Jia He is outnumbered. Hehe.
Epilogue 3 — Parenting
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By the time they were ten years old, Aijia and Aihe were already the anxiety that burdened Jia He’s heart.
These last several years, Yi Wenze was already not accepting many acting projects and had stepped back to work behind the scenes, while Jia He was still diligently doing her screenwriting work, as before. Therefore, the task of keeping that pair of little overlords company during breakfast naturally fell on Yi Wenze.
There was a certain morning when Yi Wenze was not home and she finally wanted to be a good mom and have a breakfast with them. When she walked downstairs, she discovered that the two were engaged in a full-on egg-peeling competition. Four eggs were peeled practically in an all-out rush. Eventually, when only one remained, the older sister-younger brother pair’s eyes were fastened on it. Just as they were both about to scramble to snatch it first, Jia He had already picked up the egg.
“Mom.” The two simultaneously turned their heads. Seeing her bleary-eyed look, they then simultaneously turned back again and exchanged a glance, resignation in their eyes.
“Let me see the ones you peeled.” Jia He was very affable.
In unison, the two each nudged over their own plate. The eggs had been peeled cleanly and neatly and were utterly flawless.
Jia He secretly exulted that, sure enough, these were her kids, so adept in even simply peeling eggs. They made their way in life by their own efforts and were not the least bit dependent on adults. After extensively praising them in her mind for a while, she finally began peeling the egg in her hand, casually asking, “Why were you guys putting so much effort into peeling these eggs just now? Normally when you’re with Dad, you guys are like this too?”
Actually, she was more curious to know, did Yi Wenze compete every day with them in this?
Another look passed between the two before Aihe turned a very placid gaze on Jia He. “When Dad left, he said that whoever peels the least eggs is the one in charge of washing the dishes.”
Jia He made an “mm” in response, continuing to peel the shell off her egg.
Little fragments of shell landed all over the table before she at last completed her work.
It was not until she had popped it into her mouth and taken a bite that she discovered that the two children were staring at her with a look of delight over another’s misfortunes.
“What’s wrong?” She searched back in her mind. She hadn’t done anything wrong just now, right?
“Mom, you shouldn’t haven’t gotten up early.” Her large eyes blinking, Aijia heaved a sigh that spoke volumes. “You lost.” Though her tone of voice contained pity, the smile at the corner of her lips betrayed the glee she was feeling at her mom’s misfortune. Jia He mind had to pause and catch up for a bit before she finally understood what her eldest darling was saying… And so, on this hard-to-come-by morning when she had actually woken early, she became the sacrificial lamb who took away the burden of these two children.
On weekdays they had a housekeeper, but on weekends, to train up these two little overlords, Yi Wenze would never have the housekeeper come. Hence, now as Jia He watched those two children finish eating, she could only resign herself to this fate, and then afterwards, she began tidying up all the things on the table.
Only when everything was completely cleaned and cleared away did she jog back into her bedroom, close the door, and phone Yi Wenze. The noise of the rushing wind was loud on his end. He seemed to be at an outdoor filming location. “What’s wrong? You’re up so early?” As he spoke, he hurried into the vehicle. “Did they wake you up?”
Jia He blew out a breath. “No. I suddenly had the notion of having breakfast with them, so I got up early.”
“And then?” Yi Wenze’s voice conveyed mirth, for he seemed to have already guessed what had occurred.
“And then that egg-peeling rule of yours caused me, while I was still half-asleep, to become their sacrificial lamb.”
He gave a chuckle. “Thank you, honey, for your hard work in doing housework.”
Doleful, Jia He clutched the phone. “When are you coming back?”
“Probably in the evening.” He worked out the timing. His voice warm, he asked, “Why?”
Jia He glumly kept quiet. Why else? Sure, he normally was so good-natured and had such a placid disposition, but those two little overlords were afraid of him and not the least bit afraid of her. Before the age of five, they had still been rather cute, but after they turned five, they became harder and harder to handle.
Oh man…Why was the “adolescent” rebellious phase of kids happening so early nowadays?
