Dean started to imagine what it would be like having a little sibling as February turned to March, after John and Mary had told him the baby’s name was definitely going to be Sam, but they still didn’t know if it was a brother or a sister. Dean figured being a big brother would be a lot like having a sleepover with his best friend like Jamie, the little boy across the street, but they didn’t have to go home the next day. The boys got to play in his tree house all day and even planned to sleep out there, but Jamie’s mom said no. She did help them set up a fort in the living room and they got to sleep in there. They ate whole bunch of cookies and candy and watched movies and stayed up until ten o’clock. Dean imagined that having two kids in the house all the time would be like that every night. If it was, being a big brother was going to be the best fun ever.
As he and John put together the new crib, well, John put together the crib, Dean held the screws really tight so that they didn’t lose any, he remembered when he was little enough to have to sleep in a bed with sides so that he didn’t fall off, but there were lots the other things that his parents were putting in the room didn’t make much sense to him.
“Daddy,” Dean asked as he squeezed the screws very tight in his hand. “How come Baby Sam needs two beds?”
“That one’s not a bed,” John explained nodding across the room. “It’s a changing table. That’s where me or mom will put Sam when we have to change it’s diaper.”
“Where are all the baby’s toys?” Dean asked. “Baby Sam doesn’t have a toy box.”
“Baby toys aren’t like your toys, kiddo,” John replied. “They can’t have little parts and usually light up and stuff like that to keep babies occupied. We probably won’t get the new baby a toy box for it’s stuff for about a year. Right now all the toys we got for the new baby are in the downstairs closet with you board games.”
“I thinked that me and Baby Sam had to share toys,” Dean said.
“Not til the baby’s a little bit older,” John nodded. “Right after it’s born it won’t really do much of anything. You’ll be able to play with it like you play with Jamie and the neighborhood kids when it’s bigger; probably not til it’s about a year and half old, maybe a little older. Before that babies are really different from little kids like you.”
“I don’t understand it good,” Dean said squishing his face. “I thinked that I get a new friend, that what Momma said. You sayed it’s not the same.”
“You’ll understand when the baby gets here, Deano, okay,” John said. “Let me have one of those screws. We’ll get this built up real good before you mom gets back from the mall.”
Dean let his hand fall open slowly and his dad grabbed two screws. As John turned back to his project, Dean squeezed his hand real tight around them again.
“How come the baby gets a swing in its room?” Dean asked. “I want a swing in my room.”
“It’s a special thing for babies,” John said. “Sometimes babies have to stretch. And since it won’t be able to play like you do, it has to stretch out somehow. So Mom will put the baby in there and it’s bounce a up and down a little bit until it learns to walk. You can run around outside, so you don’t need a swing in your room.”
“But I can’t go on the swing in the winter,” Dean pouted.
“You’ll be able to go out there soon,” John replied. “I promise. Spring is just around the corner. It’s almost warm enough now.”
“Then I can jump in mud puddles!” Dean smiled.
“That sounds like an excellent way to annoy your mom,” John nodded.
Dean could tell that his dad was starting to get annoyed with his questions. His dad did that sometimes, Dean knew that he loved him. He just had to be careful about asking too many questions.
“Momma tell you we seed picture of you when you was a baby?” Dean asked.
“Yeah, she mentioned it a while back,” John said sitting down on the floor between Dean and the now finished crib. “You and her have fun doing that?”
“Yeah,” Dean smiled. “Me and Momma always have fun. I like being with her and doing stuff together. I getted to see her momma and daddy. I never seed them before, and momma when she was little, little like me. She was a ballerina. And I seed you when you was a little baby and you had a dress, and Nana when she wasn’t old. Momma said that Grandpa Mike wasn’t your daddy.”
“Yeah,” John nodded taking Dean’s clinched fist and taking out the two extra screws. “Mike’s not my dad, he’s my step dad. I met him when I was eleven. He taught me how to work on cars and all the stuff I use for work. He’s a real good guy. He’s real good to my mom, and that’s most important.”
“Did you knowed the other guy?” Dean asked sliding across the floor to sit right next to his dad and press his head against his dad’s arm.
