Post Gestational Infant Nourishment

Xanadu Weyr - Domicile of Discernment

On the outside, this cottage is fairly unremarkable. It's of moderate size, though it's clearly not the home of a rider - there's no wallow, nor is there any means for even the smallest of greens to enter. It's set in the meadow, amidst the gentle roll of the terrain toward the ridge, but any adornment by flowers or ornamental plants is purely incidental. The exterior is painted white, and the roof-shingles are brown. There's a small wooden stoop, centered along the longer side - three wide steps leading up to a doorway framed by windows.
Once inside, the main room of this cottage is bright and airy, made so by a high arched ceiling and large windows that take advantage of their northern exposure, with gauzy drapes and pale golden oak sills. Overhead, there's more of that oak in the form of exposed beams, the ceiling between them painted a soft cerulean. During the day, there is likely sufficient illumination from those windows, but for night-time, there are recessed lights hidden within the beams that diffuse against the ceiling. The walls are white with a sponged speckling of the same blue from overhead, and underfoot is more of that oak.
The house has a central column of yellow fieldstone, with a fireplace facing into the room and a half-flight of stairs to either side - one leading up, the other down. Above the fireplace is an oakwood mantel, and while it may provide warmth, under most circumstances, the radiant heating system beneath the floorboards is likely to more effective. The fireplace may, however, provide a pleasant flickering warmth, and as such, a sofa and a pair of armchairs are arranged in front of it. The sofa's a velvety blue-grey, accented with a pair of red pillows, and the armchairs are brown leather - suitable for company but selected primarily for comfort.
There's a kitchen tucked off to one side, near the upward staircase. It's small, but well equipped, with granite countertops and a brushed steel cold-box and stove. There's an oblong wooden table with chairs set around it, and even some plants in small terracotta pots on the windowsill, as the presence of fresh herbs is useful when cooking.

The periods used to define time become somewhat vague near the edges; for instance, the current temporality might be referred to as either late afternoon or early evening depending on the frame of reference of the one performing that description. Jethaniel is presently home; this would be more useful for purposes of that description had he not left the office shortly after midday. The afternoon involved meetings in exterior regions of such duration that he was not inclined to return to the office afterward… and thus, he is here, seated on that couch near the fireplace with his eyes raised to observe either the painting located there or use it as a point of visual interest during more abstract considerations.

Darsce's time slots are defined by the tasks in her day. There is Morning Chowhall Setup time when those klahpots are started brewing. Tray Delivery Time to the appropriate offices, Laundry Delivery Time to guest rooms and infirmary, Meeting Time with her assistants where chore delegation and daily schedule briefing goes hopefully coherently, Inspection Time, Rounds, Crisis Control - which might include notifying the Weyrwoman - and probably the Steward of knotty, looming and unexpected problems…somewhere in there, interrupting the flow of the day is Scolding Time (that's usually reserved for weyrbrats or drunken riders wreaking havoc). Paper work gets done when calm allows. She's… behind today. And why is unclear because these days she's been delegating more and more of the physical tasks to her assistants. Moreover, she's been going in later and leaving earlier, like before dinner is served. Thus here she comes now, entering the cottage her gait slower and more swaying as she maneuvers though that door, pausing to catch her breath. That's when she spots Jethaniel and smiles. "You're home early."

The scheduling of Jethaniel's workday tends to be more variable - as do the tasks. There are recurring ones, such as his review of work orders and the Weyr financials, but while he does meet regularly with various crafters and other workers, those tend to be on a weekly (or sometimes just erratic) basis. The primary reason for him to be in his office during working hours - when not otherwise occupied - is that it makes it easier for others to find him when those notifications of problems (or opportunities) are required. He has been accustomed to adapting his hours as he deems appropriate, and there have been no objections raised to that tendency. Thus, he is on that couch, and he looks up at the sound of Darsce's entrance. Jethaniel mouth curves up in a smile a moment before he rises from the couch. "I am. The farmcrafters wished to provide some demonstrations; they were efficient." His arms extend as he nears her to… take the papers, but he also leans in to brush his lips to her cheek. "I brought dinner."

