Seokjin sighed as he patted down Jimin’s back, stroking softly and watching the 2-year-old’s breathing quietly even out. He lifted his hand experimentally and Jimin’s eyes flew open, face scrunching in preparation for a cry and Seokjin put his hand back right away, patting his back again and humming a soft lullaby until Jimin’s breathing evened back out. He waited for longer this time before lifting his hand again, and thankfully Jimin stayed asleep. He quickly scrambled off the bed, re-hoisting the weight on his back, and pulled every pillow he could along the edges of the bed because Jimin had a habit of rolling in his sleep until he fell off or met an obstacle.
The weight on his back whined a little and Seokjin’s hands flew to support the bottom of it. He’d long ago learned to make a sling for his back out of blankets because Jungkook refused to sleep unless he was being held. “Shh,” Seokjin whispered, bouncing up and down to keep Jungkook asleep. “Jimin-hyung just went to sleep, Kookie, so if you wake up and cry, you’ll wake him up too and that’s going to not end well, especially for me.” He patted Jungkook until the infant settled again and he sighed in relief before he heard a loud crunch in the living room and a familiar shrill shriek.
Fearing the worst, he ran out into the living room and found Namjoon staring wide-eyed at the broken robot toy in his hand. Hoseok was sitting right across from him, his own robot in hand. His jaw was dropped and when he saw Seokjin he shrieked again, “MAMA! JOONIE BROKE BUMBLEBEE!”
“Hoseok, shh. It’s okay, it’s okay.” He felt Jungkook shift again and froze, but Jungkook thankfully settled down again and Seokjin turned his attention back to the two 3-year-olds. He saw Hoseok’s lips open again and quickly pulled him up onto his lap. “It’s fine, Hoseok, really. You like this one the best anyway, right?”
“Optimus Prime,” Hoseok pouted, and Seokjin sighed and nodded, sliding Hoseok off his lap and reaching for Namjoon next. He was still staring wide-eyed at the broken robot in his hand. Hoseok scrunched his nose and blew his cheeks out. “Why does Joonie always break things, mama?”
Seokjin sighed. “Joonie likes learning how to count, that’s why. Isn’t that right, Namjoon?” He smiled and eased the broken plastic out from Namjoon’s grip. “That’s your sixth one this month.” He set the pieces down behind him and examined Namjoon’s hands for any injury and smiled in relief when he didn’t find any cuts. “One..” He coaxed, folding down a tiny thumb.
Namjoon smiled sheepishly. “Two..” He folded his index, and then counted up to six, showing Seokjin both hands with six folded down fingers. “Six.” He beamed and Seokjin ruffled his hair, getting up to fetch a new Bumblebee from the bulk box he kept up on top of the closet precisely because Namjoon had a habit of breaking all the toys. He’d even learned the name of the robots Namjoon liked because he had to go to the store and ask for them.
He turned and immediately found Taehyung sitting next to the potted plants next to the windows, tiny hands grabbing flowers off their stems and shoving them into his mouth. “Oh my god, Taehyung!” He shrieked, dashing for the second youngest child and wrenching the pink petals from his tiny fists. “Taehyung, are you hungry?!”
Taehyung grinned. “Noooo. They’re pretty! So I wanted to eat them!”
“Taehyung, flowers are not meant to be eaten.” He’d long ago given up trying to make sense of the things Taehyung did and said, but he was going to draw the line at eating household plants. “I’ll cut out flowers out of strawberry slices. Would that do?” When Taehyung tilted his head, he scooped Taehyung up and placed him in a high chair, pulling it close to the kitchen counter but belting him down so Taehyung could see what he was doing but not crawl all over the counter. Seokjin had made the mistake of not belting Taehyung down once. He still had nightmares about the chaos that ensued. He was never making that mistake again.
He grabbed the strawberries from the fridge, washed them thoroughly and grabbed the plastic cookie cutters. “Look, Taehyung.” He put out a plastic cutting board in front of Taehyung and sliced the strawberries into thin slices, putting aside ones that were too small and lining up one that were big enough in front of Taehyung. He pressed a flower-shaped cookie cutter into a slice and smiled when Taehyung’s eyes brightened. “Will this do?”
“Mama,” Taehyung nodded, looking uncharacteristically solemn. “Mama, you’re the best.” Seokjin’s smile softened and he cut out other shapes out of the strawberries while Taehyung watched. Once Taehyung was more occupied with trying to get shapes out of strawberry slices and stuffing his mouth with Seokjin’s shapes, he carefully moved Taehyung to the dining area so he could keep an eye on Taehyung and the rest of the boys at the same time.
He’d turned for one second to grab a bib for Taehyung so he wasn’t dyeing his shirt red when Hoseok shrieked again. He hurriedly pulled the bib around Taehyung before turning back to find Yoongi with a bottle of gold glitter glue.