“I did,” John nodded. “One night, he tucked me into bed and left, and he never came home. But you don’t ever gotta worry about that.”
“I don’t?” Dean mumbled into John’s shirt.
“No, you never do, you wanna know why?” John asked as he pulled Dean into his lap. “Because there is nothing in the world that will ever keep me from kissing you good night. I might come home from work late but do you know what the first thing I do when I get home is?”
“Take off your coat?” Dean guessed.
“After that?” John chuckled.
“Take off your shoes so you don’t get mud on the floor?” Dean said. “Momma gets mad at me all the time because I forget. I make mud everywhere. She tell me that she’s gonna make me learn the vacuum so I can fix it. I try to remember but sometimes I get too excited.”
John shook his head, trying not to laugh. “What do I do after that?”
“Kiss Momma, and tell her you missed her?” Dean guessed. “You gots to do that, Momma likes it when people tell her that.”
“Yeah, she does,” John nodded. “But after I do all of that, then I got up stairs and kiss you good night. Even if you’ve been in bed for a long time. Because you’re the most important thing in my life, and there is nothing that will ever be more important than you and that new baby.”
“You won’t like the new baby more than me, will you?” Dean said looking up at his dad. “I’m the oldest you have to like me the most because you liked for more.”
“Of course, Dean,” John chuckled. “I promise never to like the new baby more than you. And I promise that no matter what happens. I will never walk away from you. You will always be able to find me. You will never, ever, ever disappear.”
“Okay,” Dean nodded. “Are we done building baby stuff for today?”
“I think so,” John replied.
“Can we build a treehouse?” Dean asked. “A really big one?”
“Maybe over the summer,” John replied. “We can’t right now.”
“It’s too cold,” Dean nodded. “Can it have a tire swing and rope ladder?”
“I don’t see why not,” John nodded. “I think that would be a lot of fun for us to do.”
“When I grow up I can live in there,” Dean explained. “Maybe me and the baby will live there.”
“Maybe,” John chuckled. “We’ll see what your mom says.”
“When I’m big will you teach me how to fix the car like Grandpa Mike teached you?” Dean asked.
“I think we can do that,” John agreed. “I would like it if you liked to work on cars too.”
“I like your car,” Dean smiled. “It’s big and nice and I like to help you fix, and then one day I can fix for you. And I work at your work.”
“I would really like that,” John replied. “I don’t think anything would make me happier.”
“Momma is teaching me stuff that Grandma Dean teached her,” Dean continued.
“Her name wasn’t Dean, kiddo,” John chuckled.
“Yes it was,” Dean corrected. “Momma teached me how to cook things and I get to crack the eggs. That’s my favorite part. Maybe when we build the treehouse I can use the real hammer.”
“Maybe,” John nodded. “Your mom might kill me, but maybe we can let you hammer a real nail.”
“I did really good building the baby stuff.”
“Yes you did,” John smiled. “You’ve been a big help.”
Downstairs they head the front door close. Dean looked up at John wide eyed. “Momma’s home.”
Dean pushed himself up and ran down the stairs. John shook his head as he stood and followed his son. Dean was already hugging Mary as she stood in the doorway when John got to the bottom of the stairs.
“You changed your hair,” John commented.
“Yeah,” Mary smiled. “Not much really, just wanted something different.”
“I think it’s beautiful,” Dean told her as he let go and looked up at her.
“Do you finish the crib?” Mary asked rubbing her belly.
“Yeah,” John nodded. “We got it all set up in there. Looks good.”
“Me and Daddy are gonna build a treehouse when it’s gets warm,” Dean interjected. “When I grow up I’m gonna live there, like, when I ten.”
“When you’re a grown up, like ten,” Mary smiled.
“Yeah that’s when you’re a grown up,” Dean nodded.
“How old is Mom then?” Mary chuckled, eyes flicking between her son and her husband, a smile across her face.
“Ummm, fifteen,” Dean said.
“How old is Nana?” John asked.
“A hundred,” Dean answered turning around to look at his dad.
“Makes sense,” John nodded.
“You’re too cute, kiddo,” Mary laughed.