Darsce does other things during her day, though these aren't marked into her schedule. Somewhere in there is also Scream Into Pillow time, probably correlated with Crisis time and Scolding time. Does the headwoman have a pillow handy in her office for such a time?? Why yes, she does. And it bears lipstick and mascara marks from having been so used. Today Darsce's makeup is without smudge and though she looks tired with faint bluish translucency under her eyes, she at least lacks that harried look that heralds her day having gone awry. Her smile grows a touch sultry. "I like efficiency," she drawls, surrendering her paper stack to him and leaning into the kiss bestowed upon her cheek. That's returned to his chin - later she'll improve her aim. "Oh. You did? Sweet!" Becaaaause she didn't think to. "I'm starving!" Eating for two? Yes and her swelling egg-shaped midsection is proof of that. There's not an ounce of fat elsewhere and thus her smirked claim, "Your child is eating me out of house and home," is not too far off the mark.

There do exist a variety of uses for which pillows are suited. The discovery of them may be made in iterative fashion; so may the aiming of kisses. Those two clauses may, in fact, be connected in a more direct fashion than the mere process of iterative improvement. Jethaniel smiles for efficiency. "It does have its merits." Then again, his smile might also be due to Darsce's, not the intrinsic benefits of optimal procedures. Efficiency is also what has brought that meal whose presence he nods to confirm… or perhaps it's been brought due to other motivations, efficiently carried out. He ducks his head, with a smile that's both fond and faintly abashed. "…then come in," to their home, "…and we can eat." That dinner is sitting on the table, a takeaway box from the cafe that's still closed to keep warm. Inside, there's rice cooked with chicken and chopped vegetables to create both a filling, flavorful dish and an approximation of a balanced diet. Jethaniel brings the papers to the table with them, setting them in front of one chair before pulling out a different one for Darsce as he studies her expression, looking for signs of stress and finding… mixed results, but more those of physical fatigue than emotional strain. They are sufficient to put concern in the corners of his eyes, but not to remove the pleasure in his smile.

There do. And some more enjoyable than others. Repetition has its merits, as does direct application - both of which Darsce wholeheartedly endorses. As for efficiency, she elaborates, "You're here." Early. And so, while those farmcrafters are commended for theirs, the other applications remain implied and her regard is fond in return - especially when observing that ducked head and abashed smile. Darsce is bidden to enter and so she does, gladly so. The papers… once out of her arms are all but forgotten and she follows Jethaniel to the kitchen, settling awkwardly into her seat. Her smile, while appreciative, is mingled with fatigue but directed to him rather than the food. "Thank you for doing this." A pause. "What were you busy puzzling out when I got here?" Because she knows him. Sitting idle on that couch… surely must involve something.

"Ah," Jethaniel says to that elaboration. Furthermore, "Yes." The statement is accompanied by his smile, and while the papers are efficiently conveyed, they are not returned to Darsce's attention through any of his actions. He sees her seated, and his fingertips trail lightly along her shoulder. "You are welcome," he says, and the fingers pause. "It is, perhaps, the least I can do." A wry smile, and then he leans in to brush his lips to her forehead before stepping away to the cupboards that he may obtain plates and utensils suited to the consumption of that food. "I was… considering the future." He returns, setting their places before taking his own seat. "What we will… provide, for our child." His gaze settles on Darsce, though he has provided the means for them to eat that food he has provided. "There exist a great many possibilities."

A slow smile sneaks across Darsce's mouth. "I'll let you do more for me later?" she says with a twitch of brows that belies her fatigue. One of her hands lifts, fingertips playfully tickling the top the one he's touching her shoulder with, pleased with him despite his wry comment and implied culpability. Iceblue eyes follow him to those cupboards and, despite her appetite, remain on him after he sits rather than reach to fill her plate. She leans forward, plants her elbows on the table with fingers laced in a cup for her chin and regards him, lips parted. Right. She's carrying a… child and won't be pregnant forever even though some days it seems like an eternity. An eon of time which she hasn't thought much beyond. But now… okay her mind is skittering a few steps beyond providing it with air and a healer to catch it when it emerges. "Like…what?"

