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Shoot the Messenger?

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Shoot the Messenger?

Ziva has been feeling tired and off lately; she attributes it to keeping up with four kids, the twins having just turned one. March 27 – April 1, 2021.

Ziva had just put the twins down for a nap; three year old Anthony was watching a children's program on the television. Six year old Tali would be home from school in about two hours. Ziva was tired. She had been feeling tired almost every day lately and just off in general. She hoped that she was not getting the flu or some other illness.

Anthony smiled at his Ima when she sat down with him on the sofa in the family room. He cuddled into her side and the two watched the program together. The next thing Ziva knew, her phone was beeping the alarm for time that Tali would be home. Ziva moved her sleeping son so that he was lying on the couch, gently taking his head off her lap.

She opened the front door just as Tali stepped off the bus at the end of the driveway. The girl ran to her Ima and hugged her. "Hi, Ima. I'm hungry. May I have a snack?"

Ziva hugged her oldest daughter, "Yes. I will make a snack for you and Anthony. Rivka and Beth should be awake from their nap soon." Tali followed her Ima to the family room where Anthony had just awakened from his nap. Ziva asked her son if he wanted to have a snack. Anthony nodded, still not quite fully awake.

Both children followed their Ima to the kitchen, where she put some chocolate milk into lidded cups and then set out some grapes and Goldfish crackers for their snack. No sooner had she put the food down than one of the twins started crying. "I will be right back; let me get your sisters."

Ziva entered the girls' room to see Rivka sitting in her crib, crying and covered in drool. She was pretty sure both girls were cutting teeth, which made them extra cranky. Beth's eyes were open, but she was still on her back, holding her favorite plush toy and babbling to the stuffed panda. Beth noticed her Ima in the room and started crying, standing up to get Ima's attention. Ziva went to Rivka first, picking her up and heading to the changing table. Beth watched from her crib.

Ziva changed Rivka's diaper and shirt, and put the little girl down on the floor while she changed Beth. Rivka pulled herself to her feet by Beth's crib, and stood looking at her Ima. Ziva smiled at the baby, encouraging her to take a step. Beth watched from her mother's arms as Rivka took three steps, a bit unsteadily, and then grinned at her Ima. Ziva laughed out loud; all of her children had their Abba's grin! She scooped up Rivka and carried the two girls to the kitchen. She put them in their high chairs and placed several Goldfish crackers on each tray. All four children ate their snacks. Rivka pointed to her sippy cup and Tali helped her sister drink. Beth pointed to her sippy cup and Anthony handed it to her. Beth tilted the cup and drank some juice. She banged the cup on her tray and laughed.

Ziva cleaned up the girls and wiped Anthony's hands and face. Tali put the cups in the sink for Ima. Ziva put the two little girls on the floor to the family room and both crawled over to the toy box. Rivka pulled herself to her feet and held on to the toy box. She took several steps towards the coffee table. Ziva smiled and encouraged her to keep going. Rivka let go of the toy box and made the six steps to the coffee table. She grinned at Ima and her siblings. Tali clapped her hands and said, "Yeah, Rivka." Beth stood up by the toy box, hanging on with both hands. Tali called to her and held out her hands, but Beth just stayed put. Tali took her sister's hands in her own and helped her walk around the family room.

Ziva sat on the sofa, watching her four children play and interact. She still felt tired, and was certain her unplanned nap had made her feel even more tired. She was glad it was almost time for Tony to come home and that it was Friday! Maybe having him at home would help her catch up on her sleep over the weekend.

Tony came in the door just as Ziva was beginning dinner preparations. She had the lasagna prepared and just needed to put it in the oven for an hour. Tony moved across the kitchen to kiss Ziva, and she greeted him with a return kiss. A chorus of "Abba's home," from Tali and Anthony greeted him as he went into the family room. He noticed Beth crawling after her older siblings and then Rivka carefully walking along the sofa to follow the others. He crouched down and she let go of the sofa and walked into his open arms. "Way to go, little ninja Rivka!" He hugged his baby girl and she giggled when he blew raspberries on her cheek.

Beth pulled herself to her feet using Tony as a prop. She took two tentative steps by holding on to his leg and smiled up at him. He hugged her and blew raspberries on her cheek as well. "Keep trying, little ninja Beth!" His baby laughed.

Tali held Beth's hands and helped her walk around the family room as Tony greeted Anthony with a high five. Ziva watched her husband interact with the children, feeling even more love, if that were possible, for her best friend, her soulmate, the father of her children.

Tony grinned at his wife, and noticed that she looked tired. When she came over to sit next to him on the sofa, he asked her if she was okay. "Just tired," she replied.

