Go jump in the lake, go ride up the hill
Characters: Debi, Junior, Mum Status: complete
Debi snuggled against her pillow, drowsy from sleep. She'd taken to sleeping when Junior did, which meant afternoon naps and plenty of them, her baby in the co-sleeper next to her. It was a bit awkward getting up to use the toilet but so much easier for feeding and activating the self-cleaning charm on Junior's diapers that Debi almost never put the baby in her crib. There was plenty of time for that when Junior was a bit older.
There was a faint, unhappy noise that sounded just like Junior fussing, and Debi automatically stretched out one hand to scoop her daughter up and start nursing. Pillow, bumper, thin little blanket, mattress, where the hell was Iaina -
The unhappy noise was a full-blown screech, and Debi was up and scrambling toward the living room, panicking even though Mum was somewhere in the house. "Junior? Baby? Mommy's coming, what - Mum? What are you doing?"
"She's hungry, dear." Her mother, mouth set in a grim line, tried to force a rubber nipple into Junior's mouth. A tin of Aptamil stood open on the kitchen counter. "You were so tired I didn't want to bother you."
"You're giving her formula? There's breast milk in the fridge!" Debi stared, then reached over and yanked the bottle away from her mother and threw it toward the sink. "Where did you get that? I've been nursing since I left the hospital!"
Mum glared and set the bottle upright. "You'd think you'd be grateful - if you must know, I went shopping yesterday while you were having lunch with your friend Miriam. Honestly, Debi, you can't expect that she'll be healthy with just breast milk! You should be supplementing by now anyway."
"Lunch" had consisted of fifteen minutes having a sandwich with Miriam between errands in Diagon Alley, with no time even to stop by Alchemy & Ecstasy itself. The "shopping" had clearly had one objective and one only.
"Supplementing? With what?" Debi went for the baby this time, not the bottle. Iaina had turned an alarming shade of red that only began to fade once Debi had pulled up her t-shirt and let the baby latch on. "I told you back in May I wasn't going to use formula! It's better for her and for me - I'm almost back in my old clothes already, and - "
"Deborah Anne! I've raised three children! I think I know how to care for a baby!" Mum shook her finger. "The way you carry on! You'd think Iaina was the only baby in the world!"
"She may not be the only baby in the world, but she's my baby, and I'm going to raise her the way I want to." Debi tightened her hold on Junior as if her mother were about to snatch her back. "If you don't like that, maybe it's time you went home."
Mum stared at her as if she'd never seen her before. "Go home?"
"Yes. Home." Debi was shaking inside, but she knew that if she didn't stand up for herself now, she never would. "Didn't you say last week that Mrs. Shemanski had signed you up for the cookie exchange at church? Or was it the Harvest Fair?"
"I see." Mum carefully replaced the lid on the tin of formula and placed it on the same shelf that had held Debi's carefully acquired spice collection (which had migrated to the counter, God knew how, and just how long would it take before Debi had her kitchen back the way she liked it?) "I'm sure you know best, with your vast experience of the world."
Damn right, she almost said, but held her tongue. "I know Junior is my first baby, but I know her better than anyone does. I'll keep the formula just in case, but really, I'm not going to need it."
Her mother nodded, very slowly. "I'm sure you know best." She thinned her lips, then blew out a breath. "Could I use your computer to Skype Cathy? I need to let her know that I'll be home sooner than I thought."
"Sure." Debi did not want to think of just how long her mother had intended to stay. "Do you need help - "
"You may know your child, but I know how to pack," said Mum. She pulled on the headset with a faint, angry sniff.
Debi waited until Mum was talking with Dawn and had turned her back to accio her cell phone. "Hello, British Airways? I have an open ended ticket to New York and wanted to reserve a seat for later tonight - "
Maybe it was mean, throwing her mother out like this, but it sure felt good. Debi smiled to herself and thought of how happy Zach would be when he came home to a Mum-less house. The Healer had cleared her for a little fun, and she could almost squeeze into the red nightie Zach liked so much....