"I shall," Jethaniel agrees, smiling as his hand lingers a moment for the tease of Darsce's fingers. The 'more' in question may or may not follow the implications created by Darsce, but will likely involve further applications of his hands… whether flirtatious or merely with the goal of assisting with relaxation in an attempt to partially counter that fatigue. First, however, is dinner - and before (and likely during) that, the conversation which they have begun to have. Jethaniel's eyes are on Darsce, grey ones meeting those blue. "We will have the choice of what to… share. We may take trips at sea, or by dragon - to visit Cove Hold, or… Ierne." His gaze remains steady, though his words slow. "It will be ours, but… we may choose who we are."

Darsce may not have the energy to follow through with her own implications. However, she's never averse to certain applications - if he doesn't mind her falling asleep in the middle of them. Her rumbling stomach reminds her how very hungry she is, so while Jethaniel answers her, she'll dish out the food - first to his plate, then hers. Understanding dawns in her eyes at his explanation. "Ohhh, you meant intangibles, rather than material." She frowns, though not because she imagines their child-to-be will lack for anything. In fact, she has yet to even consider what these needed (or wanted) things might be. "I'm not sure Asher will be all that interested in… the baby. Rehsa and Evee will want to see it." She considers her plate, picks up her fork and applies it to her food, though none, for the moment is lifted to her mouth. Her eyes lift to his, "I've no objection to visiting Cove Hold. How do you feel about it?" Terrified of 'splosions? Uh, because she's making no promises there won't be.

"Ah," Jethaniel says. "Yes. The experiential and social factors." The tangible ones will also receive consideration, but… "Materially…" He smiles. "I expect the most challenging decisions to be those of aesthetics." Because - given their available resources - obtaining the required material objects (once the list of requirements is determined) will likely be relatively simple. The intangible choices - or at least the transient ones - are more complicated. Jethaniel reaches over to brush his fingertips to the back of Darsce's hand at the mention of Asher, nodding somberly. "I do not object to seeing them." Whether that is limited to her sisters or includes Asher is left ambiguous. As for Cove Hold… "I would like to visit." Jethaniel's lips curve in a small smile. "It need not be prompt." He reaches for his fork, taking it in hand. Before it reaches the plate, he adds, "I do not always agree with my family, but I would like for them to… know each other." There exists a limited amount of knowing which an infant is capable of doing; thus, Jethaniel's lack of urgency regarding that desire.

For a moment Darsce looks confused. "Asthe-" Hmmm! There's a dawning comprehension accompanied by a pleased expression. It's been enough turns since she played with dolls that she's forgotten pretty clothes are a part of that. Yes! Definitely aesthetics! The poor kid. As for the list of practical things, she's going to have to seek the advice of more knowledgeable people. Like… Soriana. And Marel. Ohhh and when she hears how many things babies require! "Your family is normal," says she with a smile as his fingers touch her hand. And yeah, she's including his mother in there, even if she can be annoying at times. "I'd like them to know each other also." As for Asher, her nose wrinkles. "Asher's going to hear about it eventually. Halimeda knows." But apparently hasn't told their mother. "I think we should visit my- D'had's folk also." The sea traders. That's said with the tense line of her shoulders melting away. They're easy-going, decent and undemanding, good people.

Pretty clothes, cribs with color-coordinated sheets… there exist a great many potentials for the application of aesthetics concerning an infant. The child's capability to care is, admittedly, limited, but such choices may be enjoyed by the surrounding adults while being value-neutral to the child itself, who will be more interested in those practical considerations - or perhaps more precisely, in receiving the care of which they will assist in the performance. Jethaniel smiles for Darsce's assertion concerning his family, a dip of his head to acknowledge it. That normalcy of his family may occasionally lead to failures of their understanding concerning Jethaniel and his life (and wife), but he nevertheless considers their potential influence on his offspring a net positive. In contrast… "Asher's knowledge is likely unavoidable." Jethaniel's agreement on that count is made after due consideration of the possibilities. "Should she wish an encounter… it may be preferable to visit her." It will keep her out of their house? And further, "It will be easier to adjust the duration of such a visit." Jethaniel takes a forkful of dinner, eats it. As he does, he nods to Darsce concerning her relatives through D'had. "I concur. They are good people to know." Darsce's tension eases, but the smile Jethaniel gives her is touched with concern. "And I do wish our child to have… positive experiences concerning your family." Jethaniel is both earnest and - given certain members of Darsce's family - also honest enough to add, "…insofar as possible."