Or what had been a bottle of glitter glue. Yoongi had somehow managed to empty out all of its contents onto the floor and had proceeded to rub it all over the broken Bumblebee. “Yoongi!” Seokjin hissed, “How – how did you even reach where the glue was?” He swore he’d put all the glue up and out of all the kids’ reach, because, again, the last time he hadn’t, Jimin had to get his hair cropped short because Hoseok had poured green glitter glue all over his hair and it just would not come out. Jimin had cried for weeks afterward. Every time he saw a mirror. He still wouldn’t touch anything green.
“I can reach.” Yoongi hmphed, getting up and walking to the drawer. He pulled it out easily and grabbed the blue one.
“Oh my god,” Seokjin hissed. He still couldn’t get how fast Yoongi was growing. He swore just last week the toddler hadn't even been able to touch the handle. “Yoongi, please give mommy the glue.” Please don’t pour it on any of your little brothers, he prayed desperately.
Yoongi, thankfully, wasn’t a troublemaker and he handed Seokjin the glue immediately. Seokjin blinked at the compliance. “Yoongi, why – why did you put glue all over the floor? And on Bumblebee? You’re usually a good boy.”
“I was trying to fix Bumblebee.” Yoongi frowned, like he didn’t get why he wasn’t good. “See?” He grabbed a glue-soaked piece and stuck it back onto the body. It was kind of crooked, but also kind of really cute. Namjoon and Hoseok watched with fascination as Yoongi struggled to put the broken toy back together. Seokjin had to admit that for a 5-year-old working with gold glitter glue, the result was pretty impressive. Even if Seokjin was pretty sure he was never going to be able to get the now-hardened glitter glue off the linoleum floor and Yoongi looked like he’d gone through war with gold glitter.
Seokjin chuckled defeatedly. “All right, let’s put this somewhere none of you can reach, so it can dry. Yoongi, don’t wipe your hands on anything. Don’t touch anything. Stay still until mommy comes back, all right?”
Yoongi nodded sagely as Seokjin carefully propped the gold-glitter-gunked robot on to the top shelf, and grabbed new clothes and baby wipes for Yoongi. He’d have to move the glue up higher once he’d put all the kids to nap, because if Yoongi could reach it that meant Hoseok and Taehyung had access to it through Yoongi and he was not going to take Jimin for another haircut.
He carefully wiped Yoongi off (it took the entire packet of baby wipes) and re-dressed him, soaking his glitter-covered clothes in water. As he’d expected, the dried puddle of glue was hopeless and stuck, and he wished he had put out the play pads he usually had spread out. “The one day they’re at the cleaners.” He muttered fondly, ruffling Yoongi’s hair.
Once he was dressed, Yoongi waddled over to Namjoon and Hoseok, joining in on the robot fight. Seokjin was only going to have to hope that Namjoon wouldn’t break another one because Taehyung was very loudly demanding attention. He grabbed Taehyung off the high chair, opened a new package of baby wipes to wipe his cheeks and hands. “Are you feeling sleepy?” He smiled, and Taehyung nodded against his shoulder. “All right, it’s nap time anyway. If you’d just gone to sleep when Jimin did, you wouldn’t be so tired.”
He patted Taehyung’s back, bouncing lightly in his steps and humming a light lullaby. He kept an eye on the three boys in the living room, walking in slow circles around them until Taehyung fell asleep. Taehyung was drooling on his shoulder, but Seokjin was used to that now. He quietly opened the door and smiled when he found Jimin rolled up against the pillows. Thankfully Taehyung stayed stock still in his sleep and he laid Taehyung next to Jimin, pulling a baby blanket over both of them.
He watched them sleep until Hoseok screeched again and he jumped up, running to the living room. “Hoseok, please don’t scream, you’re gonna wake-“ on cue, Jungkook stirred and starting wailing, jolted from his sleep from all the noise “-Jungkook. You’re gonna wake Jungkook.” Seokjin quickly unwrapped the blanket off his back and cradled Jungkook in his arms instead, cooing softly at him.
Until he heard a loud cry from the bedroom. And then another.
“Oh, god,” Seokjin whispered, horrified. He jumped up to go attend to Jimin and Taehyung – oh god he’d JUST put Taehyung to sleep – but before he could run, Hoseok grabbed his pants. “Yes, Hobi?”
“Mama, I’m sorry.” Hoseok sniffled, and Seokjin gulped thickly.
“Oh, no, Hobi, it’s fine, just don’t-“
Hoseok started bawling, and then, for some reason or another, Namjoon joined him, and Yoongi, who almost never cried, started crying as well and Seokjin faced his worst nightmare. All 6 of his kids, crying at once.