  Maybe she could even go to university, one day.  For now, though, she took out $55 from the meager fund to buy a colorful toy box for the younger children.
Epsilon loved playing with the fluffy toy sheep, though she managed to lose it alarmingly often; it was never gone for long, however.  When she got bored of the sheep - or couldn't find it - she had just as much fun by climbing into the box itself and spying around the room.  Alpha had to pick the sleeping toddler up out of the box more than a few times.
Omicron was growing up quickly, soon getting old enough to be let out to play by himself.  He was always clumsily dropping things or crawling into furniture, though, so Alpha tried to discourage him from following his sister's example when playing with the toy box.
He and Epsilon preferred to play together, yet apart.  Omicron would fuss when he was alone for too long, but as Epsilon had very little interest in actually playing with her little brother she often chose to remain across the room, playing by herself with her sheep.
There was a lot to do with taking care of two toddlers.  Alpha's prom was held in the middle of summer, but she chose not to attend.  There were more important matters to take care of at home, and she knew that she couldn't count on James for any of it.

True to form, when Leisure Day came around James left the house early to attend a party he was throwing at the public pool.  He'd only invited a handful of people, but he hoped that they would each bring friends of their own.  More people was always more fun!  He made sure to get changed before he left the house, in order to minimize the time before he could dive into the refreshing water.
That, of course, left Alpha home with the children.  James hadn't even asked, he'd just walked right out the door.  Typical.  Alpha hid her irritation well when instructing Omicron in the proper use of the potty, as it wasn't appropriate to take out her anger at her father on a little kid who couldn't help who he'd been born to.
After Leisure Day, summer drew to a quick close, the weather becoming chillier by the day.  While she hadn't had much help from James apart from potty training - the lesser of two evils, as he didn't want to change diapers - she'd managed to help her younger siblings develop their life skills satisfactorily.  Epsilon was walking and talking, even if she didn't have much to say to anyone but Alpha, and even young Omicron was starting to toddle around.  Epsilon would be starting school soon, though, and there were some things that Alpha needed to prepare her for.
Alpha: "You'll be going to school soon, Epsi.  It's a big step to take."
Epsilon: "I'll learn things?"
Alpha: "Yeah, like math and science and language arts.  You'll love it."
Epsilon: "Yeah!"
Alpha took a deep breath.  Things had gotten a lot worse at school since Sondra and James had broken up - she suspected that Sondra had been spreading rumors about James sleeping around and who he'd had children with.  Alpha could deal with it, but Epsilon was young, and still so innocent.
Alpha: "Some of the kids at school might be kind of mean.  They'll make fun of you, and tease you for things."
Epsilon: "Why?  It's not nice."
Alpha: "I know it's not nice, but sometimes they do it anyway.  They even do it to me, but I try not to let it bother me."
Epsilon: "They tease you?"
Her eyes got wide as she tried to imagine her older sister getting made fun of by other kids.
Alpha: "Yeah, all the time.  I just don't let it bother me, alright?  They might say stuff like you don't have a mom."
Epsilon: "I don't have a mom though."
Alpha: "No, you do have a mom, I met her when I was little.  I think she loves you a lot, she just had to leave.  But the kids don't understand that.  Just try not to let it make you sad, okay?  If anybody is bothering you, you can always come to me, okay?"
Epsilon smiled and reached out to give her sister's neck a hug.
Epsilon: "Okay!"
It was getting late, so Alpha stepped away to put Epsilon down for the night in the nursery.  No matter what happened in the next few months as Epsilon started school, they'd handle this together.

~ * ~

I'm actually keeping track of the money belonging to the children of this generation, separately of what's in the main family funds.  It's a bit annoying, but I figure that James won't buy them anything that isn't necessary.  Toys, cake, skilling objects, phone repairs, university, and so on are "extras," so they'll have to find the money on their own.  It was especially challenging at this point in the generation, because Alpha couldn't take a job after school and also take care of the children, so she was limited to opportunities, which suddenly became few and far between for her.  It's been a fun way to play, but I definitely don't want to do it every generation!

And yes, I have been having Alpha do 90% of the childcare.  James feeds and potty trains when Alpha's at school, but once she's home she does all the socializing, care, and teaching.  James didn't help to teach any of the walking/talking skills, fitting with his role as the parent who does only the bare minimum.

Omicron's hair is the same color as Eliza's was.  It drove me crazy for way longer than it should have, trying to figure out where I'd seen that color before.  I knew it wasn't anything that EA put in my game!


  1. I was about to ask about Omicron! I was like "but... Both his parents have jet black hair, and his mother has really dark skin... Is he really Sondra's kid?!" ;p

    Wow, I couldn't keep track of my kids money! Luckily, I avoid opportunities like the plague (although I won't disable them), so I don't have to. Will Epsilon and Omicron be using the bake-sale table?

    Aw, love how caring Alpha is! What would her siblings do without her?!
    I hope Epsilon doesn't get bullied at school. I have a feeling she has powers she doesn't know about, can't control and doesn't know how to use. Making her angry/upset would probably result in some crazy accidents.

    1. His skin is kind of tanned. I use Awesomemod, which determines skintone by taking the darker of the two parent skintones and then picking a random value in between the two darkness/lightness levels, so it assigned him Sondra's skin at a shade closer to James's. The bright blonde hair was pretty unexpected, though!

      They won't be using the bake sale table, I don't think I could manage to keep track of that, haha. Money's pretty tight, but I think it's cool to play that way, as they won't always get everything they want. Epsilon especially is full of angst next chapter because she can't afford the Cool Thing she wants.

      Lol, are you looking at spoilers about Epsilon from the family tree? Tsk, tsk!

  2. Poor Alpha, having to take so much responsibility for her younger siblings! But at the same time, she's such a good sister for doing those things and trying to give them a better start in life than James would bother with. It's a little sad that she's preparing her sister for how things are going to be at school, but it's better to be prepared for something like that because it can be very damaging, especially for a younger child. Epsilon is a lil cutie!


    1. Yeah, James deals with the rumors in his own way, but he doesn't go out of his way to prevent their impact on his kids. Alpha's really the only one who not only recognizes that it's a problem and takes steps to correct it. Kids can be so mean though, I'm definitely going to explore that during Epsilon and Omicron's childhoods.

  3. I feel really sorry for Alpha, James is such a rotten father, at least the other two have Alpha to look after them and love them

    1. Yeah, James is not winning father of the year awards. Not even close. Sometimes I wonder what his ghost'll have to say for himself, once he's interred in the catacombs. I can imagine Eliza's ghost shouting at him now.