Of Designations

Who: Isolwyn, C’aol, Casi
Where: Weyrleaders’ Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: Casi is beginning to talk.

No matter what encouragement Isolwyn has given her, Casi has so far decided that crawling must be beneath her dignity, and therefore something that she is utterly uninterested in. She’d much rather sit and observe the world around her, reaching for things and shuffling when what she wants is out of reach, but she remains adamantly against the idea of crawling and has plainly made the decision that upwards is the way forward. This evening, at least she has her mother’s help with this, supported by Isolwyn as she tries out getting her feet beneath her, not quite able to figure out the right sequence of things yet. It doesn’t stop the Weyrwoman from watching her with evident adoration, idly tugging the skirts of the pastel blue dress she’s attired her in into smoother lines. “Quite right,” she murmurs to her. “You’re never going to crawl for anything to anyone, so why start now?”

C’aol has yet to comment on the milestones their daughter has been making as she grows and tonight would seem no different as he’s focused on the various papers he’s brought home to read. Still, now and then, his gaze lifts and he observes Casi and Isolwyn when he believes neither may notice his observations. He flips one page over and flicks it loudly for a moment and then says, with his face focused on the words in front of him, “I imagine she will walk early and skip the indignity of crawling altogether.”

“Unsurprising that she should be so stubborn and set on doing things her own way,” Isolwyn replies, settling Casi into her lap as little hands reach to grab at and secure a hold on her hair. She gently loosens the grip they’ve formed and reaches up onto the couch behind her to occupy them with a small plush firelizard instead, the wing of which promptly finds itself in Casi’s mouth. “Though, bearing in mind other things she may well start doing in the coming months, what do you want her to call you?” Isolwyn sneaks a glance up at C’aol, then drops her focus back to their daughter. “I think ‘father’ is going to be beyond her reach for a good while.”

C’aol lowers the page he was reviewing towards his lap and frowns at Isolwyn, more in thought than displeasure. “I don’t know. What do babies call their fathers? I imagine her focus will be on you for some time yet.” He reaches to collect up what remains of his papers and gathers them together before he stands up and moves away from Isolwyn and their daughter. He disappears and returns without the work he had been reviewing. He’s brought a different toy for Casi and hands it towards the baby. “This will work better on her teething, I’m told,” he notes as he wriggles the small ring towards Casi. He waits until the baby has taken it before he seats himself once more.

Isolwyn tilts her head slightly as C’aol disappears, briefly letting her gaze follow after him before she wraps her arms around Casi’s middle and momentarily rests her head atop hers. It’s the younger of the two who keeps staring at the path he took, her anticipation of his return rewarded not only when he does reappear, but when he brings something for her with him. Casi abruptly loses interest in the firelizard, letting it tumble over her mother’s knees and to the floor, and reaches with both hands for the ring, burbling happily as she shoves it into her mouth. “Yes, but I think it’s clear that she’s very aware of you too,” Isolwyn answers a little dryly, quite unable to keep from smiling. “Things that are easy to say, I suppose. Papa. Dada. I know she won’t manage ‘father’ yet, or ‘mother’, and if I’m calling myself ‘Mama’, she ought to learn a name for you too.”

“Whatever she is able to utter in regards to me will be tolerable. I cannot see myself calling ‘Papa’ aloud. Still, if that is what she decides, it will be what it is until she can learn something else,” C’aol answers in an equally dry tone, his brow lifting as he once more settles into his chair. “Do not expect me to reference myself as some do. I will not go, ‘Casi, Papa is reading to you now’. I despise that sort of thing.” He props his arm on his chair and tilts his hand up to rest his chin against as he considers their daughter and her fascination with the toy he had brought her. “And do not,” he adds after a lapse into silence, his eyes flashing, and a smile peeking it’s the way forward before he stops it, “Consider calling //me// Papa. I will not refer to you as Mama in the least. That’s one of the most ingratiating things I see with parents.”

At least Isolwyn manages a moment’s silence before she replies, with a seriousness all too grave to be real, “Very well, Papa, we won’t do that, will we?” She presses a kiss to the top of Casi’s head and peeks up at him, keeping her head ducked in a less than successful attempt to hide a somewhat mad grin. Straightening, she composes herself and casts a glance towards the ceiling. “Please. The minute we start baby talking and referring to ourselves in the third person, I want someone to slap some sense into us. She’ll learn to talk correctly by hearing us talk properly; I won’t have her picking up things that make her look like a fool.” Plainly accepting his example statement as intention, she says, “That’s what we don’t have. Books for her age, when she’s learning. We’ll need to get some.”

C’aol’s brows immediately furrow as he narrows his eyes at the use of ‘Papa’ by Isolwyn. When he sees her grin he holds back from snapping at its use as he rolls his eyes and leans back in his chair more. “We need to get her what she needs to learn,” he answers Isolwyn. “Should we hire that Harper sooner than we planned on? You can’t be reading to her and exposing her to educational opportunities throughout the day. I’m sure the nursery is doing fine by her… for now,” he grouses. “Though when they’ve brought her to me when I have requested to see her they do not go as fast as I would like.” He’s never made mention of such ‘meetings’ with their daughter before and he must’ve let it slip without thinking to continue to hide that from Isolwyn.

“The Harpers had me learning my letters and numbers by the time I was two, I’m told, but the Weyr generally starts them at three and older.” Isolwyn leans forward to look down at Casi when the little girl pulls the ring from her mouth and yawns, only to giggle when her mother noses at her. “I’d prefer two, for her.” She keeps her focus on their daughter for a brief while longer, only to look up and study C’aol for a few moments, evidently choosing just what she ought to say about what he’s told her. “You could read with her when the nursery brings her to you,” she must decide is safe enough. Prompted by Casi’s yawning, she turns her in her arms and gathers her up with her as she stands, saying, “I’ll put her to bed and be back.” As they pass C’aol, Casi reaches her hands out, not towards her mother, but for him, and Isolwyn slows and stops for long enough that tiny hands can pat at him on their way by.

C’aol has no immediate answer for Isolwyn’s suggestion, a distance growing in his gaze as a hard-line form from his lips. As she passes with their daughter and the baby reaches for him it would seem that he would dismiss her. He blinks and then reaches out his hand for her to grasp and gum his fingers in delight. “To bed with you,” his voice is rough as he withdraws his hand gently from his daughter’s grasp. He’s up from his own chair when Isolwyn goes to put her to bed and disappears towards his office for a time. He returns after he’s certain the baby is to bed and is certain Isolwyn may not prompt him for more information. The rest of the time that their daughter naps he holds light conversation with Isowlyn, talking more about the politics of the world, and the state of their Weyr than the daughter who sleeps soundly in her room.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *