“Whatcha doin’?” Dean asked bouncing on the balls of his feet in the doorway of a room that had been an extra bedroom for his whole life, but now for, some reason, his dad was emptying it.
“Nothing, kiddo,” John answered. “I’ll explain later.”
“Can I help?” Dean asked. “I’m a good helper.”
“I don’t think so,” John answered. “Why don’t you go see what your mom’s doing? Maybe she could use some help.”
“She’s reading her book,” Dean replied. “It’s a grown up book. She told me to go play. So I go-ed upstairs to help. Why are you movin’ all the stuff? Where are the people gonna sleep when they visit?”
“Don’t worry about it, Dean,” John dismissed. “Just go play with your Batman or whatever.”
“But I want to help,” Dean whined. “I’m almost four Daddy, that’s basically a grown up.”
“No it’s not,” John chuckled. “You’re not a grown up ‘til you can’t use your fingers to count your age.”
“Oh,” Dean said, bouncing on his feet. “Well, I’m still getting big. I can help. I can move little things.”
“Yeah, sure fine,” John conceded. “Come here.”
Dean squealed excitedly and ran over. “What can I do?”
“Can you move that footstool?” John asked pointing at the piece of furniture. Dean nodded. “Push that into Mom and Dad’s room.”
Dean nodded and took to the task. The stool was almost as high as he was and hard to push across the carpet, but he did his very best. He pushed it out into the hallway and to the next room over, leaving it at the end of his parents’ bed, like it used to be in the guest room. He sprinted back to see what he got to do next. He walked up to his dad and stood next to him, hands clasped behind his back just like his dads were.
“I’m gonna have to pound in some nails,” John sighed.
“I gotta hammer!” Dean exclaimed, rushing out of the room across the hall to return a few seconds later with a tool belt he’d gotten for Christmas two weeks earlier. “I can help real good now.”
“Yeah okay,” John shook his head grabbing a real hammer out of his tool box.
“I need you to buckle this,” Dean instructed, holding the tool belt up. “I don’t know how.”
“Alright,” John smiled kneeling down. “If you’re gonna help, you can’t get in the way when I’m swinging the big hammer. Okay? You stay by the window and work on that board. I’ll do this one.”
Dean nodded with whole body and gave a thumb's up. “No more stitches.”
“Exactly,” John ruffled Dean’s hair a pointed over to the window.
Mary was starting to think she needed to carry a disposable camera with her at all times, there was something so adorable about the way Dean tried to do everything John did. Dean following in John’s shadow carrying a plastic hammer from his tool set while John carried a real one was one of the cutest things Mary had ever seen. She was overjoyed that John had given in and let him help. She knew how often Dean helping was actually him being in the way, but it was nice to see her husband putting in the effort. She leaned against the doorframe watching.
“You boys working up working up an appetite?” Mary asked.
Dean spun around nodding.
“I got some sandwiches downstairs waiting.”
“Cut in a triangle?” Dean asked, wiping his forehead with his arm like he was sweating, the same way John did.
“Of course,” Mary smiled.
Dean pushed his way passed his mother and thundered down the stairs.
“You’d think he’d never eaten before,” John chuckled.
“Growin’ boy,” Mary smiled. “You explain what he’s building up here?”
“No,” John shook his head as he walked over to her and pressed his hand against her belly. “All he knows is he’s making a shelf. Well, banging a plastic hammer on a two by four while I build a shelf, but he thinks he’s helping.”
“I think we should tell him,” Mary said. “Before he asks me if I’m getting fat.”
“He wouldn’t do that,” John replied.
“Yeah well,” Mary shrugged. “We should tell him.”
“Right now?” John asked.
“Yeah,” Mary nodded. “The book said to tell them around now. I mean, I was just reading the big sibling chapters, and it’s good to get them involved early. So, you know, since he’s already helping, I figured he might as well know what he’s helping with.”
“Whatever you want,” John nodded. “I was thinking that we just didn’t tell him until we brought it home. Surprise him. Just show up with a baby one day. That way he can’t throw a temper tantrum about it.”
“You’re an idiot,” Mary laughed shaking his head.
“Your idiot,” John smiled kissing her forehead.
“Momma!” a loud voice called from downstairs. “I can’t reach it.”
“Just a second, Baby,” Mary called back. “I’ll be right there.”
Mary sat across the table from Dean, wondering how the hell someone could end up with peanut butter in their hair while eating a sandwich. It was a wonder any of it ended up in his stomach, but on the other hand, that would explain why he was hungry all the time.
Dean’s eyes flicked between his parents. He could tell something was up; they were looking at him funny.
“Am I in trouble?” Dean asked, licking peanut butter off corner of his mouth.
“No,” Mary smiled.
“Then why are you looking at me like that?” Dean scrunched his face up in concentration. “That’s the Dean’s in big trouble look.”
“Me and Daddy gotta talk to you about something real important,” Mary said.
“Okay,” Dean nodded.
“How would you feel about having a little brother or sister?” Mary asked carefully.
“I would not like that one bit,” Dean answered seriously shaking his head.
“Why?” Mary asked unable to hide concern from her expression.
“Cuz,” Dean shrugged. “Well, Jamie ‘cross the street has a brother, and he steals all his toys. And one time he eated them. I saw it. He just put a car right in his mouth. And then he had to go to the doctor and get it amoved. I do not need that. And I do not like girls, they are mean. And sisters are usually girls.”