Yes, when Darsce figures out that the baby will need a crib, it will be the Cadillac of cribs! See, to her recollection, she and her sisters all piled in with Asher and D'had or tumbled together in one bed like puppies in their little girls' room, so Darsce has forgotten allllll about cribs. The not-quite-neglect was oft compensated with impractical extravagance. See: dysfunctional vs normal. "I agree. She can see our child…in Ierne." It's unlikely that Asher will hop aboard Quirinth and pop over unexpectedly - at least not to see her grandchild. "Marel, Mur'dah and N'shen will be positive." As long as flights aren't causing mayhem and electric shocks. But then… they'd be…cough…preoccupied themselves. Darsce considers the rest of her relatives while she eats the delicious food Jethaniel has provided. Speaking of… babies need food. And this fact occurs to her as she swallows that mouthful of hers. "Oh damn!" She half-gasps, "I- I need to learn how to cook!" Hyper-ventilating is not far off! Why's that? Nursing has also not occurred to her. Someone needs a crash course in How Not to Mess Up Motherhood.

Sufficient visits to Ierne may be made to satisfy social obligations - perhaps even as side-trips to visits made for other purposes. It is, however, likely that such will be conducted in serial fashion, because while it is theoretically possible for such purposes to be fulfilled in parallel by having Darsce shop while Jethaniel takes their child to see Asher… such a circumstance is unlikely to be found acceptable. The inverse, wherein Jethaniel shops, is somewhat more plausible but still unlikely to satisfy. Darsce's statement concerning her siblings living in Xanadu, however, satisfies Jethaniel sufficiently to nod. "They will." The same cannot be said for all of Darsce's family in residence here, but D'had's awareness of his grandchild… may or may not be present, even after he is informed. Jethaniel eats as well, his attention divided between meal and Darsce, until she draws his attention more fully to her. His brows arch with concerned query, listening to her. "I do not expect a varied menu will be required." He's not thinking of nursing either, but that's because he's assuming she's referring to the part where there's a child of a few turns with whom they will not always wish to go to the caverns. "Gradual acquisition will suffice." Though perhaps not quite so gradual as her progress in cooking has been thus far? It is (as are so many things) likely a question of relative prioritizations.

Here's how such a scenario would go: First Darsce would have to be out of her mind. Second, oh the child would see Asher - briefly - whilst being placed in Evee's or Rehsa's arms and waved goodbye to while they were told to take a hike. Then Jethaniel would be commandeered by Asher into a sitch wherein he'd have to extricate himself by physically peeling her away from his person. Then, of course, he'd have to go find his child. The inverse scenario would be far tamer and also far shorter with the pouted question, 'Jethaniel didn't come with you?' somewhere in the first few minutes (seconds) that visit lasts. Come to think of it, both visits are likely to vie for brevity. D'had… mm. While Darsce's probably told him, he's likely in no state to remember most times when he's awake. "I'm not taking it to see D'had," she says quietly, eyes on her plate and fork still. She lifts a forkful of food to her mouth, iceblue eyes lifting to Jethaniel's are more troubled about what to feed their child than her father's derelict condition. "I don't know how to make baby food, let alone varied. Or how to acquire it." Her continuation of thought is surely an indication of her desperation. "Maybe we should consult your mother?" Because Jessa seemed… to know a great many things. Because yeah, if the progress in preparing baby's food is as slow as hers in preparing her husband's? The child will starve.

Jethaniel frowns for Darsce's statement concerning D'had, but he does not hesitate to incline his head and accede to her decision. Such an encounter would be unlikely to be particularly positive for the child, and - depending on D'had's mood at the time - might also turn toward a physical interaction with Jethaniel… albeit in a somewhat more violent fashion than Asher's attempts. His smile regarding baby food is, however, intended to be reassuring, as is the light brush of his hand to Darsce's. "I believe 'mashed' is the main requirement for post-lactational infant nourishment." Darsce's willingness to inquire of his mother draws an arch of Jethaniel's brows. He certainly expects that Jessa would possess applicable knowledge in that space; she raised five children of her own and has been involved with others around the hold. "If you wish, we may do so." Jessa can, for that matter, likely arrange a full course in infant care. She may even - if given the opportunity - choose to provide it whether or not it is specifically requested.