“I know,” Dean nodded. “Everyone tells me.”
“Alright, Momma’s gotta sit down,” Mary said as she tried to get around Dean and into the house. “Baby’s moving too much.”
“Baby Sam moves in there?” Dean asked wide eyed.
“Yeah,” Mary chuckled falling back onto the sofa. “Right now it’s kicking up a storm.”
“The baby kicks you?” Dean said shaking his head. “That’s very mean. I didn’t kick you when I was in there did I?”
“Yes, you did. All the time,” Mary nodded. “Come here.”
Dean took several tentative steps toward his mother on the sofa, who then grabbed his hand and pressed it to her abdomen.
“Do you feel that?” Mary asked. Dean looked up at her and nodded. “That’s the baby moving around. There’s not a lot of room in there. So when the baby moves it kicks. That’s just how it is.”
“That’s Sammy’s foot?” Dean said softly, amazed. “Maybe the baby is moving so much because it’s upside down.”
“Maybe,” Mary smiled, running her fingers through the boy’s hair.
“Do you think Baby Sam will stop moving so much if I read it a story?” Dean said excitedly. “I can read it a story and it will take a nap!”
“You’re gonna read the baby a story?” Mary smiled. “I thought you said you didn’t know how to read.”
“I know how to read Goodnight Moon!” Dean declared. “I’ll read Baby Sam Goodnight Moon!”
Dean spun on his heels and run back upstairs to find the book on his bookshelf. When he got back downstairs, his mom was sitting sideways on the sofa with her legs across. She instructed Dean to climb over her legs. He sat with is legs across his mother’s as close to her belly as possible so the baby could hear. He propped the book against Mary’s stomach and began to “read.”
Mary looked up at John who was standing in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room. She pantomimed camera until John got the hint and grabbed the disposable one that Mary kept in the kitchen.
“What’s this word?” Dean asked pointing at the book.
“Telephone,” Mary smiled.
“Okay,” Dean nodded and kept going, reading a page and then turning the book to show Mary’s belly the picture. Most of the words were the ones actually in the book that Mary had read to him so many times that she wasn’t surprised that the boy had memorized it.
“What’s this one?” He pointed again.
“Whispering,” Mary smiled.
“That’s a big word,” Dean sighed.
“Yes it is,” Mary agreed. “Are you going to read to the baby bedtimes stories when it’s born?”
“Just this one,” Dean said. “Now shush I’m not done.”
He kept sort of reading and showing Mary’s belly the pictures as Mary did her best to not cry.
“And goodnight noises everywhere,” Dean finished. He closed the book and looked up at Mary smiling. “Don’t cry! They’re just going to sleep they’ll be back. You don’t have to be sad. It’s a happy book.”
“I know,” Mary smiled. “Why don’t you go get Daddy and see if we have any pudding? You look hungry.”
“Okay,” Dean nodded. He slid off the couch and ran off to the other room. Mary rubbed her swollen belly, the reading hadn’t stopped the baby from moving around at all, but she knew if Dean asked she’d say it did.
“No!” Dean yelled from the kitchen. “No, I’ll do. I can do it. I’m a big boy I can do it myself.”
“Right,” John sighed. Mary heard his heavy footsteps toward the living room. “Cover yourself in pudding. Whatever makes you happy. Are you alright, Mary?”
“He’s all grown up,” Mary sniffed. “He’s reading.”
“He memorized it,” John smiled. “We’ve both read it to him a million times. And half of what he said weren’t even the words.”
“Yeah but he’s almost reading,” Mary smirked, wiping her face. “He’s so grown up all of a sudden.”
“I’m gonna give him about six seconds before he yells that he can’t open his pudding cup,” John chuckled. “He’s not all grown up. He’s four. If you cry every time he pretends he’s a grown up you’ll never stop crying.”
“I know, it’s just, you know,” she pointed to her stomach.
“Momma, you open this!” Dean said running into the room with is pudding. “I thinked I can do it, but I can’t.”
“Ask Daddy,” Mary smiled. “I don’t want you carrying an open pudding across the living room carpet.”