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The two talked for another little while before hanging up. Both children had fine arts lessons during the morning. After welcoming in the teacher, she crawled straight back into bed and carried on with her sleep. Actually, she very much wanted to stay with Aijia and Aihe and watch them play piano, but when the two were seven years old, they had had a discussion with her one night, the general gist of it being that she should respect the privacy of their learning and not hover over and supervise them.
As a result, she could only follow Yi Wenze’s parenting approach and policy of absolute respect, allowing the two children to develop freely and grow up “free-range.”
By the time her alarm rang again, the strains of piano playing outside the door had already disappeared.
When she went downstairs to make lunch for them, the two were having a rare instance of sitting well-behaved on the couch. Wordlessly, they stared at her.
Jia He was a little bewildered. “What’s up?”
Why was she feeling uneasy? These two children’s temperaments took after Yi Wenze’s too much.
One shrewd and wily person in the household was a happy thing, for there was a blissful feeling that she had fallen completely into his trap and was in his “control.” Having three shrewd and wily people in the household, though, was an absolute calamity. There was a trap at each step, and right after she climbed out of one, she would fall into the next, even deeper one… This was what she had felt the most in these last five years.
“Mom, we need to have a heart-to-heart talk with you.”
Expelling a long breath of relief, Jia He at once smiled and took a seat on the couch. “Sure. Would you like to have lunch first?”
Aijia smiled as well. “No thanks. I’m on a diet.”
All right then. I need to respect the children’s wishes. She actually does have a bit of baby fat.
Aijia took a sip of iced water and then jumped straight to the heart of the matter. “The two of us want to change our names.”
Jia He paused, bemused. “Why? Aren’t your names pretty nice?”
A look of incredulity came over Aijia. “Mom, haven’t you noticed that my name is the same as a certain famous person’s? As Yi Wenze’s daughter, how can I share a name with someone else?” Feeling, after she said this, that her tone was a little too aggressive, she instantly flashed a sweet smile. “What do you think, hmm, Mom?”
Jia He gave a little quiver, then began seriously mulling over this question.
Back then, she had actually been quite considerate and scrupulous and had once challenged Yi Wenze on this matter. It was Yi Wenze who had been resolute on the decision.
Aijia shot a look at Aihe. The meaning was very clear: Your turn.
Aihe merely showed a mild smile. “My scenario is even more awkward. My name is obviously a girl’s name.” After saying this, he continued to take another sip of his iced water. As Jia He watched him, she could only sigh with feeling that this action truly resembled Yi Wenze so much.
She earnestly pondered on this question for a moment before agreeing, “I actually also think that in this matter, your dad made the decision without really thinking it through.”
Eyes widening, Aijia whipped a glance at her younger brother.
Aihe, on the other hand, outright sprayed his water from his mouth. “Dad was the one who came up with the names?”
Nodding, Jia He began reminiscing in sweet bliss. “At the time, your dad tricked me into believing I wasn’t pregnant. Then he brought me to a deserted beach and proposed there and straight out told me what your names would be. When I was bawling, I finally noticed that your dad had actually arranged in advance for our two families and also my friends to be there, and at the very end of the beach was our wedding site…
Aijia straightened to her feet. “Mom, I’m hungry.”
Baffled, Jia He turned her eyes on her. “Weren’t we talking about changing your names? I think it’s good to change them. We should give you guys freedom. After all, a name is something that sticks with you for your whole life.”
Holding his cup, Aihe stood as well. “We were joking around just now. These are such quality names.”
One after the other, the two strolled into the dining room. The connotation of that was very obvious: This topic has now come to an end. Mom, you can go make lunch now…
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After this little episode, this older sister-younger brother sibling pair were extremely well-behaved and obedient for the afternoon, to the extent that she started to feel unaccustomed to it. She had originally wanted to urge them to do their homework, but they, of their own accord, shut themselves inside the study, and even when Yi Wenze arrived home, they still did not emerge from there.
“Hubby.” Jia He watched him as he changed into some loungewear. “Once I’ve handed in my script this time, let’s bring them to New Zealand to spend their summer holidays, how about that?”
Uttering an “mm” in response, Yi Wenze began changing his pants.
Initially, Jia He had been very proper and serious, but seeing him being so open like this, her cheeks still ended up growing a little hot. This guy was her forever bane, aaaah! They had been married for ten years already. Why had he not aged even a tiny bit? And what’s more, he was becoming more and more manly…
Hearing no sound from her, Yi Wenze turned and glanced at her. “Did they pick on you today?”
