The La-Iin Series
“Memories of Baby La-Iin”
Mit-Sun woke with a jolt. She glanced around her bedroom, checking for La-Iin. She noticed her daughter’s crib and walked over to it, legs shaking.
She let out a breath. La-Iin was lying in her crib, tiny wings outstretched as she sucked on her doll’s head.
Mit-Sun was getting used to the sleep deprivation La-Iin caused her, but she hated the terror that struck her each time she woke from a nap caused by that exhaustion. She was always worried that if she went to sleep for even a short while and La-Iin was awake, she’d wake up and something would have happened to her daughter.
Watching her now, sucking on the doll she had given her a few days earlier, she calmed down. She started to kick her legs playfully. Her doll’s head was covered in saliva when she pulled it out.
‘She’s so adorable sometimes,’ Mit-Sun thought to herself. ‘But how long am I going to be stuck in the baby stage…’
Every time she noticed the tiny black bat wings on La-Iin’s back, she became filled with a strong dread.
“What are you thinking about, Mama?”
Mit-Sun snapped back to the present day. La-Iin was sitting across from her, a quizzical expression on her face. Bes-Isa lay on the table limply.
“You were sleeping, weren’t you.”
“No, I was thinking.”
“It looked a little like when La-Iin daydreams. Hey, maybe she daydreams like you. I bet her daydreams are worse than yours though, and yours are a hard act to follow in that regard…”
La-Iin glared at Bes-Isa and snapped her fingers. “Thinking about what?”
“Thinking about back when you were a baby. You know, back then I really expected to still be changing your diapers by now and for you to barely be able to talk. It’s weird remembering that when you’ve grown up much faster than I expected…”
“Even if I was still like a baby, you wouldn’t have to change my diapers anymore,” La-Iin huffed, her expression indignant. Mit-Sun stifled a chuckle as La-Iin’s face relaxed.
“Can you tell me about it, Mama?”
“Tell you about what?”
“When I was a baby. I was a baby back then, so I want to know how things were. Like how did you handle your job? What was it like when Dami was still here? You don’t usually talk about when I was a baby.”
Mit-Sun blinked in surprise. “You want to know?”
“I have nothing better to do. Fer-Shi’s been going with her Dami a lot and I haven’t been able to talk to San-Kyung. And you won’t let me invite my Dami over. And Bes-Isa’s been really annoying, and she’ll complain if I go and see Sale-Dessu, and I can only ever do the same thing with Choungetsu….and I just don’t have anything to do today.”
“Well, I’ll gladly tell you about back then. There’s not much I can really say about you in particular, since babies don’t do much, but I figure there’s still some stories I can tell you…”
Mit-Sun sighed as she rocked La-Iin back-and-forth. La-Iin had fallen asleep, but by now she was stuck in the motions. She stared at a pile of vuyong, lying on the table.
‘This is going to be a problem.’
Moreso than having to wake up to attend to anything La-Iin needed, it was vuyong that was stressing Mit-Sun out, and staring at it only stressed her out more as La-Iin cuddled against her chest.
‘There’s still a lot of vuyong left from my construction job, which is good. And Asul-Zenza brought in a bit of vuyong before I kicked him out, and he left some of it here, but…I need to do something about what I have. I’m still going to have to spend some of this. I can go back to breastfeeding La-Iin but I’ll still need diapers, and new clothes once she starts growing out of these….well, I might be able to make her some clothes….
‘But there’s no way I’m going to be able to survive on no job forever! What am I going to do when my vuyong starts getting low? I’m not letting La-Iin stay with Asul-Zenza! Maybe I’ll call Papa and ask him to watch her. But he still works, doesn’t he? So I’d have to pick a job that works with his schedule….
‘And I need to be there for La-Iin right now if I’m going to breastfeed her again. I’m not going to make Papa pay for formula. I’m just going to have to figure out how to handle things.’