Dean nodded and pass the cup to John who pulled the cover off and handed it back down to him. “You’re still a big boy if you ask for help,” John explained. “You don’t gotta go everything yourself.”
“Yes I do,” Dean yelled. “I don’t want you to do everything for me. Only babies do that. I’m a big boy. I’m not a baby.” Dean stomped his feet and grabbed his pudding cup before disappearing back into the kitchen.
“Just when I think he’s growing up,” Mary chuckled. “He throws a tantrum about nothing.”
John shrugged. “He’s four. He’s got six more years until he thinks he has to move out.”
Mary smiled and laughed. “Ow. This is so uncomfortable. I wish I could just turn the baby into position so it stopped punching my kidneys. Can you occupy Dean for a couple hours while I take a nap?”
“I’ve been with him all day,” John replied. “You went out with your girl friends.”
“Uh huh,” Mary nodded. “And I’ve been chasing him all day everyday while you’re out at work, so you can handle watching him for one day. I’m tired. Just sit at the table and color or read to him. Take him outside for a little bit. Go upstairs and play whatever weird game he wants to play. Just keep him quiet for a little bit. I really don’t want to climb up the stairs. My back hurts and I’m tired.”
“You’ve been walking around the mall all day,” John sighed. “I’ve been babysitting.”
“First of all,” Mary argued. “You can’t babysit your own kid. Secondly, you do what I do all day everyday for an hour and half. You don’t even have to do anything, just make sure he doesn’t kill himself while I take a nap.”
“If you say ‘Not fair,’ John, you should know that I know how to kill people and not leave any evidence behind,” Mary said. “You helped make him, you can occupy for an afternoon without my direction.”
“You weren’t like this when you pregnant with Dean,” John mumbled as he turned toward the kitchen.
“We didn’t have a toddler when I was pregnant with Dean,” Mary yelled after him. “Nut up Winchester. It’s only getting harder from here.”
“Momma’s gonna put you in time out if you keep making her mad like that,” Dean commented, face covered in chocolate pudding. “You knowed her more than me, you should know better.”
John grabbed a dish towel off the counter and wiped Dean’s face. “I know kiddo, I’m gonna teach you how to use a spoon here real soon.”
“I know how to use a spoon,” Dean replied pushing his eyebrows together. “Don’t make Momma mad. She tells you she’s disappointed in you. Then you know you’re in big trouble.”
“What do you want to do this afternoon Dean?” John asked, chuckling.
“Is there anymore baby stuff to do?” Dean asked.
“I don’t think so,” John shook his head. “We built everything that needs to be built. Just gotta put the baby in it.”
“Then what can we do?” Dean asked throwing his arms up in the air.
“What if we went outside for a bit?” John asked. “We can put you in your snow suit and we can go out there. It might be warm enough to swing.”
“I really like swinging,” Dean nodded. “And it’ll be quiet, so Momma can take a nap. Baby Sam makes her really tired. Sometimes we have nap time together. But not today because I already taked a nap. I can’t take two naps.”
“No, you can’t,” John smiled.
“I’ll go get my snowsuit,” Dean nodding sliding off his chair. “I’ll go on my tipey toes so I don’t wake up Momma.”
“Right,” John nodded. "I’ll meet you over here, then we’ll go play in the back yard.”
“I’m glad I get to play with you today,” Dean smiled grabbing his dad’s legs and hugging him as tight as he could. “I get to have you all to myself. That’s my favorite.”
“It’s my favorite too kiddo,” John smiled. “Go get your suit, we’ll go swinging.”
That night long after Dean has his bath and was soundly sleeping in his bed, John joined his wife in their room.
“Was it really that horrible spending the day with Dean?” Mary asked.
“No,” John mumbled, climbing into bed. “It’s not. I just thought we were doing things together as a family. I thought that was the plan for this weekend since we don’t got that many weekends when it’s just the three of us, and I’m working seven days until the baby’s born starting Monday so I can take three weeks off and not have to worry about it.”
Mary pushed herself up to a sitting position and stared down her husband. “Yeah, that was the plan, but plans change. You change up things all the time staying late at work when you say you’ll be home for dinner.”