As someone who had been a mother for ten years, such a question still left her feeling extremely deflated. She answered rather vaguely, “Other than the egg-peeling thing this morning, they’ve been really good the whole time.” The more she thought about it, the fishier it felt. “Especially from this afternoon onward. They basically didn’t even seem like themselves. They were so obedient that I wanted to bite my tongue to see if I was actually dreaming.”
When he strolled over to her, Jia He was still recalling the peculiarities of today, and it was not until he picked her up and carried her onto bed that she realized he had not been changing at all! Anything that should not be worn, he had not even put on… Uneasily, she nudged him. “I still need to check their homework.”
“Tomorrow’s Sunday. I’ll check their homework for them. It’ll be fine.” His smile was good-natured and harmless.
She sighed. “I feel like, I’ve been a mom for ten years but I have no sense of accomplishment. You’re too all-capable.”
Yi Wenze only smiled and kissed her on the cheek. “Honey, your greatest contribution is giving birth to them.”
“That’s true.” Beaming, Jia He slid her arms around his neck and drew herself tightly against him. “But during those several months, I actually didn’t do anything.” Those months had basically been too wonderful. Yi Wenze had declined all work and had been at home every day with her. Every day had been spent with him looking at her and her gazing at him, but they had not grown tired of it in the slightest.
In the beginning, Qiao Qiao and Xiao Yu had not known about this, but later they noticed that regardless of when they came, Yi Wenze would always be at home. It was then that they wholly conceded to this perfect man. The most important part was, she had not even had any pregnancy symptoms and had eaten well and drank well. Just thinking about it made her feel blissfully nourished and taken care of…
The more she reminisced, the more she felt that that period had been too enjoyable, and her mind even directly skipped over the part of the pain of childbirth. Thus, in very light whispers by his ear, she suggested, “How about we have another baby?” This time, she definitely would personally parent this child, determined that this one would listen and be obedient to Mommy.
Yi Wenze was quiet for a moment before answering gently, “No, it’s okay. Two is enough.”
But I want to truly, seriously parent a child myself… The more she thought about it, the more she felt she had lost out, and hence she, too, made her voice gentle, coaxing him, “Now that I think about it, the pain is only for half a day. Let’s have another baby, okay?”
Without giving her a definite answer, he began placing kisses onto her, inch by inch grazing down from her forehead, successfully sealing away all the sounds of her voice.
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When she awoke the next day, he had already warmed a glass of milk for her.
Her hands were clasped around the glass before she remembered the previous night’s topic. “We didn’t finish our conversation yesterday. Why did the two kids suddenly become so well-behaved?”
Setting his laptop on his thighs, Yi Wenze sat down beside her on the bed and leaned back. “At midday, I sent an email to Aijia.”
Blurting a “Huh?” Jia He asked, “Sent an email? When did you two, father and daughter, start doing things that have such a sentimental tone to them?”
“This is an agreement between me and her, where anything important has to be said by email.” With a smile on his lips, he watched her drink her milk. “Drink a little faster. We’re having lunch soon.”
Jia He gave an “oh.” She was very curious. “Why did you make such an agreement?”
“She really likes expressing things through written language,” Yi Wenze explained, his tone mellow. “In this aspect, she is very similar to you. She likes to write down all the things that are on her heart, and then she’ll send them to me.”
Jia He uttered another “oh.” The look she gave him was filled with envy.
No wonder people say a daughter is close to her father. It seemed that she and Aihe needed to do some little things of their own, too, or else she was losing out on too much.
“What does that have to do with them behaving better?” Her mind suddenly caught up and she remembered that this was what she actually wanted to ask.
“I told her, picking on Mom is forbidden.”
腹黑“fu hei.” This literally translates as “black belly.” It is used to describe someone who appears harmless on the outside, but inside harbours many schemes. However, this may not necessarily mean that the scheming is “evil” or ill-intentioned, and rather, this person is wily and you cannot predict what those schemes are.
1 of 1 Prologue
58 of 58 Chapter segments
3 of 6 Epilogue segments (4 epilogues in total)