Darsce would like to avoid such an encounter - not that she was conscious for the one where D'had took a swing at her husband. She's got a mouthful of food when Jethaniel responds with his mouthful of words and her resultant sputter is contained with the fingertips of a hand swiftly lifted to lips. "Post-lactational- !" Her grin is fondly amused, the hand he'd just brushed flips over and attempts to snag his, fingers attempting to tangle and squeeze affectionately. Though his phrase has reminded her, "Oh right, they get bottles first." So there's wriggle-room before she needs to consult Jessa, who like her own mother will give MUCH more than asked for, though unlike hers, will keep it… decent. While she chews her food, she mulls over 'mashed', likely thinking of mashing scrambled eggs, raw vegetables and… meat with a fork. She frowns. "I guess sushi is out until it has teeth," Poor kiddo!

Jethaniel curls his fingers with those of Darsce, thumb tracing along the outside of her hand. His mouthful of words are in fact applicable to the filling of an infant's mouth, and his arched brows are curious as to Darsce's perspective concerning his statement. She clarifies it by discussion of one of the mechanisms for such nourishment to be conveyed, and Jethaniel nods. "For some time, yes." As well as being fed by more… direct mechanisms, though he's not considering the lack of consideration given that by Darsce… or thinking of the same green smoothie-like preparations that his mention of mashing have brought to her mind. In fact, his thoughts are closer to that sushi; rice porridge is an option at such a time as semi-solid food is… an option. "…as are most foods," he notes, inclining his head to Darsce's latter statement. Sushi is, for an infant, as infeasible as steak… if not more so. "Stewed fruit is often popular." Perhaps because the receipients are babies and don't know any better?

Eggs though, are a different story. They're nutritious. And mashable. So caviar…maybe? Escargot might be green if mashed. Peas also. But no, it's more like Darsce is thinking fiddle head ferns and…salad and other improbable things. But then…most foods, he says and she considers. Pets eat… everything? The things she's seen firelizards quaff down, for example… She makes a face at stewed…anything while she considers her plate, pokes at the delicious food with the tines of her fork as she observes the not-stewed texture. "It's got to suck to be a baby. No wonder they cry so much." And upon further reflection, she grimaces ruefully, "I… really should get to the archives and check out some books on childcare. Or spend time with the nannies when…" She trails off more quietly, "I'm…not…working…" Except by then she's too tired and wants to go home. And lately, upon getting there has sought bed, sleep claiming her within moments of her head hitting the pillow. At least Jethaniel's basement workshop projects are getting more attention these evenings?

"It is of limited duration," Jethaniel notes with a gentle squeeze of his fingers against Darsce's. Infancy, that is; for both the one undergoing it and those caring for that entity. It is, however, difficult to provide that assurance to the infant, as the mode of communication of which they are capable tends toward crying as a primary (and occasionally sole) form of expression. This is why it tends to be important for their caretakers to be more knowledgeable on the subject, and as Darsce asserts such, Jethaniel nods. He lifts her hand, brushes lips gently to the back. "It would likely be advantageous." Presuming, of course, that she has time… which, while technically present, is being used for the development of an infant rather than the development of skills for the care of that infant once it is produced. Jethaniel, being less physically fatigued, has had time for both projects and - when he is more desirous of company - to lie in bed with the sleeping Darsce and read. Unfortunately, the transfer of knowledge is not osmotic, and as such, Jethaniel's studies would not assist Darsce in her understanding of infants even if he were reading about them. He is, however, assuredly aware of her fatigue and the difficulty thus created in performing activities beyond work, and so he suggests, "Perhaps we may visit on our rest day."