“I’m the provider,” John shot back. “We’ve had this fight a hundred times. You decided to be a stay at home mom. I’m not holding you hostage. But if you’re here, I have to be there. I’m paying the bills. That’s how it works. You knew that when we decided how we wanted to raise a family.”
“I understand that you’re the one bringing home the paycheck. Your job’s important, it’s important to the family, to you, to our future. You saying things like that makes me feel like I don’t do anything. I have full time job, six full time jobs, if you really want to talk about it. I’m a housekeeper and nanny and short order cook. Only at my job, the pay sucks, the boss is a pain in the ass eighty percent of the time and I don’t get sick days. I asked you to do what I do for two hours because I’m tired from carrying another person inside me all day and you threw a tantrum.”
“I did not throw a tantrum, Mary.”
“When your four year old tells you not to talk like that because you’ll get a timeout, that’s a temper tantrum,” Mary replied. “I know what they look like. Dean has about eighty a day. Look, I could have stayed working. I didn’t have to quit my job, I liked being a secretary. I liked being involved in the garage. It was a fun family operation. I could have gone back and sent Dean to day care like, literally, every other mom in this neighborhood does, but I didn’t. I stayed home. I want to be a mom like my mom was. And you can’t use that against me. You can’t says things like ‘you got to leave the house and left me alone with this tiny person that thinks I’m a God and wants to spend the day with me.’ He begs to spend time with you, and when you’re around I have to tell you to do stuff with him.”
“You don’t...” John answered not sure where he wanted the rest of the sentence to go.
“Name one thing you’ve done with Dean that I didn’t tell you to do,” Mary said. “Teaching him to throw snowballs doesn’t count because I told you to take him outside.”
“Mary,” John shook his head.
“What?” Mary sighed. “He’ll ask you to play with him and you tell him later. It’s not fair to him. What are you going to when we got two of them? You say if it’s a little girl you’ll be that sitcom dad; the dad that you never had. Be that dad to the son you got.”
“I’m trying,” John replied. “Every time we have that this conversation, you make it sound like I hate him. I love being around him. I like the stories he tells that don’t make any sense, and how he sees things. I like being around the kid. I love being around the kid. You can’t even imagine what it feels like to have him look up at me with that smile and say he loves me. I liked pushing him on the swing and watching him jump in the mud puddles today. I’m trying Mary. I really am. I know I’m not the best dad. But I try, which is way more than I got as a kid. I know your dad was some kind of superhero and I’m sorry I can’t measure up to that, but I’m doing everything I know how to do. I’m miles ahead of what my dad did. I know that’s a low bar, but I trying.”
“Just be nice to him without me asking you to,” Mary huffed.
“I’m not mean to him” John replied.
“You push him away,” Mary said softly. “Let him sit in your lap when you watch tv. Just let him do his thing. He’s needy, yeah, but he’s only gonna be little for a few more years. Just let him do his thing.”
“Right,” John nodded. “I can try harder.”
“I want you to at least give the illusion of trying,” Mary pouted. “That’s all I need. I want Dean to run up to me and tell me all the things the two of you did. Like he does when you get home. Know what would really fun for him to do? We can draw a map and make little puzzles for him to figure out and hide a prize. It’ll keep him occupied of hours if you do it right.”
“I can do that,” John nodded. “I’ll take him with me to grab stuff for the shop tomorrow. You can hide stuff? I’ll find something he’ll like as a prize.”
“You gotta do some drawing,” Mary replied. “I’m not doing all the work.”
“Right,” John nodded. “Fair I think.”
“Good,” Mary smiled. “It’s settled then. Tomorrow is adventure day. He’ll be a pirate. He’ll want to wear his eye patch to the store if we tell him he’s hunting treasure. He may make you wear one too.”
“I will do my best not to be incredibly embarrassed,” John nodded.
“What they never tell you about parenting,” Mary smirked sliding back down so she was laying down again. “Is that most of it is not caring what you look like in public anymore. And realizing no one else really cares. You don’t got to be manly man marine all the time. You can be the sweet guy I married. Be that guy I saw kill a dragon in the living room that time.”
“I’ll try harder,” John promised. “I’ll make you proud.”