“Alright,” John sighed. “This is gonna be fun.”
“Dean,” Mary said sweetly. “What if we, me and Daddy, told you that we were going to have a baby?”
“I would say, ‘No thanks,’” Dean smiled, eating the rest of sandwich. “I don’t need a sister or brother. I’m all good by myself.”
“Dean,” Mary cleared her throat and switched seats so she was sitting next to him. She picked up a napkin, licked it and started to scrub the peanut butter off his face. “At the end of April, Daddy and I are going to bring home a new baby, a brother or sister. That’s what Daddy been doing in the guest room. He’s making a room for the baby.”
Dean sighed and shrugged. “Can I help pick it out?” he asked.
“What?” Mary chuckled.
“The brother or sister,” Dean clarified. “Can I help pick them out when you go get it?”
“Oh, sweetheart,” Mary stammered.
“Mom and I already picked it out,” John jumped it. “We got the pieces for Christmas, like your train set. We just gotta wait for it to be ready.”
“What?” Dean looked between his parents confused. “I don’t understand.”
“We already picked out the baby,” John tried. “It just has to grow.”
“How come you didn’t ask me to help?” Dean asked. “Now what if my brother or sister is a mean face? Or a toy eater? What if it’s a girl? I’m very good at helping. I can help pick it out.”
“Dean,” Mary sighed. “Picking out a baby is something only Mommies and Daddies can do, not kids. But you get to help us get ready for the baby. You can help paint, and build things and pick out decorations for the room.”
“Do I have to have a brother or sister?” Dean pouted. “Cuz I don’t think I want one. I like have you to myself. I don’t want to share. What if the brother or sister doesn’t like me? What if you like it more than me? What is the new one says ‘I don’t like Dean’ and cuz you like them more than me send me away? I don’t wanna go away! I like it here.”
“Baby,” Mary took Dean’s cheeks in her hands. “We would never send you away. And the new baby will love you, because you’ll be the big brother. And you can teach the new baby all sorts of stuff.”
“I don’t know,” Dean mumbled. “You shoulda asked me first.”
“We’re asking you now,” John nodded.
“Well, I said no,” Dean pouted. “And you said too bad. That’s not fair.”
“Sweetheart,” Mary kissed him on the forehead. “Me and Daddy are going to make sure that the new baby likes you and you’ll get to help us get ready. Get the room ready and help pick out stuff for the room and all sorts of stuff.”
“I don’t like this,” Dean sighed. “But this is like when you ask me if I want to the doctor and I say no, and you say I hafta go anyway, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” John said firmly. “It’s just like that.”
“Okay,” Dean looked down at his empty plate sadly. “I guess I will be nice to it. As long as you don’t make it sleep in my bed. I do not want it to have my bed. Or my Batmans. It gets its own Batmans.”
“Okay,” Mary smiled. “We can work with that.”
“Can I see it?” Dean asked.
“The baby?” Mary asked.
Dean nodded enthusiastically. “I want to see it.”
“Umm,” Mary shook her head and locked eyes with her husband, who was leaning back in his chair with a smirk on his face. “Well, sweetheart, the new baby’s not here yet. It won’t be here until after Easter.”
“Then what is all talk about?” Dean demanded. “Maybe it will change its mind and not come. Then this will all be silly.”
“Dean,” John said leaning forward. “You remember how you told me you were a grown up now?”
“Yeah you said I wasn’t a grown up til I can’t count on my fingers no more,” Dean answered.
“Well,” John’s eyes flicked to Mary. “If you’re a big brother, then you’ll be kind of like a grown up.”
Dean’s eyes widened a little bit. “So I can help more? And I can do grown up things, like play on the swing set by myself?”
“Yeah,” John nodded. “Grown up stuff like that.”
“John,” Mary said shaking her head. “Let’s not go crazy.”
“Trust me,” John insured her. “I think I got this.”
“If I’m a big brother,” Dean pressed. “Can I walk at the grocery store instead of riding in the cart like a baby?”
“If you don’t run off and hold onto the side of the cart,” John nodded. “And don’t wander off away from your mom.”
“Okay,” Dean nodded. “I’m not sure if I like this yet, but if I get to be little bit of a grown up, I’ll try.”
“That’s all we really want, buddy,” John smiled. “We’ll all try it out together. You think you’re up to helping me get the new room ready? We got a lot of work to do in there.”
Dean nodded. “I’m doing really good at my shelf.”
“When you’re done with that,” Mary smiled. “Maybe you can help me paint, pick out colors and stuff.”
“No girl colors,” Dean said seriously.
“No girl colors,” Mary agreed.
“But when can I meet it?” Dean asked. “Daddy said it had to grow.”
“Right now, Dean,” Mary paused trying to think about how she was going to word this. “Right now the baby’s in here.” She placed her hand on her stomach. “That’s where babies grow.”
Dean shook his head.
“Yeah,” Mary smiled. “If you want to, maybe a little later you can talk to it. I’m gonna go to the doctor next week, and they’re going to take a picture of the baby, so you can see it then.”
“This is really weird,” Dean sighed.
“I know sweetie,” Mary chuckled. “But we’ll get through it together, me, you, and daddy. Sound good?”
Dean nodded. He wasn’t sure if he was going to like this baby thing, but he’d try. It seemed like something his mom really wanted. And if there was anything Dean wanted, it was for his mom to be happy.