She stared down at La-Iin, who was resting quietly. ‘How long is she going to stay like this? It could be a problem if it’s too long…so long as I’m careful about what I spend, I might be able to do this. Maybe I can get by on just buying her diapers, or maybe I could make some myself….I need to be resourceful.’
Mit-Sun walked upstairs and into her room, putting La-Iin in her crib. La-Iin grunted quietly and twitched her wings. She walked over to a pile of sewing supplies and started to think of what ones might be best for making a diaper.
‘If you make her diapers you’ll only need to buy more supplies,’ she told herself.
‘…I could always wash the diapers, though. And I might be able to get away with adjusting her clothes a little bit so she can keep wearing them…’
She glanced at her computer over her shoulder. ‘Still, looking for a job couldn’t hurt. No wait, maybe it could! What if I find the perfect job and–‘
Mit-Sun slammed her head on her bed. ‘I need to stop panicking about this and just deal with the situation!’
“So how did you handle it?” La-Iin asked.
“I saved up more vuyong from my construction job than I thought, so it wasn’t too bad. I started using homemade diapers on you for a little bit, but I switched back to disposable store-bought ones after those got too stained and you started getting a rash.”
La-Iin wrinkled her nose.
“I was on-edge a lot when it came to you as a baby, though. Mostly because I couldn’t get much sleep….”
Mit-Sun woke with a jolt.
La-Iin was crying and lying on the table. Mit-Sun realized she had fallen asleep in the midst of changing her diaper. She quickly went back to work, but her body still felt fatigued.
“Damn Asul-Zenza! Wasting too much of my energy on dealing with him just…”
She sighed and let her shoulders slump. “I got more sleep with him here, but I’m sure things will be just fine soon enough.”
‘Not if I keep falling asleep like that, though,’ she admitted. ‘I should’ve kicked him out of the house before me and La-Iin came home from the hospital. Then I wouldn’t be dealing with this shit…’
She finished changing La-Iin’s diaper. La-Iin had stopped crying, though her eyes were still bright red and she wore a curious expression as if she didn’t believe Mit-Sun had changed her diaper.
“I’m sorry I left you lying there,” she said, holding La-Iin and cuddling her close. La-Iin started to scream.
She put La-Iin down, wondering if picking her up had upset her, but La-Iin only continued to cry. Mit-Sun’s eye twitched involuntarily.
“I wish you could tell me what you want!” She yelled. La-Iin only started to screech louder. Had La-Iin been anyone else Mit-Sun was sure she would have shook them by now, but instead she picked up La-Iin again and put her finger near her mouth.
La-Iin gave another curious stare and reached out a tiny hand. She grabbed her finger and stuck it in her mouth.
‘It feels all gummy…’ Mit-Sun tried to smile despite her discomfort. The mixture of the gummy feeling on her finger and La-Iin’s wide-eyed blank stare was unsettling to her.
“We have a lot of getting used to to do, huh?” Mit-Sun said. La-Iin’s expression didn’t change. Her finger brushed against one of La-Iin’s fangs and she pulled her finger out her mouth.
‘Maybe she just wanted a little attention,’ she realized. ‘I’m always so stressed out that she’s in her crib half the time anyway….and then I go and fall asleep in the middle of changing her diaper…’
She sat La-Iin down on the table and went to get La-Iin’s teething toy. La-Iin reached for it, tiny fingers flexing, and Mit-Sun held onto the toy as La-Iin stuck it in her mouth.
“Babies like you sure like to stick things in their mouth, don’t they?” She chuckled.
“It’s hard to imagine you giving me any attention at all,” La-Iin huffed.
“You’re always doing work…”
“Why, do you want me to spend more time with you? You seem mad when I try to!”
“Sometimes I am. Mama, Dami lived with us for a little bit after I was born, right?”
“You haven’t told me anything about when he was here,” she said, her eyes narrowing. “He told me once that I bit your chest when I was a baby. I want to hear about that.”
‘Damn you, Asul-Zenza!’ Mit-Sun tried to hide her fury as she sighed and started to tell the story.