The family ate their dinner, and then Tony helped Ziva get the kids ready for bed. She got the twins settled in their cribs and Tony made sure Anthony and Tali had brushed teeth and got into their pajamas. As the older two settled into their beds for the night, Tony read to Anthony and Ziva to Tali. Both parents and children enjoyed the nightly bedtime stories and time alone together. The parents alternated with the older two.

After tucking the two older kids in for the night, Tony and Ziva went back out to the family room. Ziva sat next to Tony, his arm wrapped around her and they watched a movie on Netflix. About halfway through the movie, Tony heard Ziva softly snoring on his shoulder. He used the remote to turn off the television and gently spoke to his wife, "Zi, let's go get in bed, you're exhausted."

Ziva mumbled, "K," and allowed Tony to guide her to the bedroom. She quickly undressed and climbed between the covers. Tony went to brush his teeth and when he came out, Ziva was out for the count. He gently slid under the covers and cuddled with his sleeping ninja. She hummed and snuggled into his arms.

Tony got up with the twins at 0630 and mostly closed the bedroom door, allowing Ziva to sleep in. Tali and Anthony awoke and he feed all four kids breakfast and then enlisted their help to make breakfast in bed for Ziva. Anthony put two slices of bread in the toaster as Tali helped her Abba break the eggs for scrambled eggs. Rivka and Beth were still in their high chairs eating bits of egg and toast.

Tony got the food onto a plate and put it in the microwave with a cover to keep the food warm while he cleaned up the twins. Anthony and Tali each took a twin and helped the little girls follow Abba with the tray of food into the bedroom. Ziva was just waking up, and smiled at her family walking in the door.

"Breakfast in bed for my beautiful wife." Tony grinned at her and placed the tray over her lap. He moved the glass of orange juice and the cup of tea to her nightstand, knowing that within minutes, all four kids would be on the bed with their Ima. He leaned in and kissed Ziva, "Good morning, sexy. Did you sleep well?"

"Mmm," Ziva murmured into kisses. "Thank you for breakfast."

"Are you going to eat the breakfast, Ima?" Anthony asked. "I can help you!" Ziva smiled at her son; he was always ready to eat, just like his Abba.

As her family gathered around, Ziva took several bites of her eggs and toast. She was reaching for the tea when she motioned to Tony to move the tray quickly. She ran into the bathroom and emptied her stomach. Tony followed quickly; he held her hair out of the way and rubbed her back.

"Are you sick, Ima?" Tali looked at her mother with worry in her expression.

"Just a little upset stomach; I will be fine." Ziva hoped she was not getting sick.

Tony was also concerned, "Let's give Ima some space and then let her rest for a bit." He herded the kids out of the bathroom as Ziva rinsed her mouth and washed her face. He carried the tray with its partially eaten contents to the kitchen but left the tea for Ziva. The kids followed him to the family room, where he put on a Disney movie for them to watch.

Ziva came out to the kitchen and Tony went in behind her. "Are you feeling okay? Do you need anything? I can keep the kids busy so you can rest, if you want."

"I am still so tired and I have no idea why I was vomiting." Ziva replied. "Maybe just some toast with my tea will help settle my stomach."

Tony offered to make some more toast, but Ziva said that she would eat the toast from the breakfast tray. She still felt a bit nauseous but the toast and tea stayed down. While Ziva ate, Tony got Rivka and Beth changed and dressed for the day and sent Tali and Anthony to their rooms to get dressed. He put the little girls in the family room and went to check on Ziva and get dressed himself.

Tony and Ziva started their Saturday routine of laundry and cleaning after getting dressed. Tali and Anthony helped sort the clean clothing into piles by owner. Anthony then matched socks for each person and Tali folded underwear, shirts and pants for each of the kids, including her own. By lunch time, the family had washed, folded and put away four loads of laundry and cleaned two bathrooms. Ziva had stripped all of the beds, and a load of bedding was in the washer, with another in the dryer.

Ziva made soup and sandwiches for lunch, and even though she still felt a bit queasy, the food stayed down. In the afternoon, Tony took Anthony and Tali to do the grocery shopping with him while Ziva got the twins down for their nap and planned to rest herself. She planned to get Anthony and Tali's beds made and then relax on the sofa in the family room until the load of sheets for the master bedroom finished in the dryer.

Tony came home with the groceries and he and the two older children carried the bags into the kitchen. Ziva was not in the kitchen, family room or master bedroom. Tony put away the perishables and then went to find his wife. He looked in on sleeping Rivka and Beth, but no Ziva. He finally found her asleep on Anthony's bed.

He went back to the kitchen and had Tali and Anthony help him put away the remainder of the groceries. He listened for the twins, hoping they would not wake Ziva. He was concerned, but hoped she would feel better after her nap. Beth stirred first and Tony picked her up from her crib and changed her diaper. Rivka was still asleep, so he took Beth out to the family room and put her on the floor.

