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Practical Parenting

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Lister was sitting on the floor in the quarters they had converted into a makeshift nursery, dandling a giggling Jim on his knee. He was pleased to see how big and bonny the kid was getting. At least supplies weren't a problem.

He heard footsteps approaching from down the corridor, the footfall perhaps a little more weighty than was strictly necessary. They clomped to a stop in the doorway of the quarters.

“Oh, hey, Rimmer,” he said, not looking up. “How's Bexley?”

His question was met with a pointed silence. Lister turned round to see a very irritable-looking Rimmer, hands on his hips, covered in splatters of mashed apricot.

“That's the last time I help with feeding your little brats,” he huffed. “Just look what he's done to me!”

Lister made a mental note to go and clean the area around the high chair. Judging from the state Rimmer was in, there must have been quite a blast radius. Lister was impressed. The kid only had small hands and limited manual dexterity, yet he'd still somehow managed to spatter gobs of baby food all over Rimmer's face and shirt. In fact, he thought he could even see some of it in his hair.

“Oh, eh, man,” Lister replied, trying not to smile. “He didn't mean anything by it. He doesn't know what he's doing.”

“Quite, and in that respect he's just like his smegging father.”

“Rimmer, hey!” Lister exclaimed, covering Jim's ears. “You promised, remember! Jim, don't you go listening to naughty old Uncle Arn.”

Seeing he was getting nowhere, Rimmer rolled his eyes in exasperation, and stormed off to get himself cleaned up.

“Nice one, Bex,” Lister murmured to himself with a grin. “Did ya see that, Jim? Just like we practised! Isn't your brother clever, eh?” The little boy gurgled, his eyes wide. “Oh, don't you worry, I'll talk Uncle Arn round soon enough. Then you can have a go.”

After all, if the twins were going to spend their whole lives stuck on board the Dwarf, they had to learn how to keep themselves sane.