“Mit-Sun, I’ve been trying to make things easy for you. You can’t just tell me to stop helping. La-Iin is my daughter too, and I’m not going to leave her crying if she needs a diaper change.”
“Don’t talk to me or you’ll make your situation worse.”
“I feel like I only get time with La-Iin whenever you’re asleep. I understand if you’re angry, Mit-Sun, it makes sense to me. You had to quit your job and then you had a baby…it’s a lot of changes. But I was trying to tell you, there are some things about La-Iin that I’ll understand better than you would.”
“I can buy species study books. There’s plenty of them out there, and definitely lots dedicated to Vampires.”
“I’d know how to deal with this sort of thing, though…”
“Teething is normal, Asul-Zenza. Just because Vampire fangs grow in earlier than the rest of her teeth doesn’t suddenly make it not teething. So what? Maybe it’s more painful because her fangs are sharp. But the worst part is over for her, so I can handle things from here.”
“You seriously underestimate Vampire fangs. They’re very sleek and sharp. I’m sure they hurt a lot…”
“I can handle these things. Anything I don’t understand there’s books for. Why are you so concerned about her Vampire traits? I know they’re something to think about, I know that. But I also know that La-Iin’s my first and probably only child. I’m still learning things. I don’t even understand all about how to take care of babies anyway.”
“Definitely not if you think you can handle it all…you look ridiculous, arguing with me while your breast hangs out.”
“Stare and I’ll bite part of your wing off.”
“Why would I want to? You’ve been nothing but mean to me recently and you’ve given no explanation as to why.”
“Because you’re an annoying prick is wh—-aaaaaaiiiiieeeee!”
Mit-Sun gaped. The pain prevented any words from coming out. La-Iin peacefully drank her milk, tiny fangs dug into Mit-Sun’s chest.
“Oh my gosh,” Asul-Zenza said, his face paling. “Um–just remove her gently! Don’t let her keep drinking like that, she might start trying to suck blood.”
Mit-Sun gently lifted La-Iin’s head until her fangs slid out her chest, then pulled her away. La-Iin started to tear up as if ready to cry.
Mit-Sun stared down at her chest as a mixture of blood and milk dropped onto her pants.
“You clean yourself off. I’ll take care of La-Iin.” Asul-Zenza took La-Iin from Mit-Sun and started to try and calm her.
Had she not been in so much pain and shock, Mit-Sun would have blown up at Asul-Zenza right then. But for now she listened to him and went off to go and wash her injury.
La-Iin broke into laughter.
“It’s not funny! Can you imagine how painful that was!?”
“No. My chest isn’t lumpy yet.”
“…what?” Mit-Sun sighed. “Anyway, there. Happy? Now you know all about my agony.”
“Yes, I am happy. And also kind of thirsty for blood. And milk.”
Mit-Sun’s eye twitched. “Do we have both? Maybe I can mix it together and drink it. Or maybe I can get some from Sale-Dessu. He has a lot of weird things in his house. Mm, I really want to try that…”
Mit-Sun wasn’t sure whether to be horrified or not.
“How about I just make some mincemeat pie?” She offered. La-Iin stared at her with wide eyes.
“Yes. ….but I still want to try blood milk. Don’t think the craving will go away! Once Cahongyun La-Iin gets a craving, it stays with her!”
‘Well, I guess she’s not going to be asking for any more stories.’ She gave a mental sigh.
Before she went to bed that night, Mit-Sun went to check on La-Iin again. She still seemed to be wide awake. Bes-Isa was lying next to her, her head drying but still obviously wet.
She reached out to Mit-Sun. Mit-Sun couldn’t help but smile. She picked her up and held her close.
‘I wish I still remembered why I was upset when I found out I was pregnant. La-Iin’s the best thing that came out of my relationship with Asul-Zenza…’
Her heart was filled with love for her daughter as she laid her back down in the crib, pulling a blanket over her body. La-Iin reached out for her another time. She stroked her head, then turned out the lights and head off to bed.