Paige ran into the lounge and jumped onto her mother's lap.
"Mummy, Mummy. Let's play a game. Can we play ‘Snap’ together please?"
"Not now, Paige. Wait till I'm more awake and feeling slightly better."
Paige slid off her mother’s lap and turned away from her mother, heading for the door. A piercing wail from her baby brother or sister sent her running off to their bedroom. Ryan and Rose were lying in their identical cots with knitted blue and pink blankets around them. A small teddy bear was tucked in beside each of them. Paige liked to call Ryan’s 'Pip' and Rose's 'Sadie'. She often sat with Ryan and Rose and entertained them by acting out stories between Pip and Sadie and the twins.
One of Paige’s favourite fantasies was when Pip learnt how to fly and took her and the twins to the seaside where they had a wonderful time. Paige imagined that they spent a whole morning on the beach; building sandcastles, paddling in the salty sea water and playing football and tennis. In the afternoon they all went on the pier and played games before watching a man play tricks and entertain lots of other children. Paige loved the clown and, afterwards, she imagined that they ate fish and chips before going to play in the adventure play area.
Unfortunately this was only a wishful fantasy. Paige had to be satisfied with the thought of the occasional supermarket shop and going out in their tiny garden where her mother had a minute flowerbed and a small patio area for playing in. Ryan and Rose were barely old enough to realise what Paige was telling them though and their mother was pregnant again so there was no imminent chance of a holiday.
* * *
"Paige! Where are you?" her mother screamed desperately. "Paige! Please come here."
"Coming Mummy!" Paige shouted from where she had been playing with Ryan and Rose in the garden. Paige raced into the house to find her mother sprawled on the lounge floor, with the telephone in her right hand and a glass of water in the other. She was breathing heavily with her face contorted in pain.
"Paige," she gasped, "Ring the hospital please. I think the baby might be on its way. I think my waters have gone."
Paige immediately rang the hospital and made sure someone was on their way. She remembered what it had been like last year, when she was five, and the twins had been born. She knew what was happening so Paige didn’t feel overly frightened. The ambulance arrived very quickly and whisked her mother away, leaving Paige to wait with the twins for her father to come home. Soon after the ambulance had been and gone Paige's father appeared, having only just returned from work.
"Hello darling! How are you? And how are my matching angels?" He lent over Ryan and Rose, kissing them gently before picking Paige up and spinning her round above his head.
"Daddy, is Mummy going to be gone all night?" Paige asked.
"Yes, most probably. Why?"
"Can I come and sleep with you tonight? I don’t like being alone without you both being here."
Paige smiled with delight. She loved her father and hated him being away, which he often was since his job involved a lot of travelling.
The next morning the telephone began to ring at ten past nine. Paige rushed to the phone and answered it, having done so many times when her mother wanted to avoid answering it. Even though Paige was oblivious to why, she knew that some people wanted things from her mother which they didn’t have.
"Hello?" Paige questioned.
"Hello. Could I speak to Mr. Nathan Peterson please?"
"Certainly. Wait a moment. I'll go and fetch him." Paige took the phone and made her way to her parents' bedroom where she handed the phone to her father.
"Hello?" he said.
"Hello. Is this Nathan Peterson?"
"Your wife has gone into labour. If you would be able to come to the hospital as soon as possible it would be much appreciated. We think that the baby will be arriving very shortly."
"I'll try my best. Thank you. Goodbye."
Nathan began to ready Ryan and Rose for the car journey and Paige went to her room and fetched a colouring book and the teddy bear, Pip, to entertain the twins. Then they were ready to go to the hospital.
* * *
By the time Paige was allowed into the room where her mother was, there was there a tiny baby wrapped in a lilac shawl lying across her mother's breast and her father was sitting beside her mother, talking softly.
"Mummy, is this the baby?"
"Yes. She's gorgeous. We've decided to call her Sophie Rebecca."
Her father stood up and went round to Paige. "Your little sister Sophie. Do you like her?"
"Yeah. She’s really cute and adorable. Almost as cute as Ryan and Rose were when they were born last year!"
Nathan laughed at his daughter and pulled her close to him.
“We’re going to be happy together, aren’t we? You, Ryan, Rose, Mummy, me and little Sophie.”
Paige nodded her agreement. She was longing to be part of this big perfect loving family and wanted the rest of her life to be happy and full of joy. She couldn’t wait till her mother was able to leave the hospital with Sophie so they could begin to be a proper, complete family.