About a half hour later, Ziva came out to the family room with Rivka. Both were yawning, and Tony got up to take the baby. "Toda. I do not know why I am so tired, Tony." Ziva felt as though she could sleep for a week and still be tired. Tony put Rivka down with her sisters and brother, and then drew Ziva to him. He kissed her forehead and then placed the back of his hand on her forehead.

"You don't feel feverish. Do you still feel nauseous?"

"Some, but it is mostly just feeling tired." Ziva sat down on the sofa.

Tony sat next to her, "Let's do pizza for dinner. I'll call it in and have it delivered, so you can rest." Ziva nodded. Even the little girls liked pizza; these four were certainly Tony's offspring when it came to pizza!

"Pizza?" Anthony looked at his Abba. "Yummy; extra cheese, sausage and pepperoni pizza!" Ziva laughed at her son; he was Tony's mini-me for sure!

After dinner, Tony and Ziva gave Rivka and Beth their bath, while Tali and Anthony watched "Finding Nemo." They got the little girls settled in their cribs for the night, and then watched the end of the movie with the older two. As the movie ended, Tony had Anthony climb on his back for a piggyback ride to his room to get ready for bed. He got the boy in his pajamas and made sure his teeth were brushed. Anthony went out to the family room with Abba to say goodnight to Tali, and Ziva followed him to the bedroom to tuck him in and read his bedtime story.

Tony gave Tali a piggyback ride to her room and helped her get ready for bed, then read her bedtime story. "Laila tov, Tali."

"Laila tov, Abba." Tali hugged her Abba and laid her head on her pillow. Kelev was tucked under her arm.

On Sunday morning, Ziva made pancakes and bacon for breakfast, but when she sat down to eat, the smell made her nauseous. She sipped her tea, and nibbled a bit of pancake, not sure it would stay down. Tony noticed, and he put his hand over hers. "Are you still feeling nauseous? I can make something blander for you, if you want."

"No, thank you, Tony. I do not feel like eating anything. Just the tea is fine." Ziva still looked tired to Tony and he was starting to worry about her. She saw the worry in his eyes, "I will be fine, Tony. Maybe I have some stomach insect."

"BUG, Ziva." Tony smiled at his ninja and her mangled idiom. "Can I get you anything?"

"No, thank you."

At lunch time, Ziva was hungry and ate without feeling sick. Dinner was the same, so she figured she was over whatever had made her sick to her stomach. Tony was still worried though, because Ziva still looked tired to him.

On Monday, Tony dropped Anthony at his half-day Monday/Wednesday preschool on his way to work. Ziva and the two little girls ate breakfast and within ten minutes, Ziva was emptying her stomach again. She looked for some pink liquid in the medicine cabinet in the master bath and noticed her feminine products. The thought occurred to her that she had not needed them for at least two months. She got the twins ready to go out to run errands and then get Anthony from preschool, and made a mental shopping list to include the pink and a home pregnancy test.

She would wait another few days to see if her body gave her any clues and do the test on Wednesday morning if things had not changed. She and Tony had not planned for any more children after the twins, having agreed that four children would complete their family.

Tuesday and Wednesday mornings brought more vomiting of breakfast and nausea. Ziva was still tired most of the time as well. On Wednesday, Tony left with Anthony and Tali went to school. Ziva fed the little girls breakfast and then put them in their room while she went to the master bathroom. The girls had followed her into the master bedroom, and she told them she would be out in a minute. She peed on the stick and set it on the counter, planning to return in fifteen minutes to see the result.

It was after the twins and Anthony got down for naps that Ziva had a chance to check the test stick. She opened the master bathroom door, and glanced at the stick on the counter. She flipped on the light and looked at the test stick.

POSITIVE! That explained the nausea and the tiredness. Ziva dropped the stick on the counter. She glared at it, hoping that would change the result. She had two still in diapers, thirteen months old, plus a three year old and a six year old. The last thing she wanted to deal with was another pregnancy. She picked up the stick again and snapped a picture with her phone. She sent the picture to Tony in a message. 'Number 5?'

A minute later, Tony's reply came in, 'Is this an April Fools' joke?'

'Shoot the messenger? It is the real deal.' Ziva hoped Tony was not angry with her.

'OMG. We do have one more bedroom! OMG.' Tony's reply made Ziva smile. 'And no, don't shoot the messenger. I love you Ziva.'

'You do realize that we will have three under age two when this baby is born?' Ziva sent back.

'We will make it work' That was her Tony, always the optimist. She loved him for it; yes, they would make another child work in their family. Five children would be just fine with her.

'I love you Tony. Abba of FIVE!'