There is that. Darsce returns the squeeze and a slow smile pulls her lips to one side. "Thankfully," she says. And oh, that'd be an unexperienced sentiment right there, likely limited to the thought of said crying since she's heretofore pretty much avoided babies and small animals alike. And yet… the changes she's undergoing are going to have unavoidable results. Her smile grows as her hand is kissed and she'll have to focus hard to concentrate on the fact that, oh yes, they're talking about practical learning. "Uh huh." She yawns, but agrees, "Good idea." Now if she can just keep from sleeping half of that rest day away and the other half in prying herself out of bed and into clothes! Tea… no it isn't as helpful as the five mugs of klah she'd been using to kickstart her morning. She places her fork on her plate, finished eating. The dishes… she should do them now and so she slowly pushes up from the table with that goal hazily in mind. She can handle the task; though she's not the most efficient housekeeper, she has been…heh… trying. Darsce-style. The drapes are artfully positioned each morning and the bed made with the pillows adjusted fetchingly. Things are kept clutter-free. Dusting…happens when she notices. The floors washed? Uh, not so much. Especially not lately. The laundry, heh, is picked up and returned, pressed and folded or hung on hangers by launderers. Windows - Darsce doesn't do windows. Annnd that'd be because she doesn't usually spend much time looking out of them. Especially in the mornings…which come all too early these days…

Jethaniel smiles as he finishes his own meal, nodding to Darsce. The proposed plan… may not actually occur without more precise of a schedule; there do exist a variety of distractions which may be found on a rest day… even after an emergence from bed. However… there also exist distractions from the creation of such a schedule. The dishes - while certainly something that requires doing lest they serve as an attractant to forms of life which are not considered pets (though may be referred to by a term substantively similar (if crucially different)) are one such, and so Jethaniel stands and reaches out to brush his fingers to the back of Darsce's hand. "I can wash those." He saw that yawn, as well as the frequency with which they have occured in recent days. Darsce… does not seem to have sufficient rest in her days, despite her work being scheduled for the same proportion of the week as before - or perhaps even a smaller one, given the increase in her delegation and the times when she arrives late or leaves early. Nevertheless, the changes she is undergoing assuredly include fatigue, and Jethaniel leans in to brush his lips to her cheek. "You should rest."

Distractions, oh there are most certainly those! Most likely dependant upon whether she's alone in that bed she's slept in and is disinterested in getting up out of it immediately. Pests…attracted to unwashed dishes?! Gasp-wheeze! The possibility of critters running amok in her home have, thankfully, not occurred to Darsce. Thankfully she prefers an aesthetically-pleasing kitchen (even if she doesn't cook in it). She's leaned with a hand to the tabletop to brace herself while reaching for his plate when he speaks. She leaves it with a tiny clink-rattle of cutlery atop hers and turns to him with a pale smile that is nonetheless warmly appreciative. He's getting no argument from her! Her belly may be in the way of a close embrace, but she curls an arm around his neck and leans into the kiss to her cheek before returning one to his jaw. "Thanks. Don't…stay up all night, hmn?" She rises on tiptoes and nips playfully at his ear, then whispers, "I love you. And when she's born-" Why she's sure it'll be a girl? Maybe to share housekeeping duties with? Who knows? This is Darsce, we're talking about. "-I'll have my body back." And she won't sleep her life away? Something like that. With a loving look, she lowers back to the flat of her feet and takes herself off to…sleep.

Jethaniel's arm goes around Darsce's back, resting there gently as he holds her as close as the current status and shape of her body will comfortably permit. This is… perhaps not particularly close, but he has chosen to prioritize her comfort. He nods to her. "I will not," he agrees. He will limit the time he spends not in bed with Darsce, and he even agrees to it before she provides a distraction in the form of that nip to his ear. It brings his lips closed, breath drawn in and held for a moment before slowly exhaled. His fingers splay against her back, increasing the surface area with which he is in contact as he nods. His head lowers further, touching lips to her shoulder. "I love you too." His words are soft, but no whisper, and his fingers linger to trace along her back, following waist until, as they approach the front, they can no longer even approximate that position. When their child is born, Darsce will indeed have her body back. Time for the two of them to spend together (or, at least, on each other) may remain somewhat elusive. Jethaniel's look in return is warm and affectionate, watching Darsce depart before he turns to clear the table and conduct incremental neatness improvements to the house until such a time as he is ready to ascend the stairs, to place himself in proximity to Darsce and provide her with affection until such a time as he is also claimed by sleep.

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